Northamptonshire businesswoman receives legendary Paul Hollywood handshake after appearing on Great British Bake Off spin-off show

Renata Balch on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
Renata Balch on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice

It was a dream come true for a mother from Northamptonshire when celebrity baker Paul Hollywood shook her hand and congratulated her on her sourdough bread.

Renata Balch, who owns The Homemade Bread Company, was invited to be a guest on the The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice which was aired on Channel 4 on Friday night following bread week.

The spin-off show features a panel of celebrities alongside comedians Jo Brand and Tom Allen who discuss the week's episode in detail.

The 43-year-old, who runs the company from her home in Rushden, grabbed the attention of the panel after asking GBBO presenter and baker Paul Hollywood to try her bread.

After feeling it and smelling the sourdough, Hollywood ate the homemade bread before declaring it was "brilliant".

He gave Renata a clap before getting up from his seat and walking over to her table to give her one of his legendary handshakes as the audience went wild.

She said: "I thought this is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I might as well go for it.

"I thought 'wow that's amazing'.

"I can't even say it was a dream come true because it's not even something you dream about.

"Paul Hollywood eating my bread and saying it's brilliant on national TV.

"I am still buzzing."

Renata, who supplies her sourdough to various shops around Northamptonshire including Smiths Farm Shop in Chapel Brampton, set up the business after struggling in full time employment as a single mum.

Wanting to work around her son, she set about setting up The Homemade Bread Company a few years ago and says: "It's going brilliantly.

"If you really want to do something and work hard enough, you can achieve anything you want."

Renata is in the process of expanding the business which will see her employ other mum's who want to work around their children and school runs.

Together they will supply packed lunches using Renata's sourdough to business across the county.