Monthly Archives: October 2014

BAKO Bonfire night warmers

20 October, 2014

Not only is Halloween in our midst but Bonfire night is drawing closer. The BAKO team can’t think of a better time to add some spark to your menu and add some real winter warmers to fire up your customers during Guy Fawkes night.

Campfire cupcakes

Forget the tradition of toasting marshmallows by the bonfire, why not add them to the top of an indulgent chocolate cupcake? Replace the buttercream on top of your cupcakes with some marshmallows and return to the oven for a further few minutes until the marshamallow has started to toast and the centre is gooey. Also why not try sprinkling some popping candy onto the gooey marshmallow so that your customers really experience the exploding effect in their mouths, in keeping with the fireworks.


Toffee apple treats

It wouldn’t be Bonfire night without sticky toffee apples, but how about letting your customers create their own unique twist on the tradition? After coating the toffee apples in the rich toffee sauce, provide your customers with a variety of different toppings to coat their apples in so they can choose their own flavour, from chopped nuts to popping candy and chocolate chips.


Another innovative idea would be to create a deconstruction of this traditional treat. Serve a variety of dipping sauces from butterscotch, to toffee, to chocolate and honey, alongside sliced apples so your customers can dunk into these indulgent sauces.


Or why not add the toffee apple flavours to other bakes such as toffee apple muffins or cookies?

Smokey BBQ Pulled Pork

Add the smokey bonfire flavours to your menu with some smoked BBQ pulled pork. Coat your pork shoulder with your BBQ glaze then slow-roast for soft, tender meat that just falls apart. Served on a crusty roll with homemade slaw, this will definitely warm your customers up around the bonfire.

bbq pulled pork sandwich sliders

Bonfire Baked Potatoes

There’s nothing like the art of roasted, fluffy spuds with a crisp skin to please a crowd. Cheap and cheerful they are great served with beans or sausages on a cold night or add more indulgent fillings such as chilli with sour cream and melted cheese and crispy bacon. Or add a comforting BBQ bean casserole to the menu; a real crowd pleaser that is also a great accompaniment to jacket potatoes.



There’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of soup on a cold night. Treat your chilly customers to a warming bowl of soup, served with a crusty bread roll, or how about try serving your soup in a crusty cob as the bowl? Create real Autumnal flavours by adding spices such as cinnamon and ginger to your soups.

Butternut quash soup in a bread bowl

Pies and Pasties

Pies, pasties and sausage rolls are definitely a more convenient option to add to the menu for those busy customers who are in a hurry to get to a firework display but they still provide that warming Northern treat that we so famously love.


Warming drinks

Warming indulgent drinks will definitely be enjoyed around the bonfire so why not create deluxe hot chocolates made from warm milk with a solid chocolate stick to stir in and melt. Top with marshmallows or with the addition of a cinnamon stick to provide a subtle spicy flavour that will definitely keep your customers warm.
Gourmet Hot Chocolate Milk

If you think there are any Bonfire Night treats that we’ve missed or you’ll be whipping up something different, do let us know on Twitter. 

Best of the Bake Off … continued

9 October, 2014


Week Seven in the tent saw the bakers tested on all kinds of weird and wonderful pastries. The remaining bakers were asked to make signature savoury parcels, ranging from pasties to wellingtons and samosas.


For the first time in the tent the technical challenge threw the bakers into unknown territory with a recipe, that for the first time ever in Bake Off history, none of the bakers had heard of. Paul’s recipe for kouign amann not only tested the bakers’ ability but also their patience as it was a three-and-a-half-hour challenge, involving only 6 ingredients. Made like a puff pastry, the butter must be folded into layers and chilled repeatedly before sugar is added at the final stage, which is crucial to the overall rise of the pastry. Do you think you have the patience and technical ability to turn your hand to Paul’s challenge?


Advanced Dough

The quarter-finals of the Bake Off saw the five remaining bakers face advanced dough. They had already proved what they could do with dough earlier in the series, but they now faced an even tougher week with three kinds of enriched dough.

