Bread Week · Technical Challenge · The Beginnings (Season 2 BBC)

Braided Bread

This was fun…although my whole body is going to pay for this later, I think. Ow.

Wanting to use the same recipe that the contestants used on the show (mine being more detailed than their truncated technical challenge directions), I found the BBC version of Paul Hollywood’s recipe here. I had to omit the sunflower oil–I just used olive oil.

The first part of this recipe is pretty easy. I started mixing in the upright mixer, but it says to kneed by hand for 10 minutes, so I went ahead and did that. It was a very sticky, sloppy dough, but after about 10 minutes, it finally started to hold together. I dropped it into an oiled bowl and covered with cling film.

After it had risen for an hour, I weighed the entire dough to see how much to put into each strand…101 grams each. I love it when things like this happen…the scale says BOB.

Bob the Bread

Divided the dough into 8 balls and then rolled them out into 8 long snakes.

You smash all the snakes into a pile at one end and start following the braiding directions…which, in the BBC version, is hard to read. I’ll type it out nice and clearly ’cause I’m that nice!

Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1
Step 2: place 8 over 5
Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8
Step 4: place 1 over 4
Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1
Repeat step 2-5, until all the dough is braided.

A few repeats in and it’s really starting to look like Bob the Octopus. The first few passes were pretty hideous before I figured out that you should lightly flour your surface and tentacles! The dough is still pretty sticky and after just seconds, was trying to weld itself into neighboring tentacles.


After braiding it all up, you have to carefully, somehow, move it onto parchment paper. I started to wonder if maybe it wouldn’t have been easier to braid it on the pan itself so as not to require moving (which I rolled carefully and quickly onto the paper that wanted desperately to curl up). Note to self: buy more parchment paper…it was the end of the roll.

Bob the Braided Bread

Cover and let rise for 1 hour and then brush with egg. I was disappointed about the lack of rise here. I wonder if my kitchen was too cool for the second rise. It is over 72 degrees in my house, so I’m not sure what’s going on.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes…

First time I pulled it out, it didn’t look quite done, seemed soft (not crunchy), so I put it back in for another 5 minutes, just to be sure.