It’s the return of the Great British Bake Off on TV this week. If this gives you the urge to bake then we can help with a number of tips that may save you money.
1. Make the most of your oven – bake in bulk
Rather than baking one type of cake while the oven is on try to bake two or three and use the heat efficiently. Heating a fan assisted oven for an hour can cost anything from 30p upwards. Baking multiple items while the oven is on could save cash each time.
2. Turn the oven off 10 minutes early and use the existing heat in the oven
If an oven costs 30p to heat per hour then let’s say it costs 5p for every 10 minutes. Get more from the heat in your oven by switching it off 10 minutes before the scheduled cooking time. If you keep the door closed and use the existing heat to bake your food you’ll save cash and the oven will cool down quicker too.
3. Eat before you bake
It’s a risk that every baker has to live with. If you eat, or drink a pint of water, before you bake you’ll be less likely to eat half the ingredients while you’re cooking. So you can save the ingredients you’ve bought and not have to buy them again at a later date.
4. Grow your own food
To save costs you could grow your own ingredients. Strawberries and mint leaves are just a couple of things you could easily grow in your back garden. Notcutts have an online shop and stores nationwide which stock a range of seeds that you can plant and grow.
5. Use coupons and plan carefully
When planning your ‘bake’ shop remember to plan carefully. Make sure you prepare so that you’re not having to take another trip to the supermarket. If you’ve not baked in a while, and are picking up ingredients you wouldn’t normally buy, chances are that you’ll be presented with a coupon assuming you’re buying at one of the big four supermarkets with a loyalty card. Keep it and take advantage the next time you shop.
6. Don’t confuse best before and use by
Some people still get the two confused. Any food which is marked ‘Best Before’ can still be used past the date stated – so you don’t need to throw it away. It may however not be as fresh as when you bought it. Anything with a ‘Use By’ date shouldn’t be used past the date marked on the pack.
7. Discount stores for the finishing touches
We love the discount stores for pretty much everything they sell. And for master bakers everywhere you can pick up cases, baking trays, decorations and more to help add finishing touches to the things you bake. Think Wilko’s, Home Bargains and Poundland.
8. Don’t throw away anything you ruin
Don’t throw it away. If the bake has gone a bit sour or perhaps overdone don’t assume it’s completely lost. It can always be fed to the birds or the ducks depending on what it is.
9. Freeze what you don’t use and save for later
Now and again you may find that you’ve cooked just a little too much. Or you’ve still got ingredients left over that you don’t want to throw away. An easy solution is to freeze, where possible, the leftover ingredients to use or eat again.
10. Keep your fridge frost free
And if you’re using your freezer make sure that it’s working efficiently so that you’re not spending more money than you need to. Unless you’ve got a frost free freezer make sure you defrost your fridge at least once or twice a year.
11. Buy in-season produce
Any fruits or ingredients that you buy out of season (in the UK) will cost more compared to when they are in season. Buying a mango or strawberries in the winter will probably cost more compared to the spring or summer. So bake wisely or seasonally depending on what you and the family like to bake.
12. Use the right pan for the right hob
Just so you’re not wasting energy make sure you use the right size pan for the right size hob. Using a wok on a small hob will take longer. Using a large hob for a small pan won’t heat the pan effectively either. Otherwise you’ll be wasting money.