So I have finally got the chance to sit down and watch the first two episodes of season 4 of The Great British Bake Off.
Then I came up with an idea. Since I like baking anyways, I thought I would set myself the challenge of re-creating at least one if not two of the recipes the contestants have to create on the show. Then I thought, why not share this idea on my blog, so here we are.
Unfortunately due to the fact I was two episodes behind, and given the first episode was about cakes and I make cakes all the time, I thought I would dive straight in to episode 2, which was bread.
The only type of bread I have ever baked before is brown bread, which is quite easier to make because there is no yeast in it, so working with yeast was the challenge for this week.
So in episode 2, the contestants were set the following three challenges;
- Baking breadsticks (flavour of their choice)
- Baking English Muffins (not just any muffins, these were Paul Hollywood’s own recipe muffins)
- Baking a loaf of bread (again flavour, shape, etc. of their choice)
So for my challenge this week, I chose to attempt to make my own English muffins, and attempt to make my first ever loaf of bread.
Here is the end result…
And here’s how I did it…
Keeping in theme with the show, I followed Paul Hollywood’s English Muffin recipe as follows:
- 300g/10½ oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for flouring
- 6g fast-action yeast
- 6g salt
- 15g/½oz sugar
- 15g/½oz softened butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 medium free-range egg (about 22g/¾oz), lightly beaten
- 170ml/6fl oz milk (should make a soft dough – you can add up to about 30ml/1floz extra if needed)
- oil, for greasing
- 15g/½oz semolina or polenta
- Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on one side of the flour and the salt into the other side of the flour. Add the sugar, butter, egg and milk, then mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough.
- Turn the mixture out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until soft, smooth and stretchy.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for at least one hour to double in size.
- Tip the dough out onto the work surface and roll out to about 1.5cm/¾in thick. Leave to stand on the work surface for 15 minutes, to prevent the muffins from shrinking.
- Dust two baking trays with half of the semolina or polenta.
- Using a 9cm/3½oz straight-sided cutter, cut out eight muffins. Place four muffins, evenly spaced apart on each of the dusted baking trays. Dust the remaining semolina or polenta over the top of the muffins.
- Leave to prove for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the hot plate or a heavy-based frying pan on the hob to a very low heat. Griddle the muffins for approximately 5-6 minutes, then flip over and griddle for another 5-6 minutes on the other side.
Overall I found this a good and easy recipe to follow. I was worried about my muffins not being cooked in the inside but thankfully they were, and they actually tasted quite nice, just like the ones you would buy in a shop! One thing I will say though is I probably cooked mine for longer than 5-6 minutes on either side, just to ensure they were cooked through.
If anyone is attempting these and worried about what heat to cook them at (this is something I did fret over) here is how I cooked mine.
I let a small amount of margarine (or unsalted butter) melt in a frying pan (yes a frying pan will work perfectly for this recipe, no need to spend money on an expensive hot plate!) My stove ranges from 1-10 in heat so I started off cooking them at 4, I did however bring it down to 2/3 at some stages, it really depends on your stove and what works best for you.
This is the end result of my muffins…
I’m quite pleased with the result considering this was my first time making them. One thing I will say though is that it is a very long and slow process, you need to have a lot of spare time to allow your dough to rise (I think about an hour and a half in total). But it is a really nice recipe so I would recommend trying it out if you are looking for a baking challenge. If you follow the recipe above (and use a 9cm round cutter) it will make 8 English muffins.
So in the episode the contestants had to make a showstopper loaf of bread. Now quite frankly, I had no-one to impress so I did not attempt making a Paul the psychic octopus tribute loaf, or a peacock loaf, or even a yin and yang loaf. I kept it simple seeing as it was my first attempt at making bread.
One thing I picked up from the show though was some of the contestants chose to plait their bread. I thought this was interesting, and gave a nice rustic look to the bread so I did try this out.
I made a simple plain white loaf using a standard recipe (which I can’t find at the moment but if I do I will include it later)
Once the dough had risen, I began to plait the bread, and to spice it up a bit I first covered it in a little olive oil, then I sprinkled a little bit of grated cheddar cheese on it, some oregano, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, and more oregano (I love cooking with oregano!)
Here is what it looked like out of the oven…
For my first ever loaf of bread, I’m quite pleased with it. Again it was just a simple plain white loaf, but I used it later for my dinner to make some garlic bread and it was quite nice!
So that was my episode 2 Bread challenge. Sorry this is on a Monday (oh, it’s almost 1am, I guess it’s now Tuesday)
The Great British Bake Off airs on a Tuesday night, therefore I will be doing my challenges on Wednesday.
So this Wednesday there will be another challenge (I believe it’s deserts of some kind) and then I will be on a schedule of uploading these every Wednesday.
Hope you have enjoyed,