Season 11 Episode 9

Can Just Anyone Become a Star Baker?

From sourdough to banana bread, lockdown has seen a huge RISE (sorry) in the number of people baking. In this episode we’re chatting about why it has become so popular, as well as sharing some of your lockdown creations and problems with baking. With tips from special guest Rahul Mandal of GBBO fame and our very own James Currie, we wonder how we might all be able to improve our baking skills! Do you have any more advice for us? Or any stories about how you’re improving? Slide into our comments below!

Best soundbite“It probably won’t turn out well, but you have to do it” – James Currie

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Something to make you think...

The Escoffier School of Culinary Arts has put together a list of 8 skills that bakers need. What do you think of these skills? Are there other more important ones out there? We’re all ears…

What We Read Ahead of This

These are the most common treats Brits have been baking during Coronavirus lockdown

8 Skills That Every Baker Should Have

What would you like to feast your ears on?
If you want to contribute ideas or want to hear us discuss a particular topic then email us at


  1. theanita1

    I would actually like to counter the idea that “everyone is baking more in lockdown”, because I’m definitely not!

    I LOVE baking (pre-covid) but I don’t want the baked goods lying around. Normally I would take my baked goods to the office and make everyone else fat, but because we’re all working from home my normal caloric distribution chain has been disrupted. I agree with James on this – I don’t want cake at home.

    • Sorted

      We know so many people who are the same, they love the baking process, however they don’t want to eat all the goods!

  2. jared284514

    tried to get the podcast on Podcast Addict and CastBox and neither worked. I’m just having to listen from the website on my phone.

    • Sorted

      Hmmmmm, sorry to hear you’re having trouble. If you need more help, please contact and they will be able to offer more technical assistance.

  3. Mnemosyne

    I’ve started my baking journy, with muffins to cupcakes to cakepops, to pralines, to cakes, to tartelettes,to macarons, to cream puffs, to working with yeast (which is difficult) Always refering back to my acquired knowledge. I always make the cake for parties of any kind, which helps with my recipes testing.
    I think the most important thing with baking is to just follow the recipe for the dough and the topping you can change up most of the time. You can mix and match as long as you can make the basic cake.
    Decoration wise I always enjoy cream or chocolate decorations, fondant is pretty but honestly way to sweet to eat. But to be honest there are cakes which just don’t have to look pretty like crumble cakes or cherry pies.
    I do think everyone can become a great baker as long as they find the one cake form they absolutly adore!

    • Sorted

      You definitely sound like a star baker to us! But yes, follow the dough recipe, then mix it up with the toppings, the topping is way more forgiving.

  4. g8gammie

    You have a full crew and office staff to give cake to after lockdown. Or is that just an American thing, the love of cakes, cookies and pastries at work.

    • Sunanda_K

      Definitely not just American. My team used to sample all my baking.

    • Sorted

      No, everyone in an office seems to love anything sweet! Well the one we’re in for sure 😂

  5. mercury151

    If you want to make more cakes and do need someone to eat it, is there not a soup kitchen or a nursing home nearby that would gladly take it? There must be a lot of social projects in London who would be happy to receive free food like this.

  6. danielahitstheroad

    I’ve only took up serious baking a few years ago because I’ve lacked the patience to meticulously follow a recipe before. My cakes either turned out great accidentally or were a complete desaster. Being a rather instinctive cook, my habits didn’t translate to the baking world. Weighing out ingredients was a completely new experience.
    I’m comfortable enough now with bread, knowing what texture I’m looking for
    for which end result, that I can wing it again 😬. Each flour is different in how and how much water it absorbs, humidity in the kitchen affects the rise etc.
    But it has been a long process of baking twice a week to get to that stage.
    Any sweet baking I still stick to the recipe, cutting down on sugar probably. My apples are almost ripe and next Saturday will see the first Tarte Tatin of the summer.
    Wish me luck.

    • danielahitstheroad

      You should always finish the podcast before commenting 😊.
      Jamie, I feel you. My signature thing that frequently gets requested is a Ciabatta dough couronne filled with olives, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions and serrano ham.
      I’d love to bake more cake but have the same problem as James in that friends and family are constantly on some or other diet and won’t want to eat it, I’m fine myself after a slice or two and there’s only so much my neighbours are willing to take. I’ve bought a couple of tiny tins lately which result in about two servings for two people and that my husband and I can finish off in one week.
      It makes for some ridiculous scaling down of recipes though 😅.

  7. Sunanda_K

    Okay, first of all : Raa-HUL , not Raul! Pronounce the H, he’s not Italian 😀

    Welp, I’m one of those people who put up photos of travel and, in the absence of travel, photos of food (some of us just do not have the face for Instagram, what do we do, James). Like Jamie, I do very much “riff with my food” which is great when I’m I’m feeling good. But, as an anxious person, when I feel panicked (or generally not great) it’s actually a lot more soothing to have precise instructions put in front of me and to just follow a step wise recipe than trying to cook something which I’m making my own version of. So I did end up baking a lot more bread during the lockdown and after a few tries I do think I beginning to develop a sense of what “feels right” very much as I would for cooking. I do think bread feels intimidating to a lot of people because they associate it with something that they’ve always bought , not made themselves. But, as Rahul said, make peace with a few less-than-stellar bakes and share them anyway.
    And the eight skills ( by The Escoffier School) for bakers would apply to any bit of scientific research, I think. I teach Physics and I need those exact skills, too!

    • Sorted

      We’re so glad to hear that your bread baking has improved, and now you have a sense of what feels right. 👏

  8. Ksebeck

    My family tends to default to talking about other meals we have eaten any time we’re sharing food. I am definitely feeling the lack of coworkers to feed in my baking, though. I’ve shifted to more breads and muffins instead of cakes or cookies, since I’m mostly eating them myself now

    • Sorted

      We bet! Have you tried giving some to your neighbours? Or freezing your creations?

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