#GBBO | BREAD WEEK | Sundried Tomato & Parmesan Bread (and a Seeded Brown Bread of sorts!)

I have never made bread before in my life, so please forgive me for what you are about to witness. I had a go at making two different loaves of bread, with very varying levels of success. Intrigued? Keep reading... 

WEEK 3: Bread week
SHOWSTOPPER CHALLENGE: Savoury Plaited Centrepiece

Where to start? 

The Showstopper Challenge this week required the production of a table centrepiece, involving a savoury plait, and using at least three flavours. 

Now, you may or may not know that this week has been my birthday, and with that in mind, I took it upon myself to simplify matters slightly, in order that the bread didn't end up getting baked and then wasted. On the evening of my birthday, I'd previously planned that I would bake some Camembert and we would all sit in the sofa area of the garden and just tuck in together, so when I realised it was bread week, I decided to try and make a table centrepiece revolving around that. 

Sounds simple? First of all, I'd decided to try and make the plait using three different flavour breads, but quickly ruled that out when I couldn't find any recipes similar enough to prove all of the breads once plaited. So I opted to make two separate plaits instead, planning to form them into a curve so that the Camembert would fit neatly inside each one. 

First of all, I decided to have a go at a Sundried Tomato and Parmesan Bread. As you can see, the recipe is super simple, and despite forgetting/not being able to take many pictures - my hands were very messy and Harvey wasn't available to help! - the bread was a huge success. Although I was slightly nervous about the proving process, and destroying the yeast, thanks to some very helpful Twitter tips (thank you Matt!) the feedback was that the bread was beautifully light and tasty. The bread and Camembert together looked like a suitable table centrepiece, albeit fairly small and uninteresting, and I think it's safe to say I received top marks all round. 

And essentially, that is where the good stuff ends. At this point, I could quite easily end the blog post and pretend that what I'm about to tell you never happened... but this is real life, and to be brutally honest, shit happens. Brown seeded loaves across the world, I hate you. 

I decided to have a go at this recipe, but apparently forgot to take ANY photos. Aside from that, all seemed to be going well, until the time came to prove the dough.  Perhaps I should have realised that the recipe was only really suitable for making a loaf of bread, instead of trying to be flash and plait the dough prior to proving it, just as I had done with the Sundried Tomato loaf. 

So, dough made. Plaited. Time to prove. At about the 30 minute stage, the bread was looking good; it had risen sufficiently, and had still maintained the plaited shape, much to my delight. This being only the second bread I had ever made, I decided to stick to the recipe, and so I left the dough for a further 15-30 minutes, during which time the bread completely lost it's shape.  This meant that when I popped it in the oven, it closely resembled a very shallow loaf of bread with creases in the shape of a plait in the top, where the plait should have been, very crumpled-bedsheets-chic... 

I persevered, and baked the bread. Sadly nothing changed, and so I decided the only option was to cut the bread into slices, in a vague effort to save face before serving the bread in front of family. Thankfully, the bread wasn't too dense, and as the flavour was good with the Camembert, I think I got away with it. Not one of my proudest moments, however. 

I have to say, I particularly enjoyed baking bread this week, much more than expected. I'm definitely thinking about having another go, and have already been recommended some amazing sounding flavours and combinations to try. 

Next week is batter week, which I believe is a first in Bake Off history? Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm a big fan of a Yorkshire Pudding, so I'm already eyeing that challenge up. Plus, it's the perfect excuse for a roast dinner. Win win! 

Thank you, as always, for reading these blog posts.

Laura xx 


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