Hello from the United Kingdom! During our production trip to Great Britain, we picked up some new ingredients along the way. We love them, and you will too! Look to this guide to Edd Kimber’s (@theboywhobakes, British baker and TV personality as well as guest editor of our January/February 2018 British Issue) must-have baking ingredients, which will help you close that Atlantic Ocean-sized gap between his kitchen and yours.
GOLDEN SYRUP: Also called light treacle, golden syrup is a refined sugar by-product often used as the main sweet thickening ingredient in desserts like Treacle Tart or as a sticky topping for everything from English muffins to porridge. With a rich, buttery sweetness completely distinct from honey, molasses, or corn syrup, golden syrup has no true American equivalent. | Edd’s Favorite: Lyle’s Golden Syrup
SELF-RAISING FLOUR: Some contend that the main difference between British self-raising flour and American self-rising flour is the spelling. But American self-rising flour contains salt, as well as baking powder, since this type of flour is often used to create Southern-style biscuits. Self-raising flour contains only the baking powder and has a lower protein percentage. They’re basic equivalents, but tweaking may be required depending on the recipe. Pay attention to the salt content of the recipe and adjust accordingly. | Edd’s Favorite: Marriage’s Self-Raising Flour
PLAIN FLOUR: Plain flour is the British version of all-purpose flour, with a 7- to 10-percent protein content. American all-purpose flour is made with harder wheat, creating a 10-to 11-percent protein level. This can change the texture of tender-crumbed baked goods such as scones and sponge cakes but won’t affect those that require more gluten development, like cinnamon rolls. For more delicate desserts, our American substitution is cake flour, which has 8 percent protein and is a closer match to plain flour. For all others, we stick with all-purpose flour. | Edd’s Favorite: Marriage’s Plain White Flour
DEMERARA SUGAR: A favorite sweetener for British bakers, Demerara has a subtler, lighter taste than American brown sugar, with larger golden sugar crystals and only a slight stickiness. Though it resembles the more familiar turbinado sugar, Demerara has a higher molasses content and larger grain, lending a definite crunch to crumbles, cookies, and scones. | Edd’s Favorite: Tate & Lyle Demerara Sugar
MARMALADE: This jewel-toned citrus spread is marked by its tart fruitiness and jelly-suspended bits of rind. American versions can lack the satisfying bitterness of British marmalade, so invest in some authentic British marmalade, preferably made with pungent Seville oranges. | Edd’s Favorite: Wilkin & Sons Tiptree Orange Medium Cut Marmalade
CASTER SUGAR: Caster sugar, also spelled as castor and sometimes referred to as superfine, has the consistency between that of American granulated and confectioners’ sugars. Quick to dissolve and ideal for making fluffy desserts, caster sugar is fine enough to pass through a “caster” shaker, hence the name. Bakers beware: substituting either granulated or confectioners’ will affect a dessert’s texture, so it’s best to stick to the real deal. | Edd’s Favorite: Tate & Lyle Caster Sugar, a traditional caster sugar, or Billington’s Golden Caster, which is made from unrefined cane sugar.
WHERE TO FIND
All of Edd’s baking necessities can be found on Amazon in the links above or at specialty British food stores (search online for one near you).