Two shows into the fourth series and it’s business as usual for our remaining flour-dusted wannabes. Paul Hollywood (aka ‘Hulk Hogan’s Ghost ‘) plays bad cop to Mary Berry’s good cop, while Mel and Sue provide comic relief in the form of awful puns and good natured capering. Nothing new then - but why mess with a winning recipe? This week is bread week: a tricky skill to master (‘Welcome to yeast’, as Hollywood deadpans to one struggling baker). There are bread sticks (chocolate dipped and presented in a giant matchbox by one Blumenthal-brained hopeful), muffins, and a whole lot of kneading, crying and moaning. Oh and a Paul the Psychic Octopus tribute loaf. Now that’s what I call a showstopper. Of course, fortune-telling cephalopods aside, all this should be dull as dishwater. Yet somehow it works. It’s a testament to the engaging hosts, to the slick editing and eerie, tension-ramping music (like the fever dream of a clockwork mouse) that a squatted council worker peering into hot oven can somehow keep a nation rapt. Perhaps it’s no accident that ‘baking bread’ is an anagram of Breaking Bad.
The Great British Bake Off
Tue Aug 27, 8-9pm, BBC2
Tue Aug 20 2013
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
What is it about baking that keeps us enthralled? How can rising bread and cake decorating keep us watching, year after year?
It’s bread week for the motley team of baking competitors, and this charming retreat from TV competition nastiness sees loaves styled into octopi and peacocks, and more English muffins than you’ll ever have seen at any one time. The drama of whether these muffins will set correctly may seem frivolous in the grand scheme of things, but let’s face it, it’s probably – hopefully – more familiar to us than your average soap-opera storyline, and for that reason it’s strangely fascinating.
Baker-teacher Glenn sums it up nicely: ‘I said I wouldn’t be one of those lunatics kneeling by the oven...’ he says, peering grimly at a loaf of bread, ‘... and here I am.’ Making 20 minutes of gripping television out of baking breadsticks is quite a feat – for now we’re content to join Glenn among the lunatics.
Great British bakers battle bread In the second episode of the baking show's fourth series the contestants battled with yeast and even an octopus in an attempt to wow judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry with snappy breadsticks, perfectly baked-through English muffins and intricate show stoppers. Presenting duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins once more provided the comic relief as well as a shoulder to cry on for those amateur bakers suffering oven mishaps and soggy bottoms. With twelve contestants currently in the race to be crowned this year's winner the quality of their bakes still vary wildly and like last week it was obvious from the start who would be packing up their bakeware at the end of the episode. Much more exciting this time around was seeing new frontrunners emerge. With surprising flavour combinations and beautiful designs they managed to captivate judges and viewers alike, and I can't wait to see what delectable desserts they will come up with next week.
Week 2 of our baking fix and what could possibly be on the menu after last weeks creations including a Gaudi inspired chocolate cake…well, a Picasso inspired sun bread of course! It’s all about bread this week, be it in stick, muffin or loaf form. Somehow this manages to keep us on the edge of our seats, hoping that breadsticks aren’t to bendy, loaves rise to the occasion in the proofing draw (who’s ever heard of one of those?) and Sue avoids sticking her elbow in a muffin (whoops)! As usual the show stoppers don’t disappoint, delivering us peacock and octopus shaped loaves. Although that sounds fancy, said octopus was lacking flavour and would have looked better at the bottom of the sea than presented to Mary and Paul. So we are treated to some really interesting, unusual but apparently tasty flavour combinations like oregano and orange and more baking puns than you can shake a breadstick at but we are yet to see the return of the feared soggy bottom! What will next week bring, Van Gough inspired fondant fancy anyone? That’s all that we knead!
I hadn't watched this show before yesterday, so I didn't really know why everyone was making such a fuss about baking powder and yeast. But, I think I get it now. The show is set in a kitchen beautiful enough to make Cath Kidson weep and is beautifully shot, and full of baking puns and jokes so bad that they're good; "Bohemian bapsody" "Instead of dead people you see gluten ALL OF THE TIME" were two gems from Sue Perkins, who is an absolute treasure. She asks all the leyman's questions and is hilariously clumsy, squashing english muffins and joking about sabotage and injects fun into the otherwise hyperbolic show- there is suspense music and shedloads of weeping, just over some breadsticks and rolls! Exclamations of 'Good Bake' were rife this week, with Mary Berry bravely eating raw dough and trying her best to compliment mediocre efforts- "That is a tomato and garlic loaf" is a prime example- apparently describing what a bread creation is, is tantamount to a compliment. She is a sweetheart and very modest for a baking goddess & national treasure. The bake-off got weird at the moment the words "Paul the psychic octopus tribute loaf" was mentioned. After this, it fell into some sort of weird, yeasty dystopia where mixing orange and oregano was normal, and in fact complemented, shaping a tomato loaf like a tomato was creative and people actually enjoyed eating chicken tikka and white chocolate bread. There was also bread shaped like a peacock. It was beautiful. Quirky and a great laugh, set in a tent in some pretty green gardens, this show epitomises what we think being British is all about.
Bake Off Takes Off The first sign of Autumn – the Great British Bake-Off starts again. The recipe is unchanged. There’s a motley baker’s dozen of contestants, all shapes and ages. The fall guy in this first episode was unmistakable - Toby, dishevelled, disorganised, everything went wrong for him; it was no surprise that he was out! Ruby, the youngest, messed up twice and sobbed prettily in the light from the window, but third time lucky, her final cake saved her from dismissal. This week’s master baker, Robert, calm and collected, designs space satellites in his day job, and baked cakes that were a delight to the eye and good to taste. Mel and Sue joked around offering comfort, advice, appreciation as needed. The usual two judges: Mary Berry, her deceptively smiling eyes finding every flaw, and Paul, severe yet appreciative when tasting ‘a very good cake’. All good-natured, tasty viewing.
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