Monday, 9 January 2012

The Great Sport Relief Bake Off and Paul Hollywood's loaf

Tonight sees a brand new series of The Great British Bake Off, but with a celebrity twist and all in aid of Sports Relief.

Excited?! Me too!

Tuesday nights simply haven't been the same since the last series finished in the Autumn. Each week since, I've stared forlornly at the blank television screen, a solitary sugary tear (90% of my body fluid is pure cane sugar) rolling down my cheek.

Okay. Perhaps, that is a tad melodramatic.

But with the exception of that incident of stalking Mary Berry (admittedly not my finest moment), the last few months have been a bleak GBBO-free zone.

I don't know about you, but I've a few questions I'm burning to know about this four part series:

1) Will Mary and Paul be just that little more forgiving when it all goes wrong? The contestants are after all celebrities not just mere mortals. The full list of those wielding their spatulas, wooden spoons and whisks can be found here

2) Who will be enjoying all the cake and providing the wonderful witticisms with Sue not in the presenting seat?

3) Who are 'celebrity contestants' Alex Langlands and Gus Casely-Hayford? Answers on a postcard and a slice of the cake for the person who can tell me.

4) Will that squirrel be making a triumphant reappearance? (Please BBC!!)

Fancy a sneak preview? Check out the clips here

Meanwhile this week's bake comes, very approrpriately I'm sure you'll agree, from Paul Hollywood. Yep, in my mission to buy as little manufactured bread as possible this year, and to bake as much of the bread we eat myself, I'm trying to pick up as many tips as I can from master bakers.

White cob loaf

350g strong white bread flour
1 tsp crushed salt flakes
3.5g sachet fast acting yeast
225ml lukewarm water

1. Pop the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl and mix together until combined. Form a 'well' in the centre
2. Gradually add the water into the well, and use your hands to mix together the flour and water. It will come together in a soft, slightly sticky dough
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled worksurface and knead (see below) for roughly ten minutes until dough is pliable, smooth and silky
4. Pop the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a teatowel and allow to rise until double in size
5. Punch down the risen dough to deflate it and turn it out onto a lightly floured worksurface. Knead gently for a further minute before shaping into a ball and setting onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with flour. Cover with a teatowel or clingfilm to prove- it should double in size once more
6. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/425F/Gas Mark 7. When doubled in size, slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife, sprinkle with a little more flour and bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes or until golden brown

Baker's Paul's notes:

  • Knead the bread on a lightly oiled work surface- rather than a lightly floured surface. This is to help maintain the consistency of the loaf
  • After placing the dough on the worksurface coat it in the oil and knead it by folding the dough over itself repeatedly, turning 45 degrees after each fold. Which, if I remember rightly from last week's bread baking is pretty much what the brilliant Dan Lepard suggests in his brilliant Short and Sweet
  • If you caught Channel Four's Fabulous Baker Boys last week you'll have seen them use a shower cap to cover the rising dough...cue Boots top selling item for 2012
  • It can take up to 2-3 hours for the dough to rise in a normal temperature kitchen
  • To get a great crust, pop a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven prior to pre-heating. Just before popping in the loaf to bake, pour a cup of cold water into the hot roasting tin to create steam. And a great crust. 
  • The tips and recipe come from The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake and Paul's video on the BBC's Food pages
Will you be watching The Great Sport Relief Bake Off? Any early favourites you might have? 


  1. Ooh the cob loaf looks delicious and thanks for the GBBO reminder!! Hope you enjoy both.

  2. Your loaf looks absolutely lovely - the perfect accompaniment to tonight's TV delights! I've already set the TV to record so I don't miss it - can't wait to see what they have in store for us :-)

  3. It does look like they've mucked about with the format a lot. The "celebrities" are mostly F list nevermind D list. Serious barrel scraping - I'm quite shocked.

  4. Yes, yes and yes!! Yes I am recording TGBBO tonight so I don't miss it. Yes I have a new obssesseion called The Fabulous Baker Brothers and yes - I too am making my own bread this year!! I have made 6 loaves so far. They don't actually look as good as yours but they may do by the end of the year.

  5. Am just about to switch over! Great loaf!

  6. Kate what a lovely loaf, and good luck with your home made bread, it's something I must try again. Jude x

  7. A beautiful, professional looking loaf Kate! I was pleased to see the return of the GBBO squirrel, and once again envious of all the kitchenaids. How awesome was Sarah Hadland's apron?! As a Miranda fan, I thought it was genius.

  8. I have just read the Mary Berry Stalking post and nearly fell off my chair laughing! Lovely loaf.

  9. Great loaf! I really must bake my own bread this year. Will also have to watch on iplayer as I've missed it on TV!

  10. He he, we were on the look out for the squirrel too. Only seen the first episode so far, of which I knew but two of the contestants and sadly nothing remarkable in the squirrel line to report. Looking forward to seeing the next episode - hopefully tonight. Your loaf looks really good.

  11. I wish I could watch that in the States - anyway your loaf looks amazing - sooooo delicious
    mary x

  12. Nice looking loaf. I do like Paul's recipes. I am going to watch it all on replay tonight. Any minute now actually!

  13. I bake bread twice a week and have done for a year and a half, it's quick and easy once you get into a routine. The basics are always the same: flour, salt, yeast, water (changing it out for milk can be fun). A great place to start with is the recipes on the back of flour packets themselves (as well as on yeast packets too). Have fun with flours, my favourite is spelt but using different quantities is also great. And then comes the fun.... You can make focaccia, buns, soda bread, quick bread, the list is nigh on endless. Plus, there is nothing better than baking a loaf before breakfast and filling your house with that sweet sweet homely smell. Happy baking =)


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!