Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Family bake-off


With a new season of the Great British Bake-of now on our television screens, my children devised a way to take part in some competitive baking at home. Last Saturday, in spite of the good weather, we all spent the day baking bread. My husband made up a large batch of plain dough and then we each added our own flavours, worked them into the dough and then shaped them once they'd been proved.

I took a risk with my own entry as my children don't usually like Marmite (similar to Vegemite, for those abroad), but I thought that once baked it may be a more acceptable flavour. So I made marmite and cheese hedgehogs.  Against my husband's advice I decided to glaze them with egg yolk as I would when making scones. This was an error - despite it not affecting the taste, I was marked down for the strange appearance and I felt slightly deflated to have ruined my hedgehogs needlessly.


My son chose to make the Spelling Snake that features in some of the Squeebles educational apps that we make. He flavoured it with chili, olive and basil. I love the little red tongue that he made from a sliver of red chili.


My husband made this fish-shaped tomato bread.


While my daughter made a soft tomato and basil bread that looked like roses once they were cooked and laid out on the cooling rack. Hers was the most experimental, but also the most delicious. She simmered the tomato and basil sauce for nearly 40 minutes before spreading it on her enormous rectangle of flattened dough, rolling it up and then cutting it into rounds.



It was so much fun tasting them all (although I paid for it with a swollen face and muscles that felt like lead the next day and remembered why I've avoided bread for over two years. Next weekend we're planning to make cakes, which my body seems far more welcoming of!).


It was also a fantastic way to learn quite a lot about bread-baking in just a few hours - dealing with so many different sizes and flavours, coming from the same dough base left us more able to see what may or may not work next time.


My daughter was the overall winner with her tomato and basil bread, which she'll definitely make again in the future. There were no tears from those with less successful breads as our judging was more Mary-style than Paul's - I often feel slightly like hiding behind the sofa when Paul fixes his steely eyes on a contestant and expresses his disappointment with a pithy summary of their bake's failings (Did you know that Paul Hollywood dresses up as Father Christmas each year in the village where he lives? When he's not fixing someone with a steely gaze, his eyes are noticeably twinkly. When I read this I felt quite delighted by it as I think he must make a wonderful and very convincing Father Christmas).  

We're feeling slightly worried about how we may work our way through such a large volume of cakes next week...we may have to reduce the challenge to be an entry of a single cupcake.

Florence x

19 comments:

  1. Looks like fun! What interesting breads and tasty flavours, I love the hedgehogs. I'm loving the Bake Off and found the paragraph about Paul Hollywood being Father Christmas so funny I had to read it out to someone... which is probably over-reacting!

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    1. I'd forgotten quite how much I loved the bake-off until we started watching again. I wish it was on all year.

      Well, I guess I feel the same way about Paul Hollywood being Father Christmas as I'm sure I read that nearly a year ago and it's stuck in my head!

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  2. what brilliant fun, a great way to experiment with flavour and to make baking fun for all the family.

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    1. It was really lovely...although you wouldn't believe the mess that four bakers can make in one kitchen!

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  3. Cute! We once did a family come dine with me. Such fun! X

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    1. That sounds like fun, although I've never watched Come Dine with Me - I'll have to investigate.

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  4. Wonderful, what a great idea. My two oldest like to watch British Bake Off, and they would no doubt enjoy a little competition.

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  5. Such a lovely manner to spent time together¡¡¡

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  6. Your hedgehog is adorable! Maybe with cinnamon and raisins ?

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    1. That's a good idea to try it as a sweet bread - thank you!

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  7. Tomato and basil roses... No wonder she won! They look fabulous. Jo x

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  8. Oh! Paul Hollywood's eyes! *swoon*

    Seriously, what is it about the silver fox? :)

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  9. They all look fantastic! My two are also obsessed with the Bake-Off it's lovely that they're finally of an age where we can watch a few 'grown-up' things together. We also had a go at bread baking together, they made simple loaves so they could have a good go at kneading, lots of fun - but if I ever get hold of 'slapping technique' guy, well he'll be handed a few cloths and dettol spray and not allowed out of my kitchen until he's paid for his foolish words!!

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    1. Oh no! I can imagine the scenes in your kitchen...

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  10. LOVE the Great British Bake Off. Paul and Mary are awesome! What a fantastic way to spend a saturday. I love the fact that you all took part. The finished results looked and sounded delicious!

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  11. I haven't really watched the Bake Off before but am following it closely this time as one of the contestants (Frances) is a friend. Your breads all look great! I tried this recipe the other day and thought of you and your pizza oven - http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/06/socca-enfin/ . It was very tasty and shouldn't leave you puffy/achy (I found it a bit salty, I'll definitely reduce the salt next time). xx

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    1. What a fantastic link, Nina - you're right - I think my face and muscles could cope with that! x

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  12. How fun!!! The hedgehogs are particularly adorable!

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  13. I love the breads your son and daughter made. I am very intrigued about the basil and tomato one...I will have to give it a try. Sorry to hear you have issues digesting bread. It's such a pity...I love bread so much I always fear I would be very sad if I couldn't eat it anymore. But I am happy you can eat cake.
    Unfortunately I don't like marmite myself...but the shape is very cute. I was wondering if you managed to tame the taste.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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