Baking star Paul Hollywood returns to classic recipes (2024)

NEW YORK — If Paul Hollywood needed any evidence that he and “The Great British Bake Off” have become pop culture icons, he just needs to turn on Netflix.

There last year, in the starry heist film “Red Notice” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot, was a snippet of Hollywood’s show, an unlikely hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

In one scene, Gadot, after a double- or triple-cross, is shown relaxing in front of a TV as she waits for a trap to spring on one of her co-stars. “She sits down and watches me on the ‘Bake Off’ and I’m going ‘What? That’s Wonder Woman!’” says Hollywood, still amazed.

Hollywood may have gone full Hollywood but he’s not forgetting where the magic happens. The English baking specialist has returned to the basics this summer, offering ultimate versions of recipes that have been adjusted and updated for the modern world in the new cookbook “Bake” from Bloomsbury Publishing.

“There were certain things I thought were too sweet and you didn’t need to have that much sugar in them. I think our palates have changed over the last 20, 30, 40, 50 years,” he says.

The book is divided into six parts — cakes, cookies and scones, breads and flatbreads, pizzas and doughnuts, pastry and pies, and desserts. There are fine-tuned versions of everything from chocolate orange banana bread and cheese and onion soda bread to quattro formaggi pizza and fish pot pies.

Essence of the dish

Each recipe aims to capture the essence of the dish, and Hollywood hopes home cooks learn the basics. “Once you’ve mastered it, then you can tweak it and alter it and change it and make it your own. You need to master it first — walk before you can run,” he says.

In addition to adding less sugar — and also less salt — Hollywood has put his own twist on certain recipes, like asking for bread flour — also known as strong flour — in his scones and ditching lemon in favor of a lime meringue pie.

A former professional baker, Hollywood has built a media empire writing cookbooks and TV judging. He’s known as much for rewarding contestants with a prized handshake as he is for his blunt assessments of dishes, saying things like “I think they’re a little bit messy” and “They need to be in the oven much longer. It’s way underdone. It’s a shame.”

He and fellow judge Prue Leith have become global stars thanks to “The Great British Bake Off,” which airs in the United States under the title “The Great British Baking Show.”

There is a spareness to each recipe in “Bake,” a reflection of Hollywood’s blunt but fair persona. There’s often a few sentences of introduction with an explanation of his tweaks and then a set of economical directions, some no more than a few hundred words.

“You can have your froufrou and your fluffy comments when you’re eating with your friend,” he says, laughing. “I said, ‘Let’s just cut to the chase, get the bloody thing made and then you can sit down and talk.’”

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All you really need to bake like a pro, he says, is a kitchen scale, your hands and a good oven. Would-be bakers should not be intimidated by working with humidity or yeast.

“I think ultimately the recipes themselves are very approachable,” he says. “If you weigh up the recipe correctly and your oven has been serviced — or it’s been cleaned and it’s been maintained well and it is achieving the temperature that it says it’s achieving — you are 90 percent of the way there just by weighing things up correctly. After that, it’s a case of just throwing it into a mixer and mixing it.”

Baking on the rise

Hollywood’s passion for baking is infectious and his knowledge deep. If you thought sourdough — which became more popular during the pandemic — originated in San Francisco, Hollywood goes further back. He traces it to the ancient Egyptians who baked it for the sun god Ra, then to the Romans and then Europeans, who brought it when they emigrated to California.

“What is a sourdough? Well, for me, as long as you’re not using shop-bought yeast, you’re making your yeast in flour water, and you’re harnessing the airborne bacteria, then what you’re doing is a sourdough,” he says.

Speaking of the pandemic, Hollywood is encouraged by more and more bakers turning to their kitchens and baking muffins, cookies or baked goods to sell.

“People have a passion of baking, which, yes, was there before. But what’s happened is they’ve nurtured that passion through the pandemic. And now it’s become a full-blooded hobby or a gift or a trade or a business that they want to invest in,” he says.

He says he’s even seeing a higher awareness, sophistication and passion among the contestants on “The Great British Bake Off,” which has filmed 12 seasons with no end in sight.

“It’s always been there, but it seems to be getting more and more heightened now. They’re just so knowledgeable about baking, which they just weren’t in season one and two,” he says. “They had an interest and they were good, but they just seem to be so much more knowledgeable now. And that blows my mind.”

Classic Scones

Makes 11 scones

Paul Hollywood uses bread flour in his scones, which might seem surprising, but it’s a popular choice in professional kitchens because the high protein content gives the scones a boost. This recipe is tried and tested over many years and he says he’s never had any complaints. The Queen Mother said they were the best scones she’d ever tasted, he says. Just a couple of things to bear in mind: Don’t overwork the dough — you want it nice and light. And don’t twist the cutter when you lift it off or they won’t rise properly in the oven.

4 cups (500g) bread flour, plus extra to dust

2 tbsp (25g) baking powder

6 tbsp (80g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 large eggs

1 cup (250g) whole milk

1/3 cup (80g) superfine sugar

  • Glaze:

1 large egg, beaten with a pinch of salt

  • serve:

Confectioners’ sugar, to dust

Preserves and Devonshire clotted cream or whipped cream

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together. Add the butter and rub together with your fingers for a few minutes until you have a breadcrumb-like texture.

