The Great British Bake Off Technical Challenge: Week 2 – Paul Hollywood’s 8-Stranded Plaited Loaf

I love the Great British Bake Off.

Oh yes.

It’s a combination of Mel and Sue (bring back Late/Light Lunch!), the double entendres, possibilities of exhibitionistic Squirrels, and the inspiration to try new things, that makes me cast aside my usual avoidance of anything that involves reality television and watch. That… and all the baking of course.

It started last week, and my friend and I did think we should try and bake the technical challenges each week… But week one was the Rum Baba. Well:

a) it has Rum in it. I do not own any Rum. I do not like Rum. I do not wish to bake anything with Rum in it.

b) it involves buying the Baba moulds. Why would I want to shell out for moulds when I shall never ever bake it again (see above).

So we passed on the Babas. This week was Paul Hollywood’s Plaited Loaf. Not content with a plaited loaf having 3 strands, you know, like most plaits, his has 8. Of course it does.

I have the book (in fact I have all three GBBO books…..) The Great British Bake Off: How to turn everyday bakes into Showstoppers, but the recipe is also available from BBC Food here.

The dough recipe is easy enough, plus I totally cheated and used my Kitchen Aid mixer to make it.

Thanks Kenneth (the Kitchen Aid – he’s all rugged and manly looking and does heavy kneading and mixing with no bother).

Then came the dividing, rolling, plaiting…..

I did this bit properly-ish, my dough was 858g, so by my reckoning, each piece needed to be about 105g, so I divided them up, roughly weighing each, then rolled them all into strands.

Mr M laughed at my concentration face, so I scowled at him.

Then the plaiting….

And yeah… something went awry…

I somehow missed plaiting one of the strands pretty much entirely…… But… I just couldn’t be bothered to unplait it and start again. I’m sure Mr H would give me a look of disapproval.

Eggy wash after the second rise:

Then baked!

Cut open, it looked like this:

Not bad!

Tastewise? I thought I had better sample it.

It tastes good! Not a bad effort. I think I would have probably got marked down for my poor abandonment of one of the strands of my plait though. Mid table I reckon.

Lottie’s World of Cakes and Bakes is having a bit of a Bake Off Challenge!

This is week 2, not bad, but not great either! We can do better!

Week 3 is Mary Berry’s Treacle Tart. Yum. I’m sure we can all get behind that!


  1. Looks delicious! A good attempt I think, well done! I wonder what happened to that odd strand out.

    1. No idea, but I decided I wasn’t bothered enough to try to replait it. Had the leftovers for lunch today, really pleased with the taste.

  2. I also tried out this recipe because I thought it made the loaf look so pretty!

    1. I have been wanting to have another go sometime and try and actually plait all 8 bits this time!

  3. I think it looks fab. The forgotten strand adds character!

    1. I’ll keep telling myself that! Haha!

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