what? bread?

a blog about making bread at home

Archive for the tag “gbbo”

Great British Bake Off Pretzels

Had a slightly crappy night/morning/lunchtime so need some dough-based therapy to cheer me up a bit. Only time to try half a batch today, but if a recipes goes well when done in half it will go well when the whole batch is made.

Recipe on the GBBO Good Food website over here.

Nothing particularly interesting in there, but another use for the malt from the malt loaf recipe. I’m using fresh yeast as usual.

Mixing the malt with cold milk from the fridge meant that the malt didn’t dissolve and just sort of twined itself around the fork and looked a bit sulky. I wonder if the milk should be at ambient or warmer? So I swished it about a bit and then poured it all in and stirred it up. I did leave it for a Dan Lepard 10 minute rest before going in and giving it quite a good knead. It is quite a stiff dough, very different to the soft pizza dough I’m also making at the same time for tonight’s dinner.

I don’t think I have a pan that will take 7 litres of boiling water as suggested in the recipe. My biggest pan is……goes off to find out…. about 3 litres. I do have a bigger preserving pan, but I’m not using that. I wonder why we need 7 litres of boiling water when the pretzels are only going in for 5 seconds each? Anyway I think I will be doing them in about 2 litres of water in the big pan, so will be reducing the bicarbonate of soda appropriately.

Ok, shaping them went OK, with a bit of twiddling to get the loops right. Then they went for a quick swim. When I put the first one in the pan it sank, so I left it to rise to the surface, which took 10 seconds. Then the others went in one at a time. After the bath I sprinkled Maldon salt and sesame seeds onto each one before putting the next into the pan. Then all straight into the oven. Time went OK, about 23 minutes all told, and they were hard when I tapped them. Soft and dense on the inside. Not quite sure what good they are to man or beast as they are not rolls or buns but I see on Wikipedia that the Germans fill them with cheese and ham. Is there anything they don’t fill with cheese and ham?

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Great British Bake Off Apricot Couronne

It was sweet bread week on GBBO last Tuesday. There’s not much I like more than sweet, fruity buns and breads so this was one of my favourite programmes in the series so far.

The technical challenge was a Paul Hollywood recipe – the apricot couronne, which just means ‘crown’ in French apparently. The recipe can be found on the BBC Food website here.

Regular readers will know that I don’t much like all the salt that Paul Hollywood puts in his breads, so the first change I’ve made is to reduce the salt by half, just a half a teaspoon of salt flakes for me please, ground in my pestle and mortar.

I also use fresh yeast, so that’s 14g of that, and this time I’ve mixed it with the milk and egg before adding to the dry goods.

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I’ve also not got in there and got sticky, I’ve gone the Dan Lepard way, so it was mixed,

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left for 10 mins, kneaded briefly

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and then left another 10 minutes, kneaded briefly,

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left and, then in a change from the normal Dan way, kneaded until smooth while I listened to the Archers,

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before putting back in the bowl for the rise.

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I’ve also used the milk and egg straight out of the fridge so it was pretty chilly and I hope the extra handling at the third knead has put some warmth into the dough. Next time, I’m going to try and remember to use the milk and egg from ambient as we’re heading into winter and my kitchen is not the warmest.

The filling consists of butter, sugar, apricots, plain flour, raisins, walnuts and orange zest. I have tried the recipe before and forgot to put in the flour because I was in a bit of a rush, the result was edible but a lot of the butter ‘fell’ out of the crown while it was baking and made a gooey mess on the baking paper with some of the sugar, which burned. So lesson learned, I measured out all the ingredients while the dough was resting, remembered the flour and I hope the butter doesn’t fall out this time. It is unusual to see flour in the filling paste, usually there’s some spices but this recipe doesn’t seem to have any.

In another diversion from the recommended ingredients I have slightly reduced the apricots because the bags of pre-soaked apricots contain 200g, so I’ve used half a bag of those, 100g instead of the listed 120g. I didn’t have quite enough raisins either, so I’ve made up the quantity of fruit with dried cherries. There’s another recipe on the BBC site that also contains marzipan, that could be nice nearer Christmas I think.

I needn’t have worried about the temperature, the first rise went off quite nicely. Then I spread the dough by hand,

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filled it, rolled it up, cut it down the middle

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and then did the twisting.

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Paul Hollywood liked the ones on the show that were open and where you could see the filling, so I tried to get the layers open. Getting the beast on the tray is a bit of a wrestle, as it is all quite soft. The second rise in the plastic bag was for about half an hour or so, then it went into the top oven as I was roasting chicken in the big one.

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30 minutes later and there we are,

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a few burnt bits of fruit round the edge, but the butter and sugar pretty much all stayed in, then on to the cooling rack, some apricot jam and icing drizzled on it, topped off with nuts. I can’t wait ’til tea time.

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The quest for chelsea buns goes on

As I wrote over here I have been trying out chelsea bun recipes. A week or so ago I tried the Paul Hollywood recipe in the latest Great British Bake Off showstoppers book, and due to lack of attention managed to remind myself that heating milk to too high a temperature is a very bad thing when buns are involved and I may have managed to kill off the yeast so the dough didn’t rise much and was a bit tough – so no picture here and lesson learned.

This afternoon I had the chance to try again and used the technique I have for heating water to the correct temperature which was to heat one third of the milk to boiling point and then add the remainder as cold milk. There may be those that say that all milk should be scalded before baking becuase it changes the proteins and doesn’t denature the gluten. A quick glance at wikipedia reveals that pasturised milk has already been at over 70 deg C, albeit for a short time. Who knows what effect that has on the proteins and what not. Anyway, today the recipe worked and I made a batch of 12 from the recipe which suggests it does 10, and they came out pretty much as one would wish.

So what have we got here – a soft, rich dough made with milk and an egg, and a filling that includes melted butter, orange zest, light brown sugar, chopped apricots, sultanas and cranberries. They are topped off with a glaze of apricot jam and then splashed with glace icing, and here I diverged from the recipe and used some orange juice instead of water and orange zest (so there PH!). So not traditional, but very tasty and I commend them to the house.

Gingerbread rock cakes and fondant fancies

A very quick blog on some things I have made recently. Breadmaking is taking a back seat while I continue my love affair with cake! I am still baking our daily bread but it’s a bit repetitive just now.

Sometimes Dan Lepard comes up with ideas that are pure genius. Gingerbread rock cakes are one of them.

Published in the Guardian newspaper and available online over here

I made these last Thursday, they were quick and easy to make and the recipe made a generous 21 in my hands. I put dark chocolate on the base and drizzled lemon water icing across the top, although Dan only suggests one.

And yesterday I made the fondant fancies from the latest Great British Bake-off Showstopper book. These have orange zest in a Genoese sponge with a pinch of cardamom, orange water icing on top of a layer of marzipan which sits on a layer of marmalade. I make my own Seville orange marmalade and still have some left from earlier this year, so that was good.

The Genoese sponge was interesting as it takes a bit of whizzing of eggs over a saucepan of hot water and it all went quite frothy which was good, I hadn’t made it before but it went OK. It’s also quite a low fat recipe, with only 50g of butter for 16 cakes.

Another time I’ll make my own marzipan and maybe use a bit less, but as a proof of concept exercise it sort of worked out OK. The icing was a bit fiddly and I’m glad the recipe didn’t use buttercream as well, although I’ll be watching the Bake-off masterclass tonight to see how it should be done.

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