It’s been far too long since I last rambled on about my love of the king of bread – Mr. Paul Hollywood. When the US version of The Great British Bake Off (The American Baking Competition) was aired, the press there even described him as ‘the George Clooney of baking’. I’m not sure I would go quite that far, but he is certainly a kneading god, and his dough-filled repertoire is impressively extensive.
There are chefs that I have known and admired from a young age, but Mr. Hollywood was one that (and I’m sure this applies to a lot of people) I didn’t actually come across until the first series of GBBO hit screens in the UK. Before that – I hadn’t ever baked a loaf of bread! I was always more of a sweet baker – cupcakes and the like. But just watching Paul in action, mentoring the contestants as they created weird and wonderful loaves, rolls, breadsticks, bagels, and more, inspired me to crack open the strong white flour and adorn my kneading gloves.
I was over the moon when I unwrapped one of my presents last Christmas to find his book in front of me (thanks mum!), and I have been working my way through the recipes ever since. From french sticks to breadsticks, and naan breads to soda breads. The list goes on and on. Mind you they don’t always work perfectly every time, but with a few attempts I can usually figure out where I have gone wrong – either over proved, under proved, under baked, or over baked. I can just imagine the words coming out of Paul’s mouth in his distinctive Scouse accent.
My latest attempt was a straightforward bloomer – sometimes it’s quite refreshing to go back to basics! I love a crusty white loaf, warm from the oven, with a thick spread of butter and a dollop of apricot jam. YUM. So that is the end of my babble for today – a link to the recipe for Paul’s bloomer loaf is below (also available in his book, which I have also linked below). I’m sure it won’t be long until I grace you with another dose of Paul Hollywood love, but until then – let me know if you have come across any other particularly fabulous bread connoisseurs – I’d love to add some more books to my collection!