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Baking recipes and tips



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Baking tins

  • Clean the empty Baked Bean tins and take outer wrapping off. Grease , flour and set aside. Ingredients: 1/2 cups of raisins, 1 1/2 cup of sultanas , 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda. Combine all ingredients. Mix well with 500 mls of boiled tea. Empty into  greased and floured cans. About 3/4 the way up each can. Cover with grease proof paper or baking paper and tie with string. Let stand overnight. Stand in a large pot of boiling water 1/2 full. Steam for up to an hour and a half.  Serve cold , buttered or hot with hot custard.- S.J., Dunedin.

  • Cup Cakes and Muffin tins... experiment with different shaped food cans, for example tuna or baby food. Make sure the cans are clean and also clean of any smells, then grease them up and use like you would for any recipe. Remember to watch for differing cooking times. - Mean Girl, Hastings

Banana loaf & cake

  • Wanted to make lemon and cream cheese icing for my Banana cake. By mistake bought sour cream. Oh dear! Anyway had to make do. Here is my recipe and tip. 1 small potle of sour cream, zest of one lemon, a few drops of the lemon juice and then add the icing sugar. Wow! It was even better than the original cream cheese icing and definitely cheaper. – Annie, Auckland

  • I make a date and banana loaf each week. 3 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup bran flakes. butter or margarine, 3 teaspoons baking powder, spices -Cassia, mixed spices or others. One overripe banana cut into pieces. I whirl the lot in my food processor and add sufficient water to make a very thick moist mixture. Place in a greased ovenproof dish, and bake for 2 hours in a slow oven. Add or remove ingredients like dates, bran, sultanas or what have you. Makes a large loaf which will last ages. Mine does a week for 2 of us. - Tex, Christchurch.


  • One very handy easily remembered recipe for a lovely shortbread — say 3, 6, 9. I can only do ounces — 3 sugar, 6 butter and 9 flour! Make as usual. - Ann of Whakatane

  • My grandmother wanted me to share her tip after reading an article about food wastage. With soft biscuits she places them in the oven for a few minutes (even if they have filling) and they come out crisp, fresh and taste beautiful! - L.J., Whakatane

  • Make over 120 cookies for just $4.00! This fantastic basic cookie recipe is terrific value, makes loads and has lots of room for variations:

    • 500g margarine

    • 1 tin condensed milk

    • 1 cup sugar

    • 5 cups self-raising flour

Cream sugar and margarine. Add condensed milk and flour. Roll into teaspoon sized balls and press down with a fork. Place on greased trays and bake in moderate oven until golden brown (approximately 10-15 minutes). Before baking I divide the mixture into five and add the following ingredients for different flavoured cookies:

  • Chocolate chips and glace cherries (chopped) 

  • Cornflakes and sultanas 

  • Hundreds and Thousands 

  • Jam drops 

  • Milo and coconut

You could add any number of other things like Rice Bubbles, Smarties, nuts, cinnamon and other spices and so on. The raw mixture can be frozen in balls, just thaw slightly before baking. From this one batch we made 123 cookies and by my calculations using the cheapest possible ingredients the whole batch cost just over $4.00 to make! - K.F.


  • Bread crusts make great croutons. Cut them up and toast them in an oven with other dishes, or after the oven has been turned off just leave them there. Store in a jar...use on soup or salads. (The only ones missing out are the birds!!) – Jaelle, Auckland.

  • When I do my weekly bread baking I make an extra loaf for my dogs. They love it and it’s cheaper than dog biscuits. As the oven cools I put any left over stale bread in there in slices to give them a crunchy variety also. – Reader, Masterton.

  • Vogel-type bread recipe. You will need: 2¼ cups (315g) white flour, 2¼ cups (315g) wholemeal flour, ½ cup (75g) kibbled wheat, ¼ cup (35g) kibbled rye, ½ cup (70g) sunflower seeds, ¼ cup (22g) rolled oats, 2 teaspoons Surebake yeast or 1 teaspoon Bakels dried yeast, 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon of warm (30-35°C) water (total, 765ml). Combine all in a large bowl and mix till a shaggy dough.  Place in loaf pan and leave on top of hot water cylinder for 5 hours or until risen to the top of the pan.  Bake at 220°C fanbake for 45 minutes. The ingredients can be altered (e.g. different flours, seeds, etc) successfully. The cost including electricity to be about $2.20 a loaf, which is less than half the normal retail price.- Shirley, Masterton.
    • While I know it's cheaper to bake your own bread, on reading a Vogel-type recipe, and it being touted as 'only' $2.20 per loaf, it's not the cheapest Vogel-type bread out there. Try the Budget, Giant or Big brands of Multigrain loaves.  These are delicious, nutritious and filling, and cost somewhere around $1.69 per loaf in New World supermarkets.  IMO they're even nicer than Vogel's, but that's just my opinion. - Lorri, Kawerau.
  • I have a friend who brings me day old bread rolls that are left over from a meal service for the elderly. I freeze them and when I want to use them I reheat them in a turbo oven which uses less energy than a microwave. - Helen, Sunshine Coast Qld.

