UKE Baking Expert, Sophie Johnson gives us the latest from this week’s GBBO!

Chocolate chips, chilli overkill and steaming balls.

Sleeves were rolled up, elbows were greased, Paul Hollywood’s steely blue eyes were like lasers,’knead’ I say more?

It was time for bread week on The Great British Bake Off.

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“Imagine gooey chocolate spread, layered thickly onto warm bread, melting, dripping, lusciously lickable.”

Chocolate and bread have long had an intimate relationship, and so what better way to start bread week than with a Signature challenge of baking chocolate bread. With Candice keen to hold onto the title of star baker she pulled out a flavour that is fast becoming a favourite with her, salted caramel. This sweet yet savoury filling was wrapped in buttery brioche buns with chunks of dark chocolate and crunchy handmade brittle. Whilst Rav stayed small with his chocolate, cardamom and hazelnut twist, Michael flirted with flavours including fresh chillies, rich chocolate and chia seeds all topped off with cayenne pepper and a dark chocolate ganache. Candice lost her shine with messy, raw buns that were completely inedible. Perhaps she should’ve taken note of Tom’s beautiful buns (naughty!) flavoured with chocolate, orange and just a hint of chilli. The judges thought they were ‘excellent’. Andrew proved (sorry) that less is more with his simple Barmbrack, swapping the raisins for chocolate chips and opting for a single prove, it was baked well and loved by all.

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Beer, bratwurst and……. Buns? This week’s technical challenge took a German twist with the bakers being asked to make twelve Dampfnudel. These little round buns are often served as savoury or sweet meals with rich sauces and creamy custards. In a Bake Off first, there was no oven. Instead the bakers had to steam their buns until light and fluffy on the top and golden caramelised on the bottom. With 30 minuten left, balls were weighed and bottoms were pinched and the bakers were getting saucy. Pans of Dampfnudel simmered as sticky plum sauce and sweet creme anglaise were strained and stirred. Benjamina’s bakes were uneven, whilst Rav’s were raw, even Selasi’s balls were smoking. As Paul moulded Rav’s bun back into a ball of dough it was obvious that he had fallen into last place, Jane’s soggy balls were not far behind him. Smoking Selasi came in mid-place whilst Val steamed into the lead with Paul admitting that they might have been ‘a million miles away’ from his Dampfnudel, but they were the closest attempt.

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“Three stranded plaits and three different flours, time for savoury showstoppers. A plaited centrepiece of any size.”

Kate drew on her farming heritage and proved she knows how to plait with her beautiful corn doll. She intertwined goats cheese focaccia with herringbone beer plaits and cheddar topped spelt. Her ‘superb plaiting’ gorgeous textures and flavours got her a congratulations from Mr Hollywood himself (here’s a link on the ultimate guide to making Hollywood worthy bread!). Andrew got artistic with his rye basket complete with whole meal pesto rim and orange and cardamom handle, and Jane jumped on the pesto bandwagon with her pretty flower flavoured with chorizo and chilli with a Parmesan and pesto centre. Val’s Noah’s ark might have resembled a child’s classroom salty dough project, but it was Michael’s Cypriot dove and olive branch that saw him snap. Not even the shot of alcohol could disguise the lack of flavour, messy plaiting and pitiful rise. In the end it was Tom who thundered to glory with his masculine centrepiece. His cranberry and walnut serpent tickled Mel’s fancy with its ‘male shape’ oooeeer! And his beer and seaweed hammer saw him snatch Star Baker.

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After a particularly difficult week, Candice was as suspect as her ruby red dolls lips, but she scraped through as Michael’s floury flop saw him become the third baker to leave the tent.

Onwards and upwards, our bakers will rise again for next week’s first ever challenge of puddings, pancakes and pleasing Paul. It’s batter week.

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Sophie Johnson, 28, Proud mummy of Bea, 4, Expert Baker, loves all things cake, UKE’s resident baker.

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#GBBO #UsedKitchenExchange #MaryBerry #PaulHollywood

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