This week on The Great British Bake Off the final five bakers began the first of their three weekly challenges by making a batch of 48 savoury crackers. I can't believe there are only five bakers left! It has gone so quickly. Danny's Spiced Almond Drinks Crackers (pictured below) stood out to me in this first challenge. They were flavoured with dessicated parmesan and Ras El Hanout (a mixture of Moroccan spices). They were a beautiful golden colour, and the batch was consistently well baked throughout.
Making 48 crackers was a tall order and some bakers snapped (sorry!) under the pressure. There was massive variation in James' Smoky Cayenne, Cumin & Chilli Crackers and Cathryn's Cheese and Pickle Crackers. Some were overcooked, some undercooked, and some very thick. I really appreciate how hard it is to get one batch of 48 crackers looking exactly the same. Surely this is only something that can be expected from a factory?! Brendan of course produced a fabulous batch of Multi Seed Savoury Crackers by using a tape measure to make sure they were all the same size!
The technical challenge this week was Chocolate Teacakes. I absolutely love Chocolate Teacakes! I had no idea you could actually make them from scratch. First the contestants made the digestive biscuit base, then they melted chocolate and poured it into silicone moulds. Once the chocolate set they piped in marshmallow, popped the biscuit on top and used more chocolate to seal the bottom. The biggest problem with this was getting the chocolate to set within the time frame they had been given. I thought the hardest part would be getting them out of the silicone moulds, but the teacakes came out easily. It really does give a great result to make these at home, the chocolate had a beautiful shine to it, and you could make them as big as you want if you can find the right sized mould!
Finally some of the best edible architecture I have ever seen in the show stopping Gingerbread 'Structure' round. Cathryn, Danny and John all chose to make replicas of famous building. Danny and Cathryn stayed local with a gingerbread Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. John produced a gingerbread Roman Coliseum (pictured above) which I thought looked great and really was a work of engineering, architecture and baking skill. James's barn didn't go to plan and ended up being a derelict barn, however I like that he turned it around and still made it into something, he also received high praise from the judges for the taste and flavour of his gingerbread biscuit and cake. Brendan's bird love nest was without a doubt the prettiest structure in this challenge. I loved it and thought his sugarpaste work was fabulous. The judges weren't particularly kind which disappointed me as he clearly put a lot of effort and thought into it.
I suppose I am being quite lazy this week by deciding to make crackers, but I rarely make savoury things. In fact, this may be the first savoury post on my blog! So I though I'd give it a go. Brendan's crackers were the ones I'd most like to eat so I chose to do seeded cracker too. I was originally going to do Sesame and Poppy seed crackers, but I had a tough time tracking down some poppy seed. In the end I found some Chia Seeds (above) in Holland & Barrett which I've never heard of, but they look pretty similar, and that's good enough for me!
I started by sifting 250g plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder into a large bowl. I added 1/2 tsp sea salt, 2 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp sesame seeds, and if you like you can also add 1 tsp black pepper. I am not a fan of pepper so I left it out.
Stir the mixture together so the seeds are evenly spread out. Add 60g butter and rub the mixture together with your hands until find breadcrumbs are formed. Make a well in the middle and pour in 100ml ice cold water.
Mix together until a rough dough is formed. Add more water if necessary, I did add another small splash. Do not over work the dough, just shape it into a ball, cover with cling film and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Meanwhile, line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
I cut the dough in half and rolled it out between two sheets of baking paper until it was 1-2mm thick. I put the rest of the dough back in the fridge.
I used a 6cm cutter to cut out the cracker shapes, but you can use any size or shape of cutter you like. The half of dough made 33 crackers. Place onto the baking trays and prick the crackers a few times each with a fork. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas mark 4 for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them and take them out when they go golden around the edges.