Late again! I’ve been falling behind schedule recently. The real world is catching up with me. I haven’t even watched this week’s episode of Bake Off – which is a first! I mean who doesn’t base their entire Wednesday around the 8 o’clock start time. I may need help!
WEEK 8: Jumble Biscuits
So, first things first, I was unable to find any ground aniseed. I made a grand tour of the local Tescos, Sainsbury’s and Booths (we’re not posh enough to have a Waitrose) and puzzled a few people about where on earth we could find this so-called ground aniseed. So for argument’s sake, I left that out of the recipe, compensating with a full teaspoon of ground mace rather than a ½ teaspoon of each. How it would have affected the flavour I won’t know, but with the mace and the caraway seeds, they don’t taste half bad.
If anything, the basic dough recipe is pretty straight forward. The caraway seeds do take some time to get it to be a fine powder so be patient with it and you just need to be careful with the amount of extra flour you use to ensure it doesn’t dry out. After adding the eggs, the dough still felt quite sticky and thereby impossible to divide into smooth portions, so for balance, I added a bit more flour. It’s more important to watch your flour levels after they’ve chilled. When you’re rolling them out into long ropes, you will want to lightly flour your surface so that they don’t break apart when thinned out. But too much flour and you’ll have a hard time joining the ends together, when you’ve actually achieved your shape.
That is where the technical part came into the challenge this week. Ironically, the recipe that the Bake Off contestants got may have been easier to follow. I may choke on my words one day, but at least they had a rough diagram of what they were looking for. I had to resort to Google images in hope that some sort of instructions would be made available, but it turns out even Google can be unhelpful sometimes.
I even went back to the episode and re-watched the technical, hoping that there would some pearls of wisdom on offer, but there was no such luck. Oddly enough, the editing cut out the moment they actually constructed both the double knot and the Celtic knot from start to finish. You got bits, but when you’re trying to have a go yourself, not helpful.
If anything, I now know how to do both a double knot and a Celtic knot blindfolded. Most of my time was spent trying to perfect the shapes with the dough mixture, that resulted in a mixture of too small, too large, too fat, too thin and too unlike what we were actually aiming for. I still would have failed in the actual given time limit, but I’m comforted by the fact that I spent most of that extra time just trying to work out the shape. I’m improving!
WORDS OF ADVICE
For the Celtic knot, if you start with the top curve and then cross the two ends over each other, it’s a far easier starting point to complete the shape.
I did discover this little gem though while looking for a tutorial on how to make a Celtic knot, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIu1x-Tme44
I’d be lying if I said that this week’s didn’t look slightly “informal”, a word I have been using a lot with my bakes, but at least it wasn’t as “informal” as last week’s Marjolaine. (Still not working with nuts for a long time!). Very much like the Lacy Pancakes, Paul’s technical challenges seem to be more about the skill in presentation rather than the actual complexity of the bake. Although I had it spelt out for me. I even had some left over and attempted a few different shapes.
Now that that’s over with, I’m going to catch up on the latest episode of Bake Off, and find out what’s on the cards this week.
Not long to go until competition.
Thanks for reading.