Hello, Jasmin here. I’m part of thortful’s Customer Happiness team (we answer your calls and emails) – but I was also a finalist on The Great Australian Bake Off! Since it’s Mental Health Awareness Week I thought I’d share some tips for baking bliss.
Baking can have a really positive effect on our mental health. Not only is it good for lowering your levels of stress and anxiety, but a recent study also found that people who engaged in small creative projects, such as cooking and baking, felt more enthusiastic about what they did the following day.
I’ve found that the people around you also feel quite enthusiastic when you turn up with a tray of brownies. Funny, that.
Jasmin’s Baking Top Tips
Bread isn’t as scary as some people think; yeast is a magical ingredient that does most of the work for you! Plus kneading is a fantastic way to relieve some stress – I find kneading bread so therapeutic.
My top tip for making bread is to trust the process, give it a go and you’ll be amazed with what you can achieve. But here’s another trick for when your bread is ‘proving’ (that is, allowing it to rise in a warm spot). Do the ‘poke test’ to see if it’s ready to bake: simply poke your dough with a floured finger and if it springs back right away, let it rise for a little longer, if the dough springs back slowly (like it’s waking up from a long nap) and your poke leaves a small indentation, it’s ready to go!
Cookies are so simple and utterly delicious at the same time, not to mention the many different flavour combinations you can create. From a classic chocolate chip to white chocolate and macadamia, the possibilities are endless!
My top tip when baking cookies is to let your dough rest (as hard as this wait may be) as this helps develop the flavour. If you love a chewy cookie, you’ll find that cookies baked after an overnight rest will not only have a pronounced caramel flavour from the brown sugar, they’ll be more chewy too!
Also, when they come out of the oven, use a round cookie cutter that’s much larger than your cookie. Slide it around your warm cookies in a circular motion to reshape them into a perfect uniform circle.
A Clean Slice
When you’ve whipped up a beautiful dessert and want to serve it to your family and friends, always use a knife the opposite temperature to your bake!
If it’s a cold dessert, run your knife under hot water for a beautiful clean slice, if your dessert is hot, then use a cold knife.
That’s it for my tips! I find a few tips like this can take some of the rough edges off your baking experience and make it even more relaxing. You don’t want to take off all the rough edges, mind – they’re the most delicious bits!