Sweet doughs were the theme of this week's Great British Bake Off! The first challenge was to make 24 sweet buns using an enriched dough containing yeast. The dough can be enriched using eggs, milk, sugar or fat. I think the reason for getting the bakers to make so many buns is to test them on consistency. The judges wanted the buns to all look the same. This is hard to do. I know whenever I do a batch of cupcakes or any other small bakes, I always getting a few dodgy 'taste tester' ones. A lot of the bakers chose to make Chelsea Buns, including Danny who did a variation she named a 'Bakewell Bun' (pictured below). And the judges loved them!
The technical challenge this week was jam donuts! They look simple, but watching the bakers making them showed how easily they can go wrong. They are proved twice, and then fried in oil to cook them. Lucky for James he had made donuts several times before and sailed through this challenge. If you don't have a deep fat fryer, you could make these in a pan of oil but you need a special thermometer to make sure the temperature of the oil isn't too hot as you don't want the donuts to burn. And of course a jam injector is required!
Finally a showstopping celebration bread using sweet enriched dough again was required. Brendan's fabulous Black Forest Stollen stood out (pictured above), not just because the judges enjoyed the taste, but because of his immaculate presentation. Danny also did well and was crowned Star Baker. Sadly it was Sarah-Jane and Ryan that left us this week. They have both done amazingly well to get this far, and at this point it is becoming a game of luck, because they are all clearly very talented and passionate about baking.
I found it difficult deciding what to make this week as sweet dough doesn't really inspire me or grab my attention as much as other bakes. I would've done donuts, but I don't have the equipment needed and I'm on a bit of a budget this month. So I went for Cinnamon Fruit Buns. I used a recipe that was for Cinnamon Buns, but decided to add the fruit and icing drizzle myself as I've had these types of buns before and they had fruit in and tasted really nice.
I started by melting 125ml water, 125ml milk and 100g butter in a pan. Once it was melted I set it aside and left it to cool.
I whisked in a sachet of Easy Bake Yeast, or you can use 2 tsp dried yeast, and a tbsp caster sugar. I covered the pan and left it for 10 minutes.
I put 550g plain flour, 50g caster sugar (minus the tablespoon used above) and 1 tsp salt into a large bowl, made a well in the middle and poured in the milk and yeast mixture. I then added 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks and mixed until combined into a dough. I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes on a floured surface, then placed it in a covered oiled bowl to rise for 2 hours.
When I came back to my dough after 2 hours it did not seem to have risen much, or at all. I did some research and found out that this could have been for two reasons. Firstly, if the milk mixture was too hot it could have killed the yeast. Easy Bake Yeast can survive hotter temperatures, but it seemed likely that this had happened. Secondly, I added too much floured when I kneaded it. Admittedly, I did add a lot of flour because the dough kept sticking to the surface and my hands. I should have re-done the dough, but I was sad to waste the ingredients, plus it was a Sunday afternoon and I didn't want to be baking till midnight, so I decided to solider on and see what happened... besides, on GBBO you wouldn't be able to start again in this situation!
To make the filling I mixed 100g brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a bowl.
I melted 25g butter in a pan, and rolled out the dough to a size of about 40 x 30cm (16 x 12").
I brushed the melted butter over the dough and sprinkled on the sugar and cinnamon. Make sure to leave about 1cm of space around the edges.
I sprinkled on the fruit and pressed the filling into the dough with my hands to make sure it stuck. You could use raisins, I chose a dry fruit mixture that included cherry, dried pineapple and sultanas as well.
I beat an egg and brushed it along the 1cm gap, keep hold of the leftover egg for later.
I rolled the dough into a sausage shaped and use a serrated knife to cut it into equal pieces. I marked out the pieces before I cut. I got 12 rolls out of my dough. They were a little tricky to work with as some of the fruit fell out and some had to be re-rolled.I placed them into a lined and greased loose bottomed cake tin. There were four extra pieces that I put into a loaf tin. Leave to rise for another 2 hours. As you can see from the above and below pictures, once again, my dough did not rise much (or at all). I knew this was going to have consequences, but I hope they would at least be edible ones.
Using the leftover egg from before I brushed the dough, and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
They came out looking lovely and golden, and smelt amazing! I'm really pleased with how they look.
After they had cooled I mixed together 2 heaped tbsp icing sugar, 2 tbsp water, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzled it over the buns.
I thought they looked brilliant, but when I cut into them I found that they were very dense and heavy, not light and fluffy like they should be. Paul Hollywood would have not been happy! They tasted brilliant and the flavours were all there. The texture of the bread was very chewy and despite being cooked thoroughly, still had a doughy feel to it. I'm quite happy to eat these and have enjoyed doing so already! As have my housemates! However, I do want to try these again as I think I probably killed the yeast right at the start.