Man v. Icing: Stuart Heritage's Guide To Baking Like a LAD

Boy baking does not require icing of any form. You know who uses icing? Girls, your mum and old people. And that’s it. You are not any of these things. You are a boy. You mainly bake bread.
Publish date:
December 10, 2012
baking, Great British Bake Off, stuart heritage

Enjoy The Great British Bake Off this year, did you? Found it charmingly genteel, did you? Reignite your passion for strudel, did it? A delight, was it? Well fuck the lot of you.

I’ve had it up to here with people like you crapping on about how good The Great British Bake Off was. More specifically, I’ve had it up to here with people like you crapping on about how sexy the boys in it were. They weren’t. One, the boy who ended up winning it, looked like Kye Sones from X Factor, who in turn looked like Matilda from the film Matilda. Except he fairly evidently used hair straighteners.

He looked like a magical little girl who uses hair straighteners, is basically what I’m trying to say.

But even he wasn’t as bad as the other one. I’ve forgotten his name. Wore glasses. Had an unnatural thing for fairisle jumpers. Constantly wet mouth. May as well have turned up every week in a pink romper suit, pressing his finger into his dimple and gurgling “I wuv ooh mummy”. You know the one.

These are absolutely the wrong poster boys for baking. To paraphrase Jon Bon Jovi, they give boy baking a bad name. You know who’s a much better poster boy for baking? Bloody ME.

I bake a lot. I bake often, and I bake hard. I’ve sort of got a food blog. I bake so much that, when an old website of mine was sold earlier this year, I spunked away all the profits in an ill-advised Lakeland binge.

You might laugh, but I got a really bloody excellent baking peel out of it. It’s too big to practically use in my kitchen, admittedly, but fuck you. I’VE GOT A BAKING PEEL.

And that’s why I’ve decided to reclaim boy baking. Enough of these Great British Bake Off wimps with their delicate fondants and expertly frilled choux buns. That’s not what baking is.

Baking is getting up at three o’clock in the morning every day. It’s making industrial quantities of the exact same thing every single day, and then selling it for barely any profit. It’s effort. It’s graft. It’s carpal tunnel syndrome.

I’m being serious. We need to claw baking back from the ponces and the artisans. We need to reclaim boy baking. Are you with me? Are you? No, because you’re not a boy and this seems like a weird subject to get unnecessarily het up about? Well SCREW YOU, because here is my EIGHT-POINT BOY BAKING MANIFESTO.

POINT ONE: NO ICING EVERBoy baking does not require icing of any form. You know who uses icing? Girls, your mum and old people. And that’s it. You are not any of these things. You are a boy. You mainly bake bread. If you have to make something other than bread, you won’t make cupcakes. You’ll make meagre little brick-dense flat-topped WWII-style fruit buns. Because you are a boy and icing is for weaklings.

POINT TWO: UP YOURS, PRECISIONYou are a boy. Your time is precious and short. Yes, you want to bake things, but you’ve also got to hunt for food and put out fires and pose for posters of you topless, delicately cradling a newborn baby. So precision doesn’t matter.

Don’t measure out 375g of flour. Just guess. You’re probably right. And, fuck it, a hot oven is a hot oven. This approach might mean that you occasionally have to eat raw dough, but you can take it. You are a BOY.

POINT THREE: PRESENTATION CAN FUCK OFFSome people say you eat with your eyes. These people are MENTAL. You eat with you MOUTH, you maniac. It’s just food – you eat it and then a day later it turns into poo. It really doesn’t matter what it looks like. I made a loaf of bread the other day. It looked like an amputated foot. I still ate it, though, you IDIOT.

POINT FOUR: EAT EVERYTHING WHILE IT’S STILL HOTSo you’ve just baked some food. It looks nice. It smells nice. The recipe says to leave it on a cooling rack. NO. It’s DELICIOUS. Eat it now. Eat it all now. You’ll burn the inside of your mouth horribly, especially if it’s got boiling jam in it, but you should still eat it RIGHT NOW. You deserve this.

POINT FIVE: NEVER MAKE SACHER TORTEI had Sacher Torte once. It was bollocks.

POINT SIX: JUST BUNG A LOAD OF CHOCOLATE CHIPS IN EVERYTHINGChocolate chips make everything better. Biscuits. Banana bread. Bread rolls. Pies. Scotch eggs. Everything. Nothing has ever been ruined by three packets of chocolate chips lobbed in at the last minute.

POINT SEVEN: WHERE POSSIBLE, SPURN TECHNOLOGYYou are a BOY. You do not need the fancy mixers they use on The Great British Bake Off. You have a SPOON. In fact, you don’t need a spoon either. They have those on The Great British Bake Off too, the gits. Just use your HANDS. Better yet, your FISTS. You are a boy. (Note: you do still need to use an oven, though. Experience has taught me that you can’t just punch stuff until it cooks).

POINT EIGHT: IGNORE ALL THESE POINTS ONCE A YEAREvery now and again, you might have to put the boy baking manifesto to one side and, just to prove that you can, bake something fancy. This year, for example, I baked my friend Robyn a birthday cake. Look how beautiful it is.

Measuring it and icing it and making it look nice almost killed me, but it was necessary. I needed to prove that I could do it. See, Great British Bake Off? I can do the same things as you. I’m just like you. Look at me! Love me! Accept me! ACCEPT ME, DAMN YOU.

Stuart is tweeting about the pros and cons of quick-rise yeast @stuheritage.