This week on The Great British Baking Show, the 10 remaining bakers must face the dreaded “Bread Week.” It is the specialty of judge Paul Hollywood, and they must live up to his exacting standards. They will face three bread-themed challenges to compete for the title of Star Baker and to avoid being eliminated from the competition.
The Signature Challenge began with hosts announcing that Rebs and Abdul were under the weather this week and couldn’t compete. This means that they have automatically been put through to next week. For the Signature Challenge, the bakers had to make two identical sharing-size pizzas. They could use any toppings and dough they wanted, and they had two hours to complete this.
Sandro did very well in this challenge with his heart-shaped sweet and spicy pizzas. His pizzas had a BBQ sauce base topped with pineapple, peppers, and Spanish chorizo. He also made a camembert and honey stuffed crust. The judges thought the shape was great and very inviting. They loved the flavors and felt that although there were a lot of toppings, they were separate and balanced. Paul said that it was a pizza that he would order if he were in a pizzeria.
James also did quite well despite the judges being skeptical at first. He made upscale ham and pineapple pizzas with oyster mushrooms and pancetta. James was initially worried when his dough looked as though it did not rise during proving; however, it puffed up a little in the oven. Despite the bad shaping of his pizzas, the judges liked the dough’s texture and color. They loved the flavors and thought he delivered on the upscale ham and pineapple. However, Paul thought it was a little dry and needed more tomato.
Janusz stood out for his unusual topping choices. He based his pizzas upon a full English breakfast, topped with cheddar, mozzarella, black pudding, bacon, red onion sausages, mushrooms, and butter beans. Just before he removed them from the oven, he also cracked an egg into the center. His flavor combinations didn’t pay off this time, though. Although his crust was lovely and thin and his egg was still runny, the judges thought his base was overdone. Surprisingly, they also thought there wasn’t much flavor despite a large number of toppings.
Carole received a little bit of mixed feedback. She made pizzas topped with gruyère and reblochon cheese, pancetta, onions, and garlic potatoes. It was based upon a French tartiflette. The judges thought it tasted divine, but she had too much of a good thing. She had layered so much cheese on the pizza that you couldn’t see the base at all. It also meant that the base flopped over with the weight of the cheese when the judges picked up a slice.
Dawn’s tex-mex pizza did not impress the judges either. Her pizza was topped with stewing steak, fresh chili, mozzarella, sour cream, and guacamole. She was worried that she may not have enough time to cook her stewing steak to her liking, and she was proven right. The stewing steak was too chewy, and the judges thought her flavors were bland despite the chili being strong. Paul recommended that she would have had more flavor from minced beef.
For the Technical Challenge, the bakers had two hours and 45 minutes to bake a dozen identical pain aux raisins. The judges were looking for crispy and flaky dough rolled into a perfect swirl that encompassed raisins and crème patisserie and didn’t have a tail. Paul explained that if you do not prove the dough for long enough, then when the swirls are baked, the end of the swirl pops out and forms a tail. The other challenge to this bake was making the laminated dough. It needed to be laminated well and refrigerated frequently to prevent the butter from melting and leaking out of the dough, leaving it dry. The judges ranked the bakes from worst to best in a blind judging, not knowing which bread belonged to which baker.
Carole came last in this challenge. She put all her swirls onto one baking tray. As they expanded in the oven, they partially stuck together, so she had to cut them apart. The judges also thought that butter had leaked out of her dough and so it was dry. Her swirls were underbaked and she had put too much icing on them.
Kevin really struggled with this challenge but surprisingly managed to come in seventh place. He made his crème patisserie too runny, and his swirls were visibly leaking butter in the oven. The judges thought his swirls were very flat because they were underproved. The flavor was alright, but they were very doughy due to the wetness of the crème patisserie.
Then, in order came: Dawn, Syabira, Sandro, and James. Maxy came in second as her pain aux raisins looked good and had a lovely flavor. However, they were a little irregular, and some were a little small. This left Janusz in first place. His swirls were lovely and golden, well-risen, and had no tails. They also tasted lovely and had a good flaky texture.
For the Showstopper Challenge, the bakers were asked to make their version of a Swedish smorgastarta in four and a half hours. The smorgastarta is a savory celebration sandwich cake. It has layers of sliced bread, savory fillings, and savory decorations. The bakers needed to be careful not to choose fillings that were too wet or risk the bread becoming a soggy mess. The judges expected it to look like a cake but taste like a sandwich.
Dawn’s Greek-inspired smorgastarta didn’t impress the judges. She made a nutty wholegrain bread with fillings that included olives and feta, tzatziki, and roast chicken thighs. The judges thought her simple decoration looked lovely, but the bread slices in her cake were too thick. Paul wasn’t impressed that her Greek flavors didn’t include sesame seeds or coriander.
Kevin also struggled a little. He made a two-tiered smorgastarta based on his wife’s fish pie. His fillings included baked salmon, haddock fillets, prawns, pickled gherkins, and radishes. It was topped with devilled eggs, roasted vegetables, and a little fisherman made of vegetables, including a little carrot fish on the end of his rod. The judges thought his vegetable man was amusing, but the rest of his decoration was disappointing as he over-roasted the vegetables, so they wilted. They liked his flavors, but his bread was dry, overbaked, and hadn’t risen much.
Sandro was looking like a very strong contender for Star Baker this week until the Showstopper Challenge. His three-tiered smorgastarta consisted of white bread filled with pulled beef brisket, BBQ sloppy joe, and spicy sirloin steak. His cake was coated with cream cheese and maple bacon frosting. His cake was leaning slightly due to the amount of meat it contained, but his bread was baked beautifully and was very soft. The judges liked the balance of the cream cheese frosting with the BBQ sauce; however, despite thinking that it was delicious, they thought that the BBQ sauce overwhelmed all the fillings.
Janusz stood out once again due to his quirky flavors. He made a fish and chips-inspired cake with fillings that included fried cod, mayo, chips, and mushy pea puree. It was coated in a curry sauce frosting. Judge Prue Leith said that the idea of fish and chips in a sandwich disgusted her, but she was forced to take back her words. The judges thought it was delicious as the bread was lovely and light, and the fish and chips flavor was delicious. The layers inside the cake looked beautiful, and it was a very clever and original cake.
Syabira, once again, wowed the judges with her stunning savory decoration. Her cake was inspired by the Malaysian dish Nasi Lemak. Her cake had seeded bread and was filled with layers of egg and cucumber, roasted and marinated chicken, and sambal anchovy cream with peanuts. The judges thought her cake was beautiful and delicious. The lightness of the cucumber balanced out her other flavors.
This week Syabira, Sandro, and Janusz were all once again in the running for Star Baker. These three truly shine within the competition at the moment. However, Janusz won the title once again with his quirky flavors.
Dawn, Carole, and Kevin were all in the running to be eliminated. All three of them struggled this week. The announcement was made that no one was going to be eliminated this week. The judges thought everyone deserved to bake again as they all performed to a high standard. It was also unfair to eliminate someone since Rebs and Abdul were unable to compete. However, this means that two bakers will be eliminated at some point in the competition. This certainly raises the stakes for future episodes.
Baking Show Best Bits
Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!
- Carole’s description of wearing her lucky underwear.
- For his fish and chip-inspired showstopper, Janusz had newspaper printed that featured host Noel Fielding.
Next week, the bakers will compete in “Mexican Week.” This is the first time this theme has been chosen, so we can’t wait to see what the bakers will make. Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, then check back here for the latest recap!