In another bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and sugar. Add to the rubbed-in mixture and stir together until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over a few times to incorporate air, but do not knead it; you want to achieve a loose, soft dough. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out to a 1¼-inch (3cm) thickness, making sure there is plenty of flour underneath to prevent sticking.

Using a biscuit cutter, about 2½ inches (6½ cm) in diameter, and pressing firmly (without twisting the cutter), cut out rounds and put on the lined baking sheets, leaving space in between. Brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg then put in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Take the scones out of the fridge and brush them again with the egg glaze. Bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden brown.

Transfer the scones to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve with a generous helping of preserves and Devonshire clotted cream or whipped cream.

Baking star Paul Hollywood returns to classic recipes (2024)


Is Paul from Bake Off married? ›

Celebrity baker Paul Hollywood reportedly recently tied the knot with partner Melissa Spalding in a lavish ceremony attended by more than 75 of their closest family and friends, including fellow Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith.

What does Paul Hollywood's son do? ›

What happened to Paul from the Great British baking show? ›

Paul Hollywood's British Baking came out in October 2014, The Weekend Baker was published in 2016 and in 2017 his book A Baker's Life was published. Paul makes regular contributions to The BBC Good Food Magazine, Olive Magazine, Waitrose Magazine and has written for both The Observer and The Telegraph.

Does Paul Hollywood have a child? ›

Is Paul Hollywood still with his wife? ›

Paul and his wife, Melissa, have been together since 2020 after meeting at the Chequers Inn where the 39-year-old works as a landlady. This is Paul's second marriage, having split from his ex-wife Alexandra back in 2017 over cheating allegations.

Does Paul Hollywood's son talk to him? ›

A source close to the TV presenter said: 'Josh doesn't want to talk to him, he is fully on his mother's side. They haven't seen one another since Paul started dating Summer. 'Paul has sent presents, cards, texts, but Josh hasn't been impressed by it. He has been utterly loyal to his mother.

How much does Paul Hollywood get paid on Bake Off? ›

How much does Paul Hollywood get paid for The Great British Bake Off? After moving from the BBC to Channel 4, it was widely reported that Hollywood got a rise in his paycheck. Reports suggest that over three years, the baker gained £1.2 million as a judge on Bake Off.

Who is Paul Hollywood's wife? ›

Personal life. Hollywood met his now-former wife Alexandra in Cyprus where he was a head baker at a five-star hotel and she was a scuba diving instructor. They later married on the island. They have a son.

How old is Paul Hollywood's new wife? ›

Paul Hollywood, 57, and new wife Melissa Spalding, 39, are pictured together for the first time since their wedding as they pay an unexpected visit to the set of Emmerdale.

Is Paul Hollywood color blind? ›

It's surprising Paul can tell, given that it was only revealed in this series that he's actually colourblind.

Does Paul Hollywood tan? ›

PAUL Hollywood's tanning obsession is causing chaos on the Great British Bake Off because he disappears to sunbathe and returns a different shade. The 57-year-old judge even has a hammock outside the tent where he will strip to the waist to soak up some rays.

Why did Sandi leave the Great British baking show? ›

The 61-year-old broadcaster is exiting the show after three years to “focus on other work projects”, according to the channel. Toksvig – who joined Bake Off in 2017 alongside comic Noel Fielding – also presents the BBC quiz show QI, and previously hosted The News Quiz on Radio 4.

Does Paul Hollywood own a bakery? ›

Paul was still working on both sweet and savory things for his London bakery Knead. But in 2019, it had to close down due to construction for a railway station that lead to its demolition.

What football team does Paul Hollywood support? ›

Paul Hollywood had a job on his hands to remain impartial given he is an avid Liverpool supporter and reports of favouritism towards Alexander-Arnold remain to be seen in the video, which will be aired during Channel 4's live broadcast of England's international on Friday.

How much does Paul get paid for Bake Off? ›

Paul Hollywood

This meant he bagged £400,000 a series, after getting less than £100,000 a year at the BBC.

How much does Paul Hollywood get paid for Bake Off? ›

How much does Paul Hollywood get paid for The Great British Bake Off? After moving from the BBC to Channel 4, it was widely reported that Hollywood got a rise in his paycheck. Reports suggest that over three years, the baker gained £1.2 million as a judge on Bake Off.

Has anyone on GBBO gotten married? ›

John Whaite, who rose to fame as one of the early winners of The Great British Bake Off, is officially a married man! The baker-turned-TV-personality recently announced via Instagram that he recently wed his longtime partner, Paul Atkins, in New York City. “Our big day in the Big Apple,” he wrote.

What age is Paul from Bake Off? ›

Paul Hollywood was born on 1 March 1966 in Wallasey, Cheshire, England, UK. He is an actor and writer, known for The Great Comic Relief Bake Off (2013), Paul Goes to Hollywood (2019) He has been married to Alex Hollywood since 1998. They have one child.


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