Paul Hollywood’s Cob Loaf & Zumbo’s Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

Well, I’m taking a break from cake baking, as last weeks cake was horrible – even the raw batter was horrible. Instead I have moved onto bread.  Is there anything nicer than the smell of bread being baked? As real-estate agents know thrown a loaf of stale bread in the oven (damp, of course), turn it on and let the beautiful aroma waft through the house during an open home, and you have a higher chance of getting a sale. Mmmmh hot bread smell.  I swear  I put on a kilo just walking past a bakery sniffing that oh so yummy bread smell and make that two kilos when I head in and buy a freshly made bun!

 I haven’t really made bread before by hand. We had a bread machine.  Had being the optimal word as the MOTH and I enjoyed the fruits of the machine soooo much that we had to give the machine away as he was getting oh so slightly plump – maybe 1 kilo weight gain, while I ballooned and just got fatter and fatter!! Rather like watching a balloon inflate. I silently wept to see the machine go while my waist-line rejoiced. Now here I am about to tempt fate again. But at least there are only 3 bread recipes in Season One of The Great British Bake Off (TGBBO) to Cook. Paul’s Cob Loaf being the first.

Now according to the web site it comes with video instructions. I rejoiced!  Yeah – I could watch  “Paul Hollywood shows you how to make bread in a step-by-step video.” BUT alas NO!  – “This content is not available in your location” message came up. Dam!! There was something comforting in the thought of being able to watch Paul knead the dough.  Sigh….. So back to reading step by step instructions, and guessing if I was kneading the bread right.

Since there is a lot of down time when baking bread – two hours of proving time in total I decided that I would make Brownies as well. Something to fill in the two hours of waiting. Anyway I like brownies. I especially like eating the raw mixture. Sticky rich raw chocolate  brownie mixture  – mmmmmh.  I can see the kilos piling on.

 But which brownies to make??

In the end I decided on Adriano Zumbo Ultimate Brownie recipe. I have looked at his creations and recipes before. They are usually complex and have multiple steps and have left me shuddering with horror. But not so his brownie recipe. Anyone can make this! Even our cat Pippin could make it. Well maybe not – but you get the picture. This is a luscious, oh so decant brownie. This is a brownie that will make a statement at an afternoon tea. Add French Vanilla Ice-cream and fresh raspberry sauce to your warm brownie at a dinner party and your guests will swoon!  Indulge yourself – have it like this for afternoon tea – we did!!  I swooned. The MOTH swooned. Our daughter swooned.  Yep we all swooned!!!

 This is my type of brownie. It is delicious raw (licking out the bowl was a delight!). It is even more delicious cooked.  It is a brownie that you can adjust to suit you – if you don’t like nuts, add dried cranberries or dried apricots – why not both. Like raspberry then add a generous amount of them in. The base recipe is so versatile.  Thank you Zumbo!!

Base Rrecipe

1. Melt together 70g butter (cut into cubes) and 265g dark chocolate. Now Zumbo uses high quality couverture chocolate, but don’t worry Cadbury chocolate works just as well.

2. Add in 35g vegetable oil into chocolate mixture. Mix well.

3. Beat 3 eggs (room temperature) and mix into 265g brown sugar. Mix well.

4. Add egg & brown sugar mixture into chocolate  – fold together.

5. Sift together 45g plain flour, 35g cocoa, 5g baking powder and pinch salt.

6. Dump dry ingredients into chocolate mixture – fold together.

7. Fold in 85g sour cream.

8. Now add in what you fancy  (N.B.there are 3 steps to go – I am about to degress)

For my first batch I added: 185g of chopped mixed nuts (pecans, macadamia and walnuts) and dried cranberries to my first batch.  In my second I added the same amount of nuts and dried fruit plus 3 dried apricots (they were all I had!!!) then I added 85g  of white chocolate bits and 85g  of milk chocolate bits.

You could just add in frozen raspberries and chocolate bits. Like I said add in what you like.

9. Pour into a 20cm x 30cm tin lined with baking paper. Tip: Have a couple of cm hanging over the end of tin to make it easier to get the brownie out.

10. Put a good desert spoon of Nestle tinned caramel in each corner and in the middle of the mixture and gently swirl through with a fork.

11. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.  It may need a little longer.

I was able to make my first batch of brownies before needing to put the bread into the oven to bake. I made the second after the MOTH, Pansy (the dog), Pippin (the cat) – fed by the MOTH – and myself had had a wee snack of hot bread with lashings of butter and home-made plum jelly.  OMG! Yum, yum, yum. The MOTH makes the best jellies.

Overall the bread was a pass – it had a lovely golden, crusty, crunchy, crust (thanks to Paul’s tip of placing a roasting pan of water in the bottom of the oven). It had a hollow sound when I knocked on it’s bottom. But maybe it was a little dense? Maybe I didn’t  prove it 1st time round. Or was it over proved?? Maybe I didn’t kneed it enough? Really I have no idea. Where is Paul when you need a critique!? But anyway with butter and plum jelly who cares? We didn’t.

What I know is that we have eaten well today. Too well! As my father would have said I am “stuffed like a googy egg”. Time to waddle away from the brownie’s. Weeeellll maybe one more slice with a little raspberry sauce, and a smidge of ice-cream won’t hurt.  Happy baking!





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