How to Bake by Paul Hollywood

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Notes about this book

  • veronicafrance on May 17, 2014

    I'm not a beginning baker by any means, but I bought this book because it has a whole section of sourdough recipes, which most books don't (I was disappointed that The Handmade Loaf only had a couple). I'm looking forward to trying them!

  • nikkihughes78 on November 18, 2013

    I was always afraid of making bread but after taking the plunge and purchasing book I haven't looked back. Paul is very good when it comes to explaining how the dough should feel. Once you know how to work the dough you'll be a pro in no time. The beginning of his books explains different techniques and types of flours. I strongly recommend you read this section first!

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Crusty dinner rolls

    • rodillagra on March 15, 2015

  • Brioche with Brie

    • PatriciaScarpin on March 01, 2013

      Absolutely fantastic. Very tender brioche, with great texture and flavor. It's delicious even without the brie filling.

    • PatriciaScarpin on March 14, 2013

      I have made this brioche again, with more sugar and less salt. Rolled it onto a rectangle, filled with the almond bostock filling from "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day", rolled it like a cylinder, sliced and baked as cinnamon rolls. Absolutely amazing.

  • Marzipan

    • PatriciaScarpin on October 03, 2012

      Fantastic beyond words. Very easy to make and tastes so delicious you'll be tempted to eat it all before using it in your recipes.

  • Green olive sticks

    • eliza on September 09, 2019

      These bread sticks tasted great! I made half the online recipe (500 g flour)in my mini stand mixer (half recipe makes enough to serve at least 6-8 people). A mixer is a good idea for these since the dough is very wet. I added an extra 1/4 cup of flour to the dough and used the olives plus a few sun dried tomatoes as well. It's important to oil the proofing container very well before the rise, and to use lots of flour when cutting the sticks. Baked at 425 convection for 15 minutes. Don't be alarmed if you make these; the dough will be very wet and will basically flow everywhere. Just stretch them out and bake. Since they only need one rise, they don't take long to make, about 2 hours from start to finish. Best served right after baking.

  • Blueberry breakfast pancakes

    • sharifah on June 17, 2013

      Quick, easy and yummy for breakfast - can't go wrong

  • Spiced coffee and date cake

    • pomona on January 31, 2020

      The cake is not too sweet, delicious. The topping is where most of the non-date sweetness is.

  • Chocolate brownies with dried cranberries

    • pomona on March 30, 2019

      Used macadamias because I didn't have walnuts. Good brownie.

  • Mrs Post's lemon drizzle cake

    • veronicafrance on July 21, 2014

      Not lemony enough. Without the drizzle, the lemon would be undetectable... just a spoonful of lemon curd in the batter. I decided to try this for a change, but I'll be going back to my usual recipe:

    • amandabeck on January 14, 2021

      Agree with other reviews - underwhelmed. Cake crumb was quite crumbly. I ended up spreading with leftover lemon curd to eat. There are better lemon recipes out there, I wouldn't waste ingredients to make this again.

    • Sparkles75 on May 16, 2019

      My first recipe from the book and I must confess I'm a bit disappointed. Loaf completely sunk in the middle and not overly lemony either. I think maybe my tablespoon of lemon curd may have been over generous, otherwise everything weighed and followed to the letter so should have worked. Very strange.

  • Walnut sourdough

    • veronicafrance on November 27, 2014

      The EYB ingredient list is wrong. There are no apples in this recipe.

    • veronicafrance on November 27, 2014

      It's complicated. When I calculated the hydration, it was 67%, which is about what my normal sourdough is, so I expected the dough to be quite wet. It wasn't, but unusually for France I'd managed to get hold of some durum wheat flour which was "bise" , i.e. wheatmeal, so it must have absorbed more water. The dough was a pleasure to work; no sticking! Then I got into a mess with rising times. Mr H specifies 5 hours for the first rise and 14 for the final proving. I started it early evening, but by the time I was ready for bed, the dough clearly wasn't ready for shaping, so I put the bowl in the fridge overnight. In the morning it had risen well, so I knocked it back and shaped it. After about 4 hours in a warm place, it seemed to be rising nicely. Then I went out for an hour and came back to find it sinking back. Hence I baked it at that point. The loaves were a bit flat and dense, but then so is Mr H's in the photo :) And despite the appearance it wasn't stodgy. Flavour excellent.

    • veronicafrance on November 27, 2014

      EYB wouldn't let me type any more and threw all my paragraph breaks away. Anyway, I'll make it again with just a touch more water, and give myself more leeway with proving time. Oh -- and I forgot to say, I halved the quantities and still made 2 sizeable loaves.

