Laura North is the founder of Baking in Pyjamas, where she shares her love of cooking and passion for baking. She’s amassed a collection of cookbooks from which she shares recipes in between whipping up everything from plain cakes to cookies to breads. When it comes to the kitchen, Laura loves flavor and believes in good tasting, good quality, nutritious homemade food created with fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients.
We recently checked in with Laura to learn more about her blog and get some of her baking insight. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us the story behind Baking in Pyjamas. When and why did you start your site?
Baking in Pyjamas began a few years ago when I first came across another food blog. Immediately I was interested and intrigued, as someone who loves to bake and loves reading about baking the thought of starting my own blog seemed really exciting but I was hesitant, what if nobody read it? My partner encouraged me and through his advice I found inspiration and passion to launch one, so Baking in Pyjamas was born.
What sets your site apart from other baking/cooking blogs? How were you able to grow your site?
Baking in Pyjamas is different from other blogs in terms of ease of recipes and the fact that I share my extensive cookery book collection in my Cookbook Treasure Trove. Since I have so many books, I try and bake from them and share the outcome with my readers. By doing this and also sharing recipes that are easy I hope to encourage people to bake at home because if I can do it then anyone can. I’ve been able to grow my site through connecting with other bloggers and joining a few baking groups for fun. I also interact on my social media accounts by sharing current and past recipes on a regular basis so that my readers are always getting new and exciting recipes.
When did you fall in love with baking? Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?
I’ve always loved baking and would join my mother in the kitchen whenever she was making a cake or mince pies at Christmas. My partner is my source for inspiration, by talking with him about my recipe ideas and what I’m planning on trying next – he’s always there giving me advice and encouraging me to try something new.
What’s one of your favorite dessert recipes. Something you find yourself making over and over again?
My favorite dessert to make currently is gelato. Since returning from Rome and falling in love with gelato there I’ve been playing around with different flavor combinations. I’ve made Pistachio, Cappuccino Chip and my next flavour I’m making is Dark Berry. It’s so easy to make, everyone is always amazed when I tell them how simple it is.
What about a unique recipe that has become a new favorite?
Recently, I made Hokkaido Milk Rolls and there’s a technique to make them called Tangzhong. Tangzhong is used for most Asian breads and is made my heating up flour, milk and cream to make a roux like mixture. This gets incorporated into the dough and produces a very light and airy bread, very similar to brioche. It yields the most delicious bread and this way of making rolls has become a favourite of mine.
How do you approach baking? What do you think makes for an especially delicious baked good?
I always approach anything I’m going to be baking with a clear mind and I make sure I’ve plenty of time to complete the recipe. It’s always important to read the ingredient list and method through a few times before you go to bake as this will ensure you have all the right ingredients and you know what needs to be done. Following the recipe correctly will always mean you’ve got a delicious baked good and using the best ingredients you can afford also plays a vital role in how your baked good will taste.
What baking trends interest you right now?
Naked layer cakes seem quite popular right now but I’ve been making them for a number of years. I love seeing a filling spilling out of the sides of sponge cake layers. Decorating it with flowers or a simple dusting of icing sugar completes the look nicely. It can look so pretty and also doesn’t mean you spend hours trying to perfect a smoothed icing around the cake.
What’s one piece of advice you can offer all us foodies on how to become better bakers?
Bake whatever you want. If you fancy say a batch of brownies, search for a recipe that looks appealing to you, take yourself off to the kitchen and immerse yourself in the process of making them. Baking with passion will show in your final product.
What’s one tool in your kitchen you can’t live without?
My stand mixer. It’s a relatively simple one, it didn’t cost me much but it’s been going since I first bought it around five years ago. Using a stand mixer ensures your ingredients are mixed consistently and whilst it’s mixing ingredients together you’ve got your hands free to prepare other ingredients for the recipe.