Since this season of the Bake Off has been back on the air I have been asked to write a couple of short articles each week for the Nottinghamshire Evening Post. Covering my time in the tent, the perils faced by the bakers on each weeks episode and a recap of the previous episode. I have also been given the opportunity to include a recipe based on each weeks theme which I have, in turn, published here.
I have never been a gambler and that is probably a good thing as in my last week’s article I declared Marie, the winner of the first episode with her beautiful Black Forest Gateaux, to be my firm favourite for this season. As I watched her oven fail and biscuit box disappoint on last week’s episode, poor Marie was show the tent doors.
The reason the Bake Off continues to be such a driving force, not only in this country but also worldwide, is due to its ability to keep the show surprising. Last week’s episode showed more than ever that even a fantastic baker can have a nightmare when confronted with cameras, tents and baking legends!
As Ian took the crown for his structurally incredible cylindrical biscuit tower, Matt also gained a firm foothold as a new favourite with his playful fire engine. Mark taking the time to pipe an icing version of himself onto the side of his gingerbread effort in a fantastical exhibition of narcissism though also won me over slightly! I’m not going to a give tip for the winner again though. Not after poor Marie!
The remaining 10 bakers will tomorrow night be confronted with Bread Week. When I turned up to the tent last year for this I remember an awful lot of cheerful competition from the male contestants as we all spoke of our incredible bread making skills. Fluffing of feathers could be seen as we were all showing off photos of loaves past.
This proved to be my undoing as I ran out of time and had to suffer to glare of Mary and Paul as they bit into a soggy & under baked loaf. A mixture of disappointment and relief flooded over me as I collected my coat and made my way to the train for the final time.
More than any other week, the bakers will be a slave to their timer’s tomorrow night. If a loaf is not given long enough to prove, it will be dense. If it is not given long enough to bake, it will be soggy. Short cuts cannot be taken and, when Mel & Sue shout ‘Stop Baking’, hearts will be in mouths.
Not content with making simple loves either, the BerryWood will be asking for Soda Breads, Baguettes and 3D bread sculptures over the course of the hour. Isn’t all bread 3D?! That’s the sort of thinking that got me booted last year I suppose.
500g Strong White Flour
10g Instant Yeast
330ml Luke-warm Milk
1 Free Range Egg
70ml Soft Butter
100g Crème Patisserie (or shop brought custard)
100g Fresh Fruit of your choosing
Add the flour into a large mixing bowl. Place the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other (as so not to kill the yeast).
Add the butter and egg then slowly pour the milk in whilst mixing with your fingers. Create a shaggy ball of dough.
Tip dough onto kitchen side and kneed for 10 mins. Cover and leave for 2 to 3 hours until doubled in size.
Knock dough back and spread with custard and fresh fruit. I use Blueberries and Strawberries.
Roll the dough into a tube and cut lengthways leaving the top 1” joined. Plait the dough together whilst arranging the cut sides to look pretty. Place onto a baking tray.
Place into a plastic bag and leave to prove for 45mins. Pre-heat over to 220c
Once doubled in size, bake in the centre of pre-heated oven for 25mins. You may want to cover it with a piece of baking paper after 15 mins.
Leave to cool.