The Great Hunt: How to bake cheaply

edited 28 August 2014 at 3:10PM in Gone Off!
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Former_MSE_RebeccaFormer_MSE_Rebecca
173 Posts
edited 28 August 2014 at 3:10PM in Gone Off!
The Great British Bake Off has kicked off but while the contestants are given luxury Waitrose goods and top-of-the-range kitchen equipment, most of us make do with bog-standard baking bits. We're after your best finds, from cheap kitchen products and bargain ingredients to the best cake and baking recipes using the cheapest ingredients.


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  • Get free fresh yeast from Tesco bakery, just go and ask for a bit and they give you enough to make several loaves. Save fuel costs by baking as much as you can fit in the oven and freezing it.
  • I'm not sure if they stock it on a regular basis but yesterday I saw loads of Jane Asher baking equipment in Poundland. It included tongs, non stick tins and baking trays. Definitely worth a look.
  • Teacher2Teacher2 Forumite
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    Supermarket own brand flour is much cheaper than the branded alternatives. When looking in Asda's baking section I found that their dried fruit, nuts and candied peel were really inexpensive even compared with Tesco's so I stocked up. You can usually find cheap free range eggs even in the 'value' section of many supermarkets. Larger packets usually offer a price per gram saving.
  • Aldi's range of baking products has grown hugely in the last few years. You can get a good range of dried fruits, nuts, and different types of sugar nowadays. I think they even stock bread flour along with the usual plain and self raising and I'm certain they stock yeast as well.

    They also do good quality chocolate pretty cheaply. 125g of 85% cocoa chocolate is £1.15. I usually use half superior stuff and half of their 30p for 100g dark chocolate in my baking.

    Additionally they often have flavourings, fondant icing, cherries, spray glitter and the like in their weekly offers.
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  • check out vegan/eggless cake recipes online. Almost all cakes, pancakes etc can be made successfully without having to 'shell out' ( sorry! ) for eggs. Also take a look at the blog, No Bread Is An Island for frugal bread, pizza, cake making recipes.
  • taintain Forumite
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    Lb for lb, Stork is usually half the price of butter and works just as well for cakes

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  • tain wrote: »
    Lb for lb, Stork is usually half the price of butter and works just as well for cakes

    Is it? Might give it shot in my next pineapple upside down cake :D
    I can resist anything but temptation.
  • edited 27 August 2014 at 11:11AM
    clutha_2clutha_2 Forumite
    32 Posts
    edited 27 August 2014 at 11:11AM
    Lidl
    best for chocolate in my opinion -
    79p for 100g of 70% cocoa chocolate (which is much superior to any supermarket own brand that I've tried).
    99p for 200g of white and milk. As well as a normal milk (about 30% cocoa) they do a rich milk (about 45% cocoa) which I prefer for toppings.

    They also have madagascan vanilla pods 2 for £1.49

    I found their ground almonds, 200g for just over a £1 was unbeatable at the time I needed them.

    Just now Lidl have a good little digital scale for £6.99. They come in a few colours. Takes up to 5kg so perfect for weighing ebay parcels too!

    B&M
    big plastic tubs of baking powder, decorative coloured strands and baubles etc, and spices for 99p.
    They're also usually good for honey, syrup and jams.
    I also haunt B&M for bargains. They occasionally get posh English Provender products in, usually for under 60p! I've also found things like posh vanilla sugar and Flora Cuisine for under £1.

    Home Bargains
    I got a decent enough rectangular baking tin here for £1.99.
    They also do a big tub of margarine for under £1 which is perfect for sponges.

    Ikea do a great rubber spatula for 60p. Having been through a few, Goldilocks style, it's just right in my opinion, the rubber isn't too bendy or stiff and gets all the mix off the side of the bowl!

    Also I find own brand and value flour is perfectly fine. Only with bread flour I saw a difference with the branded stuff so I watch out for that on offer.

  • taintain Forumite
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    Also, good technique is just as important as good ingredients.

    Things like combining in the right order, knowing when (and how) to fold and when to beat, in cakes - knowing when the mixture is likely to curdle and how to avoid it, bread - how to knead well, and how much kneading is enough, etc.

    The key is looking for decent websites that don't just list ingredients and basic instructions - look for a proper commentary on the process so you can follow it well. Or watch YouTube videos so you can see what they're up to.

    And practice. Lots. But practice smart - if you're not sure why you're doing something, or why you're adding something in a certain order, try mixing it about and seeing what goes wrong. The best bakers are the ones who really know their ingredients, and know how a change will affect the end product.
  • taintain Forumite
    673 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker Debt-free and Proud!
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    Is it? Might give it shot in my next pineapple upside down cake :D

    250g of unsalted butter is rarely less than £1, Stork is normally ~£1 for 500g. 1kg is £2 in Asda right now.

    I think it's sweetened slightly for cakes though - so don't be using this in sandwiches!
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