The baker, author and celebrity chef travels to cities around the world to visit local bakeries and the men and women who work there, in search of the people, the places and the traditions that make the very best of baking. From the laidback sunshine vibe of Miami to the European chic of Paris, Paul is discovering what the ovens of these vibrant cities have to offer, and then cooking his own recipes, inspired by his travels.
Episode airs: Thursday 22 February, 6pm
If New York is famous for being a ‘melting pot’ – what goes on in its ovens? The innovations in baking that Paul finds here invigorates his own passion for dough in a way no other city could. At two new bakeries he discovers that the honest doughnut has been recreated as a treat with flavours he never imagined possible and the humble bagel virtually turned in to a new form of performance art. He meets Jim Lahey, an internet sensation for inventing a new way of baking amazing bread at home that is so simple Paul can hardly believe it works. Then at Juniors Cheesecake. Paul eats… cheesecake -12 varieties to be exact - and somehow manages to survive. It’s a tough job being Paul Hollywood in New York.
Determined not to depart New York without leaving a little of his own Hollywood innovation behind, Paul takes the 65-year-old Juniors Cheesecake recipe and adds his own twist – creating the Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie.
Episode airs: Friday 23 February, 6pm
Paul’s visit to Paris is something of a pilgrimage. Being a classically trained baker and having worked in some of Europe’s top hotels, he's had a lot of experience creating the French classics - croissants, baguettes and pain au chocolat. Paul is excited to be in Paris to see these icons of the baking world being baked in the city that invented them. Paul discovers the baguette really is the daily lifeblood of the neighbourhood bakery as Parisians demand their bread baked to absolute perfection throughout the day. Award-winning croissant baker Laurent Duchene also bakes small batches throughout the day, and through joining him, Paul realises just why the baking of Paris has conquered the world. It's the passion for classic perfection that is the spirit of French baking. Paul finds it truly inspiring.
In the kitchens of the oldest bakery in Paris, Patisserie Stohrer, Paul takes a little French liberty with a classic baking technique – turning the choux pastry usually used for the eclair, into a Choux Eiffel Tower!
Episode airs: Monday 26 February, 6pm
In this episode Paul introduces us to the baking HE knows and loves – that of his adopted home city, London.
Occasionally we all need a little indulgence. It is all very well travelling the world for Food Network’s City Bakes – but Paul knows that it’s also nice to come home to the bakes you love! Paul has his childhood roots in Liverpool, but it is London where Paul has spent most of his professional life. Baking goes to the heart of who we are, and in the food halls of Fortnum and Mason, Paul lets us in on his own favourite bakes and the memories they inspire in him. But London baking is not all about nostalgia – Paul is excited that the city is now home to some of the best in new-wave baking that is sweeping the world – and Borough Market’s Bread Ahead is right up there, producing probably some of the best breads this country has ever baked.
Britain gave the world a way of celebrating bakes that no other country can top – the Afternoon Tea, a tradition Paul is proud to have been producing throughout his career. Returning for the first time to bake in the kitchens of historic Cliveden House Hotel since he left as head baker, Paul recreates his idea of heavenly baked perfection, a classic afternoon tea. Paul’s scones are light with a delicate crumb, his sandwiches cut just-so, and the beautiful cakes no bigger than three elegant bites each!
Episode airs: Tuesday 27 February, 6pm
Paul braves freezing temperatures to uncover the baking treasures of Russia’s beautiful royal city. Luckily St Petersburg, in the north west of Russia, has plenty of warm baking to ward off the chill. Equipped with a Russian fur hat, Paul gets his first tastes of vodka and caviar, before visiting some of the city's best bakeries. In the kitchens of the Astoria Hotel, where Lenin once addressed crowds outside, Paul finds a sensational layered honey cake being prepared. And after a trip in the snow on a horse and carriage, he warms himself with vatrushka, a delicate curd tart traditionally eaten with tea. But it’s the beautiful Russian pies that steal the show – works of art with intricate pastry patterns covering the sweet and savoury fillings.
Paul gets a lesson in Russian pie making with the baker at Stolle, a St Petersburg baking institution, and makes a beef coulibac.
Episode airs: Wednesday 28 February, 6pm
This episode finds Paul in the south of Italy exploring the streets of Naples, and the coast of Amalfi. Paul has never visited this part of Italy before, but his guide, the irrepressible restaurateur Gennaro Contaldo, knows every historic backstreet pizza kitchen in Naples. Paul also discovers the Neapolitan rum baba – a light yeasted bun drowned in rum syrup! Heading down the sweeping roads of the Amalfi coast, Paul makes another discovery – the secret to the multi-layered crunchy sfogliatelle, filled with fruit and cream.
