Perfect Baking Apps In recent years, cooking aps have become far more than just well-presented, hand-held recipe databases. Functionality has branched out into areas that are far more useful than reference alone, so this page is dedicated to giving a brief review of two excellent apps that are perfect for baking. On the one hand we’ve got Yummly, an app which has been downloaded well over a million times and which provides an all-in-one recipe solution with shopping list and diet-centric functions. On the other hand, there’s Perfect Bake, a much more specialised tool with the power to transform your casual baking into measured science with the help of its integration with the Perfect Bake scale. Yummly Opening the Yummly app presents you with a swift tour of its features and interface, both of which are explained very concisely. The app is effectively a crowd-sourced recipe engine, pulling together millions of recipes from a plethora of online sources. “But couldn’t you just Google your recipes instead?” may be the response from many. You could do that, but then you wouldn’t have access to Yummly’s clean and powerful interface, nor would you be able to enjoy the stand-out features: its shopping list and personalised recommendation elements. You can search the database of recipes at your leisure, but signing in with Google/Facebook lets you save your favourite recipes to your home screen as well as use the shopping list and recommendations features. What makes Yummly vastly superior to simply Googling your recipes is the fact that it slowly learns about your preferences as you search. You can search by key words and then refine by variables like cuisine type, allergy considerations, nutrition, courses, and techniques. The “Smart” in Smart Search really pulls its weight when you use the “Preferences” refinement however, since this keeps an eye on what you’ve liked/disliked and prioritises recipe result accordingly. Other features include the Nutrition functionality, which allows you to keep an eye on the calories of all your recipes as well as balancing qualities like spiciness, bitterness, saltiness, and so on. The most powerful feature by far however is the Shopping List, which lets you build a shopping list for saved recipes. You can even use the barcode scanner to pull up recipes that can be made from the ingredients in your real-life shopping basket. The positive points of this app by far outweigh the negatives. The shopping list is supremely useful, the recipe database is vast, and the search functionality is one of the best you’ll find in a cooking app. The interface is even spot-on, displaying large, mouth-watering pictures of each recipe in a clean and modern fashion. The saved recipes (or “Yums” as they are known) are a little difficult to navigate through however, which is the only drawback of the app that was discerned by us. Yummly is, in the end, one of the greatest weapons in the avid cook’s or baker’s arsenal, and you can visit the online portal here: http://www.yummly.co.uk/ Perfect Bake Make no mistake about it, Perfect Bake is as much about marketing its own company’s scales (to be used with the app) as it is about giving you the tools to bake accurately and with military-like precision. However, just because the Perfect Bake app is on the one hand an interface between the scales and you, doesn’t mean it isn’t a useful tool for beginner or intermediate bakers looking to drill down their technical skills. The app’s developer, Pure Imagination, quite rightly treats the baking process like a science. The Perfect Bake system – now price-reduced to around £30 in the UK at some stores – lets you measure each of the ingredients displayed in the thousands of recipes that the app has to offer. Simply connect the scale through your device’s headphone jack, choose from one of the many recipes in the Perfect Bake database, and then use the provided measuring bowls to weigh up each ingredient as each shred of data passes into the app. It’s a truly interactive baking experience on similar par to more found at www.bakinggame.org, this much cannot be denied. When you’ve got everything set up, you press the “Bake” button on the screen and you’re issued a set of extremely precise and detailed instructions, covering everything from the weight/volume/quantity of each ingredient to the way in which you should set up the baking parchment/paper. It must be pointed out that though this is a great app for beginner or intermediate bakers looking to refine their skills, it is likely that the relinquishing of absolute control over your own personal process for cooking will be off-putting to master bakers or experienced pastry chefs. This is intended for the former group and not the latter who will be too experienced in their craft for this app to be useful. Overall, Perfect Bake is a unique baking system that provides functionality unlike any other app out there. Perfect for beginners/intermediates, Perfect Bake makes baking fully interactive with its well-designed and professional interface, even if the hardware will set you back around £30.