I hope you are all enjoying the glimpses of spring we have got in the last few days. If you missed my biscuit bouquet for Valentine’s Day in my last post, you can catch up with it here.
In this post, I want to start off a new series for my blog – Musical Bakes. Musical Theatre has a very special place in my heart. Since I was very young, I have been dazzled by the stories and songs of musicals and they have had a very strong effect on me. I have often said that I have ‘affairs’ with different shows, as they become the only thing I can think about and then disappear again in a puff of smoke.
However, lyrics and stories are always with me, inspiring the things I do and sprucing up the mundane moments of life by allowing me to live vicariously through them. In my Musical Bake series, I want to share with you recipes that I have been inspired to make by shows, as well as putting my own spin on one of the songs from them so you can have something to listen to while you bake. I also hope it might inspire you to find out more about the shows yourself and to share the stories and songs through baking the bakes for family and friends.
The first show I have chosen to begin this series with is 42nd Street. I was lucky enough to catch the brilliant revival at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, a couple of weeks ago and I would recommend getting a ticket before it leaves town if you have the chance. With music by Harry Warren, the show follows the story of a young chorus girl from the sticks who dreams of starring in a Broadway show. It charts her journey through dramatic divas and helpful cast mates to eventually perform and star in ‘Pretty Lady.’ A real love letter to the golden age of musicals, it has songs such as ‘We’re in the Money’ and ‘Go into your Dance’ as well as the eponymous ’42nd Street.’
Inspired by the show, I have come up with ‘Spicy Sunshine Tear & Share Bread’ to accompany the song, ‘There’s a Sunny Side to Every Situation.’ This song comes at the very beginning of Act Two and is sung by the enormous cast in their individual dressing rooms. I think it encapsulates the showbiz spirit of ‘The show must go on!’ and the brilliantly funny lyrics make you see the funny side of things even when the world seems impossible.
The recipe has a base of my white bread dough but has the addition of a spicy tomato paste filling – not unlike harissa – that makes it extra tasty. And with some simple but effective twisting makes it look very impressive. It is also very adaptable as you can change the filling to suit your tastes – as long as the filling isn’t too runny or wet to change the texture of the dough!
So, without further ado, here is the recipe and my cover of ‘Sunny Side to Every Situation’….
Click play and get baking!
Spicy Sunshine Tear & Share Bread
Inspired by 42nd Street
500g Strong White Bread Flour
7g Easy Bake Yeast
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
300ml Warm Water
25g Soft Butter
3 tbsp Tomato Paste (I used Vine Ripened Tomato Paste from M & S)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
An egg yolk
A large mixing bowl
A wooden spoon
A shower hat or cling film
A large baking tray
A sharp bread or serrated knife
A large tumbler or glass
A rolling pin
A tea towel
A pastry brush
A Wire Rack
How to make the bake
- Start by making the dough. Put the flour, salt and sugar into the large bowl and mix together before adding the soft butter. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it has disappeared into crumbs. Then, add the warm water and mix together into a dough.
- Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a clean work surface and knead together for 10 minutes until the dough has become stretchy and soft. Oil the bowl and then leave the dough to rise for an hour or so until it has doubled its size under the shower hat or cling film.
- When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back by punching all the air out of it. Cut into two, take one half of the dough and roll into a circle. (ESB Top Tip : You can use the loose base of a cake tin as a guide – I used one that was about 7 or 8 inchs wide. Manage the dough like a pizza by gently stretching from the outside to allow it not to shrink back to the size it was before.)
- Do the same to the other half of the dough and move one circle onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Mix together the tomato paste and spices in a small bowl and spread on top of the first circle on the tray in a thin layer. Spread to about 1 cm away from the edge, then brush around the edge with water before placing the other circle of dough on top and pressing gently around the edges to seal.
- Take the tumbler or glass and flour the rim. Place in the centre of the circle and press down gently to make an imprint, but not so hard you break through the dough. Then take the sharp knife and cut the ring of dough around the imprinted centre into quarter segments. Cut each of the four sections in half, and then in half again to leave you with 16 pieces in total. Take each section and twist it three times and place back on the tray again. Repeat with each section until all the sections are twisted.
- Take the tumbler off the dough and leave to prove for 30 minutes under a clean tea towel. Preheat the oven to 170’C.
- When the proving time is up, separate the egg and use the yolk to brush over the dough to give the finished bread a burnished look. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you tap it and it is a rich golden colour.
- When the loaf is baked, take off the tray with the greaseproof and leave to cool on a wire rack before enjoying as part of a picnic or any special meal.
Thank you for popping by blog to read my first Musical Bake. I hope you enjoyed it and do let me know if you are inspired to make it yourself on Instagram with the hashtag #esbmusicalbakes.
I look forward to seeing you next time for more tuneful baking but in the meantime,
English Singing Baker x