Budget baking

As the price of living creeps up, sometimes getting in the kitchen and baking a treat can make things seem a little easier, I have put together three budget friendly bakes to help you create something warm and tasty from the oven.

Basic bread rolls

You can’t go wrong with a humble bread roll, whether it’s your first go at baking bread or if you’re a seasoned pro, these rolls, warm from the oven will brighten even the cloudiest of days. 

Ingredients – Makes 12 small rolls 

  • 450g strong white bread four 
  • 1 packet of fast acting yeast 
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 300ml warm water
  • Milk for glazing 
  • Optional – seeds or oats for a crunchy topping. 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 220c/425f/gas mark 7. 
  • In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt and sugar together and add the yeast.
  • Pour in the warm water and the oil and stirs together until a soft dough forms.
  • Knead the dough by pulling and stretching it repeatedly for 10 minutes. 
  • Form the dough into a ball and put it back into the bowl and cover with clingfilm, leave to rest for 1 hour or until its doubled in size. 
  • Once the bread has risen, tip it onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a long sausage shape. 
  • Break the dough into 12 even sized bits and roll them into balls
  • Grease a baking sheet and place your balls of dough on it with a space between each one, leave to rise again for 30-40 minutes
  • Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes, then brush with milk and add your toppings and return to the oven for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven, cover and leave to cool. Then enjoy however you wish. 

Mini cheese puffs

These lovely little snacks are great for kids to make, they’re quick and easy and can be a lovely savoury snack to keep you going throughout the day. They keep well in a tin, or a jar so make a batch and keep them all week.

Ingredients: Makes 12-14 cheese puffs

  • 175g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g grated cheese (we use Cheddar) 
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100ml milk plus a little for glazing.
  • 25g butter or margarine 

Method:

  • Heat your oven to 220c/ 455f/ gas mark 7. 
  • Rub the flour and butter together in a bowl until it looks like breadcrumbs
  • Mix in the grated cheese 
  • Pour in 100ml milk and use a butter knife to mix everything together
  • Gently bring the mix into a ball of dough with your hands, try not to touch it too much. 
  • Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough on a floured surface until its 1cm thick
  • Cut out whatever shape you like with biscuit cutters and transfer them to a greased baking sheet
  • Brush the shapes with milk and bake for around 7-8 minutes
  • Leave them to cool on a plate or wire rack and then they’re good to go! 

Gingerbread family cookies

A traditional cookie that you can have fun with, either eat as they are, or you can ice them some funky outfits!

Ingredients – Makes 20 cookies 

  • 225g plain flour
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 2tsp cinnamon 
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g golden syrup OR honey OR maple syrup
  • 100g brown sugar 
  • 75g butter or margarine
  • Optional – Icing pens and decorations. 

Method:

  • Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl and set aside
  • In a pan, gently melt the syrup, butter and sugar over a medium heat, making sure it doesn’t burn. Once its melted, leave to cool for 5 minutes
  • Once cooled, pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough, shape it into a ball and wrap in clingfilm and cool for 15 minutes. 
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 5 and line two baking sheets with grease proof paper
  • Take the dough out the fridge and on a floured surface, roll out to be 1cm thick. 
  • Cut your gingerbread family out with cookie cutters and place on the baking sheets. 
  • Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 
  • Either tuck straight in or ice with your choice of design. Have fun! 

All these bakes should be kind to the budget and provide families with a good weekend project and a bit of fun, try adapting the recipes to suit your tastes and see what else you can bake.