Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Great British book of baking

Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that I was absolutely glued to the recent Great British Bake-Off on television. It was a fantastic programme where contestants each programme had to make a variety of things, each time centring on a different area of baking - we started with biscuits, progressed through cakes, did bread, was absolutely wonderful! I also enjoyed the historical background given to cake baking, which added a more educational element to a programme which was essentially the X Factor of baking (but oh, how much more enjoyable than the X factor!).

I was very excited to find out that there was a book to accompany the series, and immediately ordered it from the library. When it arrived, the kindly library assistants let me borrow it even though I was already up to my limit of books (I got the impression that the sooner I borrowed it, the sooner it would be back for them to take home). I was a little disappointed that only a handful of the recipes baked on the series feature in the book (although I am looking forward to being able to have a go at that Mark's sticky marmalade loaf that reduced him to tears in the first episode), but actually the book, by the well-renowned baker Linda Collister, is an extremely comprehensive book of baking (it does what it says on the tin - haha!), with sections devoted to the areas covered in the television competition. The recipes are all introduced and there is some of the sociological/historical information that we had in the programmes. I immediately made the jam thumbprint cookies (but forgot to take a picture of them), and then moved onto the bread section where I made these amazing stilton and walnut rolls.

Other recipes that I am looking forward to trying are the cheddar and sundried tomato rolls, the chocolate shortbread, and perhaps the saffron buns which have far better instructions than the recipe in my favourite Cornish recipes book - maybe I'll actually have some success with them!

I would love to enter this competition if they do the programme again (and I'm not sure if they would...), but in all honesty I don't think my baking is sufficiently technically good or innovative to make the grade.


  1. I hope this series comes to dvd in the U.S. I like that they add the historical aspect. So many of the contest or reality shows focus on the savory side of cooking but we enjoy seeing the sweet side. A new show started here called Just Desserts (done by Top Chef) and we hate that it is only on once a week it is soooo good.

  2. I first heard about this television show while listening to a podcast yesterday. When Paul mentioned how delicious his scone recipe was I promptly looked it up on the internet!

    The added attraction of some history of baking would have made it even better. Let's hope this comes our way soon.

  3. I missed most of the series - but heard all about it as Chris Evans was promoting it heavily on his radio programme. Reading your blog makes me want to bake bake bake!

  4. I didn't see the series but I did hear quite a bit about it on Chris Evan's breakfast show and it sounded good!

    I reckon you'd be awesome on the programme so let's hope they bring it back...

  5. Stacy - Just desserts sounds interesting - I think there should be more baking!

    Darlene - I think you would have loved this - I should have taped it to DVD for you.

    Jo - I could happily bake even more than I do!

    Pooky - yes, fingers crossed, although I don't really tend to invent my own recipes, just do other people's...

  6. Chocolate shortbread sounds heavenly!

  7. I loved the show too! And I think you'd be a brilliant contestant ;)


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