Baking equipment on test
When it comes to baking equipment you can easily spend a fortune getting the right stuff. I’ve been decorating cakes for a few years now and my baking armoire (yes I bought a huge French cupboard just to house my baking stuff in!) is packed to the brim with cutters, rolling pins, baking papers and the all important tins and trays. If you’re into baking you’ll know what I’m talking about. You can never have enough!
Well, yesterday I went to the Sainsburys Spring / Summer 2012 press launch – we work far ahead in the magazine world! I was talking to the Head homewares about bakeware. They’ve got a gorgeous new range of baking products coming out which I will be sharing with you when they hit the shelves next year. Here’s a sneak preview to whet your appetite!
We were discussing what keen bakers look for in their baking equipment and what Sainsburys should be stocking for us decorators of cupcakes, biscuits and cakes alike and it got me thinking about how you can easily buy tons of stuff that you will hardly ever use or that you don’t really need. Also, is it always worth buying the expensive stuff or will a less expensive version do?
So, I am going to share with all you readers what I rate and what I use in my ‘Best for baking’ posts. I get to test out new gadgets and equipment all the time as well as new foods for features when I write for magazines so watch this space for up and coming products. But for now……
Mermaid bakeware – On Test!
Ten years ago, when asked by my mother-in-law what I would like for my birthday, I said some Mermaid baking tins. M-I-L wasn’t keen as this wasn’t the glamorous gift she had in mind. But I had it on good authority (albeit from a PR who was slightly biased) that these were the tins to have. It was said that the tins out last many marriages! Once I saw them I had to have them. Those original tins are still going strong today. And I still use them all the time. I was recently sent a set of their new range to test for a feature I was writing and I can’t tell you how excited I was when the box arrived.
The baking sheet
I blame ‘The Great British Bake Off’ for my latest obsession with using a baking sheet over a baking tray! I had never had one before and now I can’t do without it. All the Mermaid tins are hard anodized . This means that the heat is distributed really evenly, so whether you are using a tin for a cake or sheet for biscuits there are no hotspots and everything is baked to perfection, AND you can get loads more cookies on a sheet than on a tray!
Square tins or round tins?
I was really impressed with not only how well the loose bottomed cake tins performed but how easy they are to clean. I’m a bit of a clean freak with my tins. I like them to always look like new – and these do. There’s something very satisfying about a really cold, hard baking tin that you can scrub clean easily. There are lots of sizes to choose from in the loose bottom collection-in both the square and round shapes. I’ve nearly got all the sizes now. They’re an investment but I know I’ll never have to replace them!
It’s also worth mentioning the pudding basin, perfect for your Christmas pudding. I haven’t baked any puddings in mine yet but it’s a great shape for so many decorative cakes. It’s a really handy shape to have in your stores.
Mermaid don’t just do baking sheets and tins, they do Roasting tins too (although I have been using their mini roaster to bake cakes in for ages as it is such a great rectangular size for a football shirt cake!)
So, If you are looking to buy some new bakeware I can definitely recommend Mermaid Cookware. Check out the range at www.mermaidcookware.com or call them for your nearest stockist on 0121 569 7906. They are also available at John Lewis and Lakeland.
The thing I always watch out for on these premium baking tins, is rolled edges. I have bought some in the past that looked very good quality, but the rolled edges are impossible to clean and inevitably lead to rusting over time as they’re also difficult to dry.
I know what you mean. It’s frustrating when that happens to baking tins. They’re almost impossible to dry into every nook and cranny. The way I combat this is to wash the tins in warm soapy water, rinse, then dry them with a tea towel and pop them in a warm oven to dry completely. This is also how I clean my cookie cutters.
It’s due to the iron content in the metal that the baking tins are made from that rusts. The Mermaid cookware is made from hard anodised Aluminium which means it’s Aluminium (which doesn’t contain any iron so can’t rust) and has a special non stick coating too. I sound like an advert now!
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