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.
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).