12 baking tips for disabled people
11 July 2016
One of our day centre regulars delights staff and others at Hydon Hill in Godalming by baking up delicious treats for them.
Michael worked as a professional chef in central London, before he developed multiple sclerosis 14 years ago.
Since then, Michael has been visiting our Hydon Hill service in Godalming, Surrey, where he enjoys cooking with support from the amazing staff there.
‘With the help of staff, I started baking for the residents almost straight away.
‘I now come into Hydon Hill on Tuesdays and Fridays to bake. It’s my relaxation. I think the residents like my cooking because they eat it, and there’s never much left!’
Michael's top tips for disabled bakers
- This may seem like a really obvious one, but if you’re wearing long sleeves, make sure they’re rolled up. It’s not just about keeping your cuffs clean; for someone in a wheelchair there is danger in reaching across the stove with sleeves.
- Make sure your knives are sharp, it is actually much safer! A blunt knife can slip off whatever you’re cutting, and cut you instead!
- With a bit of practice you can use your hand to get a near accurate measurement of dry ingredients such as flour or sugar which can be helpful if you have a visual impairment or struggle with kitchen scales. One of my hands is roughly equal to 100g of self-raising flour.
- If you struggle with cracking eggs, a simple way around this is to put a whole egg in a cup, and crush it. After removing the biggest bits of shell, pour the egg into your baking mixture very slowly. The heavier shell will remain in the cup while the egg will fall into the bowl.
- Some special utensils are worth investing in if you want to become a regular baker, such as this measuring cup with braille measurements on it.
- When mixing all your ingredients together, a damp tea towel under the bowl can help stop it from slipping around.
- You can use a regular rolling pin to flatten out and turn your pastry over, or try a specially adapted rolling pin with a central handle that provides a good grip.
- Another really useful piece of kit is a grabber, which can help reach ingredients stored up high and out of the way, or to pick up anything that’s fallen on the floor.
- A simple utensil is available to help open tightly closed jars and pots. This is really useful if you have difficulty gripping.
- If you find cutlery or small utensils tricky to grip, you can add a piece a foam to the handle by taping it around or inserting the cutlery into the foam to create a more secure handle.
- Pre-heat your oven at a slightly lower temperature to try and avoid burns when putting your bakes into cook. Once your bake is in, raise the temperature back up to the temperature it is meant to cook.
- If you’re using the stove, a small mirror can help you see how your food is cooking, especially those pots in the back! You can arrange for a small heat resistant mirror to be mounted above your stove, or use a mirror mounted on a stick.