I've been trying out some of the technical challenges from The Great British Bake Off - How to Bake cookbook. My husband LOVES iced buns so I thought I would give this recipe from the book a go. I made them one afternoon and took half a dozen on the school run for my girls and their teachers. They went down really well, there were many requests for me to bring along loads next time I make them.
I must admit I didn't weigh each bit of dough to ensure they were all the same size, and some were slightly more coloured than others in the oven. But I love the imperfections of home baking and the fact that things aren't always 'professional looking'. If you bake with love and care, does it really matter that the result isn't totally perfect?
I'm an amateur baker, as are all those competing on The Great British Bake Off TV series. It's a real shame that they are judged so harshly in each episode. Their efforts that would be enthusiastically received by their friends and family are deemed not professional enough and sometimes written off as too substandard to be considered. I have the utmost respect for all those who have taken part in the TV series, they are far braver and more talented than I am. I also really appreciate how much care, love and effort go in to each item of baking that they create. Well done bakers!
OK, rant over, here's the recipe:
For the dough, you will need:
500g strong white bread flour
2 x 7g packets fastaction dried yeast
50g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter, softened
2 large free-range eggs
10g sea salt flakes, crushed
150ml lukewarm milk
For the icing and filling, you will need:
300g icing sugar
200ml whipping cream
1 x 400g jar strawberry jam, warmed and sieved, then cooled (I used homemade jam)
Put all the ingredients for the dough into a large mixing bowl with 100ml milk. Mix together with your hands until a dough is formed. Slowly work in 40ml more milk and massage the dough in the bowl for about 4 minutes.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and knead well for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to rise for 1 hour.
Tip the dough out onto the very lightly floured worktop again and divide into 12 pieces. Roll into balls and then into ‘fingers’ about 12.5cm long.
When dividing the dough into pieces, you can weigh them to be sure they are all about the same. This is what professional bakers do. Each piece should weigh about 70g. Use a ruler to ensure all the fingers are the same length. *There is no way I could ever be bothered doing this!*
Divide the fingers between the baking sheets, leaving plenty of space around and between them to allow for spreading. Leave to rise, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Bake the fingers for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Gradually stir in 42ml cold water to make a thick paste. When the fingers have completely cooled, split them open length ways, not cutting all the way through. Dip one side of each finger into the icing and smooth it with your finger. Leave to set on a wire rack.
Lightly whip the cream until thick and place in the piping bag. Pipe a generous line of whipped cream into each finger. Spoon the strawberry jam into a small plastic bag and snip off one corner. Pipe a delicate line of jam onto the cream in each finger.
Here's a halstily taken photo of one of my rather rustic iced fingers:
And here's the picture from the book of the pristine and lovely ones that Paul made:
|Photo courtesy of: The Great British Bake Off - How to Bake cookbook|