As week two of The Great British Bake Off approaches, I already have so many questions. Is Howard the new Brendan? Does Mel Giedroyc really own a pair of comfortable baking mules? How long will we mourn the loss of the wonderful ‘does-it-look-as-though-I’m-going to-stop-eating-cake’ Toby?
Another question that might of occurred to you is what lovely gadgets are the guys cooking with this year? Well I can help you with that one.
1. The oven B46E74N3GB Series 5 built-in single oven, around £1,100, Neff (available at Currys)
Why it’s Bake-Off worthy While all our bakers seem to have fallen foul of the sharp ceramic knives in the Bake Off tent, they should at least be saved from burns by this oven’s telescopic shelves, which stay stable as you pull them out, making cakes and loaves easier to retrieve. I’m a fan of the Slide&Hide door, which drops down and slots neatly away under the oven cavity – surely far better than being bashed in the face when you’re trying to survey a sponge? Oh, and the CircoTherm technology that almost does away with the need for preheating – hopefully Mark will have gotten to grips with it following his first-round Lemon and Poppy Seed cake disaster.
Find out why last year’s winner John Whaite is also a fan right here!
2. The mixer Artisan stand mixer, from £429, KitchenAid
Why it’s Bake-Off worthy A graduate from the Class of 2012, the Artisan is the original stand mixer (launched back in 1919). Every one comes with a whisk, a ceramic dough hook and a flat beater, so you’re prepared for all baking eventualities, and the mixer’s planetary motion stops ingredients from stubbornly sticking to the side. I especially like the sunny Majestic Yellow colour they’ve chosen this year, alongside a pretty Ice Blue (pictured).
3. The hand mixer Bodum Bistro electric hand mixer in lime green, £52, Selfridges
Why it’s Bake-Off worthy As modelled so beautifully by Toby in week one (along with that fetching cardi), this jazzy mixer is just the thing when you want to get down and dirty with some egg whites without resorting to bringing out the big guns. I love how the cord rolls up inside the mixer for easy storage, while the rubber and silicone body is comfy to hold and more than happy to be wiped down with a wet sponge.
4. The fridge RB60299OW Retro fridge in Snow White, around £699, Gorenje
Why it’s Bake-Off worthy One of this year’s new editions is as well presented as Howard’s epic Black Forest Revisited cake. It’s also very eco – an A++ rating will keep the energy bills down and the automatic defrost will save Mel and Sue a job once the winner has been crowned. Inside, there’s a SuperCool option when you need your pastry/crème pâtissièr/chocolate chilled in a hurry, and a generous 255 litres of usable storage – let’s just hope they share nicely.
5. The food processor 5200, £250, Magimix (available at Lakeland)
Why it’s Bake-Off worthy While I’d probably choose my KitchenAid over my processor when it comes to mixing cakes, Mary Berry has no such qualms and also finds hers handy for whizzing up pastry. If you are going to use a processor, this one’s hard to beat – it’s got a powerful commercial-grade induction motor, a bakery-standard dough blade and even comes with a small grinder for blitzing nuts if you need a last-minute sprinking of pistachios to decorate a dessert.
6. The clever spatula Thermospatula, £14.99, Lakeland
Why it’s Bake-Off worthy There were a few of these silicone spatulas being wielded in week one, as the contestants sought to temper their chocolate for Mary and Paul’s approval. And given the Thermospatula is specifically designed for tasks that require heating to a specific temperature, such as making jam, tempering chocolate or cooking custard, I reckon we’ll be seeing them lots more in the coming weeks. The integral digital thermometer displays the precise temperature of the mixture as you stir it, making it less likely to curdle or not set correctly.