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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  • Ooooh, your face! Bread is a really tough week! They still look scrummy!

  • Kelly Michelle

    You are so cute! Bread is literally a killer; mine either doesn’t rise or it rises so much that it comes over the top of the bowl – there is never an in-between! Loving the series x

  • Awe bread baby to cute. I can never get my dough to rise properly as well. Way to tackle the challenge!

  • Anna

    Dawww bread baby. Sadly I was slightly more focused on the pretty nail varnish than the bread. Sorry! I’ll pay more attention to the puddings for sure.

  • alyssa

    Props for making an awesome baby bread!! Now you just need the yummy bruschetta to top it off. 🙂

  • Man, bread is hard! Although I made another load yesterday (just plain white bread) and actually did it well! x

  • Eilish

    I use the microwave to rise the dough. I microwave a bowl of water for 5 minutes to create a warm and moist environment. Then I remove the water and put the dough uncover to rise for an hour or so. Fresh bread is so good.

    • That’s a great idea! I usually leave dough in the warmest place in the flat (by the sun facing window) but for ciabatta, Paul said during the tv program that if the yeast develops too quickly in ciabatta that it won’t bake properly. So then I just had trouble getting it to rise! Fresh bread is the best! x

  • Yum! Now you have four loaves of delicious ciabatta!

  • At least it still tastes good. I’ve made many loaves that tasted a lot better than they looked!

  • Very interesting that you filled the pan underneath with water for the steam – I’d never heard of that technique! Bread is a bit hard to do – my dad taught me how to make chilean bread and I always have the hardest time kneading the dough! Your bread looks delicious though! Congrats on making such good ciabatta! 🙂

    • I’ve read about it before but I’ve always been too lazy to actually do it! I don’t know how much it helped my ciabatta, since it’s fairly pitiful, but I made a plain white loaf doing the water trick again this weekend and it worked really, really well! Oohh, what’s in chilean bread?! (I love all breads!) x

  • You’ve got some awesome bread-swaddling skills, hahaha. And I love all the colors in these photos! Your nail polish, the green shirt, the apron, the pink flowery background — my eyes are exploding (in a good way :D)!

  • Yvonne Rhinehart

    I always hate when recipes are so sparse. It’s like why did they even write it. It looks delicious to me though.

  • If I ever went on Bake Off then it would definitely be the bread week where I would fail! It all sounds way to technical for me! Yours looks good inside though 🙂

    • Thanks! There’s just so much room to make errors in bread! That’s what’s so scary about it, in my opinion! x

  • Haha you do make me laugh with your photos! I commend you for giving bread ago though – it scares me so much! I have tried making bread twice and they were both disasters! x

    • I made a plain loaf after this one and it turned out really well! I surprised myself! If only I could master this ciabatta! x

  • Yours looks great! I do think we did well this week! Well done us! x

  • I’ve tried bread once, big fail. We have a weirdly cold kitchen so it’s hard to get things to rise. As long as it tastes good though who cares how it looks?

  • Oooooh puddings.. You’ll kill it with puddings.. I just know it! 😉

  • I’m having so much fun with these posts. I hope you win next week!

  • I’m loving these posts – and your bread looks like it baked perfectly!! I did read on buzz feed about some drama with something being taken out of the freezer by another contestant or something? Anyways, it made me think of you haha

    • Oh my goodness, there was huge drama last week! I’m glad it made you think of me though! 😉