Bake a bach
We may not all be able to afford our own bach but luckily we can have a go at making an edible one these holidays
Make this gorgeous Kiwi version of a classic gingerbread house
This gingerbread bach has us dreaming of Christmas and long summer days at the beach. Building this Kiwi version of a classic gingerbread house is something the whole family can enjoy – and when you’ve finished admiring it, you can eat it!
CUT OUT 4 TEMPLATE PIECES FROM CARD:
ROOF: 24cm x 22cm FRONT: 21.5cm x 12.5cm BACK: 21.5cm x 9.5cm SIDE: 17cm base x 12.5cm (tall side) x 9.5cm (short side). Draw from top of tallest side to top of shortest side to form the sloping top edge.
2 large eggs ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed 1/4 cup honey 3 cups flour 2 tsp ground ginger 4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice Grated zest 1 orange or lemon 2-3 tsp freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice
1 egg white 1½ cups icing sugar 3 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice 1-2 packets red liquorice straps, for roofing iron
1 Place the eggs and brown sugar in a stand mixer (or use a bowl and electric beaters). Beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy.
2 While eggs and sugar are beating, melt honey over gentle heat. Slowly add honey to egg mixture and continue beating until mixed through.
3 Sift flour and spices into a large bowl. Add grated orange or lemon zest and gently fold through with a spoon until evenly dispersed.
4 Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients. Fold through carefully until mixture starts coming together.
5 Add 2 tsp orange or lemon juice and continue to bring together. Using your hands, gently squeeze and push mixture together. It will be crumbly but should stick and hold together with some gentle kneading. If it’s still too dry, add another 1 tsp of juice. Shape dough into a ball.
6 Place in beeswax wrap, plastic wrap or a plastic bag and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
7 Preheat oven to 180°C fanbake. Lightly flour a clean bench.
8 Cut dough in half. Divide one half into 2 equal pieces. Cut remaining half into 1 large piece and 1 small piece (the small piece should be about a quarter of the size of the original half). You now have 4 dough pieces.
9 Take a silicone baking sheet (or sheet of baking paper the size of an oven tray), sprinkle with flour and place 1 of the equal-sized dough pieces on it. Sprinkle rolling pin with flour and roll out to about 5mm thick and big enough to fit the side template twice. Place side template on top and cut around edges. Flip template over and cut out the second side.
10 To create windows in the side pieces, use a sharp knife to make a central horizontal line about 4cm down from the top; this is the top of the window. Using a ruler, cut out 2 small rectangles, leaving a thin piece of gingerbread in the middle as your window frame. Score lightly all around the outer edge to create a frame.
11 Roll out other dough pieces, using 1 sheet of baking paper each, and cut out panels. The largest piece is for the roof. The smallest is for the back, the other piece is for the front. For the front, cut out a door and window, starting about 4cm down from top. Our door was 4cm x 8cm, and the window 4.5cm x 4cm, but you can make them any size you like. Remove trimmings and use to make accessories (we made surfboards, deckchairs and a cricket set).
12 Transfer baking sheets/paper with gingerbread to oven trays and bake (1-2 trays at a time) for 10-12 minutes or until panels start to harden and edges have lightly browned. You don’t want to overcook them; they will need to be firm enough to stand up but will also harden as they cool. (We found baking them on a heavy-based oven tray worked best as they tend to wrinkle on a lighter tray). The smaller pieces and accessories cook faster so keep an eye on them and remove first. Once out of the oven, leave to cool either on the tray or on a board. Sitting a heavy oven tray on top of the gingerbread panels while they cool helps to flatten any curly corners or puffy areas.
13 Before icing, gather any adornments you want to go on the sides of the bach. We had a shop-bought butterfly, two gingerbread surfboards and some plants made from snippets of pine.
14 For icing, place egg white in a medium bowl. Sift in icing sugar, then add turmeric and juice. Stir until smooth and spreadable; if it’s too thick, add a few drops of water.
15 Using a spatula or butter knife, spread icing on outside of panels (except roof), avoiding window and door frames. We found it easiest to hold each piece and spread it as if you were buttering toast. Scrape any drips from edges. Lay pieces on baking paper and gently press on the adornments.