We’re a few episodes into the new series of Great British Bake Off. Other than the adverts, our worst fears have not been realised, and all seems reasonably well in the baking world. So if you’re feeling inspired, but in need of some new techniques, then these five should set you up to be ready for any technical challenge. Even the fortune cookie one.
Get prepared for bread week with a great book from Justin and Louise Gellatly and the team at Bread Ahead. There is surely no better teacher for how to make a great doughnut. Based on their great classes at the school, then there are sections on English, French, Italian, American, Eastern European and Nordic bakery. So that should cover pretty much everything Paul Hollywood could throw at you on bread week.
A new book from Mich Turner, the subtitle to this is “nutritious, delicious recipes for healthier, everyday baking”. Let’s face it, a twist on a bake is a good thing in the Bake Off tent. These are recipes including fresh and dried fruits, nuts and seeds, but also with alternatives for gluten, fats, sugars and dairy. They like an alternative approach: remember Howard and his hemp flour?
Illusion cakes was a hell of a starting point for week one. I hate to think how they’ll up the ante next year. Given this describes itself as for fanciful bakes it sounds like it might cover the right sort of territories. I mean, a stacked donut drip cake sounds like it could turn up successfully in cake week or dough week.
This would be my particular nemesis of all the weeks in Bake Off. I am sort of of the opinion that life is too short to make your pastry. But maybe I just never got the basics right. And I would be very happy for Richard Bertinet to pop round and show me. I could settle for one of his books, and this one covers everything from salted to sweet, choux to puff. If you master that lot, you’re ready for pastry week. Though I don’t think it covers filo.
Prêt-à-Portea: High Fashion Bakes & Biscuits*
This would surely be perfect inspiration for biscuit week! This fabulous high tea at the Berkeley Hotel is renowned for amazing taste and design. Definitely no style over substance there. I particularly love the Philip Treacy inspired butterfly biscuits. Would definitely be a source of inspiration for those who love to get fancy with the biscuits and icing.
Being on Bake Off has to be about skill, practice and enthusiasm. You’ve got to start with the last one, otherwise the other two are a bit irrelevant. But if you’ve got it, then go for it on the other two!
Non-affiliate link here.