Unless you’re a chef freshly emerging from culinary school, or an apprentice-turned expert in the craft of pastry, it’s safe to say that home-baking can seem like no simple endeavor. Whether it be the delicate crust of a perfect apple pie to the hearty structure of a sourdough loaf, many live in fear of the wrong turn which may leave a baker in disappointment once their confection comes out of the oven. This fear can be debilitating, especially in an already-insecure novice cook, leading many into store-bought desserts and boxed cake mixes.
However, Ruby Tandoh, a former contestant on the “Great British Baking Show,” created the baking audioguide Breaking Eggs to resent this notion. She demands that every hopeful baker throws their apron on, and caution to the wind, as she leads her listeners through her unique audio-based baking guide.
The audio-guide itself is barely over two hours, but packs in four different recipes, ranging in difficulty and type. Ruby perfectly organizes her introduction, ingredient list, equipment list, and steps with flawless pace – all the while providing much-needed encouragement. She’s incredibly communicative, and alerts exactly when we should pause – to write quantities down, make sure all our ingredients are in sight, and when it’s the right time to lug out that heavy stand mixer. When I followed along with Ruby to make her Miso Brownies, I only had to take brief pauses in between collecting my ingredients and preparing for next steps. And if there’s a need to stop before the next step, all that’s necessary is a click on pause, or just ask your voice assistant, Alexa or Google, to pause. I even found that at certain times where I thought I would have to pause, Ruby gave enough time for me without skipping a beat.
Instead of flipping through pages of a large cookbook or leaving buttery fingerprints on sheets of printed paper, all that’s necessary is your phone speaker, and some ears. Ruby speaks eloquently, slowly iterating one direction to the next, and provides ample time between tasks to get the job done. During these faster steps, instead of having us pause, Ruby will provide context as to why a bake will be a certain way, and the steps we must take to ensure it doesn’t go awry. While we line our baking trays, for example, Ruby explains how to achieve the perfect crumb in her Easy Butter Cake.
We learn to try our progress in real-time, as she explains at the end of a task how the ingredients should be smelling, feeling, tasting, and looking. And Ruby notes that even if we can’t use every single sense to analyze the bake, “don’t put yourself through hell just to prove a point”. She tells us that “whenever things get too much, follow what feels right, and cut corners if you have to“. Ruby specializes in what print cookbooks often leave out – instilling a bit of confidence.
Besides being efficient, Breaking Eggs serves as a wonderful alternative form of entertainment that both teaches and excites. In pauses, Ruby drifts from one thought to another, some that start spilling into tangents, and some not. Ruby reminds us to be patient and respectful to our ingredients, whilst we prepare to melt chocolate for Miso Brownies – “not all cooking tasks are as lovely as getting to stand over a pan of molten chocolate, so you might as well enjoy this while you can,” she gently reminds us. Though there is a clear purpose for her audioguide, I was delightfully surprised about the grip she had on my attention while I idly waited for the chocolate to melt. Ruby is truly interested in providing educational entertainment. Ruby provides food for thought while we sit and beat eggs and sugar together. She bestows her insights on the approachability of baking, and laments about those who don’t dare to try. She encourages us to indulge ourselves without feeling bad about it. She fiercely advocates for paying less attention to the caloric count of your creations, and instead, completely enjoying them at the moderation we personally choose.
If there’s a cultural reference you wanted to hear more about, Ruby lists all her mentions (along with necessary ingredients and equipment) in a brief PDF attachment included. Though Ruby is British, and the majority of her ingredients are quantified by weight, this PDF is immensely helpful to facilitate conversions if you don’t have a scale at hand. Our favorite conversion baking guide is on the King Arthur Website (https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/ingredient-weight-chart), where you can find any ingredient converted from grams to cups with ease.
Breaking Eggs is in stark contrast to the stereotypical image of an amateur baker – running for cold butter when its meant to be soft, scrambling to pre-heat the oven while your pie is already ready for the bake, and stressfully under or over-kneading the dough. In Breaking Eggs, Ruby Tandoh is our baking guardian angel, saving us in moments of sheer panic and disarray, right in our ear as we work along with her. If you’re interested in listening to Breaking Eggs, and baking along with Ruby, you can do so right on your Amazon Alexa or Google Home through the Audible app.
Breaking Eggs is available on Audible.com $5.