Friday 29 August 2014

Baking Along With GBBO: Week Three: Ciabatta

I always think that "bread week" is a bit of a scam on GBBO and this season was no exception.

I mean, HOW long did they give them to knock out those ciabattas? The only recipes I've used have been ones that take literally days. Days.

I don't know what kind of trickery they use to make it work on TV, whether it's editing magic, secret advance preparation or just inedible over yeasting, but I'm not altogether sure I approve.

Interesting, Mr H's recipe, per the BBC website, which at least *looks* like the one used on the show, also purports to take at least six (likely way more) hours.

I usually use a recipe from my most utilised and bizarre bread book, The Christian Aid Book of Bread (which I thoroughly recommend, if you want a really clear easy book full of bread recipes), but instead, in the interests of Doing Things Properly, I used the one linked above for this.

Do to a slightly hectic schedule and a general lack of organisation, both proves of this loaf were a little (or a lot - these things are all relative, right?) longer than intended and the final stage stretch and fold was a little half hearted.

I also made it into one loaf instead of two, which meant that it was bigger and less flat than the recipe intended, but more practical from a household bread perspective.

It turned out ok - I think I probably could have cooked it for a teeny tiny bit longer and better folding would have made nicer bubbles.

I'm probably not going to ditch the Christian Aid recipe in favour of this - I like it better - it's a wetter dough and gives an airier, more ciabatta-like texture, but this one was better than I expected.

I still wouldn't want to do it in an hour, though, or whatever the silly TV time is.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday 15 August 2014

Baking Along With GBBO: Week Two: Florentines

I confess that I wasn't massively excited about biscuit week - I have a few nice biscuit/cookie recipes that I use over and over again, as they clearly represent a handy portable baked item, but I can't say that I find them very, well, exciting.

Anyway, the technical challenge turned out to be florentines, which I'm not certain I'd ever really considered even to be a biscuit, but I'd certainly never made before.

Not super challenging, I think, other than the tempering of the chocolate (I used a nasty cheap chocolate for the first lot that entirely refused to temper and switched to some kind of Aldi dark for the remainder which worked much better), but a bit of microwaving took care of that.

They turned out pretty well, though I was far too lazy to make the proper zigzags that the judges were so inexplicably keen on :)

Husband conducted a taste test during a period of extreme hunger when I was late home for dinner last night.
He declared them "OK - tasty (and crisp like Mary Berry wanted), but not really a biscuit", which, I think pretty much sums them up.

I might make them for Christmas - they seem festive.

Monday 11 August 2014

Baking Along With GBBO: Week One: Cherry Cake

Like much of the rest of the country, I tuned in to watch the first episode of the Great British Bake Off last week.

I'm not certain I love it that much as a concept - it's all a bit "reality TVish" what with the tears and recriminations and whatnot - but I do like cake and, as with all these things, they are very good at making it compelling viewing, even if it makes the viewer feel a bit grubby 😀.

Anyway, I thought that maybe I could use it to channel my baking energies and become an Awesome Baker, so I'm going to try to "bake along" with the technical challenges.

(In all likelihood, this will only last for a week or two - I have a very back track record with consistency...)

Here's the first one, then - the Mary Berry Cherry Cake, which can be found here:

It seems like a pretty straightforward one to start with - I don't think it was too challenging for the TV people, or, happily, for me...

I've never washed glacé cherries before, though - that seems like utterly bizarre behaviour to me.

Here is my cake. I think MB would be disappointed with the consistency of my icing, but otherwise pretty good (and it was her recipe, after all 😉).

And here is the inside - good distribution of cherries, I'd say, though a wee bit dry for my taste, perhaps.

I also made a big (entirely unnecessary) pile of doughnuts from the Justin Gellatly book of loveliness.

And a birthday Iggle Piggle cake for the lovely charity that is Free Cakes for Kids Hackney.