So, the Great British Bake Off ended a little while back (although there are the master classes which I have recorded but have yet to watch).
I (like millions of other people up and down the country) have watched weeks of biscuits and cakes being turned out and having voiced expert armchair opinion have recently gone, ‘Oh baking, yes I used to do that, I could probably find that fun again’.
Of butter, baking and bodging…
I do occasionally make a pie, or quiche and I even more occasionally make some tea loaf or cake, but aside from one rolo sponge rubix cube a couple of years ago, real butter and flour and such have been absent in my house hold for a number of years. Even the chap happily (or at least without active complaint) munches a gluten free diary free pastry pie so long as the filling is mostly meat and gravy.
However gluten free flours, being most often for me gram flour, rice flour and potato flour, handle and work differently to flours with gluten in. Also, diary free spreads and other oils have different melting temperatures and behave differently to each other and to butter (which is sometimes useful if you want mixed textures). Let us not even get started on the differences in milk textures and cream substitutes.
When I first converted to GF/DF it took a while to get used the way these new and weird substances reacted. You need different amounts of water and different measures of baking powder. You can add xanthan gum, or sometimes arrowroot would be better. Sometimes eggs will be used in recipes that would not normally have eggs in. You always have to amend the amount of water and not be too scared that your batter appears more runny than you expected.
It is a whole difference class of (dark) alchemy.
I am also a firm believer in the GF/DF diet being inclusive not restrictive and that with the wealth of foods available there is no need to lament lost tiger breads and cheesecakes, but to revel in warm comforting risottos and dark chocolate mousse.
However, I think I got there. So much so that the majority of my cookbooks are not GF / DF but are tombs of either the ancient crafts or modern molecular science which I will happily convert in my head half the time without too much thinking.
My kitchen science understanding is therefore still firmly rooted in this thinking.
However, inspired (maybe the smallest bit by the mad dream of making cakes that were good enough to go into my Sue Perkins trap) I have rushed out and brought butter (real butter with dairy in it!) and (not the specialised aisle) flour and pretty cupcake cases.
So now I have a kitchen full of good intentions and alien ingredients.
All I have to find the hidden baking skill that simply must be buried in there … Somewhere.
If you are a bit better than me, or maybe just a bit braver you could always apply to go on the next series of GBBO:
Apply to be on the show...