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Paul Hollywood & Prue Leith Answer Baking Questions From Twitter

The Great American Baking Show judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith answer the internet's burning questions about baking. Is yeast alive? What's the difference between baking powder and baking soda? How do croissants get so flaky? What's the secret to gooey cookies? Paul and Prue answer all these questions and much more! Director: Justin Wolfson Director of Photography: Kevin Dynia Editor: Louville Moore Line Producer: Joseph Buscemi Associate Producer: Paul Gulyas; Brandon White Production Manager: Eric Martinez Production Coordinator: Fernando Davila Talent Booker: Meredith Judkins Camera Operator: Rahil Ashruff Assistant Camera: Lucas Young Sound Mixer: Brett Van Deusen Post Production Supervisor: Alexa Deutsch Post Production Coordinator: Ian Bryant Supervising Editor: Doug Larsen Additional Editor: Paul Tael Assistant Editor: Andy Morell

Released on 05/30/2023


I'm Prue Leith.

And I'm Paul Hollywood,

and we're here to answer your baking questions

that you've sent in from Twitter.

This is Baking Support.

[upbeat music]

First up, Blustarsky.

I can't believe I didn't know about this.

What are you looking for when you knock on the bread?

Do you know?

If you look at that, I'm not sure whether you're gonna,

I mean, it's a baguette, but if I get the bottom.


[Prue] Yeah, it sounds hollow.

It's hollow. Hollow means it's got air inside.

If it's got air inside, it's more open.

If it's open, it's a good bread.


Why is my pie crust always soggy?

Have to crane this in.

What have you got?

It's a proper American pie.

You mean it's really.

Oh dear.


If you get a soggy crust,

it comes down to the liquid that's inside,

so you need to evaporate some of that liquid out,

or don't put as much liquid inside.

If you got apples, cook out your apples slightly

to evaporate some of that liquid.

So by the time you've got your topping on,

it doesn't soak into the middle

and end up with a just a hideous soggy mess.


That's quite dense.


Absolutely delicious.

I've never seen anything like that.


Or, you know, another trick.

If you're putting a wet mixture in,

like stewed apples or plums or something,

is if you put a bit of semolina,

a thin layer of semolina or polenta in the bottom,

it'll soak up some of the juices,

and it makes a tremendous difference.

And also vent it.

So vent your pastry so it allows that steam

to come out as well.

He means make a hole in the top.

Make a hole in the top, yeah.

That's a vent.

Do you think the Americans will know what venting is?

Well it could be hyperventing.

That's true, yeah.

Put a hole in the top.

Honestly, it'll be fine.

From Trewly.


How do they get so flaky?

Well it's all about lamination.

So it's about chilling the dough and the butter

each time you do a fold.

So you need to do turns of butter and dough

and butter and dough.

So you start off with basically a piece of dough,

butter covering two thirds of it,

fold that over so you end up with

dough, butter, dough, butter, dough.

You then put that in the fridge,

chill down the butter again so it goes hard,

roll that out, fold it again, and that's called a turn.

You need to do that at least three times.

Every time you fold it, it breaks the butter up,

so it looks like a marble by the time you finished it.

And you need to roll it down to about five millimeters

and then cut them into triangles, roll them up.

And there you have a beautiful croissant.

I've got a croissant here,

and let's have a look at this inside.

That's nice and flaky.

[Prue] Yeah.

There's the lamination.

There's the lamination in the flake.

It means layers and layers.

But the fact is, you need to read a recipe

about how puff pastry is made,

and then you will understand.


My cookies are never gooey.

They always go flat and hard

and spread way too much on the tray.

What's the secret?

The mix is probably far, far too wet.

If it's floating that much,

you need a little bit more flour in there

just to bring the mixture together.

And a good little secret is when you're doing cookies,

you make a little indent when it's on the tray

and pop a little bit of chocolate

in the middle and then just seal it up.

But with that extra bit of chocolate on the inside,

when you break it open, the gooeyness

of the chocolate will just fall out and it's delicious.

We've got a cookie here.

I would say that's not a good cookie.

I don't think it's a good cookie,

and I'll tell you for why.

It's bone dry.

And I could tell that soon as I lifted it up.

And this one had the opposite problem

of what Faye is concerned about,

because they didn't spread enough.

That's awful, isn't it?

It's so sad,

because I thought the most reliable American bake

is a chocolate chip cookie.

