As I am a student, we are notorious for being always broke and running to the bank of mum and dad for help. However it doesn’t stop me from wanting to bake!!!! Due to the success of baking programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, I am still very keen to bake. This does not need to break the bank and I have put together some of my tips for baking on a budget.
1. Shop in LIDL!
LIDL is a heaven for any baker! They have such good ingredients at great prices. I promise you won’t be disappointed!!! Sometimes LIDL has been known to sell their butter for 45p for 250g when it’s on special offer, so keep your eyes peeled.
2. Use supermarket own brand butter
I normally use the cheapest butter in my baking and I have no problems with it. Some recipes which require a nice buttery taste such as puff pastry or croissants would benefit from a more expensive butter, but when making a cake or cookies, the cheap stuff always saves the day for me.
3. Use cheap chocolate
There is cheap chocolate and cheap chocolate. Taste them before you use them to see what you like. For example, I can’t stand ASDA’s smart price chocolate whatsoever, but some people may love it. I think LIDL’s fin carre chocolate is great value and tastes pretty good. If it’s being made into cookies or for some buttercream you can get away with it no problem. Just be careful melting cheap chocolate, especially white chocolate. I find that it is difficult to melt in the microwave. If you are wanting to make a good quality ganache then you pay for what you get.
4. You don’t need any expensive equipment
All you need is a sieve, some measuring spoons, mixing bowls, baking tins, a spatula and a cheap hand mixer. Ikea do some really good mixing bowls and bakeware for reasonable prices. Another place to visit for well priced bakeware is TKMaxx. They have great baking tins which are from good brands and you can be surprised with the occasional treat like chocolate moulds for £1.99!
5. Invest in a set of digital scales
This way your bakes will always work out well and you will always use the correct quantities of ingredients. That way you use exact quantities and you will have no waste from rubbish bakes!
6. Don’t throw away jam jars/glass jars
They can be used to store all your ingredients like sugar, sprinkles and so on. They can also be used for making your own jams. Make sure you sterilise them before using them to avoid any bacteria in the jars.
7. Make your own bread
With some strong bread flour, yeast, sugar, oil and water, you can make a loaf of bread. By the time that you make the bread, it works out maybe at about 80p a loaf, depending if you have got the strong flour on offer etc. Some of the best things about making your own bread is that it is healthier and tastes so much better than the industrially produced sliced loaves. You know what you have put into it and there are no E numbers in it!
8. Sandwich bags make great piping bags
Just cut the corner off and pipe directly or put your nozzle in. Greaseproof paper also makes great piping bags, but you just have to learn how to make them which is the hard part!
9. Use seasonal produce
By using seasonal produce, it will always be cheaper. If you can go forraging for berries or mushrooms at the weeekend then that’s even better. I make the most of my apple tree in the autumn making chutneys, apple pies etc. If you do have an apple tree, cut up the apples into pieces and freeze them to make things like stewed apples at a later date.
10. Use dried chickpeas for baking beans
Don’t spend money buying ceramic baking beans. Use some dried chickpeas and you can use the same ones again and again. Before using them for the first time, I dry them out in the oven for half an hour or so and then they are ready to use. Great for when you are making pastry cases.
Have you any good tips for budget baking that I’ve missed out on? I’d love to hear them!