So its Ciao to the first ever Italian week in the Bake Off tent - and boy was it a scorcher! With the temperature reaching nearly 40 Degrees Centigrade for the bakers, according to Noel, it caused inevitable issues with too-sticky doughs and oozy, not-set fillings.
Next week it looks like its back to proper baking (hurrah for cake!) and the fabulous Nordicware Bundt pans looked like they are going to feature heavily next week - we can't wait!
In the meantime, if you fancy recreating the Margerita Pizza challenge in your own home - we can help!
A pizza stone is a great way to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom on your pizza. The unglazed stone spreads the heat evenly and absorbs moisture, leaving behind a deliciously authentic Italian pizza.
If you were wondering about the pizza peel used in the show, there's a very simple trick to that too - plenty of flour & working quickly! Stretch or roll your dough before placing it on your well floured peel, then work quickly to place the toppings or the dough will start to absorb the flour and you will have a sticky situation! Gently shake back & forth to slide the pre-heated pizza stone in your oven - again speed is of the essence as you don't want the peel getting hot, or your oven cooling down.
When it comes to the Sfogliatelle.....if you really want to make it at home, you are going to need a pasta machine or a pasta roller attachment for your KitchenAid Stand Mixer...but honestly? This looks like something that would be much more fun to simply buy, relax and enjoy!
Beauty is in the pie of the beholder - and boy were some of these pies beauties! From savoury and hand raised pies to Portuguese Custard Tarts, it was all about the pastry this week. So were their bottoms soggy? Their pastry ( and nerve!) crumbling? Not our intrepid bakers!
Whether you like your pies large or small, raised up high or individual bite sized delights, here is a quick round up of some of the pie pan options available.
Muffin Pans & Individual Pie Tins - perfect for your Portuguese Custard Tarts, non-stick is fabulous for easy pastry removal and the aluminium construction of these Silverwood pans ensures even heat distrubution to reduce the risk of a soggy bottom.
Pie Dishes - if you prefer your pies on the more traditional size, who woduln't love a hearty pie in a retro enamel pie dish? Ceramic pie dishes also bring back happy memories of pot pies & pub dinners! Don't forget your pie funnel to help release steam & encourage an even cooking of your pastry lid!
Extra Flavour Injection - If you are looking to add a little extra flavour and moisture to your pies, or jelly to a pork pie, these basters include injector spikes to add moisture without damaging the delicate pie crust.
Next week is Italian week - what delights could they have in store for us? Italian Breads, Panettone, Crostini, Panna Cotta, Biscotti? We are pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to that great food loving nation!
Pudding week may not have produced the most beautiful bakes of the season but they did unleash an unprecedented flurry of Hollywood Handshakes in the 1st round, as well as an equally unprecedented offer of a Fielding Fondle! Here's our round of of pudding essentials from this weeks baking action...
Pudding Basins - take your pick from plastic, ceramic or metal pudding basins, available with or without lids, there is a pudding basin to suit everyone! With sizes ranging from a 3" diameter, 6oz aluminium mini pudding basin from Silverwood, to a magnificent 4pint capacity, 22cm diameter plastic basin from KitchenCraft, it's fair to say we have puddings covered!
Dariole Moulds - when is a pudding bowl a Dariole Mould? These days it appears to be more realted to the size of the mould or basin, as well as a slight difference in shape, although they are often interchageable. A traditional Dariole Mould shape is smaller, deeper and has straighter sides than a pudding basin, but can be used in much the same way. Our little Dariole Moulds are made from aluminium and are available on 3oz or 4oz sizes. Great for baking, steaming and even serving, when used as a mould for rice or veegatble timbales!
Oh, and make sure you have a nice large saucepan with a lid - big enough to fit your pudding basin for steaming!
Stephen's Showstopper Pan - if you were wondering what this masterpiece of engineering was, we can reveal it is actually a remarkably clever pan from Silverwood, called a Multisize Pan. 12" square, but with moveable interior dividers so you can have complete flexibility in the size and shape of your cakes. Made in the UK from high quality alminium - 3 cheers for British engineering & ingenuity!
