Sunday, 19 October 2014

Great British Bake-Along: Almond and Honey Milk Buns

So the Great British Bake Off is over for another year. Paul, Mary, Mel and Sue have been put back into storage for another year, the Bake Off tent has been dismantled and a new champion has been crowned.

We can probably expect Nancy's first book out any day now. Well done that woman - she was quietly competent all the way through the competition and obviously has an encyclopaedic knowledge of baking.

So this is my final bake following the Great British Bake Off. The signature bake was Viennoiserie, so I decided to make some milk breads, or "petit pan au lait" as the French call them.

I've topped the bun with chopped almonds and honey that I brought all the way from the Antiplano de Granada region in Spain. These buns are sweet and soft with barely a crust to speak of and the almond adds a lovely crunch.

This recipe makes 5 buns.

You will need:

For the dough:
250g strong white bread flour
30g granulated sugar
115g butter, softened and diced
115ml milk
7g sachet of easy bake yeast
1 beaten egg
1tsp salt

For the glaze:
1 beaten egg
3tbsp runny honey
50g chopped almonds

1. Add the flour to a bowl and add the yeast to one side and the salt and sugar to the other side of the bowl.

2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the milk and egg, then mix with a wooden spoon until it begins to come together. Knead in the butter or, if using a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment, put it on the medium speed setting and mix until the dough is glossy, soft and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. When you've kneaded the dough you should be able to stretch the dough very thin without it breaking. Put in a greased bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.

3. When the dough has risen, knock it back by pressing down on it with your knuckles and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

4. Tip the dough out onto a well floured surface and flatten it out with your palms to squeeze out any air bubbles.

5. Roll up the dough and pinch the seam together with your fingertips, then roll back and forth until it forms a baguette shape.

6. Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces and shape them into round rolls by cupping your hand around each piece and rolling around against the work surface until it forms a smooth, round ball. Put on a greased baking sheet, spacing the balls apart so they don't stick together when baking and leave to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C in the mean time. When the dough has risen, snip two cuts in the top of each roll, forming a cross.

7. Glaze the rolls with the beaten egg and fill the gaps with the chopped almonds. Bake for 15 minutes until well risen and golden but still quite pale on the bottom. While the rolls are still hot from the oven, brush them with the runny honey. Leave to cool.

So now the Bake Off is over, it will be back to experimenting with my own recipes and trying new things. Personally I can't wait - I've already got big plans for Halloween and a couple of blog posts I've been meaning to write for a while.

Happy baking,


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