  • Seeded bread

    • veronicafrance on November 24, 2020

      This turned out very treacly, darker than the photo in the book, and quite dense because of the rye flour. Not really my style of bread, but if you like that sort of thing go for it. If I did do it again, I'd use half the amount of treacle, or replace it with a tbsp of malt extract. I also noted that the total weight of the seeds was more than the weight of flour. Seemed odd to me. I didn't put nearly that amount in -- maybe 150 g of mixed seeds. I have a seed bread recipe I prefer anyway.

  • Cheddar and apple bread

    • veronicafrance on August 20, 2020

      We really enjoyed this. It's like an instant sandwich, no need to add a filling. I used a hard sheep's cheese from the Pyrenees instead of cheddar -- it needs to be a strong cheese. There are quite a few filled breads in this book and I'm ready to try them after this one -- as well as variations on this. Cheese and caramelised onions for example, or pear and gorgonzola.

  • Fruit loaf

    • veronicafrance on November 25, 2014

      The dough was very wet even though I didn't use all the water (only half of it) and added about 50 g extra flour. Perhaps it was because I was using French flour. It was difficult to handle, and spread rather than rose once it was formed. Also took 40 minutes to bake rather than 20. But the end result is very nice, a bit like panettone. I don't see why you shouldn't bake it in tins to prevent the spreading. Note I said tins -- this makes a *lot* of bread ... two huge round loaves. Guess I'll be making some bread and butter pudding ...

  • Focaccia

    • veronicafrance on September 19, 2020

      This book is proving its worth for simple, no-nonsense recipes. Hollywood suggests making this dough by hand to get the feel of it, but it's very wet. I did the initial mixing in the stand mixer with dough hook, and then finished kneading by hand. Be careful when proving on the trays that whatever you cover them with doesn't touch the dough ... it will stick! Also, don't let your cat walk on it. I gave them a bit of extra rising time to repair the damage, and they turned out well. I added toppings, rosemary and sea salt for one and marinated artichokes and pesto for the other.

  • Cholla loaf

    • veronicafrance on September 26, 2020

      My plaiting was bigger and clumsier than his, but as usual with his recipes it turned out great. Soft crumb, not too sweet.

  • Spelt bread

    • veronicafrance on August 17, 2020

      A very quick and easy recipe, and I was delighted with the result. I don't often make tin loaves, but this is a winner. A light crumb, a tender crust, and the lovely flavour of spelt. I'm sure it will make good toast. Will definitely make again.

  • Ale bread rolls

    • veronicafrance on August 28, 2020

      Easy to make but pretty unremarkable flavour. If I hadn’t known there was beer in them I wouldn’t have guessed. And I used strong flavoured English ale. Probably a good roll to serve with soup.

  • Wholemeal loaf

    • veronicafrance on September 19, 2020

      For me, this bread was nothing special, but it was easy and quick to do. I used a mixture of wholemeal and French T80 flour, and it was light and even-textured, but not a particularly interesting flavour. However it would be a good recipe for a beginner to learn to make a free-form loaf, because the dough shaped well and easily, and once again looked just like the photo in the book, which once again proved its reliability.

  • Soda bread

    • veronicafrance on October 21, 2020

      It’s impossible to get buttermilk here, so I used a pot of yoghurt topped up with milk. Maybe I should have increased the bicarbonate too, as it didn’t rise that well. It was also a little under baked. That said, the result was perfectly acceptable.

  • Christmas buns

    • veronicafrance on August 03, 2016

      Yum. I think I can safely say I have improved on Mr Hollywood. 1) Instead of using only cinnamon I used half cinnamon and half 4-épices. 2) It seemed to make sense to use lemon juice rather than water in the icing. Delicious, pretty, and for an enriched yeast bake they are quick and easy to do.

  • Basic sourdough

    • veronicafrance on May 27, 2014

      This was not a complete success, but I'm not going to blame Mr Hollywood -- I think perhaps my starter was not in the best condition, and my flour was probably softer than his. I followed the recipe exactly, and put it in cloth-lined bowls for the second rising (who needs expensive bannetons??). Left overnight, the too-soft dough was pouring out of the bowls in the morning. Luckily being an experienced baker, I knew what to do -- I knocked it back and reshaped it. But there was no structure to the dough; I turned my back for a couple of minutes and it had spread out into pancakes. I re-proved it in the bowls for three hours and then abandoned his method and baked it in a pre-heated cast-iron casserole as I normally do, to force it to spring rather than spread. The end result was very acceptable, just not quite as good as my usual recipe.

  • Lavender honey and toasted almond sourdough

    • veronicafrance on February 20, 2016

      Paul Hollywood's freeform method of proving bread never really works for me -- it always spreads rather than rising, and I end up with a flattish loaf. Apart from being a bit wobbly round the edges, mine did look like his photo, but it would be better to prove it in a basket to keep the shape. It took ages to cook -- he says 35 mins but in a fan oven mine took more like 50. As for the flavour, it was OK but not really special. I could barely detect the almonds in the dough.

