Friday, 21 October 2011

Great British Bake Off - Technical Challenge: Iced Buns

For the record, these are NOT Iced Fingers. They don't have cream and jam in. These are iced buns. So there Great British bake off. I know this as I was never allowed the ones with cream and jam, as 'they weren't for children' so this was a natural place to start my investigation into the Great British Bake Off technical challenges. I will be ignoring the macarons. Macarons terrify me. If you start talking macarons I WILL hide behind the sofa.

Inspired by Utterly Scrummy and the post show masterclasses, I thought I'd have a go at some of the technical challenges from the Great British Bake Off. No I'm not practicing for next year before you ask, and yes there is more than a passing resemblance between me and Jo, and yes we're both from Essex, I'm just blonder.

Making the buns was straightforward, as regular readers know, I like breadmaking - I find the kneading and proving a soothing, restful process (I never said I was normal) and despite these being a fairly vigourous knead, I spent a happy afternoon pottering in the kitchen.

I love that the icing is water icing (I think the adults amongst you call it glace icing, but I call it water icing with the Brownies and so that's what we're calling it here) as it just reinforces, what a lovely, family bake these are. Kids could easily help with kneading, shaping the dough and icing the buns. It's only when you start to want to pipe the cream and jam that this becomes properly technical.

As I may have mentioned on twitter I was blown away by the evenness of my bake, and how lovely the buns looked when they came out of the oven. It was quite a pull to leave them to cool.

I used home made jam from earlier in the summer, and because I like things jammy, refrained from piping this on, instead spreading the cut inside of the bun with the warmed, fruity jam.

Because 12 buns is simply too many to have in my house at any one time, I've given 8 of these away as a Random Bake of Kindness, to my upstairs neighbours. I've saved 4 for Mark and I though.  


500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
50g/1¾oz caster sugar
40g/1½oz unsalted butter, softened
2 free-range eggs
2 x 7g/¼oz sachets instant yeast
2tsp salt
150ml/5fl oz warm milk
140ml/4½fl oz water
200g/7oz icing sugar
5 tsp cold water
200ml/7fl oz whipping cream
100g/4oz strawberry jam
icing sugar for dusting


Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

To make the dough, place all the ingredients into a large bowl, holding back a quarter of the water. Stir the mixture with your hands, then slowly add the remaining water to form a dough and knead in the bowl for four minutes.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces, each about 70g/2½oz, then roll into balls and shape into fingers about 13cm/5in long.
 Place the dough fingers onto a greased baking tray, leaving space for them to double in size, then set aside in a warm place for 40 minutes. They should just touch each other when they’ve risen.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then set them aside to cool.
For the icing, sift the icing sugar in a wide bowl and gradually stir in the cold water to form a thick paste. I needed far less than 5tbsp of water to get the thickness needed to coat the top of the buns. Well, actually a lot more than 200g icing sugar as I blithely trusted Paul Hollywood and added all the water.
Dip the top of the cooled fingers into the icing, smoothing it with your finger, then leave to set on a wire rack
Lightly whip the cream and spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle.
Sliced the iced fingers horizontally, leaving one long edge intact.
Warm 1tsp of jam per bun and spread one side of the iced buns with the warmed jam
Pipe in a generous line of whipped cream into the middle of each finger, Dust the iced fingers with icing sugar and serve (or give away)

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