They're always delicious.

[Paul] That's terrible.

And this one ain't.



My caramel cheesecake burst

and created cracks in the surface.

What could have caused this?

Mix is too dry.

It's far too dry or the oven's too hot.

Or, if this is a cheesecake,

if you take it out of a very hot oven into a cool kitchen,

it'll often crack.

If it's overdone, what you can do

when you bring it out of the oven,

rather than putting it on the side of the bench,

place the whole thing on a cool surface like the floor.

And what often happens is

rather than collapsing in on itself,

it'll naturally find its actual level and level off again.

So rather than putting it on a side

where there's heat rising from the floor,

put it on the floor gently and then leave it to cool.



What is parchment paper made out of?

Silicon, next question.

This is Robyn.

Can you fix a dough that has too much flour?

Yes, you can.

Now if you've got a lump of dough that's quite stiff

and you think, what have I done wrong?

You've added too much flour by mistake.

Add a little bit of water.

If you add too much it'll just mix,

and there'll be water all everywhere.

Little bit of water at a time.

Take your time mixing it.

Take it and it goes to a sticky stage

and then it begins to go inside.

Once it goes inside again and it's cleared the bowl,

a little bit more water, and then stop the machine,

touch it and feel it so it's nice and soft.

So yes you can.

Aisha. Yeah.

Why is my cake cratering in the middle?

I used to be so good at makings.

Sometimes when things are too hot,

you scald the outside

and then as it begins to carry on baking, you bring it out

or you're opening the door, the middle bit will collapse in.

So it comes down to the temperature.

Make sure you're attaining the right temperature.

Chef Phil.

What baking tool could you not live without?

The Scotch scraper.

For me it was always like my, it's the chef's knife.

It's like a wooden handle or plastic handle with a blade,

a rectangular metal, just to scrape down the bench

and cut up dough and lift up pastry.


Why is my cake so wrinkly?

It looks like an elephant foot.

It comes down to the temperature.

It looks like it's been blistered

and it's a little bit too high in temperature.

So drop the temperature and you'll be fine.


She says, please don't call me a monster.

But what is the point of unsalted butter

in baking unless you need to consume less sodium?

Most of our recipes are actually unsalted butter

because then you can control the amount

you're putting in the recipe.

If you put unsalted butter in,

you are still controlling the amount of salt in that recipe.

And that's the only reason really.

And you know what the trick is?

Is to keep tasting it.

I mean, I taste all raw mixtures, all doughs,

all everything in the mixing state

because that's when you can tell how much salt there is.

You're not a monster, you're a clever woman.


The Great British Baking Show be like,

the babka is a bit stodgy innit?

And I pretend like I know what they mean.

Stodgy is something that's slightly gooey but slightly stiff

with a bit of glutenous quality to it.

Not good.

From Dawn Bennett.

Baking Twitter, I need your help.

Blackened bananas, nay or yay for banana bread.

Yes, absolutely, because the flavor is all there.

And shall I tell you one amazing trick

with blackened bananas is you cut the two ends off,

just the tips, leaving the skin, liquidize it in yogurt

with a bit of cinnamon and a bit of sugar if you must.

It is absolutely delicious.

Bit of ice cream now makes it a smoothie.

I bet that's lovely, very nice.

You'll find that your local grocers,

if they've got some really black bananas,

they'll probably end up really giving it to you

for virtually nothing.

Because they're about to throw it away anyway.

So go to your local grocer, and if you go and see anything.

Is that, what, are you gonna throw those out?

I'll take it.

And you end up with a very low costing banana bread.


I'm so confused.

How do cupcakes know when to stop rising?

It depends on the amount of rising agent you put in.


So there's a limit.

So if you've put lots and lots of baking agent,

it'll just pour and pour and pour.

If you put a set amount in,

which is the point in writing a recipe,

then it will stop at a certain point.

And that's basically all it is.

Yeah, you don't need to worry about the cupcakes.

They'll worry about when they'll stop rising.

From Lefty Lucy.

Yeast is alive?

Yes it is.

And if it's dead, it won't work.

If it's dead, it won't work, yeah, absolutely.

Because what it's doing is breeding

and giving off gas, which fills up the dough

and that makes the dough rise.

Young Tax Evasion, that's a good name.

How do you make the dough sour?

Sourdough's been around

for around four and a half thousand years.

