They may know their way around the kitchen like the back of their hands, but professional bakers Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh know this isn’t for everyone.
In their new cookbook Bake It. Cut it. Eat It., the co-founders of the Exploding Bakery cafe in Exeter, have shared over 90 easy-to-follow recipes that can all be made with a single baking pan.
Speaking to FEMAIL, the duo revealed the three biggest mistakes they see people making in the kitchen.
And if you’ve had enough of caramel apples this Bonfire Night, the duo have come up with a tasty alternative.
Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh are the co-founders of the Exploding Bakery in Exeter. The professional bakers shared the three biggest mistakes people make in the kitchen
The professional bakers shared their French caramel brownies (photo) as an alternative to caramel apples this Bonfire Night
When it comes to easy-to-fix mistakes, Tom and Oli said one of their biggest annoyances is people who don’t mix their ingredients thoroughly.
Calling it their “number one mistake,” the duo said “failing to scrape the mixing bowl between adding ingredients” will often be in an “uneven mix.”
Not only will this affect the texture of your baking, but it can also affect the flavor.
To create a stress-free environment, Tom and Oli urged people not to start baking without reading the recipe step by step.
The Exploding Bakery cookbook contains over 90 recipes that can be made with a single baking sheet. The professional bakers urged people not to use cheap aluminum baking sheets as they can affect the quality of the baking
They added: ‘Read the recipe twice, weigh everything and make sure you know what needs to be melted, whipped and added at what time.
“This will make you enjoy the process much more and may even have time to sip a G&T while baking!”
Third, the professionals said they shouldn’t buy cheap baking sheets, because it affects the end result more than most people realize.
Tom and Oli’s Baking Supplies:
A good quality sea salt
High quality, fresh eggs
Real local butter, if you can find it.
High quality, ethically produced chocolate.
Ground almonds, to add moisture and texture to your baking. Plus, it’s a great substitute if you’re gluten-free.
Siliconized paper is really versatile and means you can turn almost any heat-resistant dish into a baking sheet.
“A good griddle is a must,” they said. “Steel is the best if you can get it, because cheaper aluminum trays don’t conduct heat as well, leaving you with a less even caramelization on the edges of your cake.”
Prior to Bonfire Night, the founders of Exploding Bakery shared their “foolproof” brownies — which are topped with a hint of decadent French caramel.
The Exploding Bakery’s French Caramel Brownies
TO MAKE THE FRENCH CARAMEL
80g (3oz) golden syrup
110g (3¾oz) caster sugar (superfine) sugar
100 ml (3½fl oz) double (heavy) cream
a pinch of salt
40g (1½oz) refrigerated butter
TO MAKE THE BROWNIE
375g (13¼oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
375g (13¼oz) butter
300 g caster sugar. 6 medium eggs
225g (8oz) ground almonds
½ teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes. You will need two baking sheets (sheet pans) for this recipe.
Preheat oven to 160°C Fan/Gas 4 and line two 22 x 33 x 5cm (8½ x 13 x 2in) baking sheets (sheet pans).
To make the French caramel, heat the golden syrup and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, tilting the pan back and forth so that the melting sugar and golden syrup get to know each other.
Blow into the pan for a few minutes until the contents begin to darken and release a hint of toffee.
Now whisk in the cream and salt, along with half of the butter. Let it bubble until the color of the caramel turns as dark as you dare, then whisk in the remaining butter until completely melted.
Pour the hot caramel into one of your prepared containers and put it in the freezer to set – this way you can use it much sooner.
Now make the brownie mix by melting the chocolate and butter together over a bain-marie, stirring occasionally, until combined and silky smooth.
Pour the melted chocolate and butter into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and add the sugar. Give it a quick stir, then beat in the eggs until the mixture emulsifies, becomes smooth and shiny and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl without sticking.
Finally, fold in the ground almonds and fine salt until fully blended, then pour the mixture into your second baking pan.
At this point, the caramel should be brittle enough to break into shards, but when it’s soft, you can slice and dice it and place it on top of the brownie mix. Any pattern is good.
If you have shards, stick them upright in the batter so they melt into puddles but still reach deep into the brownie. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
The brownie should be just cooked when you take it out, with a little wiggle in the center, and the caramel will bubble up a bit on the sides. Let it cool completely in the baking tray, sprinkle with some sea salt flakes and serve. Best when completely cooled. This will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Bake it. Cut it. Eat it. by Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh (Quadrille, £15), Photography Sam A. Harris