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It’s that time of year again, the kids are almost back at school, The Great British Bake off is back on our screens, and we’ll be looking at things to do as the nights draw in. This is a great time to start a new hobby, and what a better idea than baking.

Baking is fun, you can eat the results and it can save you money too!You can learn to make your own breads, cakes and healthy treats and help stop the kids wanting to spend on snacks.

What you need

The basic equipment you’ll need for baking doesn’t need to include fancy gadgets or the most up to date equipment. Many of us remember seeing granny baking great cakes just using a big bowl, a wooden spoon a few cups to measure with, a baking tray and mostly a lot of love and passion.

There are some fantastic offers on baking equipment in stores such as B & M, Poundland and Poundworld. These stores also have great deals on the main baking ingredients you’ll need - flour, sugar, eggs and butter. If you want to increase your budget slightly and find branded baking equipment at a fraction of the normal price, Home Sense have a great kitchenware store.

Ultimately, all you need is a few basics and some compromise. By comprise, we mean simple money saving techniques such as using a fork to squeeze a lemon rather than buying a lemon squeezer. You won’t necessarily need an electric mixer, instead, use a wooden spoon and big bowl to mix in.

Scales are relatively inexpensive, but if you want to make more savings use a mug or teacup as measure. Americans tend to measure this way and you’ll find lots of recipes or tables online that explain how to convert grams of measure into the equivalent in cups.

What to bake

You don’t even need to buy any cookbooks, there are literally thousands of free recipes available online – the BBC Food website is a great place to start. Why not try a few basics such as a sponge cake, flapjacks, muffins, or fairy cakes.

Baking is exciting and simple, once you remember to stick to the measures in the recipes. Unlike some other types of cooking, if you get the balance of ingredients wrong, it’s often hard to fix. So stick to the measures, and as your confidence grows you can start experimenting with adding flavours and decoration to make your bakes more personal and exciting.

So as your kids head back to school in the next few weeks, why not try baking together? They could have the goodies as a treat in their lunchboxes or after school.

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