Now the future that my most beloved Bake Off is very uncertain and I’d never be able to watch the real Bake Off anyway, read BBC, Betrayal, and Bake Off for it all, there is only one thing left. I must bake myself! They did make it look so straight forward- most of the time!
At home, my sister is the master baker, especially of scones and brownies. The sweet treats are very much her minions. Sister has had marriage proposals thanks to her brownies, literally, from Americans that Big Brother shared his parcel from home with. I have helped when the mood struck- and the lure of tasters was suggested.
Now here at Pixie HQ and the funemployment, it is the perfect time to try my hand at baking.
Round One- Rolls
So my first attempt went rather well I think!
I was rather chuffed with the crumb, tight and dense and baked through. My only issue is the crust’s finish. I didn’t want to do anything overly complicated so didn’t treat it in any way, not even dusting or scoring. I do like the swirl though, I was going to just pat them into rounds of a sort- then changed my mind.
In hindsight, using wholemeal for my first try at baking wasn’t the best idea- it’s hard enough to develop a baker’s eye more so when the dough is already rather dark! Now having worked white dough I’ve realised it’s a bit tougher to knead. It’s very me to jump in feet first to try something!
Belov’d and I shared the initial ones straight out of the oven. There is an unbridled joy of eating bread you made yourself, from scratch, steaming fresh out of the oven. If I, with the kitchen at Pixie HQ, can do it I really do recommend you try it for yourself at least once!
As a treat to Belov’d now that the oven is fixed, that took much longer than necessary, I’m making his favourite pizza- Hawaiian! I remember being told that the best pizza base is a bread one. With this in mind, I used a solid recipe, the Good Food one here. It was the same one as I used for the brown rolls.
After reading a few articles I thought it best to set up the yeast before hand. Previously I had just chucked in the yeast with the dry and thought nothing of it. This time I dissolved a teaspoon of honey into warm water, then stirred in the yeast, then left it for about ten minutes. When I came back it had fermented wonderfully! It’d doubled in size and smelt perfect.
The rest of the ingredients were added, I prefer to leave the salt till last- I’m very worried about the salt touching the yeast directly. To add a touch of colour, and seasoning, I swapped a spoon of salt for Harissa seasoning (this one from good ol’ Tesco) . A good nine or ten minutes of kneading and I left it in the fridge over night.
After further reading, I had read that proofing in the fridge over night was beneficial in many ways. By slowing the yeast’s development in the fridge, making it work longer, the development is more thorough and the taste is much improved as well. So curiosity got the better of me, and this was it after seven hours…
To make sure it was room temperature I bought out the dough a few hours ahead of the second proofing. Then after it’d had warmed back up to take it out and mould it out. It was the first time I handled properly risen dough (the dough for the rolls just sat there), and shape it. Getting it into shape was tricky- I’ve yet to get a rolling pin(!)- and I think that’s where I went wrong…
The sauce was straight forward, of my own concoction “My Random Weird Pizza Sauce”;
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 500g of passata
- Add the spices to the pan on a low heat, and let it heat through whilst you crush, and slice, the garlic
- Once all the garlic is in, add a bit of fat (olive oil or your own preference) and cook off the garlic
- As soon as the garlic has finished add and cook through the passata, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes.
Once the second proof was over, about an hour or so, two ladles of sauce starts it off nicely. A liberal sprinkling of mozzarella, topped with pineapple chunks and shredded ham, and it’s ready for 15 minutes at gas mark 7…
It was delicious, and I ate my down rather quickly- and Belov’d also enjoyed his thoroughly as well. Which at the end of the day was the point. Tangy, smoky, and with a base of the freshest bread.
But- if I could, there would be a few changes. The rustic nature was interesting but could be improved upon! Secondly to make three good single portion pizzas, possibly four smaller ones, instead of two! It’s going on twelve hours and I’m still feel topped up!
Rolling Pin I think I can find a workable one at “Dealz” (the Irish version of “Poudland” (they don’t always redo the labels!)), to be fair to the shop it has reasonable baking equipment. Sure it’s not up to Lakeland’s standards, but when shopping on a budget the items function well enough.
Sourdough starter although the yeast from the shop is rather cheap, €0.99 a pack of eight (making it just over €0.12 each), I’d like to be able to have a ready source to hand.
More practise! well, this one is rather obvious!