Saturday, 18 August 2012

Hairy Bikers Bakeation Challenge - France

OK, I confess, I have been a total 'Blog' slacker!  I made my French recipes last weekend, in fact the first time I made the bread was two weekends ago, but have I found the time to blog?  Oh no no no!  I blame the Olympics!  I got so addicted to watching the games that time flew by!

SO back to the baking.  Sadly neither of the recipes are available online yet, but I still had to share. 

My first offering is Provencal Bread.  Its made using a starter dough (quick version of a sourdough loaf), where yeast, white and rye bread flour, water and a little sugar are mixed together and left in the fridge for 24 hours.  This is the result, a nicely fermenting starter dough.

You then mix more white bread flour, more yeast, salt, water and half of the starter dough together until blended, before kneading for 10 minutes.  I started this off in the Kenwood and allowed the machine to knead it for 5 minutes, before placing it out on a floured surface and kneading for a further couple of minutes.  Then its popped back into its oiled bowl and left in a warm place for an hour to double in size.

Now you get to add the 'Provencal' bit!  The dough is eased onto a floured surface and gently knocked back with your knuckles.  Into the dough are then added fennel seeds, fresh thyme and rosemary, which are kneaded into the dough until evenly distributed.

The dough is then left for another hour to rise on a floured baking sheet before being scored.

And popped into a preheated 200c fan oven (220c static oven) for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

A really delicious loaf, great with cheese, soup or toasted with butter!   The remaining half of the starter dough can be frozen for up to a month and then defrosted over night before using for another loaf, which I duly did the following weekend.

The other recipe I tried were Madeleines.  A good excuse to go to Classy Cooks in Emsworth and get some new baking kit!  A madeleine tray, a bargain at £8.99.

A mix of just butter, an egg, castor sugar, plain flour and vanilla extract, it seems the trick to a good Madeleine is in the vigorous whisking of the egg, sugar and extract followed by very gently folding in the sifted flour, followed by the melted butter.  This creates a frothy mixture with lots of air bubbles.  The mixture is then (supposedly!) spooned evenly into each mould before baking in a 170c fan oven for 8 -10 minutes. 

I checked mine after 7 minutes and they were already golden, perhaps overly so.

They are left in the tin to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

And then dusted with icing sugar.

Dark, but delicious!  What better excuse to get out the fine china and enjoy Afternoon Tea and Madeleines in the garden with my Mum.  She approved!

Best enjoyed on the day of making to retain the crispness around the edges - as you only make 12 , that isn't difficult!  As you may have noticed only 11 made it into the photo shoot!  Bakers privilege!!

I've really enjoyed trying recipes from all the chapters of the Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking and there are many more to try yet.  But for now, I think its time to bake something out of some of my many other trusty baking books.  But which to choose???

Happy baking!

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