Bread Recipes

The Not So British Bake Off: Week 3 (Breads)

Now this is the week I’ve been dreading since the whole challenge started: breads. I’m just not great at them. I think one of the biggest issues stems from the fact that I never have a way of controlling the temperature in our flat so the rise of the dough is completely uncontrolled and wild. Once again, I chose to participate in the technical challenge: making ciabatta. Although I would have liked to participate in this week’s showstopper challenge. But as I buy my own ingredients, it was too expensive a risk to spend loads on groceries and have it all fall flat. (Literally.)

I used the same Paul Hollywood recipe as the contestants. And let me tell you Paul, your instructions are sparse. Very sparse. Like unhelpful. I ended up not being Star Baker. Again. Just like last week. But in retrospect, I realised that I knocked too much air out of my dough in the dividing it into 4 loaves stage.

But this week, the lovely Mary Berry brought a good (but intimidating) friend along to help with the judging part of my baking day.

proud of bread
(Paul Hollywood’s official recipe.)

500 g of flour
10 g yeast
10 g salt
40 ml olive oil
400 ml tepid water
fine semolina for dusting.

Lightly oil a 2-3 litre square container.

Put the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl. Add olive oil and 3/4ths of the water and begin mixing on a very low speed with a dough hook. As the dough starts to come together, slowly add the remaining water. Then mix for 5-8 more minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Then tip the dough into the pre-oiled container and cover with a tea towel. Let it sit for 1-2 hours (even longer if needed) until the dough has doubled or even tripled in size.

Preheat your oven to 200 C. Cover your baking trays in baking parchment. Then pour the dough out onto a heavily floured surface. (Dusted with semolina as well.) Coat the top of the dough with more semolina and flour. Handle it as little as possible to keep in the most air. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, and then cut each of those two halves in half lengthwise. Giving you 4 long strips. Stretch each piece of dough lengthwise onto a baking tray.

Leave the ciabatta dough to rest for a further 10 minutes, before baking for 25 minutes. When I baked my bread, I also filled the pan that sits at the bottom of the oven with water so that there would be steam in the oven whilst the bread was baking to help prevent the bread from drying out.

making doughmixer mess
Dough making: the aftermath.

pouring dough into containerdough okay?
Checking the rise of my dough and hoping for the best!

dividing dough
This is the step where I knocked too much air out of my dough. I should have made the second split lengthwise again, not widthwise. Doh! (No pun intended.)

pre bakegood ciabattatop shot
So it’s a bit of a higgledy-piggledy shape….

inside of bread
But the bake was right inside and it still tasted delicious!

paul and mary
Mary and Paul both turned up to judge this week. The pressure was really on!

not star baker
I was dissapointed to not win, but glad I wouldn’t have been at the bottom.

baby bread
Me and my bread baby.

Stay tuned next week for the Not So British Bake Off: Week 4 (Puddings). Guys, it is my goal to ace it next week!

*This post is brought to you with special thanks to Lindsay.*


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