Patisserie week? Patisserie week??!! Paul Hollywood, this is a thinly veiled "Bread Week redux," masquerading as patisserie week. Didn't I already wrestle with yeast this season, in the form of focaccia? Do you really need me to put elbow grease in to knead yet another extremely sticky dough?
Sigh... I signed myself up for this. When Paul Hollywood says "jump," I say, "how much yeast?" Kneading aside, this recipe is very simple. It's my favorite kind in that it's one bowl, no electrics. The recipe keeps dish cleanup at a minimum (which is good, because surface cleanup is at a maximum).
As I've alluded to, one thing the recipe did not mention was how insanely sticky this dough is. Paul talked about it ad nauseum in the focaccia recipe, but here, nary a peep. I thought I had done something wrong--maybe my conversions from milliliters to cups was off. Maybe I didn't add enough flour. Maybe I got extra large or jumbo eggs?
So, I never got anything close to a smooth dough that didn't stick on every surface (including my hands), even after adding probably way more flour than I should have. Because I'd run into this in the past, I knew that resting the dough for a bit can make it more smooth land less sticky, so I threw it in a bucket and thought to leave it for 15 minutes. I forgot about it and by the time I got back, it had finished its first rise and had doubled in size. It seemed to be soft and smelled delicious, so I soldiered on to see what would happen.
I divided out the dough (despite this picture, I did not use a scale for most of the dividing because too much work, and made sure to flour my hands to keep the dough from sticking to literally everything (it was still quite sticky).
Before rising, they were each about 5" in length, and like fat bread sausages. The smell of the yeast was amazing, and the softness of the dough was addicting. Despite my earlier consternation of the texture, optimism took over and I left for a second rise.
And in the oven they go! Let the magic happen! They actually bake for not a lot of time at all. Halfway through, I rotated the pans, as the bottom pan was browning far slower than the top, so always make sure to keep an eye on things when you have multiple pans.
They came out enormous. I think all the extra flour I added contributed to having so mu,ch dough. But I ain't complaining about having more delicious sweet bread goodness. Things were looking good--they sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom, they were a nice golden brown, and when I broke one open (gotta taste test), the bread was tender and just slightly sweet.
Icing them was pretty easy--I used the "dip and drip" or a "dip and swipe" method, where you put the icing in a bowl wide enough to hold the length of the bun, then dipped the tops in, and either let the excess icing drip off, or swipe it off with a finger. I added more water to my icing, because I thought it was too thick to properly dip, but I wish I hadn't. The icing became too liquidy, and dripped down the side, which wasn't quite what I think Paul Hollywood would like to see.
Split it like a hot dog bun, fill with whipped cream and a nice line of sieved jam, and you've got yourself a nice, light, bready dessert. A patisserie, if you will. The taste was actually delicious, if you're a bread fan--and to be honest, who isn't? The bread was nice and tender, if a little dry to be eaten on its own. But that's why you have the whipped cream, to moisten things up a bit, and the jam gives it that extra full sweetness that makes it more than just bread and cream. It's like the best version of strawberries and cream. For when a strawberry shortcake it too fussy.
Paul Hollywood's Iced Fingers
makes 12 "fingers"
500 grams FLOUR
2 packets RAPID RISE YEAST
50 grams GRANULATED SUGAR
3 tablespoons UNSALTED BUTTER, softened
2 large EGGS
2 teaspoons SALT
10 tablespoons MILK
9 1/2 tablespoons WATER
300 grams POWDERED SUGAR
3 tablespoons WATER
400 grams STRAWBERRY JAM
3/4 cup HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM
1. Put the FLOUR, YEAST, SUGAR, BUTTER, EGGS, SALT, and MILK in a bowl and mix until a dough is formed--make sure you add the yeast and the salt on separate sides of the bowl, as direct contact will kill the yeast
2. Gradually add the WATER and continue mixing with your hands--the dough will be very, very sticky
3. Work the dough as much as you can in the bowl, and then work it on a well-floured work surface. Do the best you can to knead, but if you end up just spreading and stretching the dough around, that's cool too
4. After about 10 minutes of kneading, put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hours
5. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll the pieces into balls, then into finger of about 5 inches in length
6. Place each finger on parchment-lined baking sheets and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 40 minutes to an hour--note that you can either leave plenty of room for each finger to rise, as I did, or you can place them fairly close next to one another to have a "pull apart" feel to them. Paul says to give them plenty of room, but I noticed on the show there were plenty of contestant who pulled them apart
7. Toward the end of this rise, prehead the oven to 425F, then bake fingers for 10 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through if you used more than one
while the fingers are baking and cooling:
8. Mix together the POWDERED SUGAR and WATER in a bowl to make a thick paste
9. Warm the STRAWBERRY JAM on the stove or in the microwave until just hot and lightly steaming, then sieve through a strainer to make a smooth jam, store in a piping bag
10. Whisk the HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM until stiff peaks form (optionally add a tablespoon of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla for extra taste), store in a piping bag
11. When buns are cooled, slice in half like a hot dog bun, without slicing all the way through (leave one end attached)
12. Dip the tops of the buns in the icing and leave to set until hardened
13. When icing has hardened, pipe your whipped cream between the two halves, and then decoratively pipe the strawberry jam to ensure every bite has a bit of jam
A personal challenge to conquer every technical challenge, and select signature bakes, from The Great British Bake Off
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