  • I have a family of 7, 2 adults and 5 kids. My growing lot can go through 2 loaves of bread a day, so you can do the math with the amount I spend on bread a week, so I started experimenting with some cheaper alternatives. The best one I have come up with is this. Grab yourself a bag of high grade flour cheapest being home brand at $2.15 for 1.5kg. Add enough warm water to form a firm dough, leave to stand for 30 minutes. Break off small amounts of dough roll into a ball, then roll out on floured surface to circles about the size of small dinner plate. Heat non stick pan (medium heat) then dry fry each dough round about 2 minutes either side. One bag of flour makes about 40 "wraps". Fill with desired filling and send the kids off to school happy. I also fill them with salad, chilli and cheese. Kids think they’re much better then boring sandwiches plus you don’t need butter. So butter bill also goes down...winner! - KM, Te Puke.

  • Make your own bread — one slice toasted spares the three of bought breads, butter and jam! The recipe (so simple and speedy) — 2 packs wholemeal flour, 3 sachets of Edmonds dry yeast (7g sachets or 1 1/2 tea spoons), salt, and add dried fruits, muesli, porridge, nuts, 3 litres of warm water. Put in preserving pan all dry ingredients, but break the yeast into a basin with 3 soup spoons of raw sugar and cover with warm water and leave to rise. While this is trebling in size, butter basins, pyrex dishes, at least six. Pour yeast in to dry ingredients and mix well with warm water. Pile into bowls (I use a soup ladel) put in 100 degrees Cent. Oven to rise for half an hour, cook at 180 degrees for up to an hour. Put in deep freeze — will last you several weeks, one slice only satisfies you till lunch! - Ann of Whakatane.

  • I am sitting in my kitchen and I looked up to see our bread maker. We are a family of bread eaters (for breakfast, lunch and snacks) and I normally make two loaves per day at a cost of 50 cents per loaf. Prior to buying bread maker I bought 10 loaves a week, but I only had one toddler and a baby who hadn’t started on bread yet. I sold an unused item to partly fund the purchase price of the bread maker, and after 3 years 8 months we have probably make 2600 loaves, at a saving of at least $1 each. It takes only 2-4 minutes to put on a loaf of bread, and it’s also a good topic of conversation. – M.W.

  • Beer bread recipe. Tried this out on 22nd Feb after the Christchurch quake and liked it. Costs about $2.00 to make and is the same weight as normal bread. Texture is like scone and tastes like a really nice cake. Gasp brought a real loaf the other day and will never buy bread again. You need: 3 cups flour -self raising or 2 heaped tsp baking powder, some sugar couple of spoons. Mix dry ingredients and add 330 mil can of beer (if still dry add a spoon or so of milk). When it is a sticky gooey mess in the bowl plunk it into a small greased loaf tin. Turn the oven on to 200c and the waiting time seems to help the mixture cook for 30 minutes till top sounds hollow to tap. Some grated cheese  seals the top so it does not split when raising. One small slice is same weight as 2 slices of ordinary bread. Uses a small amount of butter and jam and is delicious. (By the way, my wife has lost 5 kg since we switched to this!). - Kay, Christchurch. 

  • Keep sliced bread in the freezer and take out only what you need. Then there is no waste. 30 seconds in the microwave will thaw it. - P.B.


  • Make tasty breadcrumbs by using up dry bread - grill and turn every couple minutes until golden then blend. I also add blended cornflakes to give a nice golden colour. Kept in an airtight container it lasts for months. I keep odd slice of bread in the freezer until there’s enough to defrost and make batch. - Denise, Auckland 


  • If you have leftover buns freeze them. When ready to use quickly run them under water and place in a hot oven for 10 minutes. Outsides crisp up and the insides are soft just like freshly baked buns. Sounds crazy but it really works. - B.B., Napier.


