So this week was sweet dough week on the Great British Bake off, with signature tea-loaves, a twisted apricot couronne, and European buns all being tackled by the contestants. I especially liked the look of Christine’s Skolebrød buns, with custard and jam, and Frances’ chai spiced ‘bottom’ loaf looked so cute!
Howard’s peach shaped buns looked beautiful, and so clever, although it was a shame for him that they didn’t actually taste of peach. However, although Ruby got star baker, I did think that her vanilla and chocolate Kanelbuller looked like small molehills…!
I hadn’t ever really baked a lot of bread by hand, my limit normally being using the bread-maker for homemade pizza and naan bread! So I decided it was time for me to challenge myself, and try the apricot couronne the bakers were asked to make for the technical challenge. I actually found kneading a surprisingly relaxing process, and it was so satisfying to see my dough rise! The flavours of this twisted bread are lovely; apricot and walnut, with orange zest running through the filling – I would recommend giving it a try, even if bread scares you!
On another note, I am off to university on Saturday, which is both exciting and scary at the same time! Packing is not going so well, although I have managed to pack a cupcake tin and a sandwich tin, as well as some mini loaf tins and some cookie cutters! I am fairly worried about the chances of me being able to bake one of next week’s GBBO recipes with limited resources and space in my student kitchen though, as the theme is pastry, but we shall see!
Apricot Couronne ( Paul Hollywood’s recipe!)
You will need: 1 large baking sheet, lined with baking paper
For the dough:
250g strong white bread flour
1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
50g unsalted butter, softened
105ml full-fat milk, at room temperature
1 medium egg, at room temperature
For the filling:
90g unsalted butter, softened
70g light brown muscovado sugar
120g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped and soaked in 100ml orange juice
35g plain flour
65g walnut pieces
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
50g apricot jam
100g icing sugar, sifted
25g flaked almonds
1. To make the dough, tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to the bowl on one side and the yeast to the other. Add the soft butter, milk and egg and turn the mixture round with your fingers, using them like a paddle. Keep doing this, mixing until you’ve picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl, picking up all the scraps, and keep going until you have a ball of soft dough.
2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured worktop and knead for 10-12 minutes: work through the initial ‘wet’ stage until the dough starts to develop a soft, smooth skin. When the dough feels smooth and silky put it into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl with a dry tea towel and leave to rise for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
3. While the dough is rising, make the filing. Put the soft butter, sugar, drained apricots, flour, raisins, walnuts and zest into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside until needed.
4. Turn the risen dough on to the lightly floured worktop. Without punching it down to deflate, roll it out to a rectangle about 25 x 33cm. If necessary turn the dough around so you have a long edge closest to you. Spread the apricot filling mixture evenly over the dough, then roll up like a swiss roll – tack down the edge nearest to you, so it won’t move, then roll up the dough from the other long edge towards you so get a really tight roll. Roll it back and forth lightly to seal the ‘seam’, then cut it lengthways in half. (You can keep one end attached, which will make it easier to shape).
5. Twist the two strands of dough together, then twist the 2 ends together to finish the ‘crown’. Carefully transfer the crown to the prepared baking sheet. Put the sheet inside a large plastic bag and leave to prove for 30-45 minutes until the dough springs back quickly when you prod it lightly with a fingertip.
6. While the dough is rising heat your oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. When the couronne is ready for baking, uncover the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack.
7. Gently heat the apricot jam with a splash of water, then push it through a sieve into a bowl. Quickly brush over the warm loaf to glaze. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing. Drizzle over the loaf and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Leave to cool.
This post is also linked up with the lovely great bloggers bake off –http://www.thecrazykitchen.co.uk/p/the-great-bloggers-bake-off.html
This is organised by http://www.thecrazykitchen.co.uk/p/the-great-bloggers-bake-off.html and http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/category/gbbo 🙂