The Secrets of the Beechworth Bakery by Tom O’Toole with Lowell Tarling and Matthew McLaurin book styles itself as both a cookbook and a self help book. In fact Dymocks (the link above) has the book in their “Biographies and Autobiographies” when they have it in stock. This book has been superseded by “MORE Secrets of the Beechworth Bakery“, so if you really want this book, I’d start there.
In amongst all the recipes in the book are little words of wisdom on how to cook, how to live, and how to enjoy oneself. I do feel that the snippets of said wisdom are for those with the privilege to postpone cooking until one feels that they would really enjoy it, so not for those with little money who have to cook to feed others, or even for those who are feeling depressed and are not enjoying life – because I think those snippets would be both patronising and unhelpful.
This book could also have done with a better editor. Several times in the book there were obvious typos, such as “sprea X on Y”, and about “being inspire” by something. There are also a lot of assumptions about what ingredients to use. For example, with the quiche it said to use 3/4 cup of cheese – no suggestion as to what type of cheese – which is ok, but not to say that the cheese should be grated, crumbled, creamed, or just a slab of cheese. This cookbook does style itself on being one to teach people how to cook the types of things that are made in the Beechworth Bakery, but the level of assumed knowledge is very high. The lack of suggestions as to how big the quiche pie dish should be was also a problem, as you will see in the notes. All in all, I give this 2 out of 5 stars.
Hot Cross Buns
- Plain Flour – 1 3/4 cups
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Improver – 1 teaspoon
- Gluten – 1 teaspoon
- Castor Sugar – 3 teaspoon
- Yeast – 3 teaspoon
- All spice – 1 teaspoon
- Mixed spice – 1 teaspoon
- Nutmeg – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon
- Butter – 3 teaspoons
- Warm water – 3/4 cup
- Sultans – 1/3 cup
- Currants – 1/3 cup
- Mixed peel (optional) – 1/4 cup
- Corn flour – 1/2 cup
- Castor sugar – 2 tablespoons
- Water – 3 – 4 tablespoons
- Pre-heat oven to 190C
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (except fruit)
- Add butter and warm water
- Mix to form a dough, turn out onto lightly floured table or board; knead to form a smooth dough – 3 to 5 minutes
- Place in lightly floured bowl and rest for 15 minutes
- Remove from the bowl and press out on lightly floured board. Adding fruit, knead together for 3 minutes or until fruit is mixed in.
- Allow to rest of 10 minutes
- Divide into 6 even pieces. Roll into balls and place onto greased oven tray. Allow room for them to double in size. Prove (rest) for 30 minutes.
- Make up cross mix (combine all ingredients until they form a stiff paste). Pipe on top of buns with 1 cm piping tube (or a freezer bag with a corner cut off).
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 190C
- Remove from oven and glaze with glazing syrup (below).
- Castor sugar – 1/2 cup
- Water – 2 tablespoons
- All spice – 1/2 teaspoon
- Place in saucepan on stove and stir until rolling boil. Paint on buns while hot.
Notes on this recipe:
- I’ve had better hot cross buns from Coles and Woolworths. These really didn’t work for me. I think that if the fruit had been soaked prior to making these buns, making it more juicier, it would have improved the flavour and texture substantially. Also these buns were crumbly and not at all bread like. I’m guessing that’s because it wasn’t kneaded enough, though I did stick with the kneading instructions provided.
- I don’t know what I did wrong with the cross mixture, but mine turned into a non-Newtonian fluid which was a fun science experiment, but not what I was aiming for.
Prepare the Basic Pie Base recipe (see below) and roll out to 1cm thick and line pie dish or flan tin.
- Spinach – 40g
- Cheese – 3/4 cup
- Diced onion – 1/2 cup
- Fresh diced tomato – 1/2 cup
- Parsley – 2 teaspoons
- Eggs @ 50g – 2
- Milk – 1/3 cup
- Cream – 1/3 cup
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
- Mix together group 1 and place in pie dish
- Whisk together group 2 and pour over group 1 in pie dish
- Bake in oven at 200C for 50 – 60 minutes or until cooked
Pastry (I’m going to seriously modify this recipe)
- Plain flour – 1 3/4 cup
- Margarine – 2/3 cup
- Milk – 1 cup
- Plain flour – 2 cups
- Salt – 2 teaspoons
- Put group 1 into a food processor with the blade attachment inserted. Blend until it looks like breadcrumbs
- Add milk and blend to form a smooth paste
- Add group 3 to the food processor and blend until it forms a solid mass.
- Carefully remove from food processor and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rest for 10 – 15 minutes in a cool space (can be refrigerated)
- Roll out to 0.5cm to suit your pie dish.
- Place in greased pie dish
Notes on this recipe:
- Nowhere in this recipe does it suggest the size of the pie dish to use for the quiche. I had three egg whites left from dinner the night before as well as the two eggs the quiche calls for, and there was not enough egg. Judge carefully how much egg you are likely to need for your quiche and use that.
- You’ll have more than enough pastry left at the end of making this quiche to make something else. I recommend an apple crumble (I’ll put up a recipe another time, but here is one you can start with). If making another pie, you may need to blind bake the base to stop it going soggy.
- I was confused by the cheese measurement, 3/4 cup of cheese, but should the cheese be grated, crumbled, creamed, etc. In the end I used some soft chilli cheese and crumbled approximately 3/4 cup of that. It worked, but more guidance to inexperienced cooks would be worthwhile.
- The recipe calls for 1cm thick pastry. Don’t do it. That’s really thick pastry and half that thickness will work perfectly fine
Cheese and Herb Scones
- Plain flour – 6 cups
- Margarine – 3/4 cup
- Castor Sugar – 1/2 cup
- Salt – 2 teaspoons
- Baking powder – 2 1/2 tablespoons
- milk – 2 12 cups
- Grated cheese – 2 cups
- Mixed herbs – 1 tablespoon
- Preheat oven to 180 – 190C
- Mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder. Rub margarine through
- Mix in milk to form a soft dough. Do not over mix
- Mix in two cups of grated cheese and mixed herbs.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes
- Roll out on lightly floured bench top/board, 20cm by 40cm (2 1/2 cm thick). Cut squares 6cm by 6cm
- Brush top with milk
- Place on greased tray allowing room to spread. Bake at 200C for 15 – 18 minutes.
Notes on the recipe:
- More evidence this book needs a good editor – preheat the oven to one temperature, bake at another with no explanation as to why
- Apparently these scones are for “all the cheese freaks out there. You know the type of people I mean. They get a cheese roll, cut it through the middle and add Camembert cheese.” No, these scones are slightly cheesy, but they are not cheesy scones. They need significantly more cheese, and a whole lot more flavour.
- And who adds sugar to savoury scones?
- My sister actually baked these and she brought along her standard cheese scones and they were properly cheesy, with herbs you could taste and a nice bite of cayenne. Maybe she’ll put the recipe in the comments.
- Oh and my sister has kindly reminded me that the cheese and herbs should go in with the flour and not be kneaded in afterward for optimum results.