IRISH SODA BREAD - GREAT IRISH BAKE OFF - WEEK 1 - A LITTLE MORE CAKE PLEASE

Right can I say this episode for me puts to bed 3 nervous mediocre weeks. Next week I throw the nerves out the window and whilst I am at it I throw everything I have got in to my Showstopper. Things inside that tent are getting fairly serious, I still don't understand how I am still in it and baking, never in my entire life, be it Leaving Cert or college exams have I been so nervous. It certainly hamstrung me this week with my Technical Challenge. I am not boasting I am not that sort of person but I can make bread, and I can make very good bread at that, and to fail so miserably making bread buns well that is the straw that broke the camels back as the saying goes in my mind. I am baking here, why be so nervous, its only baking its not life or death, its fun, baking is my stress release not the reason I should be stressed and you will see this next week in the Desserts episode. 

I want to maybe explain what happened today when it comes to my Technical, the recipe was straight forward, heck I have made this sort of dough many times before without fail but one thing and one thing only got me. The recipe stated make the bread on the surface without using a bowl, because I follow rules in life my mind didn't think for one second to use a bowl. I duly followed the instructions but panic set in, my milk started to leak from my well of flour and run down the side of the work surface. I was left with a conundrum, do I start again risking time etc or do I go with what I have got? I went with what I have left, your brain under such pressure does funny things, I went with my gut plowing ahead. The dough naturally wasn't right, but I did produce something that could be judged. I took a risk and a big one at that but the risk was enough rather than have nothing to be judged on at all especially if I had started again. Thank god my signatures bakes were good enough, I will post these up separately.

Fair play to Steve Chisholm and getting Star Baker, what can I say the lad is a top bloke and deserves it thoroughly, his breads were wonderful and he nailed the Technical. I especially loved his Leek and Gruyere bread as well as his overall presentation. Other breads I have to mention on the day were Bridget's Potato Leek bread it was yummy and my most favourite of all Oonagh Barrett's Banana Bread. Oh my word please make this bread, its the best damn banana bread I have ever eaten, its so good and I have made it so many times since the show has ended, truly one recipe I will keep with me for the rest of my life and here is my own reproduction in visual form. I recommend you bake this when the recipes are released later on tonight.



Now before I launch in to my Irish Soda recipe I have to talk about Mr. Tom Walton. This week unfortunately saw Tom leave us, which was absolutely gut wrenching. As it was 3 weeks in, we are all starting to bond together and Tom was always the centre of the fun. You see Tom loves games and would always have us entertained, especially with a few rounds of Card Spoons before bedtime. I am awful for summing people up when I first meet them, and when I first met Tom like Stephen Chis, I thought oh god these guys are serious winners, I pale in comparison to them. They both arrived with sourdough starters, prior to the bake off I never even attempted a starter before, their baking knowledge was immense. Tom is a fantastic baker, and such a nice person to be around, we were all so saddened by his departure. My favourite thing Tom made on the show ( I say this because I tasted everything ) was his Blue Cheese, Beetroot and Black Pudding Tart  it was delicious.
I hope you watched and like my video above, it really is just for a laugh and I am still getting used to filming it myself with Joanne. This video was filmed back in July so thats why it might not look the same as the last video. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you enjoyed this week's episode. Any questions about the show, my bakes or baking questions in general just ask I would happily help.






Ingredients:

450g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
350ml buttermilk

Optional:
1tbsp of poppy seeds
1tbsp of sesame seeds


Method:


Preheat the oven to 220°C/200(Fan) (425°F), Gas mark 7.
Sift together the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. 
Make a well in the centre, adding the seeds.
Now add a beaten egg to the mixture, using your slowly bring together. Pour most of the buttermilk into the flour mixture. Mix with your hand adding more buttermilk if necessary. The dough should be quite soft and light, but not too sticky.

















Turn onto a floured work surface, and gently bring it together into a round. Cut a line down the middle on top.

Place on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 200°C / 180(Fan) (400°F), Gas mark 6 and cook for 30 minutes more. 

Allow to cool on a wire rack. 

    Thanks for reading,
    Will

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