So, on Tuesday night we lost Lucy from The Great British Bake Off because her showstopper bread wasn’t zany or imaginative enough (though personally I liked the sound of her heritage apple sourdough starter, anyone know how to start one of those off?). Even the more “creative” ideas like the Paul the Octopus Tribute Loaf were frowned upon for lacking originality in the actual make-up of the loaf. To help any would-be bakers avoid making such white bread faux-pas in future series, I’ve come up with some suggestions for loaves inspired by stuff I’ve read in books and, while I can’t promise they’ll taste all that great, I can promise that Paul and Mary will never have seen the like of it.
The Metaphysical Muffin
Right up Ruby’s street as a Philosophy student, the key to a good metaphysical loaf is to assemble your most fundamental particles. To some, this may mean flour, water and yeast but you have four hours to consider whether these are the most fundamental particles that you could assemble or could they be reduced even further to a sort of universal matter? When this is done, arrange the particles in a breadwise fashion. Or don’t. Because really, what is the difference between the components of bread and the loaf itself? To extend this concept for a show stopper, you should exemplify the Lumpl and Goliath problem by serving a lump of dough, half a loaf and a soggy mush where you’ve tried to turn the other half of the loaf back into dough. You could even claim the half-baked loaf was your contingent-cy plan.
Jack and The Giant’s Bone-crusher Bloomer
The competition is hotting up in the Great British Bake Off Kitchen and you can’t count on talent alone to carry you through to the next round. What kind of idiot steps into the tent without a decent game plan? This loaf takes a little extra planning, but with a little effort, you can eliminate your closest rival from the competition. Fee, fie, foe, fum; I won’t bore you with the details, but you’re going to have to spend quite a bit of time with a pestle and mortar grinding their bones to flour. Now, something to consider here is that flour made from human bones is lacking in gluten, so you may have to adjust your other ingredients accordingly and knead extra hard to ensure that the bread proves properly. Even then, Hollywood is bound to complain of issues with your crumb structure but it’ll be worth it to watch Mary Berry’s queasy face as she brings out the conciliatory, “But it has a lovely flavour.”
Squirrel Nutkin’s Soda Bread Surprise
Soda bread is a nice, versatile recipe which you can add a number of ingredients to, making it an ideal medium to experiment with a bread version of the “magic in the middle” surprise that seems to be very in vogue with cakes in the bake-off. Dip some nuts in sleeping powder, and lay them out in the grounds of the Bake Off tent until you have caught that pesky squirrel who seems intent upon stealing the limelight from the bakers with his collection of nuts. Do the necessaries (we’ve all seen Master Chef) and lightly spatchcook his carcass to ensure that your final loaf has an even bake before kneading him into the final loaf and using his tail as an embellishment. That’ll teach the fluffy little b*****d to try upstaging you.
Dr Gonzo’s Herby Breadsticks
Sure to add some snap and crackle to your day, Dr Gonzo’s cannabis and mescaline infused breadsticks, are not strictly speaking legal… well, they’re not legal at all in fact, though yummy mummies on the show and viewing at home may be relieved to hear that they are derived from entirely natural sources. But try telling that to the judges as they rampage through the tent, running from the anthropomorphized squirrels or hiding borrow style in a contestant’s lovingly constructed matchbox prop. Be it a custodial sentence or total anarchy, one way or another, this recipe will stop the show.