The Great British Baking Show, Part 1: Bread

If you're slightly (or massively) confused by the Great British Baking Show (henceforward referred to as the GBBS), this page has some helpful info on the differences between British and American baking terms. For a more thorough delving into the British world of sweets, head here.

Over the summer, I went into a craze over the Great British Baking Show. I spent hours salivating over their scrumptious dishes and scoffing at the bakers who obviously knew nothing. Then I'd pop up off the couch and shuffle through the cupboards, trying to come up with something that I could bake.

I kept a notebook with about a hundred recipes from the show that I wanted to try. I pinned loads of recipes and started planning what I wanted to try my hand at. That's when I encountered a few problems.

#1, all of the authentic GBBS recipes were in the UK format. In other words, they use the metric system and we don't. And since I don't own a food scale (yet), I had to scramble around to find conversion charts. Annoying.

#2, I have limited counter space, a baby who likes to interrupt delicate baking processes, and almost no idea how to actually do any of the stuff in these recipes. Yay.

Since baking is something I adore, I was bound and determined to try my hand at a few of their more intriguing treats. And I'm happy to offer you any tips to keep you out of the pitfalls that are certain to happen to me. If you're a bit nervous when it comes to baking, don't be. The ingredients can totally tell and they start flopping all over the place and making a nasty mess.

But seriously. Try new things in the kitchen. It's fun.

I am currently trying to cut out refined sugars and flours and use only stevia and honey in my baking, so this post is slightly difficult for me to write. But I'll manage. For you. Today I'm sharing with you some of the breads I tried. I'm including links for all the recipes and tips on what I did differently (or poorly, haha). And I do apologize for the photos; I spent time taking them, and then forgot to edit them...all this happened a few months ago and I'd just rather share the recipes than wait any longer!

I am no expert baker, I just love bread. But oh my word, you cannot imagine my excitement level when these turned out looking like real English muffins! I talked about these about a million times in the following days, re-exclaiming, "They look so right! They're just like store-bought - only better, because I made them!"

Humble pie should probably be next on the menu.
I promise you do not need any special skills to make these beautiful things. Except patience, because it is like a three-day process and you need to not completely forget about your dough. But they are worth the wait because - duh - they taste amazing, and as a bonus they aren't tricky to make. Plus, they freeze well, so you can have them for a few weeks! 
Important things to know:

  • The biggest "stress factor" with bread is The Rise. To make any yeast bread recipe work, it has to rise. As long as your yeast gets activated in the initial dissolving-into-water, it will do fine. If you're not sure if your yeast has been activated, wait a few more minutes. If you're still not sure, throw it out and start again. There is no point going through the entire bread process if your yeast isn't working. It will save you a lot of stress (and flour)!
  • Have fun working with the dough. When rolling the individual balls, try different methods to make them smooth. Bread dough is basically therapy for the cost of a bag of flour. Put on some music. Enjoy it.
  • I did not use muffin rings, and these turned out fine.
  • Be liberal with your cornmeal. It looks like a lot, but it is the only thing keeping your semi-sticky dough from becoming married to the pan forever.
  • I don't have a cast-iron skillet, so I opted for an electric one that we use for pancakes. It did just fine, but I let them cook a bit longer than the recipe said.
  • Don't be shy about burning the bottoms of these babies. They can take it. The middle takes awhile to get done.
  • If you want to save some in the freezer, cut them in half first! Makes the thawing process much easier.
  • Serve with butter. Or toast them. Or fry an egg, add a slice of cheddar cheese, and call it an Egg McMuffin.

Cheesy Pepperoni Rosette Bread

I didn't quite follow the rules with this one, but it turned out to be worthy of all Netflix-and-pizza-binge-ing nights, trust me. Savory pull-apart bread has got to be one of the best things on earth. And look at those pretty rosettes! Cheesy and nice to look at? Might just make me cheat on pizza (just kidding, baby, you're the only one for me.)

The recipe calls for pre-made, refrigerated crap, but I was prepping to be on a baking show, so of course I made my own pizza dough from scratch. Not difficult at all, I promise you (though I can't for the life of me find the recipe I used)

You make the dough. You whip up some dipping oil (use lots of garlic!). You grate some mozzarella cheese. It's really simple. I made the mistake of layering the ingredients instead of tossing them all together, and it wasn't the best idea ever.
Important things to know:
  • Again, pay attention to how your yeast does in the beginning (if you're making the pizza dough from scratch). This is key. Don't be afraid to get new yeast if it doesn't work the first time.
  • Grease the pan really well and you will have no problems popping the bread out later.
  • If there is a lot of cheese touching the pan, it will turn into a hard, crispy outer later. That's fine if you like crunchy; but I prefer gooey cheese.
  • Forming the rosettes: cut a small rectangle of dough, fold it in half, then roll it up like a cinnamon roll. Place the prettiest end of the roll into the pan facing down or out, so it's visible when you flip it out of the bundt pan.
  • Serve with pizza sauce and you'll be thanking me for years to come for this amazingness in your belly.
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Happy baking! Remember, nothing is too complicated for you to try in your own kitchen. If you want to make it, go for it! Next week I'll be sharing with you my attempt at egg custard tarts. That episode of the show was kind of a disaster, if you remember; do you think that I managed to do any better than the Brits?


  1. These look amazing! I LOVE English muffins and never would've attempted making them before but now I want to try! You make it sound doable!

    1. I was so nervous and then completely shocked that they turned out just fine! Seriously try it. I love having them in the freezer to pull out for breakfasts :)

  2. These look so delicious! It's really great to get to enjoy the fruit of your work when you make something that takes so much patience like these!

    1. It just feels good to put in some work sometimes, doesn't it? As much as I still love boxed mac n cheese haha..

  3. I can't believe you made your own English muffins, that is so awesome! Both of the things you made look SO delicious, well done!

    1. Thanks! I couldn't believe it either! It's cool to do something that seemed impossible in the beginning.

  4. I loved watching the GBBS this summer on Netflix too! I've been tempted to try out some of their recipes but a little scared, haha. However, those english muffins look awesome and I just might give them a try!

    1. It's easier that you would think! The desserts are a bit trickier than the breads, I would say ;)

  5. That cheesy pepperoni rosette bread looks delicious! I love watching baking and cooking shows! It always inspires me to get into the kitchen.

    1. Yes, it makes me realize that I can be as creative as I want in the kitchen! Wife life doesn't have to be boring ;)