Wednesday 14 October 2020

Rainbow Bagels - Great British Bake Off

How bright and cheerful these rainbow bagels are! But what are rainbow bagels and how do you make them?

The Great British Bake Off put rainbow bagels in the spotlight in bread week and there was some controversy after Paul Hollywood suggested they represent the NHS. In fact these brightly coloured bagels - which are just regular bagels with food colouring - originated in New York and there were queues down the street outside creator Scott Rossillo’s Bagel Store when they hit the big time (i.e. Instagram) in 2016. Later they moved to London’s Brick Lane, which if you have been there you will know is bagel-central. But do they have anything to do with the NHS? Well no - they are more commonly seen as a symbol of Gay Pride and the LGBT+ community.

Either way, my two year old daughter loves all things rainbow and thought these were brilliant!

 Since they featured as the technical challenge in GBBO there is a recipe on the website. This is the one I followed and I found them quite easy to make - or so I thought because they didn’t exactly turn out perfectly but they tasted pretty good!

They are more time consuming than difficult as you have to add food colouring to five separate pieces of the dough and knead it in. Layering and twisting each piece was good fun and I thought they looked great even if mine weren’t as neon bright as the ones on the TV.

Did you know that you briefly plunge bagels into a pan of boiling water before baking them in the oven? This is what gives the bread it’s shiny outer crust but makes sure they stay chewy in the middle. I actually made these before watching the relevant GBBO episode and it was onto when I watched it the next day that I heard the judges explain that if the bagels spend too long in the water they get a wrinkled effect instead of a hard shiny crust, which is what mine had - the wrinkles that is!

Apparently the water needs to be simmering not boiling. I also don’t think I kneaded the dough enough (for some reason I decided to do it by hand rather than using my Kitchenaid) and I also left the bagels too long to prove as I was making these in stages around doing other things! So in a way it was actually surprising that they turned out so well! Here is a picture of the inside:

If you are baking along with GBBO and have made these or fancy having a go, let me know!

Saturday 3 October 2020

London's best doughnut? Doughnut Time review

Something about lockdown has made me start thinking about doughnuts a lot. You just can’t get them with your online grocery order – which is making me want them even more. For some reason, the fresh bakery items like a fresh unsliced loaf of bread or a simple doughnut doesn’t seem to be an option. I’ve even been browsing websites like Krispy Kreme and Doughnut Time to see what they can deliver, then deciding I shouldn’t be bulk buying that sort of thing at the moment anyway!

But it reminded me of when I started my new job and found a doughnut shop called Doughnut Time.

It’s right up there with the super-indulgent once in a blue moon treat – they look so calorific and are also pretty expensive, as far as doughnuts go - £4.50 each when you can get a pack of five for under a quid from supermarkets. But these are not your average supermarket doughnut, and indeed they are (in my opinion) a cut above Krispy Kreme, which until now I thought was the gold standard of doughnuts (mass produced ones, anyway).

Doughnut Time’s doughnuts are big – and I mean massive. They even sell a sharing size one for £17 that would be a good alternative for a birthday cake – but I think their regular sized ones would easily do two people.

The doughnuts themselves are light and springy with just the right amount of chewiness – really good. But it’s the toppings where they come into their own, complete with quirky puns for names.

For instance:

Bellatwix Lestrange – topped with chocolate glaze, biscuit crumb, chocolate flakes, caramel drizzle and a Twix

Apple Crumble & Fitch -a vegan offering with an apple pie filling covered in caramel glaze and Lotus Biscoff crumble

Bueno Mars – Hazelnut cream filling, milk and dark chocolate glaze with Nutella, wafer and Kinder Bueno pieces

Stranger Rings 2.0 – chocolate glazed doughnut with Oreo crumbs, Nutella and glitter              

Ruby Rose – strawberry glaze, filled with strawberry cheesecake, topped with marshmallows, wafers, raspberries and a ruby KitKat.

The shop window literally stops passers-by in their tracks and inside the shop is basically just a tiny counter with space for about two people to pay and take the doughnuts away (they provide boxes). (NB – I haven’t been here since before COVID; they have about a dozen stores that are open around London at the moment and they advise you follow them on Instagram to find out which stores are currently open).

I’ve actually been here three times now, and have tried the Ruby Rose and the Bueno Mars – both amazing but the former seems lighter due to the cheesecake and the flavour, which is a good thing, and my husband has had the Stranger Rings 2.0 and Ice Ice Bae Bae – vanilla buttercream, vegan cookie pieces, chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate chips. I didn’t even bother telling him this one was vegan as I knew he’d love the cookie dough! We also had their Valentine's special - I can't remember what it was called but it wasn't as good as the Bruno Mars!

Did I mention that they do a DIY kit to decorate your doughnut at home – the doughnuts are of course provided. I may have to treat myself soon….