I decided to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show (GBBS for short) and write about it. Don’t know much about GBBS? No worries. Check out my first blog in this series to learn more about the show and why I decided to do this, for better or for worse (so far, mostly worse).
This week in my Great British Baking Show blog, I’m tackling the first challenge in season one’s eighth episode — “Advanced Dough.”
I made a panettone, which is an Italian Christmas bread.
And, guess what? It went totally fine.
I know. I know. No one is more shocked than me.
The whole process was greatly helped by one of my favorite cookbooks: The Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking book by Caroline Bretherton. It has more than 350 recipes and helpful photos to help you well, step-by-step. You should probably get it.
(P.S. No one is paying me to say that or anything, I just really like this cookbook. Though, for the record, I would like to be paid to say stuff. I’m not above it.)
Anyway…the process was easy. I just added some yeast to warm milk in a jug. And in a large bowl, I mixed sugar, bread flour and salt.
After the yeasted milk got a bit frothy, about five minutes later, I whisked in melted butter, two eggs and some vanilla.
(Side note: Is it just me or is frothy a disgusting word?)
Anyway…then I mixed the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients to make a soft, sticky dough.
From there, I kneaded the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes until it was all elastic-y and then I stretched it out flat. This shouldn’t have tired me out, but it really, truly did.
So I took a brief, graceful rest and then got back at it.
I chopped up about a cup of mixed dried fruit – cranberries, golden raisins and apricots. And zested one orange. Then I put the zest and the fruit on top of my stretched-out dough. I kneaded it all up again to mix in the fruit and set it in a lightly-greased bowl to rise for about two hours.
And boy, did it ever rise.
I’m always very excited about rising dough and I have to resist the urge to just sit and stare at it while it does its thing.
And whenever I remove the covering cloth to reveal the risen dough, I feel like Rafiki in The Lion King when he holds up Simba to the adoring masses for the first time. Like, TADA! Look at this!
Anyway… after my dough was risen. I punched the air out of it and moved it to my prepared pan. The recipe called for an 8-inch spring form cake pan or a high-sided panettone cake mold. I had neither.
I used the 9-inch spring form cake pan I had. That meant my cake was a bit shorter and rounder than it should have been, but given that I’m usually a bit shorter and rounder than I intend to be too, I decided not to fuss about it.
And just like last time, the dough rose beautifully and I was all like – TADA!!!!
I brushed it with egg wash and put it in a 375 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. But I took it out after 20 minutes to cover it with foil because it looked like it was browning too much.
When it came out of the oven, it was shorter and rounder than a panettone is supposed to be, because I used the wrong pan. But it was beautifully brown and pretty darn good. (The only exception was the fact that it got a bit too brown on the bottom. But…shhh we won’t talk about that.)
Then I had to wait for the bread to cool and cover it with a dusting of powdered sugar, so it looked like this:
And frankly, it was pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Next week, I’m supposed to take on a complicated bake called a povitica, but for the first time ever, I’m going to skip a challenge. This is one of the most labor-intensive bakes I’ve ever seen on the show and I’m not quite up to it after the surgery I had in June. Sorry about that.
I plan on coming back to the povitica later, but for now I’m going to skip to that episode’s Showstopper challenge – donuts.
Donuts are something I think we can all support. Because frankly, even the mention of them makes my mouth water and now all I can think is:
And please share it with your baking or gif-loving friends.
Bonus trivia tidbit: The Great British Bake Off was renamed The Great British Baking Show in the U.S. to differentiate it from Pillsbury’s famed bake off. Thank you, Sharon, for hooking me up with that trivia!
If you have more fun facts on baking, GBBS, GBBO or all things British, please let me know. I’m all ears.
Until then, wishing you better days and buttercream,