‘The Great British Bake Off’: Bread Week 2021

Episode Three – Bread Week.

It’s the highly anticipated bread week in The Great British Bake Off tent; this week our bakers were put to the test with crisp focaccia, bothersome breadsticks and themed soft milk bread displays. Will the bakers prove themselves worthy to the judges or will they find themselves under the judgement of Paul Hollywood – Lord of the Loaves?

Signature Challenge – Perfectly Baked Focaccia.

The judges asked our ten remaining bakers to cook perfectly baked focaccia with a crisp crust and an open irregular crumb structure. Already thinking ahead to the showstopper, Giuseppe baked his focaccia with milk; inspired by his grandmother, Giuseppe decided to bake a ‘Breakfast in Gaeta’ Focaccia with olives and cherry tomatoes. Lizzie hoped to finesse Paul and Prue with her ‘Final Furlong’ Focaccia with truffle oil, garlic and rosemary and topped with a rich black truffle and Amanda sought to bring sunshine into the tent with her ‘Chasing Grainbows’ focaccia with olives and stuffed peppers.

Last week saw a rivalry between Giuseppe and Jürgen the ‘terminator’, but who’s focaccia will rise to the occasion? Jürgen may have earned a handshake from Matt Lucas last week but Giuseppe’s ‘Breakfast in Gaeta’ focaccia stunned the judges earning him the first Hollywood handshake of the season. In a turn of events, Jürgen’s ‘Kipper-caccia’ did not have the judges jumping for joy as his flavours failed to impress Prue and the bread was overbaked. Will Jürgen be able to redeem himself from his fish flavoured focaccia, or will this challenge leave him floundering? 

Technical Challenge – Olive and Cheese Ciabatta Breadsticks and Tzatziki Dip.

This week Paul asked the bakers to produce a batch of fifteen olive and cheese ciabatta breadsticks with the added pressure of making a tzatziki dip. The tzatziki dip baffled the bakers with Lizzie claiming that it looks like she is “dealing with troll bogies” and Crystelle started to question how she could bake ciabatta within the time constraints. With no guidance on proving times, the bakers ‘kneaded’ to use their own intuition on how long to leave their dough in the proving drawer. 

The time for ranking dawned on the bakers and the judges were presented with an interesting assortment of bakes. Dominating bread week Giuseppe, like his bread, rose to first position, impressing Paul and Prue with the bread’s beautiful colour and nice flavours. Lizzie closely followed Giuseppe, praised for her ‘absolutely lovely’ bake. Repeating their fate from biscuit week, Crystelle and Rochica placed ninth and tenth. 

Showstopper Challenge –  Milk Bread Themed Display.

Following Jürgen’s ‘Kipper-caccia’ focaccia, it was Maggie, Freya and Amanda who opted to take their bakes underwater. Maggie’s milk bread ‘Things You’d Find in a Rock Pool’ will take a literal turn to the sea by baking with dulse seaweed. Taking a sweeter approach, Amanda will bake her ‘I Just Fishy We Had More Time’ display with cinnamon filled shells and coconut creme patissiere and mango puree filled hermit crabs and Freya will bake her  ‘Under the Sea’ milk bread with hazelnut praline and marzipan. Will the judges be transported to bliss with the flavourful waves, or will they be left between a rock pool and a fish paste? 

Judgement time arrives on the most stressful week Bake Off has seen so far, but who’s bakes will have risen to the top? Yet again, Giuseppe impressed the judges with his incredible design, light texture and powerful taste. In the battle of the underwater themed bakes, it was Amanda and Freya who emerged victorious, complimented on their beautiful designs and delightful flavours. However, Maggie received the critique that she did not use enough seaweed and created more of a fish cake than a milk bread.


After a hugely successful week it was Giuseppe who earned the title of Star Baker for bread week. Unfortunately it was Rochica who left the Bake Off tent. Rochica penned a letter after her experience and taught us all a valuable lesson, “Mistakes happen, all you can do is laugh and learn from them.”. Rochica may not have emerged as the bread baroness, but she certainly did bring warmth and charisma to the Bake Off tent.

Bake Off Kitchen Appliances.

