Bake along with the best of them…

Pastry Chef

With BBC-hit The Great British Bake off making its TV zenith this evening, with the hotly anticipated final showdown, baking is hot right now.  And while baking at home is enjoying a renaissance thanks to a combination of the Bake Off’s success, the financial squeeze of the past few years and a general rebellion against fast-paced living and ready meals, it’s worth remembering that for some, baking is a profession.  It is, in fact, just one of thousands of jobs on offer in the fast-growing hospitality industry.

To get us in the mood for tonight’s bake off, we investigate cooking pasty like a pro...

A versatile pastry, ideal for sweet or savoury dishes, shortcrust is the easiest to make, and with just a few top tips you could be baking with the best of them:

  • Keep your hands, the ingredients and the bowl as cool as possible.  Work quickly to keep the pastry cool and to prevent the gluten in the flour from developing too quickly
  • Always sieve flour to add extra air
  • Handle the pasty as little as possible.  Over handling will make the fat soft and the pastry greasy
  • Chill the pastry dough in clingfilm for at least half an hour

For more tips go to

When it comes to making pastry and baking in general, accuracy is key:

  • Timing is everything.  In baking, don’t overthink it.  The less mixing the better.  Follow the recipe!
  • Butter temperature is key.  If a recipe calls for cold butter do as it says
  • Clever tools can take the hard work out of baking.  For example parchment paper, spatulas and cling film
  • Don’t guess the weight of ingredients.  Buy a set of scales and weigh things out

For more baking tips from the pros check out

Happy baking!