With the departure of Enwezor last week, the heat was on once again in the GBBO tent as the contestants faced the much feared Bread Week.
For their first challenge, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry requested that the novice bakers make twelve identical royal rolls in three and a half hours.
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Paul and Mary highlighted how to create the perfect roll
As rye bread has a low gluten content, the task proved difficult for the culinarians as rye flour requires a lot of kneading in order for the protein to create air pockets and form the perfect dough.
Mary noted that many of the bakers would traditionally use black treacle, honey and cocoa to make the rye bread form a dark colour but warned that this is dangerous as when it comes to glazing the bread, the crust can become too dark while the middle remains underbaked.
Bread flavours ranged from Luis’ interesting 'opposites attract' rolls containing two types of dough to form a marriage of pale and dark breads, to Kate's orange and cardamom two-tone knots, covered in a sticky orange syrup.
Luis impressed with his 'opposites attract' roll
Norman upheld tradition by using treacle and sultanas, but it was Martha who caused Paul some concern when she admitted she was to use an egg wash on her bread.
Iain also surprised the judges by deciding to use an unusual technique of using sour bread to make his cranberry and walnut rye bread.
In the end, Martha, Nancy and Chetna's rolls needed more time to bake, while Iain and Diana impressed the judges.
"I love the crust on it," said Mary as she teared into Jordan's roll while Paul praised Luis by calling his bake "pure alchemy" and rewarding the baker with a coveted 'Paul Hollywood handshake'.
The second bread challenge required the bakers to rely on their own bread baking knowledge and create a Paul Hollywood recipe- four perfect ciabattas.
"Be patient," advised Paul with an air of mystery.
Paul inspected the contestants' ciabattas
Mary demanded the bakers to create crisp, flowery bakes in three hours while Paul warned that taking the dough out too early would result in too small ciabattas while taking it out too late will make doughs 'as flat as a pancake.'
The ciabatta, the Italy's rival to the French baguette, requires a perfect first rise for its success. Unfortunately for the contestants, Paul's basic recipe purposefully omitted that the proving drawer should not be used as it would result in an over-activated dough and a loss of shape.
Unbeknown to many of the bakers, they continued to use the proving draw while Chetna, Richard and Kate stuck to their guns and kept their doughs in room temperature.
With patience being the key to a ciabatta bake, the bakers were in a standoff to see who would take their dough out first until Jordan bravely poured his sticky dough out onto the table.
Martha's dough seemed to be perfectly proved
Paul highlighted that a slow rise is essential in creating a strong crust, good dome and an airy structure, however many of the baker's lack of bread knowledge resulted in doughs resembling pitta breads rather than ciabattas.
With Jordan's oily bread failing to impress the judges, Luis came second while a shocked Kate won the technical challenge with Mary commenting that her bake had a 'nice structure and good consistency.'
The sun shone on the second day as the troop of bakers marched into the tent, Kate and Luis seen as firm favourites by the judges.
Their bread show-stopper challenge asked for the hopefuls to create a bread centre piece. The breads could be filled, stuffed, rolled or a tear and share but needed to be spectacular on the outside and taste delicious.
With four hours to create their impressive bread show-stopper, Paul worried that moisture would be the pitfall to the bakers' stuffed breads while Mary was more concerned with the bread's appearance and design, demanding "perfection" from the remaining bakers.
Although most of the contestants opted to use strong white flour, Luis decided to add saffron to his dough in order to create his Spanish Roscón de Reyes bread. Ornately decorated, the ringed desert was a bold choice by Luis but it was Jordan's odd choice of strawberry, raspberry and cheesecake brioche filling that caused concern for the judges.
Luis' Spanish show-stopper impressed the judges
Other show-stoppers included Diana's savoury spinwheel, Norman's picnic loaf, Richard's pesto pinwheel and Martha's inventive Epoisses studded sunflower bread.
However, with her intention of alternating the fig and apricot bread fillings, Martha, the youngest baker of the show, failed to remember the order of her sunflower petals.
"I'm hoping there is more excitement inside," remarked Paul as he looked at Norman’s bake while Iain's crispy centre piece was called "a bit of a success" by Mary.
Having impressed the judges the day before, Kate's tightly rolled ham-stuffed bread seemed to impress the tent until Paul shockingly called it 'raw'. The bread expert explained that due to her tightly wrapped bread, the dough had no room to rise and therefore was unable to bake.
In the end, Luis' regal Spanish bread and attention to detail saw him named this week's Star Baker, while Jordan's sweet dough sadly failed the judges.
Episode four promises an evening of drama as the baking contestants must face Dessert Week next Wednesday at 8pm on BBC One.