The Great British Bake Off: 6.03 Bread Week
Just imagine if someone had invented 'Smellovision' as it was Bread Week on The Great British Bake Off. Quickbreads, baguettes and spectacular 3D bread sculptures never looked so tempting.
As ever with the signature challenge, each contestant had their own spin on quickbreads. The brief was simple; their creations had to be freeform and without yeast in just 90 minutes which led to all sorts of weird and wonderful variations. Both Mat and Nadiya went for spicy Mexican breads; alas Mat's was overworked which is criminal for quickbreads while Nadiya got away with it.
For some reason Paul Hollywood seems to enjoy unsettling his namesake yet this week a handshake was offered for excellent Cranberry and Orange Sweet Soda Breads. Care was taken in getting the balance of flavours right; Ugne's Chocolate Bread was deemed 'not too sweet'. Sandy's Smoked Bacon and Onion Soda Bread was derived from a family recipe and one that will remain under lock and key as just the thought of it sounds delicious. Similarly Ian showed that home was where the heart is with his handpicked Wild Garlic Pesto Soda Bread.
Cheese became a contentious issue; Dorret needed more in her Waldorf style Walnut and Stilton Soda Breads and Tamal's large chunks of creamy goats cheese were successful. Then there was Alvin's Prosciutto and Manchego Soda Breads which oozed delightfully to the point that Paul called them 'a thing of beauty'. They certainly looked it.
The technical challenge of four identical baguettes again tested the contestant's baking knowledge to the limit. Everyone is familiar with the French speciality yet actually recreating them was easier said than done. For instance, only Dorret, Ian, Tamal and Sandy knew to use steam in the oven for a satisfyingly crunchy crust. Only a handful proofed theirs for long enough which was no surprise when the instructions simply said "Add 3/4 water to flour, salt and yeast". That was just cruel. Paul went from hero to zero as his barely baked baguettes scored last place while Ian again impressed with his crust and texture.
The showstopper was obvious enough; 3D bread sculptures in five hours. Designs were also wacky enough; Tamal went for a 'Breadcycle' which displayed several techniques and his Chelsea Bun wheels came in for special praise. Alvin's 'Cornucopia' was more a collection of bread than a sculpture which actually needed assistance carrying. Ugne's 'Easter Basket' was also deemed excessive for it's overuse of truffle oil.
Strangely for someone so talented Flora tends to look worried whenever her baking is judged. This week she need not have been as her 'Herb Couture' skirt was so divine, so impressively delicate. Unlike Sandy's Bread Basket which Mary Berry rightly called clumsy looking. Surprisingly, Nadiya brought some heat into her baking and symbolised this in the form of a boldly coloured orange snake in her 'Snake Charmer's Basket'.
Then a first for Bake Off as a special award was handed out to Paul for the lion face in his 'King of the Jungle'. To be able to manage such artistry in raised bread was truly stupefying and worthy of special praise. However, he was still not Star Baker as Ian trumped the lot again with the help of homemade moulds for his 'Flour Power' effort and the simple design of a flower in a pot.
Two were in trouble throughout this week's episode; Dorret and Mat. Both needed to pull out all the stops in the final round and neither impressed. Mat's curry inspired 'Brighton Pavilion' looked cute enough but he should have listened to his wife when she told him to bake everything for 10 minutes longer as his was deemed underproofed and underbaked. He still managed to keep his place as Dorret's 'Unmade Bread' was an untidy idea to start with to which Paul almost brought her to tears when he questioned whether it took five hours. Harsh.