The bakers were asked to make a sweeter alternative with enriched sweet fruit loaves for their signature challenge, and another European bake called Povitica for the technical, which is a cross between a bread and a pastry filled with a hidden design of swirls of cinnamon and walnuts.


The showstopper set the bakers the challenge to create extraordinary versions of the classic treat, doughnuts. Flavours included rhubarb and custard, toffee apple, raspberry mojito and Irish crème. What lip licking flavours do you think would impress your customers?


The Semi-Final – Patisserie

The Semi-Finals saw tensions rise in the tent as the bakers unleashed their inner patissier. The signature bake challenged the semi-finalists to make two different types of baklava in their own flavour choices. The key to mastering the baklava is to get the layers of filo pastry as thin as possible to get that signature crispy puff. Which flavour choices would you create to entice your customers to taste this Turkish treat?

The penultimate technical challenge of the series focussed on even more layers as the bakers were asked to create one of the trickiest German cakes: the schichttorte. Paul even got onto bended knee to count exactly how many layers each baker managed to achieve. The tricky bake is known for the unusual way it is cooked under the grill to create 20 layers of different coloured sponge.

The bar was raised even higher than usual in the showstopper challenge as the bakers fought for a place in the final, showing off as many skills and techniques as possible. As any pastry chef will know, the key to great patisserie in elegance, and the final four were asked to bake non-stop to create two elegant entremets.

After Richard was named star baker for the fifth week running, the semi-finals sadly saw Chetna leave the tent, and left the question on everyone’s lips…. Who will be the winner of the Great British Bake off 2014?


The Grand Final

The nail-biting moment we’ve all been waiting for finally arrived last night! The grand final saw Nancy, Richard and Luis battle it out to become Great British Bake Off champion – surely the ultimate honour for any baker?

It was neck and neck after the signature bake round, challenging the finalists to turn out two types of perfectly puffed Viennoiserie. Though all three successfully achieved the signature flaky pastry layers, a few soggy fillings and questionable flavour combinations meant no one had taken the lead just yet.

On to round two, the technical challenge put the bakers’ time management skills to the test, asking them to master miniature Victoria sponges, zingy tartes au citron and classic British scones in just two hours. It was the lemon tarts that split the pack, with Nancy’s immaculate creations beating Luis’ too-thick pastry and Richard’s curdled filling, described by Mary as ‘sweet scrambled egg!’

Last but not least, the showstopper promised to be the crème-de-la-crème of Bake Off challenges, with each of the contestants combining all their baking skills to turn out one incredible edible centrepiece.

All three will definitely be proud of what they created. Paul described Luis’ tribute to mining home-town Poynton, complete with choux cogwheel chain, as ‘a piece of art’. Richard’s layer cake, croquembouche and praline windmill was technically perfect and full of flavour. Nancy’s tribute to the Moulin Rouge went one step further with red-tinted caramel windmill sails that actually turned.

In the end though, the tarte au citron fiasco came back to haunt Luis and Richard, as Nancy was crowned the well-deserving series five winner.

Who’s tempted to follow in her footsteps by entering next year’s Great British Bake Off?

Look back at BAKO’s recap of the first half of the Great British Bake Off series five.

Highlights from Craft Bakers Week

7 October, 2014

Last week saw bakers from across the country try and tempt customers into their bakeries to support @CraftBakersWeek for another year. Along with a host of activities including bakery tours and competitions, bakers also aimed to raise awareness and funds for the charity Make-A-Wish Foundation UK. If all the above wasn’t tempting enough, the famous ‘Baker Brothers’, Tom and Henry Herbert, were also involved in getting the country to ‘Love their Baker’.

BAKO were proud to be supporting Craft Bakers week for another year, and you can see our highlights from the week below.

The team at BAKO_NW, including Barry, are already looking forward to what next year has in store. We’d love to hear from bakers in our Twitter community: how you have celebrated this year’s Craft Bakers’ Week?