For the last 2 months The Great British Bake Off has consumed my life, and that’s no exaggeration. Week upon week I have laughed, cried, rejoiced and dismayed at the baking trials and tribulations of Great Britain’s amateur bakers. There were firm favourites (James), some bungling bakers (Manisha, I mean seriously, what was she doing there) and finally a very deserved winner. And I have been glued to my television each week guided through the emotional roller-coaster of the tent kitchen by the effervescent duo, Mel and Sue. I am now at an utter loss, what does one do with their tuesday evenings? Alas, I allowed myself the remainder of the week to wallow in my post GBBO depression and grieved the lost of my favourite reality show with some appropriate activities.
Firstly, I tried a recipe by the ‘Master Baker’ himself, his unforgiving Eight Strand Plaited Loaf. Unfortunately, I attempted this before watching his masterclass at the Good Food Show (more on that to come!) which provided me with a tonne of tips that would have made my first attempt a lot less traumatic.
The actual bread recipe is very simple, and nothing I haven’t done before. The plaiting however, left me mumbling numbers like a mad woman for near on half an hour with little success. However, after much perseverance I ended up with a reasonably well plaited loaf (well, all apart from the start, but for a first attempt I like to think it was okay).
After the ‘hard bit’ that was the plaiting, comes the ‘easy bit’ that is the proving and baking. Well, I say ‘easy’, I ended up leaving my bread to prove for too long, which meant my loaf ended up being more suitable for the ‘flatbread challenge’ of bread week than Mr Hollywood’s technical challenge. As my mother would say- it’ll taste fine regardless, and it did. But after my triumph at plaiting I was thoroughly dejected that I had messed up the easy stages. However, bread making is a learning curve, and my next attempt will hopefully be a lot better. That’s not to say that my bread failure didn’t push me further into a post GBBO depression.
My GBBO week ended with a trip to Glasgow to the BBC Good Food Show. Other than eating a horrendous amount of samples I also got the chance to meet the one and only Bake Off God’s- Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Who also signed my Great British Bake Off Book, a gave me a very cheery hello. After the excitement of watching two reasonably old people use a pen (one of the most momentous occasions for a keen baker, for everyone else, a relatively mundane way to spend an afternoon) I went to watch their masterclass, and got some great (although belated) tips regarding eight strand loafs. As well as some invaluable cake making tips from the Queen of Cakes, Mrs Berry. It certainly took the edge off my GBBO come down.
And fellow GBBO fans, all is not lost, we do not have to go cold turkey, Paul and Mary have Masterclasses all of this week on BBC 2.