Blogs Birthday Give away!

A year ago today The Broke Boy was born! Where has the time gone! It is scary to think that 365 days ago I sat down in front of this computer and thought "Right...Lets do something!".

It's even scarier to think that i've stuck to it!

The past year has been a great one for me. I've met some amazing people, I've pushed myself, I've taken risks and I've achieved a lot.

The biggest thing of all is the self confidence that all of this has given me. A year ago I never would of seen myself attending an audition for the Great British Bake Off, let alone getting to the top 250 out of 15,000.

The kitchen has become my new home. I love spending time creating yummy goodies and practicing different techniques. Those of you that have followed the blog since the beginning will hopefully have seen how what I make has improved. Last week someone told me that my Oreo cupcakes were "The best cake they had ever eaten" which put a massive smile on my face.

To celebrate the blog turning one, and also to start my own birthday celebrations early, I made some Dunkin cupcakes! Earl grey sponge with an earl grey and digestive frosting, topped with a biscuit fit for dunking.

Ive also set up a Facebook page!

The main thing I have been wanting to do for a while is to do a give away. When better to do one than on the blogs birthday eh?

To celebrate i've put together a collection of bread baking equipment. Everything you need to make a loaf bar the actual ingredients, i'd made to poison you.

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter widget bellow! The more you tweet the better your chance of winning.
The closing date for the competition is the 27th of march. An email will be sent to the winner 48 hours after closing time.

Good Luck everyone and Thank you for making this a great year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My biggest fear... the world of baking is bread! Don't ask me why, its probably because I have never spent the time practicing it.

2014 so far has been brilliant for me, and its only the 21st! That being said though, I have come to the conclusion that I need to try and conquer to fears when it comes to the kitchen.

So I decided to take bread head on.

You will notice from previous posts that I have attempted this before but things have either gone horribly wrong OR my overly picky side screamed at me and said it looked rubbish.

Just before New Year I ordered some books on bread from Amazon, one being Dough by Richard Bertinet and the other being Brilliant Bread by James Morton.

If you are like me and have a fear of bread, get these books! They are both brilliant, one starts from the beginning and explains every little detail about the ingredients, the method and the different outcomes. The other comes with a DVD that gives you a step by step guide on how to work the dough and get the best results.

This was my first attempt at a plain white loaf. Bare in mind at this point I didn't have the "Basic Equipment" the books said would help. At this point I wasn't so much worried about the working of the dough I wanted to concentrate on the outcome, the shape, the bake etc. I used the dough hook attachment on my mixer to speed up the process and focused solely on the shaping and baking. 
Although this loaf turned out ok, I wanted more from it!

For my next attempt I decided to go for the same dough as the bake itself was lovely. But I decided to attempt a different style of outcome.
This time I decided to create some baguettes in the form of Epis. The shape is formed by shaping the dough into a baguette shape and then taking a pair of scissors to the dough and snipping at intervals down the length. For a second attempt I was chuffed with these. They were yummy as well, perfect for sharing as its a bit like a tare and share loaf.

For this next batch my equipment had arrived and I was ready to work the dough by hand. Rather than using the traditional english method of kneading, I went for Richard Bertinet's method. At first it seemed a little alien but once you get into the swing of it you realise just how easy it is. I decided to try adding some flavouring to my white loaves buy adding Cumin and Gruyere cheese. To me these are a thing of beauty, look at the cheesey crust! For my first hand worked dough the crumb was brilliant and the flavours were spot on. I will making those again soon!

And finally my favourite of all, The pizza dough!
Never before have I stuffed a pizza so quickly down my neck. Good lord it was glorious!
The first picture was from my first attempt. It was slightly rushed as the weather took a turn for the worst whilst trying the recipe, causing my dad to get home later than planned with the ingredients. However the base was beautifully crisp and so flavourful. 

The second picture was my second attempt. I started this dough earlier on in the morning and decided to prove it in the fridge. Apparently this allows the dough to rise slowly which creates more flavour and also gives it a touch of acidity which will help create a crisp outside and a slightly chewy center.
I really don't see myself buying a pizza any time soon, I mean really, why buy when you make your own!?

Anyway, thats enough mouth watering food for today. My fear of bread has been conquered and I am now ready to tackle my next challenge...The sour dough starter! 

Wish me luck!

Bread...a baffling thing...

...the next bake on my list was bread! now rather than following the technical challenge of the GBBO i felt i needed to do something much simpler.

i have never tried to make bread before but have always wanted to give it ago.

my first attempt was a successful failure. the bread itself was baked perfectly and the flavour was amazing BUT the ruddy thing stuck to the paper... i blame Paul Hollywood as it was one of his recipes and he didn't tell me to grease the paper...rude!

so this time i decided to stick to the baker that i knew would give full instructions *cough*

i went for John Whaite's "perfection in a plain loaf" recipe.

for this you will need:

500g strong white flour
10g salt
20g sugar
10g fast action yeast
100ml milk
240ml tepid water
40g unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil

start by mixing the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.

next add the yeast and mix it through...

as this was my second attempt at bread i decided to use my mixer with a dough attachment. (follow your mixers instructions if also planning on using the dough hook as it does say a maximum speed)

stir together the milk, water and butter in a jug and then turn on the mixer to the required speed. slowly add the liquid and allow the mixer to knead the dough for 6 minutes.

place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with cling film, place to one side to rise for one hour or until doubled in size. (or if you are lucky like me, shove it in the oven with the prove function on..who knew it had that! not me!)

as you can see, after an hour it is a beast! tip it out and knock the dough back (this delates it so don't worry if it looses some of its beastliness!)

roll the dough into a sausage shape the size of the loaf tin you own. i only had 2 small tins so split the dough in half at this point...i made a bit of a mess also...

cover the tin(s) with cling film and set aside until doubled in size once again. 

Preheat the oven to 200ºc/Gas 6. once the dough is risen pop in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tipped out and tapped on the bottom.

and there you have it, a lovely white loaf!

what ever you do, do not ask me any questions about i really have no idea! its baffling!

cake wednesday transforms into bake off wednesday...

as you may well know every wednesday Fran and i battle it out at work with baked goods, filling the stomachs of our colleagues after a long evening.

the bake off has recently started and its taking the nation by storm once again. this in all honesty is the first year i've actually set it up to record, the other series i've watched snippets of...but shhhhhhh don't tell John! (i did watch that series the night before the bloggers bake day!)

i've been thinking about entering the competition myself for a little while now but i've always been a little concerned that there would be a lot of stuff i wouldn't have tried before, but as everyone at work is hooked on the show we decided to turn cake wednesday into bake off wednesday!

every tuesday night i watch the show and attempt to create something from the show on the wednesday morning to take in for my shift.

so far its going really well! the victoria sponge went down a storm,sadly i didn't get a picture of went that quickly! But never fear i made another cake to show you for Emma's belated birthday. i've also tackled 2 types of bread and i have just finished a batch of madeleines.

i'm going to sort out the recipes and get them on later on today.




Total Saving