Birthdays – cake update

Well as I said yesterday I am going to have a hectic weekend baking 2 cakes and pizza, focaccia and goodness knows what else.

I said that I’d post a picture of my first cake if it went well and I think it looks ok. It is¬†a chocolate orange marble cake covered in chocolate buttercream and dark and white chocolate swirls.

Here is the photo:

Corinne's birthday cake

Not bad. It looks quite impressive (I think) and the only criteria was that it looked good so I hope it fits the bill.

Well better go as I have pizza dough to get ready for this evening…

Updated pic to include the inside of the cake as requested (it was quite delicious by the way and she definitely enjoyed the wow factor:

Corinne's birthday cake post party!!

My first book!!

Well folks I have actually written my first book. This has been a real labour of love for me and was sparked off by friends and family nagging me! So I took some time out, took loads of pictures and compiled what I think is a pretty good book showing you all the fundamentals required to bake great bread at home.

I have written it so that it will (hopefully) appeal to experienced bakers and novices alike.

I have published the book on Amazon kindle and will be branching out and selling on other platforms in the future.

To have a look: (UK readers click here)

                           (International readers click here)

Рand if you like it please free to buy it :P.

I would ask you all to please have a look at least and if anyone does borrow/buy it I would love some constructive feedback.

I am not a writer or salesperson, just a passionate baker who believes that good bread should be an important part of our lives and am trying in my own little way to do just that.

Use your loaf!

Right, enough about that. My next post will be about my “pimped” Victoria sponge. Till then…

Pizza dough

Hi folks,

I have been asked by a few people for my pizza dough recipe so here it is:

This amount of dough will make 4 25cm pizzas.

350g strong white bread flour

350g plain white flour OR 350g semolina flour

7g fast yeast

14g salt

455ml warm water

1tbsp olive oil

This dough is slightly wetter than normal as it has a higher water content (65% instead of the normal 60%) so it is a bit more fiddly to knead. Knead for 5-10 minutes then leave to rise for approx 45 minutes. Knock the dough back and divide into 4. Shape them into a round then roll them out – they will be slightly sticky to touch so you may need to be liberal with the flour – again I use a mix of plain and semolina flour.

It is best to bake pizza in a fiercely hot oven so whilst they are proving turn your oven on full and place baking stones or your heaviest baking sheets to heat up. I then take the stone out of the oven, place the dough onto the stone and add the toppings quickly before returning to the oven.

This recipe will easily make 4 dinner plate sized “thin and crispy” style pizza bases or 3 more “deep pan” style. If you need to make more or less, remember to work to the baker’s percentage but use 65% water instead.

For a nice tomato sauce, roast 500g tomatoes (cut in half) with 2-4 garlic cloves and olive oil for 30-45 minutes in an oven set to 180oC/Gas Mark 4. When cooked smash it all up and add a large handful of freshly chopped basil and a splash of Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar. Rub it all through a sieve to get a great full flavoured tomato sauce for your pizza.

Enjoy!

Baking stones

Well I finally got around to buying a couple of new baking stones last week and boy what a difference! I had forgotten how much difference baking on a stone makes. It is the nearest thing to creating the fierce heat from a wood fired oven in your kitchen.

Using a stone ensures that you get a great crispy base but more importantly you get a fantastic oven spring, far better than you can get on a baking sheet. I used them on Saturday to bake numerous pizzas with assorted toppings and the ones I used came with a metal stand so you could use them to serve the pizza straight from the oven whilst keeping the pizza warm. This went down really well with the kids!

You can get a great pizza stone here and here are a couple of good books for creating great pizza.

Pizza dough is easy to make and is so much better than shop bought. I tend to make mine with half strong flour and half plain flour or half semolina flour for a more authentic base.

On Sunday I baked some rolls – topped with cheese and a few topped with sesame seeds. They were so light and delicious!

I have to say that my baking stones have reinvigorated my passion for baking and if you don’t have one you really are missing out. So go on…treat yourself to one and you won’t regret it.