9. Not letting eggs come to room temperature
Eggs are full of protein. This is what gives cakes strength. “Room-temperature eggs whisk up a lot faster and get more volume than cold eggs,” Josh says. “If I am making macarons or meringues, I will warm egg whites up over a double boiler to about 30 degrees to make sure they’re going to whip up nicely.”
Pro tip: If you’ve forgotten to take your eggs out early, Josh says, put them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes to heat them up straight away.
10. Beating around the bush
Ever wondered why your egg whites never seem to form stiff peaks? “Fat inhibits egg whites from whipping,” Josh says. “So if you’ve measured out your butter and there’s even the tiniest thin film left on the bowl, you can whisk for hours and they won’t do anything.”
Same goes when you’re separating egg whites. “If there’s even a sliver of egg yolk in there – forget about it. It’s never going to whip up.”
Pro tip: Josh says to always err on the side of caution and make sure everything is clean and sanitised – hands included – before you try to whip your eggs into shape.
11. Not using fresh eggs
“I always thought an egg was an egg,” Josh says. “But when I had a chicken a few years ago I was amazed at just how thick the egg whites were when the egg was fresh compared to store bought.”
Pro tip: You can always tell an old egg, Josh says, because if you crack it into a pan, the egg white will run everywhere because the protein has started to break down. “Fresh eggs have a lot more protein, so they are a lot more stable when used in baking.
12. Killing your yeast
Salt and yeast are not friends. “When you’re making bread, for example, if you have a live culture like yeast, and you add salt into the mix when you’re weighing out/sifting your dry ingredients, you can potentially kill the yeast, which means you’ll have flat bread.”
Pro tip: If you’re working with dried yeast, Josh says, always rehydrate first. “Add some water, give it a whisk, then let it sit for 5-10 mins. When the yeast starts to come alive you’ll start to get little bubbles.
13. Not planning ahead
As anyone who has ever watched MasterChef can attest, being organised in the kitchen is essential. This includes reading the recipe before you lift a utensil. “Some recipes are not written in the order of how they should be produced,” Josh says. “So always read through the whole recipe first so you understand all the steps before you start. If it’s a recipe that you haven’t made before, or has lots of steps, make sure you have all your ingredients sifted, prepped and weighed out."
Pro tip: "The more prep you do, the easier it’ll be once you get started.”