Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bake Off Week 3- Bread

I know I declared my love for cake early on but my other favourite food group is bread. Rolls, loaves, brown, white or granary; I'm there. How I'm not yet the subject of a Channel 4 documentary called The Half Tonne Woman is beyond me. But anyway bread. Yum. I cracked open that fabulous Bake Off- How to Bake (by Linda Collister) book again and discovered the tempting treat- Monkey Bread. It also said it was good to make with kids and as someone who is useless with bread, this seemed like a good idea.

How hilariously wrong I was.

Ingredients (Makes 1 large loaf)

500g strong white bread flour
1 and a half tspns sea salt
1x7g sachet fast action dried yeast
50g unsalted butter, melted
200ml lukewarm milk (I zapped it in the microwave for about 25 seconds)
1 large free-range egg

For Coating
100g unsalted butter
75g light muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
100g pecan or walnut pieces, chopped a little smaller. (I missed these out but you fire on in there nut lovers!)

1 Large loaf tin, greased with butter or oil. For reasons you will see later on, I'd suggest using a liner. Lakeland do good ones here.

1. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a large free-standing electric mixer. If you're using dry yeast, mix it into the flour and make a well in the middle. 

1b. In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter, milk and egg.

2. This is where I like to pretend I'm Paul Hollywood and use my hand for the mixing, but you can be boring and use a mixer if you like. Pour the liquid into the well you created in the flour mixture and mix to make a soft smooth dough. If there are still dry crumbs then add a more milk, a little at a time. If it's the dough is really sticky, then add more flour, a little at a time.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and knead thoroughly by hand for a good 10 minutes. Hold one end of the dough with one hand, and with the heel of the other hand stretch the dough away form you. Fold the dough back in and give it a quarter turn, then repeat. Your arms should be sore by the time you're finished and the dough should feel elastic and smooth. Form it into a ball

4. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. My house is currently like the ice planet of Hoth so it took about 2 and a half hours. Joyful

5. Punch down the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into about 60 tiny pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

Hi I'm Lauren and I have OCD
6. Melt the 100g of butter in a small bowl. In another, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Dip each dough ball into the butter and then roll in the sugar mixture, before placing in the tin. They don't have to be arranged particularly neatly, there CAN be gaps, but fill the tin evenly.

7. Cover the filled tin with cling film and leave for ANOTHER hour in a warm place, until the balls have doubled in size. Near the end of this hour, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.

8. Uncover the tin and bake for about 35 minutes or until a good golden brown. Run a round bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the loaf, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

NOW. this is where you should be looking at a beautiful loaf of bread, salivating at the heavenly cinnamony aroma and trying to cut it before it's even cool enough. My results did not allow for this…

This is genuinely my favourite baking disaster ever- I considered sending it into An Extra Slice to have Jo Brand mock me. I genuinely believe a tin liner and my house being about 10C warmer would have helped avoid this…but I just had to deal with eating some genuinely tasty cinnamon dough balls…silver linings and all that!

Whats your most disastrous bake recently? Have you any tips for making monkey bread?

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