With the exception of talking to pretty girls I’m not someone who generally suffers from a lack of confidence – that is to say, when I come across something I’ve never done before I usually take the cocky attitude that I’ll probably do it quite well.
I wasn’t familiar with Rum Babas before last weeks challenge and thought I did ok with it. For this week’s challenge I wasn’t even consuming alchohol when watching the show on Tuesday so I was able to pickup on some of the details and it didn’t look all that hard . I like making bread and over the last couple of months I’ve probably made 6 or 8 loaves and whilst the plaiting looked a little complex I was sure I’d figure it out. I checked the recipe during the week and it’s a faily basic white loaf, all of the ingredients for which I already had in my cupboard – no shopping required for this challenge. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/eight-strand_plaited_57815)
As I’d gotten my Rum Baba entry in to our little online competition very late I decided to have a go at this week’s challenge a day earlier and bake on Saturday even thought I’d a 10 mile race on that morning.
I headed in to the Phoenix Park bright and early that morning passing the crowds on their way to the Tall Ships on the Quays. I ran my race and set a new PB and came home fairly tired and chuffed with myself.
Long story short I ate my goodie bag, took another look at the recipe and thought it wasn’t going to take too long so I might as well leave it til Sunday.
I spent the rest of Saturday sitting around watching TV and didn’t end up starting on the bread until well in to Sunday afternoon.
As I said the actual bread dough recipe is really basic and didn’t cause me any problems so I’ll skip over this stage…
I arrived at the plaiting stage without incident and with the instructions written out clearly next to me I began!
Something just wasn’t looking right half way though.
The top of my loaf was a very thick bundle of ‘threads’ and no matter how I tired to get the strands of bread neat and tight it just wasn’t happening for me.
I ended up with this after my first attempt and immediatley started a new batch of dough before I’d even baked the first one. At this stage the clock was ticking on in to Sunday evening and the loaf needs to be proved twice for an hour each time…this was not going well.
I took no photos of this loaf baked and even if I had I wouldn’t share them online!
I tried my best the second time around but I still found that the ends of the plait were very thick and untidy…so I cheated. The photos below have the two ends of the loaf sliced off and formed in to quite a sizeable rounded mini loaf. This wasn’t in the instructions and wasn’t what the contestants did in the show. It was late on Sunday and I basically admitted defeat, cheated and went to bed. The finished loaf looks nice enough but wouldn’t look anything like this if I hadn’t put it under the knife with some cosmetic surgery before baking.
So what started off as a challenge I was confident with ended with two botched attempts and a serious bit of cheating! I hope I can get the energy and courage up to try this again some time but for now I’ll have to try and put it aside and face the next challenge with a bit more caution and a lot more prep and planning!