The Great British Bake Off returned to BBC2 last night and millions gathered around TV sets and took to Twitter to comment on the amateur bakers at work. Last week it was all about cake and this week's challenges would sort out the ‘wheat from the chaff’ as the focus was on bread. As judge Paul Hollywood said ‘Understand bread and you understand baking’.
First up was flatbreads
An interesting challenge. As Mel said ‘you can bake then on the oven floor, on the wall or the griddle’. Flatbreads have been around for centuries with almost all cultures having their own speciality. Paul said ‘Flatbreads shouldn't have an envelope inside them, traditionally it's quite a sponge dough all the way through it and not too thick’.
The bakers got to work kneading and contestant Brendan explained ‘Bread is a very satisfying thing to make there's this lovely tactile feel about it as you're when you're kneading and proving the dough’. Flatbreads don't need to prove as long as regular bread and they don't need to rise as much. So the main challenge is to produce a flatbread that is soft and easy to tear and something that doesn't snap like a cracker. Each contestant worked to produce some tasty variations. James made tomato, garlic and Parmesan flat breads and Tatty scones.
Victoria felt like an ‘imposter’ as she didn't normally bake bread, but loves Indian food so hoped her Lemon Naan bread and Garlic, cardamom and black parsnip chapatis. John also went down an Asian route with Coriander and Chilli Rotis and Garlic and Pomegranate Pitas topped with potato.
Many flatbreads are characterised by their flavours and inspired by Bombay Mix, Stuart made Bombay Bread and Chorizo and Spring Onion Naan bread. Cathryn also made Naan bread, a spiced mango version and a chilli, lime and coriander soft tortilla.
Manisha's Indian and Italian Flatbreads were a big hit with both judges. Mary said ‘they look inviting with this nice colour’ and Paul loved the garlic in them. The judges were more divided with Danny's flatbreads, Paul proclaimed them ‘fantastic’ and adored the lime, whereas Mary felt they were a bit ‘overbaked’ but nonetheless enjoyed their texture.
Both judges were pleasantly surprised by Cathryn's spicy Mango Naans. ‘Get in there’ said Paul and Mary said ‘Ooh Hello - that's great and pretty unusual. It could have been the other way round but they work’.
Sarah-Jane’s beer oatcakes proved particularly popular with Paul. Mary said ‘It's very adult and they're very strong with the beer. Is that going down in one Paul?’ she laughed as he polished off the beer they were served with.