The ancient Egyptians invented it.

You need to harness lactobacillus,

which is the airborne bacteria by mixing flour and water,

leaving it to rise for a few days, throwing half out,

feeding it with more water and flour, leaving it

for a couple of days until it begins to bubble.

Every day, you need to throw a little bit away

and feed it, feed it, feed it.

So it takes a week to make your starter.

At least 10 days to two weeks

to make a very solid starter.

Once you've fed it after a couple weeks,

it should bubble within eight hours.

That tells you you can use it.

And you use that in your mixture

with your flour and your salt.

Instead of using the baker,

the yeast that you buy in the shops.

This is from Muff Dawg 7.

Okay, are scones supposed to be dry and hard?

Why is anyone choosing to eat dry hard pastries?

The secret with a good scone is not to over bake it.

So you want plenty of liquid.

It's quite a wet mixture.

And once you cut it and you put it in the oven,

you glaze a little bit of egg on the top, you bake it.

I normally bake it at 200 or 400 for around,

well not around, exactly 15 minutes,

and you'll be spot on every time.

This is Trisha.

Of course we can't say your handle.

What is the difference

between baking powder and baking soda?

Well, baking powder has baking soda in it,

and it also has packing agents in there as well.

So a baking soda will react with an acid and alkaline

to create bubbles, carbon dioxide,

which will create the growth.

If any moisture gets into baking powder,

it's sort of protected, whereas baking soda,

it's extreme, it'll just react and away it goes.

So baking powder is the way forward.

This is from Nicola.

When making cupcakes,

can you substitute oil for melted butter?

Thing is with cupcakes, you can use butter or oil.

Oil will give you more of a glisten

and a shine and a softness to your cupcakes.

But there's no reason why you couldn't.

No, not at all.

And play with the oil types as well.

You know, use a flavored oil to give something

a little bit more of a kick.



Why is it so hard to find comprehensive,

thorough directions on how to whip eggs

to stiff peaks on the internet?

Just don't add your sugar until right at the end.

You get your stiff peaks,

and then start adding your sugar slowly,

and you'll end up with a beautiful meringue.

Sheri Silver.

What are some common mistakes you make

when baking, and what trips you up every time you bake?

My most common mistake is I forget the damn thing's

in the oven and burn the thing.

You burn it.

I think one of the biggest mistakes people make

in the tent as well is they forget some ingredients.

So if you've got your recipe book in front of you,

just go through each one, either put something underneath it

and take each line and weigh it up and double check

and put it in the mixer as you go.

Then you know you're not gonna miss something

out of the recipe. Missing something out of the recipe

is a very, very common mistake.

Yes, it is.

Let's just say Matthew McGuckin.

Yeah, I think that works.

What does proofing dough even mean?

Proving dough basically means putting air in bread,

leaving it to rise, letting the yeast do its work.

From Van Weasel.

Every time I try to make dough it cooks out too dense.

What am I doing wrong?

Well first of all, cooks, wrong word.

Bakes is the answer.

With baking, if it's too dense, you've either A,

not got enough water in there

so the dough itself was too dense before you even proved it.

Or B, your chances are, you haven't proved it long enough.

And it's a good indication

to tell you that the yeast in its full expanse.

Mostly it's got to double in volume hasn't it?

Yeah, it will bounce back and you know when

it's gone in the oven,

'cause you touch it and it springs back.

And then don't under cook it because.

Bake it.

Oh Prue, you're letting me down.


Don't under bake it, because if you do,

the middle will be a bit soggy anyway.

And then when it gets cold, that'll get dense.

Just put it in a tin.

So there's only one way for that dough to go,

and it's straight up and then it opens up the texture

inside the loaf and then you bake it.

Is that easy.

That's Ted Roth.

Hand mixer versus stand mixer, which is a better option?

Hand mixers are really better for tiny quantities.


If you can afford it, buy a good stand mixer.

Either way.

But to be honest,

a stand mixer is more versatile for what you need.

Wreck-it Raven.

What's the secret to good buttercream?

Why can't I ever make it right?

Just mix it properly.

Use, I think you call it confectioners sugar

over here with butter.

Done. Put a bit of color or flavor in there

with a bit of lemon zest.

Well that's all the questions.

I hope you enjoyed it.

We did.

Yeah. And if you got any more questions,

send them through and we'll 'em in the very near future.


[upbeat music]

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