  • When I make a butter cake or cookie dough I double the recipe and freeze the cooked cake for another time and with the cookie dough I roll the uncooked logs of dough and wrap them in baking paper or cling wrap and when I want some cookies I just take them out, cut the log into pieces and bake them frozen, it works every time. - Chris, Clifton Springs.

  • I tend to bake once a fortnight. Purchasing ingredients in bulk is best value for money and making 2-3 items at a time is the most energy efficient. All my recipes come from my Grandmother's old handwritten recipe books. I will mix and match recipes so we have a combination of eat fresh and eat from the freezer recipes. While home baking is not necessarily the cheapest way to 'get' your sweet indulgences, I have found they last longer than the commercial rubbish as you only need 1 or 2 to get the satisfaction. All of that aside, all my baking has real ingredients, not ingredients with numbers as names and they taste SOOOO much better! - Shih Tzu Mum, Auckland

  • One way to save move is to ‘knock’. When measuring unspecified amounts of stuff (eg tea, sugar, flour etc) knock the spoon on the inside of the jar or packet. Any loose material falls back, so you don’t spill it and you don’t notice any less. Over time you will find you are not using so much or buying so often. - H M K, Waipukurau

Pizza bread

  • I make my pizzas using scone dough. Make as usual (no sugar) roll out as thin as possible and cut into rounds. Put tomato paste on top and cheese. Some times I put spaghetti on top then cheese. Any topping you like. Ham, onions, sausage anything you have in. The kids love choosing their own. - PB, Greymouth

  • I use the bread maker to make pizza dough. Put your favourite toppings on the pizza base and cook it in the oven for 30 min on med/high. On Fridays I use left overs from the previous night or whatever is in the fridge. This is a great way to use up left over food, eg meatballs, crab meat or left over cheese pasta. - Anneke Vandenberg, Hastings.

Sally lunn

  • Ingredients: 1 cup cold mashed potato, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 cups SR flour, pinch salt, 1 cup sultanas, about 1/2 cup milk.

Icing: 1 cup icing sugar, hot water, 1 tbsp melted butter, about 1 tbsp coconut.

 Cream potato & sugar together until light and fluffy. Sift flour & salt together. Add sifted flour & sultanas to creamed mixture. Gradually add enough milk to mix to a soft dough. Lightly knead. Shape into a loaf. Bake 180C on a lightly greased tray 25-30 minutes. Ice when cool, sprinkle with coconut. - Lekki, Waiuku.

  • Ingredients: 1 c cold mashed potato, 3/4 c sugar, 2 c flour, 2 tsp BP, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 c milk, 1 c sultanas. Beat potato and sugar til creamy, add rest of ingredients.  Bake 180 c (or 350 f) for 30 mins on a well greased tray.  Ice while warm and sprinkle with coconut.  Enjoy. - Jude, Palmerston North.

  • Potato Sally Lunn. Ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup cold mashed potato, 2 cups self raising flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup sultanas, about 1/4 cup milk. Cream sugar and potatoes throughly. Add sifted flour and salt, beat well. Stir in sultanas and sufficient milk to mix to a smooth firm dough. Shape into portions - I make 8 lunch sized. Bake at 180 degrees c for 25 - 30 mins. When cool ice and sprinkle with coconut. -  Keryn, Tauranga.


  •  I use self raising flour, sugar to taste if adding dried fruit, a pinch of salt and old milk. Put in COLD oven. Turn oven on to 200 degrees. When the scones should just about be ready, test to see if cooked. No butter needed. While waiting for oven to reach 200, mix up a batch of biscuits or a cake etc and place in the oven when it is up to temperature.  This cuts electricity costs. - Maude, Wanganui

  • Learn to make a basic scone mix. Scones are so versatile you can add in whatever you like. Dried fruits, nuts, spices, onion, pineapple, bacon bits. Use your imagination. 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons margarine or butter. If using dried fruit I find covering with water and soaking the fruit in a 500ml container gives sufficient moisture to make the scones. Mix well by hand or use a mixer. The dough should become "plasticy" pliable and dry to the touch. Bake 12 min at 220°C Savoury or plain mixes can be dropped into stews to make dumplings. All scones mixes can be frozen. Gives a wide variety made simply and inexpensively. - Tex, Christchurch.



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