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Baker Paul Hollywood returns to the classic recipes – Herald Democrat

Baking star Paul Hollywood returns to the classic recipes

By Mark Kennedy AP Entertainment Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — If Paul Hollywood needed any proof that he and “The Great British Bake Off” have become pop culture icons, all he needs to do is turn on Netflix.

Last year’s heist movie “Red Notice” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot featured a snippet of Hollywood’s show, an unlikely success on both sides of the Atlantic.

In one scene, after a double or triple crossing, Gadot is shown relaxed in front of a TV waiting for a trap to jump on one of her costars. “She sits down and looks at me on the ‘Bake Off’ and I go ‘What? That’s Wonder Woman!’” Hollywood says, still puzzled.

Hollywood may be full of Hollywood, but it doesn’t forget where the magic happens. The English baking specialist has gone back to basics this summer, offering ultimate versions of recipes adapted and updated for the modern world in Bloomsbury Publishing’s new cookbook ‘Bake’.

“There were certain things that I thought were too sweet and you didn’t have to have that much sugar in them. I think our taste buds have changed in the last 20, 30, 40, 50 years,” he says. “I thought, ‘Well, if you can cut back on sugar and still enjoy a fantastic cake, then that’s definitely a good thing. .'”

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

Each recipe aims to capture the essence of the dish, and Hollywood hopes home cooks learn the basics. “Once you get the hang of it, you can adapt it and change it and change it and make it your own. You have to master it first — walk before you can run,” he says.

In addition to adding less sugar — and less salt, too — Hollywood has put its own spin on certain recipes, like asking for bread flour — aka strong flour — in its 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 juries. He is known for rewarding contestants with an appreciated handshake as well as his blunt assessments of dishes, saying things like “I find them a bit messy” and “They should be in the oven a lot longer. It’s way too little.” done. It’s a shame.”

He and fellow judge Prue Leith have become world stars thanks to ‘The Great British Bake Off’, which airs in the United States under the title ‘The Great British Baking Show’. Hollywood has spawned shows like “Paul Hollywood Eats Mexico,” “The American Baking Competition,” and “Junior Bake Off.”

Every recipe in “Bake,” a reflection of Hollywood’s blunt but honest personality, has something thrifty about it. There are often a few introductory sentences explaining his tweaks and then a series of economic directions, some no more than a few hundred words.

“You can have your froufrou and your fuzzy comments when you eat with your friend,” he says with a laugh. “I said, ‘Let’s just go ahead, get the damn thing done and then you can sit down and talk.'”

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

“I think the recipes themselves are ultimately very approachable,” he says. “If you weigh the recipe correctly and your oven has been serviced – whether it has been cleaned and maintained well and it reaches the temperature it says it will reach – you are 90% on the right track, just by weighing everything properly Then it’s just a matter of throwing it in a mixer and mixing.”

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 back further. 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 with them when they immigrated to California.

“What is a leaven? Well, to me, as long as you don’t use store yeast, you make your yeast in flour water and use the bacteria in the air, then what you’re doing is sourdough,” he says.

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

“People have a passion for baking, and it used to be. But what has happened is that they have nurtured that passion through the pandemic. And now it has become a thoroughbred hobby or a gift or a trade or a business that they want to invest in,” he says.

He says he sees even greater awareness, sophistication and passion in the participants of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, which filmed 12 seasons with no end in sight.

“It has always been there, but it seems to be getting stronger now. They’re just so knowledgeable about baking, which they just weren’t in seasons one and two,” he says. “They were interested and were good, but they seem to be so much more knowledgeable now. And that surprises me.”

Hollywood has also noticed that men are more into baking, something he encourages. He also wants kids to get their hands dirty instead of spending time on their Playstations or Switches.

“It’s about how delicate you are with some sponges and how dexterous you are with your touch to create something that looks great and tastes great – that’s what baking is all about. I always find it a very inclusive thing.”