Welcome to this Special Feature on Recipes and Ingredients. Last week, some friends who live near Bromley in Kent, phoned me to say that the Saturday lunchtime queue stretched right outside their local baker’s. That was music to my ears. I rather wished a TV crew had rushed round there and said something like: "It might be a recession, but look at how popular the local craft baker is!"

Just as the recipes in this feature show, it’s not only innovation that’s important, it is making a mix of classic favourites and traditionals with a twist. I have eaten crème brûlée dozens of times, but how can you fail to take delight in reading Paul Barker’s description in the second paragraph of his page 33 recipe. And he asks: "Why leave the delights of crème brûlée to the restaurant sector?" How right he is!

If you make the lovely couture cakes, shown by confectioner to the stars Mich Turner, why not showcase them with a ticket stating, "Inspired by fashion designer Coco Chanel". What a talking point for your shop.

Wayne Caddy is one of the most talented bakers and consultants you could hope to meet - and he always manages to come up with original ideas or twists. He makes the point that hot cross buns are one staple, but why not introduce another and call them Easter Bun Swirls.

However, if, like me, you have always thought onion bread is a bit too ’oniony’ but still delicious, try out craft baker Christophe Blond’s version.

Each of our contributors to this supplement is passionate about bakery and each runs short courses for professionals to pass on their knowledge. That includes Lighthouse Bakery, which make some great Jewish and Eastern European products.

One of the things I love about bakery is that it never, ever stands still. Lamb, sprouts and carrots will always be lamb, sprouts and carrots, You may dress them up or cook them different ways, but you cannot change them intrinsically, in the way you can adapt yeast, flour and other ingredients to turn their magic properties into dozens of different goods! Why not tap into the expertise of companies such as Ireks, Rank Hovis, Muntons, Cereform and others, who have fantastic technical advisors to help you create new breads or cakes. So if you try out one or more of the recipes, I hope they work for you. Or if you attend one of the courses, I hope you really enjoy them and return enthused with a new repertoire.

Sylvia Macdonald