You guys, I’m so proud of myself! I’ve only gone and baked myself some bread! Now, you might think “well, duh, you’re a baker, right?”, but any baker will be able to tell you that baking bread is something completely different from baking pies and tarts and cakes. And I’d only ever baked something resembling bread once before a couple of years ago. I think it was a pizza type dough.
Anyway, back to this bread! It was Bread Week on The Great British Bake Off – the week everybody always dreads, including me this year. I was going to have to bake along and I knew nothing about bread! Luckily, the Signature Challenge of the episode was to make Chelsea Buns (for the Americans: think cinnamon rolls). Baking something like Chelsea Buns or cinnamon rolls had been on my baking bucket list for a while now, so it was perfect. Still daunting, but perfect!
I found a recipe from the winner of the 2015 edition of Heel Holland Bakt (the Dutch Bake Off). She bakes something that looks like Chelsea buns, only she calls it suikerbrood (“sugar bread”, a typical Dutch bread). They seemed close enough to Chelsea buns to me, though, so I decided to give them a go. I used her quantities for the bread, but changed the method a tiny bit (I used a stand mixer, for instance) and also changed up the filling. I added sultanas, for example, which are a must in Chelsea buns, or so I’ve been told by Bake Off and Wikipedia. I also added a little more orange zest.
I was so afraid the dough wouldn’t rise properly, or that I would do something wrong with the baking, but these buns came out perfectly! The original recipe was a bit brief in its directions, so I’ve written it all down a little more elaborately (and in English) so it’ll be easier to follow.
The second week of The Great British Bake Off was Cake Week and there was drama galore! Apparently, it was a zillion degrees outside when they filmed this episode and the bakers had to temper chocolate inside the GBBO tent. Which of course went very badly.
Which made me wonder (and not for the first time)… Why on earth would you film a baking show inside a tent? There’s so much that can go wrong! It doesn’t make sense at all, but I have to admit I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes for great television (and there’s your reason, I suspect).
Anyway! Back to Cake Week. The Signature Challenge for this week was to bake a tray bake and that had me excited straight away. Apart from the usual brownies and blondies, I don’t think I’ve ever baked a tray bake (do they count as tray bakes, anyway?) and I really wanted to give it a try!
I came up with my flavour combination during the episode already and I immediately knew it would be a winner: almond and orange always is, after all! So, I made an orange and almond sponge and added a deliciously tangy yet sweet orange cream cheese frosting on top. Yum.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about Christmas – I’m fully aware that’s still exactly 114 days away. I’m talking about the fact that The Great British Bake Off is finally on again! I got all giddy with excitement weeks ago and that didn’t really stop when I actually watched the first episode. It got me all excited to get into the kitchen and bake something myself as well, and that’s when I came up with this idea…
I’m going to do a GBBO Bake-Along! Over the course of the coming weeks, I’m going to bake something every week and it has to be inspired by that week’s episode of GBBO. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a recipe directly from the show, but it does have to fit with that week’s theme. This is going to be so much fun!