I am just coming to the end of another year judging of the Domestic entries for Garden Club shows. It has been good with plenty of tasty recipes to try and taste.
The most important element to any cake and bread recipe is a perfect bake and a good taste. This is very difficult to achieve. Knowing your oven is a big help, as ovens are so different.
Recipes as a general rule only give a guidance on cooking times. Where the outside of a cake is burnt and the inside is still under-baked means that the temperature of the oven is too high. Lowering the heat and giving a longer period of cooking should help. Try pushing a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean the cake is done.
With bread making rolls cook much quicker than loaves, ten to fifteen minutes on a high temperature. With loaves of bread start with a high temperature and after ten to fifteen minutes turn the oven down slightly, to the end of the cooking period. (depending on the size of the loaf) At this point even if the loaf looks cooked. I turn the oven off and remove the bread from the tin I then turn the loaf upside down and leave it in the cooling oven to dry out..
I recently judged at a bread festival and all the loaves were under-baked, this being a bigger fault that being over-baked. I hope that these tips help.
From my observations simple down to earth recipes in a show schedule usually attract more entries that the more elaborate. Something to consider for next year.
My best wishes’ go to all the show secretaries.
WI trained Domestic Judge