Introduction

Introduction

By
Richard Burr
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
978 184949 699 5

When I first stepped into the Bake Off tent last year, I thought they had made some sort of administrative error and would take one look at me and send me home with an apology and a free bag of sugar. Luckily for me, they felt like taking a punt on a builder, so I made the most of it and things turned out pretty well.

My route into home baking was much the same as for a lot of people. I was brought up in a home where both my mum and dad cooked regularly – not fancy food, but great, home-made meals. I learned how to cook by being given simple things to do, such as peeling the carrots or sticking bread in the toaster, and was gradually allowed more responsibility in the kitchen as I became more competent.

When I was 15, and still not big enough to make it on to building sites with my Dad, I got a job in a local bakery; mainly washing up and carrying baked goods from the kitchens to the shop (and scrumping a few along the way). I was very lucky to have this job; my mates either had paper rounds or worked at shop counters. As a teenager, to be around while real, skilled craftsmen plied their trade was a goldmine of information! Every now and again I’d be allowed to cook and fill the doughnuts, or jam and ice the Danish pastries, but mainly I paid a lot of attention to the baker, David Anstee, as he whipped up a sticky croquembouche tower or knocked out a perfect batch of fondant fancies.

Anyway, fast forward a good few years and I built my own kitchen to cover in flour without my mum getting upset at the mess. I tried hard to remember the hints and tips I had picked up all those years ago, but I wasn’t particularly good at baking. The passion remained, however and, after a few years, I began to improve. I started to iron out my mistakes, find flavours that worked and experiment with new ingredients. When I became a dad, my wife Sarah and I would stay up late into the night before each daughter’s birthday making increasingly extravagant cakes. My bakes got better and more varied, and friends and family started to comment: ‘You should go on that Bake Off...’

This book is full of my favourite bakes. I’ve learned in my own kitchen and made plenty of blunders, so that you don’t have to make them yourself. I haven’t been formally trained, so I’ve tried to avoid any baker’s jargon and explain everything step by step from one home baker to another. I’ve stuck to familiar ingredients wherever I can, but have included others to swap in or out if you want to make your bakes more or less exotic; you should be able to get two or three variations out of each recipe. I’ve divided each chapter into beginner, intermediate and advanced sections (levels 1, 2 and 3), to accommodate every sort of home baker.

Last but not least, thank you for reading my book! I really hope you enjoy it and feel encouraged to work your way through the levels and experiment with things you never thought you’d be able to bake yourself.

Happy baking!

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