‘The Great British Baking Show’ Recap: Season 12, Episode 3 “Bread Week”

12 Min Read
The Great British Baking Show.

We’re back with the third episode of The Great British Baking Show. This week, the remaining 10 bakers are facing the dreaded “Bread Week,” the speciality of stony-faced judge Paul Hollywood. Bready or not, here we go!

Signature Challenge

For their signature challenge, the bakers had to make a focaccia bread in two hours and 45 minutes. It could be in any style or flavor that they wanted, but the judges expected a crisp crust, soft inside and an open and irregular crumb structure.

Most of the bakers did fairly well with this challenge, although the judges still picked out a few mistakes here and there. Unfortunately, three bakers stood out for the wrong reasons. Maggie did not get good remarks about her traditional tomato, olive, basil and garlic focaccia. She hadn’t pressed holes into the focaccia right to the bottom, and so her toppings weren’t really attached to the bread. The judges picked up her bread, and they tumbled off onto the table. They loved her flavors and texture, though.

Rochica also didn’t fare too well with her bread. She made a tomato, feta, honey, black pepper, onion, basil, all spice and roasted garlic focaccia. Despite her overwhelming number of flavors, the garlic overpowered all of them. Her toppings weren’t evenly distributed throughout the bread, either. The judges did think that her texture was alright, and they loved the floral design she had baked into the top.

Jürgen, who has been star baker for the past two weeks, sadly lost his streak as “flavor king.” He was inspired by the food that he loved when he moved to England and made a “kipper-caccia.” He seemed to have his baking figured out scientifically with the time and temperature. However, this did not work out, as the judges didn’t really have anything positive to say about his bread. They thought his bread was slightly overbaked but also had a wet part along the bottom as a result of proving his bread too long. They also didn’t like his flavors or texture, as it needed more mixing to stop it being cake-like.

Three bakers also stood out for receiving positive feedback. Freya impressed the judges with her fajita-inspired focaccia. The judges thought she had a well-baked, nice textured bread and that the flavors were very delicate and well-balanced. Crystelle also impressed them with her unusual roasted grape and feta focaccia. They thought her flavors were beautiful, and she had a nice open structure. Their only criticism was that her bread was “annoyingly thin,” which Crystelle joked that she didn’t mind being called.

However, the star of this challenge was Giuseppe. He made a focaccia inspired by breakfast flavors from his Italian hometown of Gaeta. It included olives from his hometown and oil made by his father-in-law. Unusually, he made his focaccia with a mix of water and milk rather than just using water like the rest of the bakers. The judges loved his subtle flavors and thought his bread had a good structure. The bread gave them a mouthful of every flavor when they took a bite, which was exactly what they were looking for. He even earned a coveted Hollywood handshake, and Paul asked for the recipe! Giuseppe became slightly emotional with his feedback, which only made you feel that he deserved the praise even more.

The Great British Baking Show.

Technical Challenge

The technical challenge saw the bakers presented with a recipe that they had never seen before. The bakes are ranked from worst to best in a blind judging. This week, the bakers were asked to produce a batch of 15 olive and cheese ciabatta breadsticks. The judges expected a holey texture with an even distribution of fillings. The breadsticks all needed to be crispy on the outside and all the same size and color. They had two hours to produce the breadsticks and a tzatziki dip.

The bakers were presented with a seriously pared down recipe including instructions such as “make the dough,” “prove” and “bake.” They had to use their own baking knowledge and intuition to fill in the details.

The Great British Baking Show

Sadly, Rochica and Crystelle were let down by their intuitions. Rochica took her breadsticks out of the oven when they were still very pale due to not wanting to overbake them. The judges said that her breadsticks were raw and that all of the cheese filling had leaked out. This mistake saw her placed in tenth position.

Crystelle found herself in ninth position. The bakers were left with a difficult choice of how long to prove the breadsticks for and how long to bake them for. If they proved them for too long, then they didn’t have enough time to bake them. Sadly, this is what happened to Crystelle, as she was convinced that they wouldn’t take long to bake. Her breadsticks were also raw, but the flavor was alright.

