Kate bakes along with Bake Off: this week, Paul Hollywood’s big floury baps
- Credit: (C) Kate Royall
Eight minutes of rolling, eight minutes of baking, eight big floury baps - the power of eight is strong in Paul Hollywood's GBBO technical challenge as Kate Royall bakes along with Bake Off.
Having decided to enthusiastically bake along with this year's technical challenges on the Great British Bake Off, I psyched myself up ahead of bread week.
Now, I like to bake but bread never features very highly on my agenda - partly because I try not to eat too much bread (it goes straight to my hips) but also because it takes time and patience.
I have this when it comes to cakes but seemingly not so much with bread.
I was hoping the challenge wouldn't be too technical - who was I trying to kid - of course it would be, it was bound to be set by the bread maestro himself, Paul Hollywood.
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As the challenge was announced I felt a wave of relief wash over me - it was floury baps, surely every one of us cooking along at home would be fine?
As the show played out Paul warned the contestants that the challenge wasn't as easy as it sounded - typical!
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The challenge was to make eight floury baps and fill them with veggie burgers - I decided straight away to fill mine with pulled pork and barbecue sauce simply because the thought of this as the end result would keep me going through the challenge.
I scanned the list of the ingredients - I only needed to buy one - vegetarian shortening. I bought it as part of my online shop and wish to God I hadn't now - it's primarily made of palm oil - surely that's worse that using dairy (but don't get me started on climate change and farming - I'll save that for another time).
I had saved my attempt at the challenge for the weekend when I had enough time for the proving process.
Another reason why bread making doesn't appeal to me is the kneading - when a recipe says to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes (like this one did) after about a minute I think I must be there but alas no - I'm convinced time slows when you're kneading and it certainly uses muscles that are never used for anything else.
Anyway, I threw myself into the challenge - the pork shoulder was slowly cooking in the oven and, after a dedicated eight-minute massage, the dough was silky and smooth.
It was lovingly placed into a film covered, oiled bowl and placed on the garden wall in the sunshine to double in size. I crossed everything.
An hour later it had risen but still had a centimetre or two to go - I left it for another 30 minutes before splitting it into eight equal portions (and yes, before you ask I did weigh the dough).
Watching the programme I'd been impressed at how spongy the contestants' dough had been and by this point mine was springing back into place nicely, I was in a good mood.
The eight parcels of dough were left to rest before being covered again for a second prove.
I'm fascinated by the science of bread but I'm not turned on enough by it to really explore it - I think I'd rather attempt my nemesis again, genoise sponge.
Forty five minutes later the dough had risen but not as much as Mr Hollywood would have liked.
So I did what you probably shouldn't do - I baked them anyway (I needed to be out by 6pm to meet a friend in my local pub - and the delays in proving had set me back).
I popped them in the oven - 200C - for eight minutes.
As I tentatively opened the oven door, (it doesn't have glass so you can sit on the floor and watch them bake) some were perfectly bronzed and others too much so - but that's the nature of my oven, I know its quirks and its hot spots but I still managed to forget them in the heat of the moment.
I left my baps on the baking trays for five minutes as instructed and then left them to cool on a rack.
Two hours (and two pints of bitter) later and supper was ready to be assembled - pulled pork baps (seasoned with paprika), coleslaw (with gherkins and pickle juice in the sauce), homemade barbecue sauce (sweet, smoky and sticky) and chunky chips. A Saturday night treat perfect after some local ale - divine.
What would Paul Hollywood say about my baps? They're probably too squat, the crumb is too tight and the buns are uneven.
But do you know what - I can live with that. I'm happy with my buns and am happy to be moooo-ving into diary week - I predict a custard tart or two might be on the cards.
* Find out more at Kate's blog, www.diaryofacountrygirl.com.
Paul Hollywood's Floury Baps
For the floury baps:
375g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g fast-action dried yeast
30g caster sugar
30g vegetarian shortening, softened and cut into pieces
You will need:
Large bowl, lightly oiled
3 or 4 baking sheets lined with baking paper
Make the baps. Tip the flour into a large bowl and add the yeast to one side and the salt and sugar to the other. Add the shortening and 250ml of water and turn the mixture around with your fingertips, gradually incorporating the flour until you have a soft, but not soggy dough (you may not need all the water).
Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 8-10 minutes, until silky and smooth. Place it in the prepared bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place or proving drawer for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, divide the risen dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each piece into a loose ball: to do this, place each piece on the work surface and cover it in a cage formed by your cupped hand. Move your hand in a circular motion, rotating the ball rapidly to shape it (this will also naturally knock out the air).
Set the rolls aside on a floured surface, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, flatten each ball of dough and place it on a prepared baking sheet. Leave enough space between each roll for expansion. Place each baking sheet in a proving bag and leave in a warm place to prove for 45 minutes, until risen to almost double in size.
Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C/Gas 7. Lightly dust the surface of the rolls with flour, then bake them for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.