  • Croissants

    • veronicafrance on June 08, 2014

      Croissants are not the easiest things to make, and my first attempt was not a great success. The dough looked really good, nicely layered, so I think I probably didn't let them rise long enough (worried the butter would get too soft); the inside was too dense and the crust chewy rather than flaky. I froze some uncooked, so I'll be able to test this theory with the next batch. Update: I let the second batch defrost and rise overnight, baking them in the morning. The consistency was *much* better. The crust still wasn't flaky enough; maybe this was because I accidentally baked them on fan oven.

  • Danish pastry dough

    • veronicafrance on June 02, 2014

      Excellent detailed instructions. It worked really well even though I had to knead by hand as I don't have a stand mixer. The dough was a bit less structured than it might have been as a result. I may try using the bread machine to do the mixing next time.

  • Creme patissiere

    • veronicafrance on June 02, 2014

      Good basic creme pat recipe. The cornflour ensures it doesn't curdle even if you get it a bit too hot.

  • Pain aux raisins

    • veronicafrance on June 02, 2014

      Ace! I carefully followed the instructions and have just enjoyed a deliciously light pain aux raisins. The instructions are clear and the photos helpful. Next time I'll be more lavish with the crème pâtissière as it disappeared into the dough a bit.

  • Buche de Noel

    • LisaR12 on January 06, 2016

      I used black cherry jam instead of raspberry in the filling , and didn't bother with the buttercream topping.. It was delicious, would like to make again, maybe as some sort of cupcake as my rolling out wasn't that great.

  • Teacakes

    • Susan_F on May 02, 2014

      Didn't have enough mixed peel left, so added some chopped dried apricots instead. Turned out great!

  • Banana bread with walnuts

    • knittingfrog on December 10, 2013

      Absolutely yummy but reduced sugar by 50g and was plenty sweet enough. Took quite a bit longer to cook though...

    • PeterC on April 19, 2014

      Agreed, i swapped in peacans but it took more than an hour to bake. It produced a lot of mix so in hindsight should have made two loafs and perhaps timing would have been closer.

  • Apricot couronne

    • Alro9 on November 06, 2013

      This is a fabulous receipe and is really worth trying if you like yeast cooking and are getting into baking. I like to make up the dough and up it in the fridge the night before and then complete whatever I am making the next day to make the timings easier to fit into family life. This was delicious warm out of the oven.

    • Foodycat on December 17, 2014

      This is extremely successful! And adaptable - I did a Christmas version last year with cranberries and pistachios.

    • kateastoria on December 16, 2014

      online at

  • Victoria sponge

    • PeterC on April 19, 2014

      Not really a sponge mix but an "all in one" cake batter. Taste and crumb were okay though.

    • KristenS on July 06, 2021

      This was surprisingly unexciting. There's no vanilla extract in the cake, but that seems to be traditional so I followed recipe. Texture is a little odd, sort of cornmeal-ish. Cream is whipped without any sugar. Ends up tasting like a large, bit bland scone. We weren't expecting a super sweet American cake, but were still disappointed. Will not make again.

  • Pitta breads

    • sarahj22 on February 18, 2018

      Easy - and tastier and more substantial than shop-bought versions. As the author mentions, the dough will sit quite happily for an extra hour or two while you get on with other things. I didn't have semolina but extra flour stops them sticking to the baking tray.

  • Moroccan pasties

    • amandabeck on February 20, 2021

      Really tasty. Baked them all and re-heated some the next day for dinner, turned out great.

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Reviews about this book

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Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • Crusty dinner rolls

    • Idiot Baker

      It’s s straightforward recipe; not only did it turn out pretty well, but the rolls were popular...Family and friends – we wolfed the lot within 24 hours! That counts as a success.

      Full review
  • ISBN 10 140881949X
  • ISBN 13 9781408819494
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Jul 05 2012
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 304
  • Language English
  • Countries United Kingdom
  • Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
  • Imprint Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publishers Text

At last, the star of BBC2's The Great British Bake Off reveals all the secrets of his craft in How to Bake. The son of a baker, Paul Hollywood is passionate about busting the myths that surround baking, sharing his finely honed skills, and showing that with the right guidance, anybody can achieve success time after time. With this in mind, he has filled this book with easy-to-follow, clearly explained, utterly delicious recipes. Having taken you through the basic techniques, Paul explains how to make an abundance of breads, pastries, cakes and biscuits including wholemeal loaf, tin bread, ciabatta, focaccia, sour cherry and chocolate loaf, Roquefort and almond bread, fresh croissants, milles feuilles, quiche, classic Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle cake, chocolate temptation cake, buttery shortbread and fiery ginger biscuits. Time to get baking ...

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