Christopher Kimball caught up with Hollywood on Milk Street Radio to learn more about the show and get his expert tips for better baking.
On the best part about the show
Being on the Bake Off is a real treat. To be paid to judge some of the most amazing bakes I've had during my time and meet some incredible bakers as well...
On the worst part about the show
When you’re forced to eat 36 bites of something that’s extremely sweet. Even though it sounds amazing. You're filling yourself, you feel bloated, it's not a very nice experience.
On butter vs. margarine
Margarine can give you texture—it gives you more of a flake—and butter gives you the flavor...Butter will add this gorgeous lusciousness to it and this richness to it, and obviously more flavor. And so, it's horses for horses. In certain recipes it's nice to have just butter, others it's good to have just margarine, and then others I like the idea of blending because then you get the best of both worlds.
On the importance of weighing your eggs
You crack an egg, drop it in, it normally weighs about 60 gram. But some of the small ones can weigh 50 or 40 and some of the large ones can be 70. Also, if you've knocked in 120 or 180 gram of egg into a bowl and you've whisked it up a little bit to break it up, you can easily add a little bit of a time to a mixture rather than a whole egg 60 grams straight in—which could curdle—so I think doing it this way is more accurate and certainly safer.
On the best flour for scones
In my professional career, [bread flour is all] I ever used for scone. So, I've never used the plain flour. It actually creates more of a bloom in the oven so it grows. And what it does is creates an amazing balanced growth and gives more of a kick so it opens up the texture a little bit inside the scone.
The thing is with that, when you're using strong flour, you cannot over mix it because if you over mix it, what will happen is it'll get too tight. And then it gets a bit rubbery on the mouth. So, you want to be able to just bring it together, and then cut, rest it for about five or 10 minutes in the fridge preferably, and then pop into a nice hot oven. And it just blasts up to the perfect level and it's crispy, and then beautifully soft on the inside.
On his favorite bake
Do you know what, I've always said the lemon drizzle cake is a very basic cake. But actually, it's not. In a sense of when you eat it, it's not a normal sponge. It's very enriched, it's heightened. It's quite tart. It's full of lemon, and it is absolutely delicious. And I'd love every American household to get it, improve it if they wish, and once you've mastered it, if you want to add a little bit of tangerine, or maybe some other fruits in there or layers of apple and make it your own. Make it a family tradition.
Quotes have been edited for clarity.
Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest.
And if you're looking for more Milk Street, check out our livestream cooking classes with our favorite chefs, home cooks and friends for global recipes, cooking methods and more.