Bake Off Bake Along: Bread Week

briocheI abandoned biscuit week. I know, I know, it’s far too early to be willy nilly skipping bakes but biscuit making isn’t my bag. I enjoy eating them too much to resent a bad biscuit bake. Plus I was severely lacking inspiration, my best idea was iced spaniels but that’d be too far, even for me. Are we good with the excuses now? Great. To bread week.

WOAH WOAH WOAH hang on, first we need to discuss the fiasco that is GBBO. What. Is. Happening? Mel and Sue I salute you for sticking to your guns and clinging to the Beeb. Love Productions: you are greedy and you suck.

Ok, now we’re ready for bread week.

In a vain attempt to make up for my biscuit badness and reaching peak revision procrastination, I went a bit nuclear for bread week attempting Paul Hollywood’s bloomer (maaaatron) and a Nutella brioche.

The husband is really really good at bread so I assumed at least a basic level of skill would have been passed to me through osmosis or something. Yeah…

SO the brioche.brioche


briocheI used this recipe as a basis but threw caution to the wind with the filling: not because I, a baking newbie, genuinely thought she could bake brioche better than someone who named their blog after actual brioche, simply because I genuinely believe one can never have enough Nutella, amiright? I am right.briocheInstead I rolled the dough as instructed, covered it liberally with Nutella warmed *just* enough to be spreadable, a good scattering of chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips and rolled it like a Swiss roll and popped it into a greased lined loaf tin. Again I ignored the recipe and didn’t turn it into a pull apart bread, that’s just not the way I roll. BOOM. Thanks, I’ll be here all week. In reality the dough was just too wet and I didn’t feel confident enough to start chopping it up and moving it about.

We’ve got a fancy ‘proving’ setting on the new oven but the minimum temp was just a bit too hot for the butter in the brioche so I set it to 30C and as soon as it proved enough to peep over the top of the tin, in it went to bake for 25 minutes at 180C. It was parfait. I wasn’t sure I should wing it or deviate from a quite clear recipe but this came out pretty well in the end, moist (bleurgh) enough, tasty and baked so well it got a ‘good bake’ from the old fella.

bloomerFor my next trick I went for the bloomer. I followed this recipe to a t but fell foul of the proving oven again. It more than doubled on the second prove but I’m not experienced enough with bread to really know what effect an over prove has on the outcome? Answers on a postcard (or just in the comments will do). Again this one was not too shabby at all, good and golden and the crust was crunchy and delicious. Following the instructions precisely baked it to perfection, it wasn’t doughy at all and well aerated << this feels like a proper baker term and I feel weird using it. Like the first time I swore in front of my mum.

I ate chunks of the bloomer still warm from the oven, smothered in butter and dipped into a steaming big bowl of stew. And I’ve made another one since.

5 things I’ve learnt about baking bread:
1. It’s nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be.
2. I could be really flukey but it didn’t need me to be as precise as other bakes which is often where I fall down.
3. There really isn’t much better in life than the smell of baking bread.
4. It’s really addictive. The baking, the eating. All of it.
5. Just as I cannot juggle lemons, nor can I juggle a pre-packed Hovis and two garlic and coriander naans.bread week

Go find all the other bakers on Amanda’s Link Up . GO GO GO.

Super Secret Mince Pie Recipe
The Bake Off Bake Along Week 1: Lemon and Cointreau Drizzle Cake