Great British Bake Off S11:E03 Bread Week! Recap

Hi and welcome back to the absolutely best show on TV: the Great British Bake Off! I could use a little bake and chill, how about you? Let’s roll into my recap of GBBO S11:E03 Bread Week, which is my favourite week, right after the break!

I’m not going to talk about the intro starring hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas with a cameo by judge Paul Hollywood and his famous handshake because it’s too stupid for words. And I use extra ones by the bucketload! Turns out I have limits after all, who knew??

AreĀ  you ready for Bread Week?? I am legit excited, this is my favourite week on my favourite show AND I’m even baking bread right now, at 9 pm whilst my children sleep. Woooooo!

Last week we lost Makbar, to whom Rowan should be forwarding all his extra waistcoats as it was definitely Rowan who should have been sent to carefully pack up his bowls. I have no idea how Rowan squeaked through another week, he’s working on a platform of style over substance and not managing to accomplish either. I think Mak’s big mistake was not molding anything on a molding challenge. Squishing after baking isn’t quite the same thing.

Dave was our Star Baker, thanks to his Mexican tea set made of biscuits (I know, I didn’t get the connection either) but young Peter Sawkins isn’t far behind him. Hermine didn’t have a great week, lemme see your breaaaddddsssss.

Without any further ado, we’re onto the Signature Challenge with the hosts and judges Paul and Prue Leith. The bakers will be making two loaves of sodabread, one sweet and one savory. They must be free-form (not in a tin) and presented with a butter. Wouldn’t you need two butters? Asking for a friend who doesn’t like to smear unguents on savory whatsits.

Any day you can use unguents in context is a good day.

Onward to the bakes! Sodabread is different than a yeasted bread in that it has no…yeast.

Mark is baking for Ireland today, where Peter had Scotland On A Plate last week, we’ve now got Ireland in a loaf.

Linda likes to bake sweet bread when not fishing for mackerel on a beach.

Rowan’s gone and planned to stuff a lot into his loaves that he’ll probably not have time for.

Classic Rowan.

Marc has kept things Cornish with his breads, I am hypnotised by the massive chunk of hard cheese on his cutting board.

Of course he mostly hacks at it, because nobody on GBBO knows how to use a knife. He manages to spill a jar of buttermilk into his ear (don’t ask), that can’t be…comfortable. He walks around gamely looking like a frat party gone wrong.

Okay, Hermine’s not bad with a knife, although I don’t know why you’d use the sharp part for scraping. ANYWAY, she’s not sure her flavours go together, that’s rather important, isn’t it?

Sura is using olives in one of her loaves so I’ll at least eat most of that one.

A friend pointed out that I shouldn’t just bang about making everything, I have to get out and experience food out of my bubble and see what things are meant to actually taste like. I can’t fault his logic, so I intend to test out something with Za’tar right skippy.

I would eat all of Laura’s breads too!

Lottie and I think sweet sodabreads are sort of mad but she’s giving it a go.

Peter is making one loaf gluten free; I’ve got to do some research on that for one of the musicians at work.

Just when you forget Peter’s age for a second (19), he says something like “Bake Off’s been around for half my life now” making Paul and I swallow hard.

I don’t understand why people insist on putting together chili and chocolate or the shape of Dave’s loaf.

Awwwww Linda has some of our departed Mak’s honey, she’s putting it in her butter! I would like to make my own butter, shhhh Laura, it’s not twee, it’s OSSUM.

With ten minutes to go, most of the breads are out of the oven and bakers merrily tap away on their crusty bottoms, listening for the elusive hollow echo.

With one minute out, it’s time to pipe butter into a variety of pretty holders, nawwww and then, suddenly, we’re judging!

Looooookit Mark’s gorgeous breads!! He did a great job with flavours as well.

Laura’s breads look amazing and the flavours are fantastic but they’re underbaked.

I mean, lookit the inside!


Lottie does alright.

The secret is to mush all the toppings into the dough, otherwise not enough of the flavour comes through.

Peter’s rustic loaves and tidy butter look great, but the gluten free bread is not a triumph.

I just adore the look of Marc’s sodabreads and apparently they taste great too. I’m very glad he wasn’t sent home by accident on the first week as I once thought he might.

Oh Rowan, stop it with your flat breads. Paul calls the polenta loaf like “eating a lemon drizzle cake in a sandstorm.”

Onward to Dave’s bland and weird-looking loaves.

Sura did a great flavour combination with her Za’tar and olives, if she’d just baked at a higher temperature, she would have gotten tens across the board.

Linda does okay with her slightly underbaked efforts.

Awww lookit Hermine’s butter!

But more importantly, lookit Paul’s hand!!

Hemine got a Hollywood Handshake on BREAD WEEK! That’s so hard to get!! Great job, the smoked salmon was a fabulous choice. He’s never had anything like it!

On to the Technical Challenge, set by Paul (course) with this super helpful advice: “you KNEAD to watch your timings.” (Ba dum tish)


Six rainbow-coloured bagels


How is this a Bread Week technical challenge?


The dough has to be boiled before it’s baked, but the first challenge seems to be making the dough without a mixer. Everyone makes their bright layers, proves them, rolls them out, twists the combination shapes and proves again.