We are with Paul Hollywood on this one - you can never have TOO MUCH caramel! This delicious gooey golden treat with perk up even the dreariest of Autumn days.
We celebrate the end of Caramel Week on the Great British Bake Off - and it made us think, one of the key items you need when creating your caramel is a good quality pan - bakers were using a combination of frying pans and saucepans, non-stick and stainless steel, this week, so we are going to look more closely at the 2 ranges featured.
A good quality pan, that spreads the heat evenly and efficiently will make a tremendous difference to your finished caramel, as hot-spots caused by uneven heating will cause the sugar to catch and burn before it reaches its wonderful unctous consistency.
In the show the bakers are using GreenPan if they prefer a non-stick pan and last night we saw many of them using the stunning Le Creuset 3Ply Stainless Steel pans, this is a personal choice and both are excellent ranges of cookware.
Using the latest multi-layering technology, premium-grade stainless steel & aluminium are bonded together to form a special 3-layer material, which spreads the heat evenly and gently throughout the entire pan from base right up to the rim. With handy features, such as capacity markings, helper handles and an all-round pouring rim which prevents drips, means cooking with this 3-ply Stainless Steel cookware is easy and enjoyable. Suitable for use on all heat sources, including induction, this range is oven and dishwasher safe and comes with a manufacturers lifetime guarantee.
We’re all more aware of the environment these days. You can also make a difference through your choice of cookware, too. GreenPan is the first to use a non-stick coating made from minerals rather than plastics, resulting in 60% less CO2 in its manufacture. The use of recycled stainless steel for the handles and recycled aluminium for the cookware bodies prevents the waste of potentially useful materials. The Thermolon non-stick technology used by GreenPan is also highly heat resistant. Whereas a traditional PTFE coating – the waxy, synthetic substance typically used to coat frying pans – starts to deteriorate when heated above 260°C the GreenPan coating is safe up to 450°C, meaning it won’t blister, peel or release fumes - makin git perfect for the high temopertures attained duiring sugarwork. Most importantly, even while you’re reducing your carbon footprint when choosing a GreenPan, you won’t be compromising on quality – the Thermolon coating is one of the best non-sticks we’ve tried.
Up next week.....Puddings!
So that's Bread Week done & dusted, if you fancy following in their footsteps here is all the kit you'll be kneading, we were so glad to see everyone rise to the occasion & prove they are real contenders for the Bake Off crown...
This week they were all up to their elbows in flour and dough, by its very nature its difficult to rush bread - the yeast likes to do things at its own pace - that said, everybody managed to turn out at leat a few fabulous bakes. This weeks challenges were Fruited Tea Cakes, a Cottage Loaf and a Multi coloured Bread Sculpture.
1.Dough scraper - not just for scraping! This handy gadget doubles as a chopper and its essential for dividing your dough if you are making tea cakes! (or any kind of indivdual buns)
4. Silicone Spatulas - a wonderful tool when making any doughs - thanks to the natural non-stick properties of the silicone material. It's easy to clean even the stickiest of doughs off these colourful beauties.
5. Measuring spoons - as with most things baking, accurate measuring is the key to the delicate chemistry that can mean the difference between a collapsed loaf or a caved in cake.
The Right Serving Idea - this can transform a basic bake into a superb showstopper:
6. Martini glass (Stephens Vodka butter)
7. Rustic Wooden Boards - available in a range of differnet styles and woods, you've oput in all that effort, make sure you show off its best side!
8. Slate Platters - if rustic wooden isn't your style, slate makes a wonderful aletrnative and it even helps keep your bake cooler for long.
If however, this all sounds like a litte bit more work than you were planning, you can still enjoy the fabulous aroma of freshly baked bread every day, created in mere minutes and baked to your convenience with one of our Bread Makers!