You may have noticed the beautiful appliances in the Bake Off tent, with hidden oven doors and pastel fridges, the tent was designed for beauty and ease. If you are wondering where to purchase these items, you can read more about the appliances here.

Paul Hollywood’s Olive and Cheese Ciabatta Breadsticks and Tzatziki Dip.

If this week’s Bake Off episode has inspired you to try baking, why not start with Paul Hollywood’s Ciabatta Breadsticks and Tzatziki dip that the bakers created in the Technical Challenge? Below I have outlined Paul Hollywood’s recipe and the six easy steps that you will need to follow for the perfect bake.

Makes: Eighteen  

Hands-On Time: Thirty Minutes, plus Proofing 

Baking Time: Twenty Minutes


The Ciabatta:

  • 1 Finely Chopped Red Onion
  • 1tbsp Salt
  • 200g of Manchego Cheese, cut into 2cm Cubes
  • 750g Strong White Bread Flour 
  • Semolina (for dusting) 
  • 350g Pitted Green Queen Olives, sliced into halves
  • 14g of Fast-Action Dried Yeast 
  • 3tbsp of Olive Oil, Plus Extra for Greasing
  • 600ml of Lukewarm Water
  • A Large Handful of Coriander leaves, roughly chopped

The Tzatziki Dip:

  • 1tsp of White Wine Vinegar 
  • 1tsp of Tzatziki Seasoning
  • ¼ tsp of Salt
  • ¼ Cucumber
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove, either finely grated or crushed
  • 150g of Full-Fat Greek Yoghurt

Cooking Equipment:

  • 3 Baking Trays, dusted with flour
  • 5-litre plastic food tub with a lid, oiled
  • Stand Up Mixer
  • Two Mixing Bowls
  • Knife
  • Sieve 
  • Wire Racks
  • Grater 
  • Measuring Jug
  • Serving Bowl (for dip) 

Cooking Method:

Step One:

Fit your stand mixer with the dough hook and pour the flour into the bowl that lies beneath it. Add the yeast to one side of flour and salt to the other side. Following this, you will need to add 450ml of lukewarm water to the flour, salt and yeast and mix on a low speed. The dough will eventually start to form which will be the indicator that you should gradually pour the remaining water into the mix. Once you have added the remaining water, you should mix the dough for a further 5-8 minutes on a medium speed. The dough should then be wet and easily stretched when you pull it. If the dough has reached the aforementioned consistency, add the 3tbsp of olive oil to the dough and mix for three minutes. 

Step Two:

Now it’s time to add some flavour! Add the manchego, coriander, onion and olives to the dough and mix to help evenly distribute the ingredients. Find your oiled container and tip the dough into it. Once the dough is in the container, cover it and leave it to proof for 1-2 hours at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size. 

Step Three:

Whilst the dough is proofing, you can now begin to make your tzatziki dip. Grate the cucumber into a sieve that is placed over a bowl and sprinkle the salt over it. Mix the salt into the cucumber and leave the cucumber to drain for ten minutes. Once the cucumber has been left for ten minutes, squeeze out any remaining liquid in the cucumber, pour the Greek yoghurt into a bowl and add the garlic, cucumber, olive oil, vinegar and tzatziki seasoning and fold everything together. Now that the dip has been created, transfer the tzatziki into a serving bowl and keep chilled until needed.

Step Four:

Using the semolina, dust the work surface heavily and tip the dough onto the dusted surface. The dough will be quite loose, but don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong! Handle the dough gently and try to keep as much air in it as possible. 

Step Five:

Dust the top of the ciabatta dough with semolina and stretch out the dough gently into a rough rectangle. Once the dough has been shaped into a rectangle, beginning at one of the long edges, cut the dough into approximately 18 strips. Stretch each piece until they are 30cm long. Place six strips at equal distance onto the prepared baking trays. Cover and leave the strips of dough to rise for 15 minutes. Whilst you are waiting for your dough strips to rise, heat your oven to 240°C/220°C fan/475°F/Gas 9, or to its hottest setting.

Step Six:

We’re nearly at the end! Bake the breadsticks for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove the breadsticks and transfer them to wire racks where they can cool. Once your breadsticks are cool enough, serve them with the tzatziki dip and enjoy!

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