The rest of the bakers were ranked from best to worst with Maggie in eighth position due to forgetting to put the onions in, then George, Chigs, Jürgen, Freya and Amanda. Lizzie came in second as she produced breadsticks with a good color and strong structure.

Giuseppe once again breezed past the rest of the competition and came in first. He had twisted his breadsticks to help keep the filling inside, which the judges found quite odd. Despite this, they thought his breadsticks were delicious and baked perfectly with a delicious caramelization on the outside.

Showstopper Challenge

In the showstopper challenge, the bakers were asked to make a 3D display using milk bread. They had four and a half hours to create their display, which had to be themed (they could choose whatever theme they wanted). The judges wanted slightly sweet milk bread that was soft inside with a light and tender crust.

Maggie made a seaweed-flavored octopus in a rock pool with royal icing decoration. Even her practice bake didn’t go well as she made it with just six legs. The judges described her bake as quite rustic. The other bakers went with colored doughs to make their sculptures, which Maggie didn’t. They thought her bread was underproved and had no flavor, as they could not taste the seaweed at all. They really questioned whether this was four and a half hours worth of work.

Rochica also struggled with this challenge. She made a cinnamon and nutmeg birdcage, bird, and eggs. She was quite ambitious with trying to produce a tall birdcage, however she spent so long assembling this that she left her other breads in the oven for too long. The judges also questioned the proportions of her sculpture. The cage and eggs were far too big for the bird she produced. Her bird bread was rather flat, and her bread was tight and overproved. This is likely due to her proving all of her bread for the same length of time, when they needed different times due to their different sizes. They again questioned whether this was enough work for the time the bakers were given.

The Great British Baking Show.

George definitely stood out for the cuteness of his sculpture. He made a koala sitting on a branch from chocolate-and-tahini-flavored bread. His sculpture was also ambitious for being quite tall, and sadly this meant that some of his breads at the bottom crumpled because of the weight of the sculpture and the soft nature of the bread. However, they thought it was adorable and although simple, worked well.

Freya produced a seascape including a chocolate-filled tear and share turtle. She made her bread vegan by using soya milk and dried coconut milk powder. The judges were very amused by her creatures, particularly the turtle and crab. She had a lovely, light milk bread that held its shape well. They thought it tasted good and was nicely baked.

The Great British Baking Show.

It came as no surprise that Giuseppe wowed the judges once more. He made various fruit and vegetables out of cinnamon and orange bread. His designs were simple but were incredibly well executed with crisp shapes. His bread had lovely flavors and a light texture.


This week Freya and Lizzie did quite well and began to stand out amongst the other bakers. Unsurprisingly, Giuseppe finally won the day and was awarded “star baker”! It was great to see him finally come out on top after narrowly losing out to Jürgen in the last two weeks.

It came as a shock that Jürgen actually came near the bottom this week. However, it was clearly between Maggie and Rochica as to who was going to be eliminated. Maggie managed to slide through into next week with Rochica being eliminated. However, unless Maggie does very well next week, I believe she may be next to leave the competition.

Baking Show Best Bits

Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!

  • Matt and Noel singing a parody of “Lord of the Dance,” entitled “Lord of the Loaf,” mocking Paul Hollywood.
  • Freya mocking Noel for his striped jumper, stating that he looked like Where’s Wally (Waldo for the Americans). He then appeared later in the episode with a hat and glasses.
The Great British Baking Show.
  • Giuseppe accidentally calling Noel “Neil” and looking very embarrassed.

Next week, the bakers will compete in “Dessert Week.” Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, then check back here for the latest recap!

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By Lynette
Lynette has been a lifelong nerd and over the last few years finally learned to let her freak flag fly. She likes to dip her toe into almost every fandom but is particularly passionate about Supernatural, Stranger Things, Marvel and Disney. When she isn’t binge watching programs, she loves to swim, sing and (true to her Ravenclaw nature) read. Lynette joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2019 and loves sharing her nerdy knowledge with the world.
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