Opinion Post – #RomBakeOff Weeks 7 & 8

Welcome back to #RomBakeOff and my adventures in GF baking as inspired by the Great British Bake Off, (GBBO). I have to admit I didn’t exactly follow the schedule for the past two weeks. Week 7 was supposed to be Mini Pear Pies, poached pears wrapped in puff pastry as seen here and Week 8 was supposed to be Egg Custard Tarts. I had a bad experience with cooked pears in college once and I really haven’t eaten them since then so last week I decided I would attempt a different bake but one that still involved puff pastry. The one which caught my eye Kouign amann. I thought they looked absolutely beautiful during the GBBO episode and I also thought if I was able to pull these off in a GF version I should be able to make GF Croissants (my ultimate goal).

The first time I attempted to make a laminated dough (layers of dough and butter) I failed so badly after my first taste everything was dumped into the bin. [spoiler]I have learned over the past year or so that some GF bakes, specifically ones with yeast tend to need more protein to hold their structure so I thought I would add an additional flour to the recipe. I also remembered that baking powder is used to provide some lift assistance because the liquids and fats absorb at different rates then they do with wheat flour. I also knew I would need some xantham gum for structure but I had to be careful because too much would make my pastry rubbery instead of flaky.[/spoiler] I used Paul Hollywood’s basic recipe, substituted a 4:1 ratio of GF flour and sorghum flour, added baking powder, xantham gum, and then went to work. I decided to split the sugar in thirds because the recipe called for sprinkling three separate times.

Mixing bowl with all dough ingredients.
Ready to mix
Ball of dough in greased bowl
Soft as a baby’s bottom

My first thought when I dumped the dough out and shaped it into a ball is that this dough felt like real dough. I mean the expression smooth like a baby’s bottom was accurate. I was so happy I wanted to cry because I haven’t felt that texture while baking since the last time I made a dough with wheat flour. I also had a lot of fun bashing my block of butter into rectangular submission. Then I started with the laminating process.

Dough with butter catty-corner
Ready to envelop the butter packet
Dough and butter folded into thirds.
Successfully completed 1 turn

I don’t have as many pictures this time because my rolling pin skills need some work and I couldn’t let the dough get too warm or my butter would melt and I would lose all of my layers. But with each successive turn the dough felt better and better. I could also start to see the butter and dough remaining mostly separate which was a huge relief. My dough wasn’t cracking during the folds which I thought was another good sign.

pastries in the oven ready to bake
Ready to bake
6 pastries in a circle on a wire cooling rack
Ooh I see layers

When I cut the dough to make the individual pastries I was so pleased to see that I actually had layers. I should have moved a little faster or cheated and briefly rechilled the dough before cutting and placing in the muffin tin but I wasn’t complaining because some of them turned out looking pretty good. Then it was time for the taste test.

Fresh berries, butterscotch pudding and GF Kouign amanns
A Trio of Delights

Layers – check
Flakiness – check
Flavor – check
Happy dance – check

Even now, over a week later I am still stoked that this was a success.

Due to my lack of rolling skills and inaccurate measuring, I ended up with some scraps of dough leftover so this weekend I thought I would try croissants again. Lets just say they are much better then the first attempt but still not picture worthy. However, I think this recipe can be adapted to make croissants. If you are interested in how other bakers did this weekend check out the hashtag #RomBakeOff on Twitter and Instagram. My previous bakes can be found here:
Week 6 | Week 5 | Week4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1

2 thoughts on “Opinion Post – #RomBakeOff Weeks 7 & 8”

  1. I am happy for you. Those look really good. It’s got to be difficult attempting to bake something with layers of butter and dough when the dough doesn’t want to work.

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