This week’s recap of The Great British Baking Show is not for the faint of heart…nor for the gluten-free. It was, however, our favorite GBBS episode yet: Bread. From bicycles to baguettes to bicarbonates, we’re recapping all the hits and misses from this week’s challenge.
Signature Challenge: Quick Breads
Ten bakers remain. The first challenge of bread week is to create quick breads without yeast. They can choose any flavor–sweet or savory–but are not allowed to use a tin. Quick breads can be tough, since there needs to be an adequate presence of liquid in the dough, and can tend to get overworked; resulting in a chewy loaf.
Tamal uses “big chunks of cheese” in his recipe to create a rustic and hearty bread complete with figs and walnuts. He explains that he makes sure to grab extra goat cheese “for research” while he works, then goes OM NOM NOM with his hands and we immediately become his #1 fan.
Paul goes the sweet route and decides to make a cranberry and orange soda bread. The other Paul (Hollywood) ends up shaking Paul II’s hand after reviewing the end product. We guess he was expecting to be ap-PAUL-ed with the results. Thank you, we’ll be here all night.
In the end, most of the bakers manage to impress judge Paul Hollywood, who is–if you haven’t heard–the king of bread. They are impressed even with themselves, with the exception of Mat, who overworked his bread. Oh, Mat.
Technical Challenge: Four Identical Crispy Baguettes
“How hard can it be?” Paul asks rhetorically, then laughs a nervous laugh. The bakers have two and a half hours to create what is probably the best thing since sliced bread: the baguette. The judges, Paul and Mary, are looking for baguettes with a crisp crust and an open, chewy structure. Paul Hollywood tells Mary he expects the bakers to instinctively know they’ll need to create steam in the oven–of course, he doesn’t note this in their instructions. Mary calls him “particularly nasty” for leaving that important detail out.
The unusual thing about this technical challenge is that everyone knows what a baguette is, yet not all the bakers have made them. The recipe is basic: yeast, salt, water, flour. However, the baguette dough needs a high water content to produce the open texture the judges want to see. The first prove is critical, and some of the bakers fail to let their dough sit long enough or use enough water.
During the blind tasting, Paul and Mary go HAM with judging. Nadiya’s baguettes are too soft; her cuts “terrible.” Mary admits she is feeling “very sorry for whoever it is.” Tamal’s are just “fine to eat.” All in all, most of the bakers’ baguettes are under-proved and not crispy enough. Ian ends up winning the technical while Paul is placed last. So yeah, Paul. Making baguettes is pretty damn hard.
Showstopper Challenge: 3-D Bread Sculpture
Let it be known that the GBBS is not only entertaining, but educational. Cue the B-roll of a bunch of ladies making Korovai, a traditional Ukrainian wedding bread. Seven women work together to create this massive and lavishly decorated masterpiece. It’s a lovely introduction to this episode’s showstopper, in which the bakers are asked to create a 3-D bread sculpture. Not only that, but the bakers are required to make three different types of dough, one of which needs to have a filling. They have a total of five hours to complete the showstopper challenge.
Tamal decides to make a bread bicycle and stuffs his chelsea bun bike wheels with marzipan. Much to the delight of everyone, he makes tiny chai-spiced loaves, which are then placed into the bread basket of his bread bicycle, and it is so meta, and Tamal is the best.
Alvin creates a cornucopia sculpture with a dozen different types of bread spilling out of it; Mel quips that he can open up his own bakery with the amount of bread he has. Paul Hollywood found each individual piece from his cornucopia “baked to perfection.” Paul and Mary were also impressed with the 3-D sculptures from Paul, Nadiya, Flora, and Ian. Paul II even got a special shout-out from Paul Hollywood, who called his King of the Jungle sculpture “one of the best things [he’s] seen in bread.”
The judges are not so pleased with Mat’s Brighton Pavilion sculpture and don’t like the flavors from Ugne’s Easter Basket. Ultimately, Dorret receives the most critique from Paul and Mary, who found that her showstopper contained raw dough. In the end, Dorret is asked to leave, while Ian ends up with the title of Star Baker.
Sue: “Bakers, for today’s technical, we’re all going to France. Not literally — we don’t have the budget.”
Flora: “Paul Hollywood is punching bread and shattering dreams in there.”
Mat: “There’s bread everywhere. It’s a dough-verload.”
Sue and Mel help Alvin carry his bread cornucopia to the judges’ table for his critique.
But wait, there’s more. A double episode this week means there’s also dessert. Read the next recap here.