8 hacks for better biscuits if you’re inspired by the first episode of Great British Bake off

The Great British Bake Off is back people, and proceedings kicked off last night with biscuit week.

The tent’s latest batch of budding bakers were tasked with making 24 regional biscuits for the signature bake; creating wagon wheels in the technical challenge, and for the showstopper, were asked to build a biscuit selfie…

While there was little risk of soggy bottoms thanks to the nature of the theme (soggy biscuits can only be possible if over-dunked, surely?!), some of the bakers did of course come a-cropper at times.

Here are few ways to make sure your own homemade biscuits have snap and style…

1. Do Briony’s egg yolk trick

Briony taught us all that adding boiled egg yolk to your shortbread biscuit dough can give it an even shorter texture than usual. Nifty, but we’d just use Lurpak, or grate in butter flakes off a frozen block.

2. Underbaking v overbaking: Look for the golden moment

Nerves got the better of some of the bakers, with several presenting the judges with either pale, pasty, bendy biscuits, or dry, dark, teeth-cracking ones. The key is to watch your biscuits, and whip them out of the oven when they’re dry to the touch, golden in colour, a little sandy, but still flexible – they’ll firm up once they cool down.

3. Whip out the greaseproof paper

Calm down on how much flour you dust your surfaces and rolling pin with when rolling out your biscuits – too much flour will dry out your dough and leave it crumbly. Roll the dough between two layers of greaseproof paper instead. It saves on washing up and means your entire kitchen isn’t dusted with flour either.

4. Flour your cookie cutters

Sure, you don’t want to overload your biscuits with flour, but if your dough is a little sticky, flour your cookie cutters lightly, and it’ll much easier to cut out shapes.

5. Utilise your freezer…

To avoid ending up with one giant molten cookie, rather than eight perfect separate ones, divide your dough mixture into balls (an ice-cream scoop works well) and then freeze for an hour or so before they go into the oven.

6. … and your fridge

If your dough is getting too tough to work with, you might have overdone it a little. Stick it in the fridge to calm down – the gluten should relax enough for you to roll it quickly and cut out your cookies. Don’t manhandle it too much.

7. Coating a biccie in chocolate? Use a cooling rack

Don’t use a paintbrush, it’ll look messy and uneven. Rig up a sheet of baking parchment underneath a cooling rack, arrange your biscuits on top, then drizzle evenly with melted chocolate (the paper will pick up any excess). Leave to dry, flip, repeat. Then eat. Doddle.

8. Buy a wagon wheel, don’t make a wagon wheel

If we learned anything last night, it’s that homemade Wagon Wheels are not worth the hassle.

- Press Association


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