Oh Snap! This week was Biscuit Week in the Bake Off tent - and didn't they do well? With delicious Sandwich Biscuits, Fortune Cookies and a Game Board Showstopper challenge there were mixed fortunes along the way (did the Fortune Cookies predict this we wonder?)
As alwasy we've been keeping a close eye on the kit used and this week we can confirm that the most used item in biscuit week was......a ruler! We don't sell those sadly, but we can help with soem of the other items you might need.
1. Cooling Racks - when baking large batches of biscuits, check that you have enough cooling racks as to gget the crisp snap they need to cool off the baking tray, if space is an issue, you can even get stacking cooling racks for large capacity and a smaller footprint
2. Biscuit Cutters & Cookie Cutters - pretty obvious that you need these, but there are ways to make it even easier than a traditional shaped cutter - check out this set of 4 classic biscuit moulds from Dexam, to create your own Bourbons, Jammie Dodgers, custard creams and party rings at home
3. Mixing Bowls - used in the show are the traditional earthenware Mason Cash mixing bowls, and also occasionally the classic Pyrex Glass mixing bowls which are great for melting chocolate over a water bath and come in a range of handy sizes
4. Rolling Pins - every home needs (at least) one of these! Not just for rolling doughs and pastry either - they are great for crushing nuts for sprinkle toppings, smashing biscuits for cheesecake bases, or even flattening out a chicken breast for a Schnitzel!
Bake Off is back! At Steamer we are delighted to welcome back this family favourite - it wouldn't be Autumn without the tent of dreams now would it? Little has changed with the transitiion to Channel 4 - apart from the addition of lots of extra teabreaks to your viewing pleasure, which isn't a bad thing by our books!
The season premier encompassed all the highs and lows of home baking - from poor Yan who forgot to turn her oven on, to the unleashing of not one, but two Paul Hollywood handshakes on the very first episode - it looks like we have a talented bunch vying for the top spot this year.
If you find your eye wandering from the baking drama you may be noticing the wonderful aray of kitchenware on display in the tent - if you are wondering what kit they are using, then wonder no more - we can help you out there with a handy reference list of how to kit your kitchen out just like the Great British Bake Off, from big ticket to electricals to the digital timers, we will be watching along with you and updating this list as the season progresses with all the 'must-have' pieces.
1. KitchenAid Stand Mixer - Or as some call it 'the mixer from the great British bake off'! It woudln't look like Bake Off without these beauties, available in a range of colours to suit any kitchen colour scheme although they feature Boysenberry, Ice Blue and Green Apple on the show.
2. Magimix Processor - mix, chop, beat & whisk in this kitchen workhorse, we haven't seen it in action much yet, but it's day will come!
3. Salter Digital Scales & Timers - accuracy is everything in precision baking, weighing ingredients and to the second timing is a must
4. Zwilling JA Henckels Knife Blocks - every kitchen needs sharp knives and these German steel knives definitely are, and even better when contained in a safe & stable, attractive block
5. Joseph Joseph Chopping Boards - colour coded boards to prevent cross-contamination to your baking ongredents from other foodstuffs (such as raw meats) as everything has its own board
6. Kilner Jars - the ultimate in kitchen organisation! Arrange all your ingredents in these classic jars and you won't want to hide them away in a cupboard
7. Greenpan Cookware - hard anodised cookware with excellent heat distribution and an outstanding ceramic non-stick coating, perfect for everything from caramels to crepes, we will definitely be seeing more of this range in the show!
8. Cake Lifter - the large round base on the cake lifter ensures you can move your creations while supporting the whole base - preventing cracking
10. Disposable Icing Bags - a brilliant store cupbard item, it means you can whip up fabulous fairy cakes or delicious duchess potatoes easily & no-mess to clean up afterwards!
So hurah for its return and a successful premier - here's hoping for Star Bakers to astound and Showstoppers to WOW us as the series continues - we can't wait to see what they come up with next!