The boiling is not going…great.

Dave’s poor bagel.

Linda did a really good job, I’d love to see her in the top but I’m shite at guessing who followed the brief best on the Technical.

From least awesome to most fantastic:

  • 10th – Rowan
  • 9th – Dave
  • 8th – Sura
  • 7th – Hemine
  • 6th – Laura
  • 5th – Lottie
  • 4th – Peter
  • 3rd – Mark
  • 2nd – Marc
  • and Linda wins the Bread Week Technical, yay!

I’m not sure I understand the Show Stopper challenge, so I’ll have to just transcribe it as they spit it: “a large decorative bread plaque in the style of a traditional harvest sheaf.”

Ahhhhh now this is interesting, Marc’s bread is named close something very important in my young years.

He’s not a Buddhist, but after the accident where he lost his leg, he found a book about Buddhism that helped him find a way to live and feel as though his life was meaningful again.

I’m worried that the animal parts of Linda’s design will be too hard or brittle.

Rowan. Honestly.

It’s massive, and not just in Germany.

Hermine is torpedoing her own chances by doing a brioche-light.

Hmm, Laura.

I’m 100% down for the focaccia but not sure about the red bits. Matt is excited about the musical theatre aspects of the bake, Paul’s never been to a west-end show. “Call yourself a gay man” challenges Matt and I don’t…erm…think he did…

Mark has veered off the reservation as well, wait. Is that a bigoted term? I don’t know! Maybe I just shouldn’t.

Mark is mixing up a couple of weird flavours together, here’s hoping they like his wild garlic and apple as much as they likes Hermine’s loaf! For some reason, he’s piping pureed apples into straws for freezing but I can’t see where he’s using them?

Hermine, you can get a bigger bowl, you know that, right?

Between you and Mark…

Sura’s making a tomato plant memory thingy.

Dave’s celebrating his family (he’s very excited to be a dad shortly) with a thatched purple cottage. I think.

Lottie is also making her house in bread, it’s quite lovely. I like the kiwi/bushes/still-bread parts.

Ohhhh okay Peter, it’s not enough to make ONE house, he’s making an entire city, specifically Edinburgh. I will say I’ve seen some shows set in gorgeous Scottish locations, Edinburgh particularly stood out.

He’s making bagel dough! That’s a very Rowan thing to do, I hope it doesn’t sink our young baker. When he gets stressed out, he looks like a concerned Ellen Degeneres and it’s very distracting.

Oh! This is what Mark is doing with that frozen apple puree in straws! He’s pushing the puree into the center of teeny tiny plaited dough, awwww.

This is a critical juncture, all the braiding must be done quickly so the bread doesn’t over-proof and starts to lose definition for the design work.

A bevvy of complicated bread-y portraiture hits the ovens and now we wait.

That’s really the best thing about Bread Week; loads of time for cup after cup of tea.

And cleaning your station, LAURA.

Mark and Peter throw their bread in to bake at the 30 minute mark, but Hermine’s still isn’t ready. Oh goodness. Marc reminds us to take a mindful breath and not worry. Because when we worry, we’re thinking about things that haven’t happened yet or that happened before. We haven’t got control over either of those things, so chillax, yo!

I’m working on it. I don’t know if it’s going that great.

Hermine just did that one outside frame? What?

Oh right, there’s that bit she baked already, got it. It’s just too big to fit in the frame and there’s literally less than one minute left and Mark takes his out of the oven and places it on his stand and time is up that very second.



Hermine’s is up first, Paul likes the design and the enriched dough, but it’s not brioche.

Now Sura’s homage to her mum’s tomato plant.

She gets good feedback but maybe forgets to tell her face.

Laura scrunched her focaccia dough with her heavy face mask whatsits, but the flavours are good.

Peter’s cityscape was okay, but he didn’t knock it out of the park with his leathery dough.

Lottie kept definition but one half of her dough lacks flavour.

Linda managed to get a mad cow in there after all, but the judges feel like the whole thing wasn’t quite enough. Not flavourful enough, not enough olives, they needed more.

If you look up the definition of “damning with faint praise” you would see Mark’s bread, which Paul calls “a bit basic, the picture, but the bread is okay.” Daaaang.

Lets see how Marc’s Buddhist bread shakes out! Paul cuts into it, Prue breathes “ohhh nice bread” and he gets good, if not ecstatic reviews.

It does sort of look like both Dave AND his wife are pregnant, yes.

Paul would have liked Dave to build his cottage with individual bricks and you would, would you? In four hours, Paul, is that what you would like to see??

Lookit this massive tree of Rowan’s.

It is sort of…phallic, innit? Paul calls it all style and no substance, it’s basically the Thor Ragnarok of bread plaques.

(I may have added that last part)

It’s time to sort the star bakers from the people not advancing past the third week, who’ve we got?

Star Baker is: Marc, yay!

and going home: must be Rowan, I mean, honestly. And it is, cheers, Rowan, I will miss your cheery self in the tent but you’ve been on borrowed time for three weeks, love.

Oh I love it when Marc does his Star Baker interview and his daughters run out and give him kisses! Of course they’d be quarantined in the cohort with him, how lovely. Marc and I totally cried.

Until next time! Cheers.