Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Bake, by Paul Hollywood

A must for every home cook’s bookshelf, Paul Hollywood’s Bake is a classic collection of his all-time favourite recipes.

Bake is the latest publication from Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood. Promising “best ever recipes for the classics”, it features over 80 of Hollywood’s favourites grouped as cakes, breads and flatbreads, pastry and pies, biscuits and cookies, pizza and doughnuts, and desserts.

In the introduction, Hollywood acknowledges his roots through the inclusion of treats from his childhood, such as barm cakes (low, flat rolls perfect for burgers) and bin lids (a giant version of barm cakes that are ideal for filled sandwiches, especially chip butties). Both entries are nods to his upbringing in England’s north-west. Wider influences are seen in other breads (Greek lagana, maneesh flatbread from Morocco, Cyprian pitta) and also in sweeter delicacies such as New York chocolate brownie cheesecake, Thai chicken pie, croissants and Danish pastries.

Almost all of the recipes in Bake have a two-page spread (with text on the left and an image of the finished product on the right) while a few have extra step-by-step shots to illustrate processes in more detail. There’s a warm, you-can-do-this vibe with photographs capturing homestyle platings (think stone benchtops, chopping boards, and crockery in a range of styles).

Below each recipe’s title is a sentence or two of introduction, sometimes offering information on where Hollywood first encountered the dish or why he’s included it. Some sections feature additional tips, which will be helpful for novice bakers. For example, a one-page outline of the key stages of bread-making shares the fundamentals of kneading, rising, knocking back and proving along with advice on specific techniques and possible tricky stages. In Pastry Particulars, we learn about the role of gluten, the importance of chilling pastry prior to cooking, and how to avoid “soggy bottom”. It’s all useful content, vital knowledge for those who are just starting out but easily skipped by competent bakers.

Bake is an attractive and accessible collection of recipes that makes you want to switch on the oven and reach for the flour.

Maneesh (page 146)

This recipe yields excellent results for minimal effort. No special equipment is required. I used a stand mixer with a dough hook, but you could knead with your hands if preferred. The steps are simple: mix all ingredients, leave the dough to rise for two hours and then roll into balls, flatten, top with herbs and bake. The finished flatbreads looked and tasted great—like a crispier version of pita. We ate a couple on the day and froze the rest (they defrosted well). This recipe could be adapted by topping the breads with different spices.

Lemon drizzle cake (page 32)

Lemons—so versatile and perfect for pairing with buttery cake. Apart from using a square pan instead of a loaf tin, I followed the recipe exactly and the result was a light, moist and delicious cake with a sweet, tangy surface. As with the maneesh, a stand mixer takes the effort out of this one, especially in the first stage of creaming the butter and sugar. My batter was a good dropping consistency without the addition of the suggested two tablespoons of milk at the end, so I omitted that step. Lemon drizzle cake is a classic, and this recipe is one to save if you’re looking for a reliable go-to option for morning or afternoon tea.

Reviewed by Jo Vabolis
Twitter: @JoVabolis

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Bloomsbury
Released: September 2022
RRP: $52

More News

To Top