Great British Bake Off – Recap – Week 3 – Bread

Before I begin my recap, everyone here at Eat Your Books would like to send congratulations to Mary Berry. She is to receive a damehood this week as part of the Queen’s birthday honours list. Over her amazing 60 year career, Berry has written more than 70 cookery books and was a judge on Great British Bake Off until 2016 (the good old days).

Here are our bakers:

  • Dave, 30, Armoured Guard
  • Hermine, 39, Accountant
  • Laura, 31, Digital Manager
  • Linda, 61, Retirement Living Team Manager
  • Loriea, 27, Diagnostic Radiographer (eliminated Week 1)
  • Lottie, 31, Pantomime Producer
  • Makbul, 51, Accountant (eliminated Week 2)
  • Marc (a.k.a. Hammish, his dog’s name), 51, Bronze Resin Sculptor
  • Mark, 32, Project Manager
  • Peter, 20, Accounting and Finance Student
  • Rowan, 55, Music Teacher
  • Sura, 31, Pharmacy Dispenser

This week was all about bread. The opening skit was one of the most painful things I have ever watched. Remember last year’s Wizard of Oz skit where Paul admitted to not having a heart. This year, Paul didn’t have a hand. Let’s just say that Noel, Matt, and the box with Hollywood’s (faux) dismembered limb (and later Paul’s tiny arm/hand) was creepy even during Halloween season.

We all know bread week means Paul is in his element. I braced myself for the phrases over-proofed and under proofed and was prepared to take a shot of liquor every time Paul prodded an innocent loaf of bread.

Signature bake: 1 hour and 45 minutes to make two loaves of soda bread. One sweet and one savory loaf along with butter made by the bakers was the challenge.

Hermine’s smoked salmon and chive loaf (picture above) and her fruity/boozy sweet loaf received the second Hollywood handshake of the series. Both judges thought the loaves looked nice and her flavors were complex.

Rowan struggled (again) with his Italian loaves. His savory sausage and olive loaf was underbaked and his sweet polenta loaf was too gritty. Paul pushed the dagger deeper into Rowan’s already deflated ego by likening it to eating a lemon drizzle cake in a sandstorm.

Sura received praise for her flavors again with a Za’atar and olive loaf and an apricot, walnut, chevre sweet offering. What she failed was having too low of a baking temperature as both of her loaves were too pale.

Linda sweetly used honey left behind by Mak who exited last week and Marc and his buttermilk explosion was good for a laugh. Other bakers received a mixture of praise and condemnation from the self-appointed prince of bread. Overbaked, underbaked, and not enough flavor were familiar criticisms.


Technical challenge: Paul set the challenge of six rainbow-colored bagels (five colors), boiled and baked in 2 hrs and 45 minutes.

Am I so depressed that GBBO can’t even make me smile save the buttermilk explosion? I don’t see the reasons for creating a five-colored bagel. All that manipulation and food coloring are just too much for me personally and everyone knows I love my bagels.

Even when I make Italian rainbow cookies, I put in the least amount of organic coloring possible. There is just something about baked goods that are supposed to be one color being dyed into something else. I’m not an organic cook by any means – I have Diet Pepsi running through my veins. There is just something about the unnecessary dyeing of food.

Overall, the bakers made their way through the challenge and Rowan made me crack a small smile about his “soft and wrinkly” bagels which landed him in last place. The top three bagel makers included Mark in third, the second Marc in 2nd, and Linda coming in first.

Showstopper challenger: A large decorative bread plaque/harvest sheath representing what they are most grateful to be completed in 3 hrs and 30 minutes.

While I appreciate the creativeness of the baker’s bread flavors and designs again – I don’t want to eat a piece of bread that has been molded into a cow. Can’t we just have beautiful loaves of bread baked without transforming them into an apple orchard? I obviously need to adjust my happy medicine or maybe I just don’t like bread week.

There were some touching tributes especially Marc’s statement about his Buddhist Dharma wheel:

“After I had the accident when I lost my leg I wasn’t in a very good place and, just trying to come to terms with what had happened, I picked up a wonderful book about the philosophy of Buddhism and what I needed to do to make my life better. It means a lot to me, this one.”

Rowan was judged as all style and no substance, Dave’s tribute to home and his pregnant wife was sweet but dry, Lottie’s design was good but lacked flavor, Linda had a nice concept but her tiger bread lacked flavor.

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of tiger bread so I did a little research. The bread is generally made with a pattern baked into the top made by painting rice paste onto the surface prior to baking. The paste dries and cracks during the baking process. The paste crust also gives the bread a distinctive flavor with a crusty exterior, but a soft interior.

Ruth Clemens, GBBO alum, has a loaf of tiger bread on her blog which has 310 recipes indexed here at EYB. (Photo of the bread below).


It was no surprise that Marc was crowned star baker and Rowan was sent packing. My cold heart did melt a bit when Marc’s daughters came to hug him in the ending interview. Good on Marc.

I love the bakers this season and I appreciate the efforts made to bring us the bake-off during the pandemic but bread week left me wanting more.

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One Comment

  • darcie_b  on  October 21, 2020

    Tiger bread is also known as Dutch crunch – I have made a loaf with the topping from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

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