The Great British Bake-A-Long blog had to take a little bit of a back seat over the last week as I have been trying to prepare for my first ever wedding fair! However, that doesn't mean that I haven't been baking!!! I have managed to bake those delicious sounding Arlette biscuits. Watching the contestants rolling and folding and rolling and folding their butter and pastry mix together looked very long-winded and time consuming. However, that didn't stop me having a go.
There is a similar process with Arlette biscuits that you have when you are making puff pastry. The wonderful 'book-fold', turn and roll. (Book-fold is just as it sounds - you fold both ends of the pastry into the centre and then fold this in half, just like a book!)... Although, with these biscuits, the butter mix goes on the OUTSIDE of the pastry mix. One piece of the preparation process that I found exceedingly messy! Word to the wise. If you decide to give these lovely biscuits a go, use a layer of clingfilm top and bottom when you get to the rolling and folding stage. Keeps the worktops, your hands AND your rolling pin clean. I found this out the hard way!
After 3 (or was it 4), book-folds, the cinnamon sugar mix is then rolled into the pastry. In my personal opinion, I would sprinkle half of the sugar mix over the pastry, book-fold and repeat the roll and fold again with another layer of sugar mix. I think it would have made for a more even spread of cinnamon. Once they were cooked however, the result was some rather delicious cinnamon biscuits. I wouldn't have said they were a complete success, but they have all been eaten now, so I am pretty sure they were also not a total disaster!
Next, onto the bread! The first challenge the contestants faced was the 'quick bread' round. Bread that is made without the use of yeast. My first thoughts? Soda bread. One of my absolute favourites. I added a couple of finely chopped spring onions, a couple of chillies, a handful of basil and a smidgeon of turmeric. Success yet again! The smell of bread wafting out of the kitchen was just too tempting to slice a wedge off the end of the loaf and cover it in butter whilst it was still hot. I did manage to resist the urge until it was cool though!
My next mission (should I choose to accept it...Well, I think I should give it a go!) - is the classic French baguette! Bread has never been something that I have managed to get in to. It was all well and good when I used to have a bread machine, you'd chuck everything into the pan, click a button and off it would go. Making bread by hand is a whole different ball game. for starters, it gets your arm muscles going! Nonetheless, I am not one to shy away from a challenge and although this next week is going to be a very hectic one, I am endeavouring on attempting baguettes! I also have to remember, that there is a Black forest Gateau and the desserts round to catch up with. Yum, cheesecake. One dessert I haven't made for along while!