In the beautiful Amalfi Town square, Paul bakes his version of the classic dark chocolate Caprese cake that uses freshly ground almonds for deep flavour, and candied Amalfi lemons for a Hollywood zing.
Episode airs: Thursday 1 March, 6pm
The Danish capital is the coolest kid on the Nordic block, rated as the worlds most liveable city. It is artistic, experimental and cosmopolitan – here even the simple sandwich, called smørrebrød, is an artwork of smoked fish and delicacies arranged over a slice of rye loaf. Joining a local baker for a very early morning shift Paul discovers that the danish pastry is alive and loved here too. Paul meets Mette Blomsterberg a local baker and celebrity, who shows Paul a creation something that fills her with a warm nostalgia for her childhood. Kransekage is a tower of delicious almond cookies, easy enough for kids to make, but impressive enough as a centrepiece for any special occasion.
Episode airs: Friday 2 March, 6pm
At a bakery set up to supply the Spanish royal family, Paul finds traditional choux pastry treats filled with a sweet cream, and at Spain’s oldest bakery a technique for making puff pastry he has never seen before, using iberico pork lard. He also learns how to make Spain’s famous churros, a delicious deep fried, sugar coated treat the Spanish dunk into heavenly hot chocolate. Exploring the beautiful food markets inspires Paul to come up with his own twist on the Spanish empanada, his Iberico ham and manchego empanadas.
Episode airs: Monday 5 March, 6pm
Poland may not be the first place you think of for the best of European baking, but Paul finds a city full of new passions, rising fast from a difficult past. Traditional baking must never be forgotten though, and Paul heads for lunch at a rustic Communist era milk bar where the food is simple, healthy and delicious. Digging deeper into the city he uncovers a bakery that hasn’t changed in years - the bread ovens are so huge he needs to stand in a pit to reach the loaves. Paul visits Polish television celebrity Magda Gessler, a character with a passion for cakes to match even Paul's, then discovers the high end of the Warsaw café scene at Odette.
Always wanting to get his hands in the batter, Paul mixes the old and the new with Odette’s head chef Jarek Nowakowski. Together they make a new take on the traditional Polish babka, a delicate sponge flavoured with citrus, honey and coconut.
Episode airs: Tuesday 6 March, 6pm
Created in the 1920s, Miami is everything you expect it to be. Paul uncovers a city jewelled in Art Deco buildings, with rollerbladers on Ocean Drive and musclemen pumping iron on the Beach. Paul even gets to walk in the footsteps of mobsters at the one of the United States most iconic hotels, the Biltmore. Paul also delves deeper beyond the reaches of the tourist trail into Little Havana, meeting a third generation Cuban baker.
Before Paul leaves he gets the chance to create his own version of one of his discoveries, Key Lime Pie.
Episode airs: Wednesday 7 March, 6pm
What more can Munich offer the world than great beer and magnificent pretzels? A lot, as Paul discovers. Helping to overcome the language barrier is Falko Burkert, a friend from the UK who just happens to be the highest level of German baker as well – called a Konditormeister. Paul learns that Germans enshrine their most accomplished bakes in law – including a baumkuchen baked on a horizontal rotating spit it is unlike anything else in the world.
But ultimately it is the hearty food that warms Pauls heart the most as he discovers Munich’s pretzel secret – a hidden kitchen that bakes thousands of them a day and delivers them fresh to the beer houses every hour. Before leaving Munich, Falko and Paul creating a delicious beerhall favourite – a Dampfnudel dessert, served hot with black cherries and custard.
Best of Bakes
Episode airs: Thursday 8 March, 6pm
In this episode Paul looks back over his incredible journey into the baking of the some of the world's leading cities and showcases his favourite City Bakes, inspired by his visits.
Episode airs: Friday 9 March, 7pm
Paul showcases some of the inspirational characters that opened his eyes to the depth of baking heritage around the world, including Junior at El Brazzo Fuerte in Miami - Junior, just 25, runs a thriving bakery still making the Cuban bakes handed down to him from his Grandfather; Fany Gerson at Dough Doughnuts in New York, using her Mexican American heritage to make new flavours of doughnut never seen before – from Hibiscus to Taquila; Mette Blomsterberg in Copenhagen, who explains the secret to Scandinavian happiness – something called Hygge; and the irrepressible restaurateur Gennaro Contaldo in Naples.
Episode airs: Monday 12 March, 6.30pm
In this episode Paul looks back over his incredible journey into the baking of cities across the world, and showcases some of his favourite moments spent with his shirt sleeves rolled up, baking with the bakers themselves.