A week in sunny Spain relaxing in the heat had only one drawback – I missed bake off and upon my return to the UK was stunned to find out that one of my favourites, Rob, had gone whilst I was away. Only a few days previously I’d met him at the cake and bake show and wished him luck! I’d also regrettably enquired about the theme for the coming week which was biscuits and traybakes. Little did I know that was the week he went! In fact I think the Reddin curse has struck! I was lucky to meet my two favourite bakers Rob and Glenn, and a third who was increasingly growing on me, Howard! The next three to go were in fact Rob, Howard and Glenn – was meeting me bad luck!?!?
So week five was Traybakes and Biscuits and the half way point of the competition. A signature traybake needed to be a multi-layered cake, either pastry or cake based! Technical tuile biscuits followed by a showstopper of a biscuit tower. Unluckily for Rob his Dalek tower didn’t quite work to plan and he was exterminated! He went home to boil something!! Star baker was Christine. Poor Glenn had no practice time to this week with 50 essays to mark as well as 120 speaking and listening exams! Bless him he did try to scale down his cooking yet proceeded to melt what can only be described as a vat of chocolate!
We had plenty of puns from Mel and Sue again – my personal favourite being from Sue referring to having “bitten off BOURBON you can chew!” Christine topped the tuile task (named after French roof tiles) with Glenn placing second. At the other end of the spectrum Howard finished bottom followed surprisingly by Kimberly. The showstoppers had to be 30cm in height and could be made from any biscuits of any size. Christine made a wonderful Bavarian shortbread clock tower with snow capped roofs. Howard made a Japanese pagoda tea tower with four different biscuits flavoured with tea. Ruby made a dropped ice cream cone which saved her from potentially leaving. But my favourite Glenn made an awesome shortbread and macaron helterskelter. Unfortunately one baker had to depart and it was Rob!
Week six was sweet dough week. First up was the Signature bake; a sweet tea loaf which must use yeast and they had three hours to do so. Beca obviously went welsh with a bara brith containing cranberries and she got good comments. Most of the others weren’t so lucky with lots of under proved and underbaked. Poor Christine baked an Oxford nutty fruit loaf with walnuts and apricots which neither Paul or Mary were willing to try as it was underbaked.
The technical bake was an apricot coron which is a French loaf in the shape of a crown or halo. Poor Glenn had never seen one so thought he may as well bake blind! In the recipe you use milk instead of water to create a lighter dough. It must be kneaded well but the bakers were left blind on the bake time and the prove time. Bottom of the pile was Howard followed by Beca and Glenn. At the other end of the scale from third up was Kim, Frances and top baker Ruby.
The showstopper bake was 12 x two lots of European sweet buns. They started the challenge the evening before to allow for an overnight prove. Most opted for Brioche using eggs and butter in the dough which makes a sloppy dough so needs to be rested and chilled for a minimum of 8-12 hours. We saw schnecken buns (cherry and raisin named after snail shape); Lemon and chocolate twisted bun (twisted Swedish kanelbullar); double chocolate and hazelnut brioche with kumquat marmalade; sticky caramels kanelbullen (Swedish – cinnamon swirls); and Danish kanelsnurrer (filed with camomile apricot and swirled with almond cream).
Glenn had a cry as he thought it was inevitable he would go. He couldn’t even talk he was too choked. But ultimately it was Howard who had to go with his realistic peachy buns. This weeks star baker was Ruby
Week seven was pastry week – sad times as my favourite favourite Glenn went. And that’s all I wanna say on week seven!