The Great British Bake Off. 9.03 Bread Week
If handshakes galore last week seemed a little generous, Bread Week brought the perfect opportunity for Paul Hollywood to revert to form. The author of 'Paul Hollywood's Bread' prowled the tent waiting to pounce on pathetic proofing times and over-baking. He would get his fill of both.
The Signature Challenge went straight in with enriched dough for a set of twelve connected Chelsea Buns. The technique centres on longer proofing which, hopefully, resulted in tear and share. Time management was key for the two proofs; too soon and they would be too tight, too long and they would burst out of the baking tin.
Kim-Joy opted for the typically exotic with the Tangzhong technique for extra fluffiness to compliment her delicate Pistachio and Cardamom efforts. Manon then involved tea bags for her Apricot, Cranberry and Marzipan Chai Buns which were over-baked. Joining her in 'The Over-Baked Buns Club' was Jon who stuck to his roots with his Cardiff City v Chelsea Buns with Salted Caramel and Pecan which were already a challenge being strangely topped with marshmallow. Also joining them was Antony and just looking at his Decadent Breakfast Buns was enough to worry the arteries with Cinnamon Peanut Butter, Boozy Caramel Sauce, Pecan Nuts and Bacon yet were dry, a damn shame. Similarly, Briony's Balsamic Strawberry Buns looked delectable though a tad over-proofed.
There were still some basic errors; Terry had much to prove with his Tangy Citrus Buns then forgot a crucial sugar topping, no-one noticed that but the uneven gaps were glaring. Ruby opted for the authentic Indian taste of Gujarela, basically carrot simmered in milk, then looked to have mislaid the sugar.
Karen was already looking far ahead to the festive season as her Peak District Christmas buns featured cranberries and glace cherries. Though she will need to venture further than Bakewell for her flavours. Dan continues to quietly impress and his Spiced Orange Buns with brandy soaked sultanas were sticky and flavoursome enough for a seemingly reluctant Hollywood handshake. Rahul continues to look like he is about to poison someone yet still wows the judges as he cleverly contrasted the sweet of Mango and Cranberry with the savoury of Bengali Five Spice which worked a treat.
This week's Technical Challenge was especially cruel for several reasons. Firstly, no-one appeared to have made a non-yeasted Garlic Naan Bread from scratch before. Secondly, the one hour duration. Thirdly, the uncommon use of baking powder for a rise. Finally, the lack of a tandoor oven meaning contestants had to use the grill, without actually knowing how to use it for the recipe. Bottom of the class were Kim-Joy (inedible) then Briony (inconsistent). As the names were reeled off there was distinct relief tinged with joy that Terry came out on top as redemption was served with his consistent, soft breads.
The Showstopper was a Tiered Korovai; a decorative enriched sweet bread originating from Eastern Europe. Back in the day you would get days to complete the spectacular, celebratory creation and these contestants only had five hours to complete three tiers. The majority opted to celebrate weddings, Ruby paid a tribute to her parents and opted for four tiers flavoured with an Apricot and Almond liquor and a Cherry filling. The attention to detail was there and Paul even uttered the word 'perfection'. As if Kim Joy could get any cuter, she decided to marry her two cats and celebrated that with an Orange, Cinnamon and Cranberry Kit-ovai. Dotted with feline decorations, it needed a bit more fruit but was a solid effort.
The flavours had to be delicious yet decorations were also of added importance as each had to feature dough lovebirds and other intricate designs. Karen's told a story of two French newlyweds through flavours of continental breakfast such as coffee and chocolate (thankfully not ham). The bigger question was over the lovebirds themselves; whether they resembled birds or actually seals, turtles or even walruses. After all that, it was under-proofed. As if you were yet to realise that Jon is in fact Welsh, he created a Korovai Dydd Dewi Sant to celebrate St David's Day flavoured with Welsh Tea and Mixed Spice. The fruit weighed it down for a sunken appearance but at least the flavours were there.
After another disappointing day, Manon also went back to her family roots for a Faberge Inspired Traditional Korovai flavoured with Orange Blossom and topped with a Faberge Egg. Strangely, the delicacy of the flavours countered the design as the blossom was overpowering and likened to bath bubbles. Terry retreated with Cinnamon Butter, Orange, Lemon and Vanilla for his Garden Korovai. He came prepared with terracotta pots for his proofing but his luck looked to have ran out as the dough stuck and it clearly needed more time as it resembled plasticine. Straying further from the wedding theme was Briony who kept to the fairytale of Rapunzel for her Happily Ever After Korovai which featured Salted Caramel Vodka with Lemon, Lime and Orange Zest though also needed more time and more fillings.
Armed with a Hollywood handshake, Dan still went big with his Wedding Korovai flavoured with Orange and Lemon Zest which needed more fruit and a bit more flavour. Rahul went for the same citrus flavours for his Garden Wedding Korovai and threatened to do 200 decorations. It looked spectacular enough and the judge's remarks finally looked to have convinced Rahul that he may actually be a genius after all, being awarded Star Baker for the second consecutive week might help too. Antony celebrated his brother's wedding with a Chocolate and Orange Adventure Korovai, complete with functioning zip wire. Alas, that was the highlight of his week as the same issues of over-proofing and over-baking were apparent so he was sent home.