Many people find making bread, butter, and buttercream therapeutic. This is a time for you to relax and let the world go by.
There will come the point when you can no longer trust your brain to operate on autopilot. This could be due to ageing and natural aches and pain or a diagnosis of chronic pain. It can be frustrating in any case. Even though you know how to make a perfect pie crust, your hands are still unable to complete the task without some discomfort.
Pain: This is the ingredient that no one wants. No one places it on their grocery lists but somehow manages to sneak into your bowl. This is something I have experienced firsthand. My thumbs swell easily due to tendonitis, which I was diagnosed with as a 16-year-old. Although it has made some baking techniques difficult, I have learned how to adapt my methods to enjoy the kitchen still.
Go mechanical when you are converting fat to flour.
A machine can make a beautiful pie crust, flaky biscuits, and delicious scones. I’m sure the pastry purists will be envious, but stand mixers and food processors do an amazing job in a very short time. A blog is available about creating amazing pie dough in your mixer. This has been a lifesaver for me when I go apple picking season. You can make two batches in one bowl using the stand mixer and then freeze the other half for later use.
You can easily knead bread dough by using a machine.
Stand mixers and bread machines make it easy to make your dough without feeling tired. A bowl scraper is a good choice if you have a very sticky dough that must be coaxed to start. A dough whisks or briefly using the flat beater/dough hook attachment in a stand mixer on low speed will do the job without any discomfort.
Use the right techniques to decorate cookies and cakes effortlessly.
I have spent hours carefully decorating cookies and cakes with a pastry box or parchment cone in my hand. It’s always a costly mistake. It’s not pretty, but the usual result is a blue-ish, balloon-like thumb. I have a few tips to make beautiful decorations without the “balloon” effect.
You will need less buttercream if you are piping buttercream using a pastry bag. Whipped cream can be piped easily because it is very light. To help it keep its shape, I add Instant Clarke. Mix 1/4 cup ClearJel with 1/4 cup (28g) confectioners’ sugar, and then add 1 cup (227g) heavy cream as soon as the mixture thickens. Adjust the quantity depending on how much-whipped cream you make to ensure stability. However, keep the sugar-to-ClearJel ratio constant.
Instead of decorating cookies with royal frosting, use an offset spatula to spread the frosting and add sprinkles. Sprinkles make everything even better! You can also use cookie stamps or fun embossed roll pins to let the beautiful patterns of your cookies speak for themselves.
Skip the peeler for fruits and vegetables
Peeling potatoes for Potato Bread or as a side dish at dinner can be tedious. Yukon Gold potatoes are so thin that it is possible to peel them without any effort. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results.
If you’re a fan of the apple peeler/corer/slicer device and it works well for you, keep it! You can leave the skin on if you have had frustrations with such gadgets. Take a look at this rose Apple Pie! This is due in large part to the ruby red apple skin.
You will need a looser grip when peeling vegetables such as carrots and zucchinis. The wider blade makes it easier to remove the vegetable peel.
Grip: Make it simple, light and loose with this grip.
Aside from the above Y-peeler, dough whisk, all utensils with thick or wide handles will be easier to grasp without needing to squeeze your hands as tight.
Your work surface should work for you.
You may need to increase your work surface if you are too small. Stick with the height that puts the least strain on your body.
When in doubt, use outside reinforcements
There’s no shame in buying a store-bought product or a combination. Your hands have worked hard, so be kind to them. If apple pie is not on your menu but you don’t have the time or desire to make your pie crust, Kacey suggests combining a store-bought pie crust with the grandmother’s recipe. It’s 100% homemade and delicious.
You don’t have to buy store-bought ingredients or mix them yourself. Bring some friends or family members along with you. Baking is about sharing. Sharing the experience can be even more fun than the final product, especially if it means you get to rest your hands.
Show some love by showing your hands.
There are days when stiff joints or flares are inevitable, even with precautions. Some people may feel relief from the heat, while others might experience relief from Ice or a light Massage. Enjoy freshly baked treats and a cup o’ tea as you relax and take in the benefits of the labour of your hands.
The bottom line: Arthritis can cause tendonitis, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel, making it difficult to do something that is normally relaxing. It can feel like your hands aren’t working or moving as they used to. This is most certainly not true, and I can assure you that.