The Great British Baking Show: Walton Edition, Episode 2 – Italian Week

Italian Week was a delicious success! From the top left going clockwise we have Mark’s fantastic stromboli, Dan’s homemade gnocchi in parmesan cream sauce, Mandy’s outstanding crème brûlée, and my extremely disappointing sun dried tomato pesto breadsticks. By unanimous agreement, Mandy won Star Baker!

I was really happy with the way these look on my cheese board, but their arrangement is the only thing I was satisfied with. My original batch literally melted into a puddle of goo in the oven and I needed a backup fast, so I got some Kroger crescent roll dough and used that instead. HUGE mistake. Despite the steam bath, the exterior never crusted properly, and the dough was so soft that it started losing it’s shape before I could finish putting in the pesto.They were a disaster. From now on I will make my own dough.

Not content with simply supplying the Star Baker entry, Mandy also made a batch of caramel apple tarts/cookies as an experiment. To our great delight, the experiment was a resounding success. The crisped caramel provided a fantastic snap to the dough, and the ratio of filling to crust was spot on. Mandy has proved herself a force to contend with!

Despite the fact that these were shameful breadsticks, I did learn something from the experience. When making twists in breadsticks, more is better. These were roughly 10 inches each, and I tried four twists in my first batch. Most of those just fell apart in the oven. The next batch I put 8 twists in each and they were much more stable and held together better once cooled. I think from now on when I make twists in dough, I will aim for one twist per inch. That seems about right.

Until next time, bon appétit!

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