The Great British Baking Show Season 4 Recap: Bread Week

Our second week of The Great British Baking Show features gluten structures galore in Bread Week.

Welcome to the second week of the Great British Baking Show, and our third round. With two episodes knocked out last week, today we’re already down to the Top Ten. And if it’s the third episode of GBBS, it must be Paul’s favorite–and most opinionated–week: BREAD.

After the first two weeks, our stand outs are currently Jane and Candice for winning Star Baker notices, while Salasi, Benjamina and Andrew have also gotten high marks. Val, much less so, which is why I am quite concerned that she calls this “just another week.” Ok girlfriend.

Image via BBC

The signature for tonight is “Chocolate Breads”. This can be anything from a regular bread studded with chocolate chips to a bread that might as well be a cupcake. Enriched breads are being baked across the board, so our baseline will be brioche. I don’t think anyone will complain.

Let’s see who’s twisty breads pass the test, and which brioches collapse.

Image via BBC
  • Andrew Chocolate Barmbrack Bread Pass. Chocolate distributed well. Proper proofing.
  • Benjamina Chocolate, Tahini & Almond Babka Fail. Too heavy, uncooked. Called “wall paper paste”.
  • Selasi Chocolate Orange & Cinnamon Bread Fail. Overbaked.
  • Val Double Chocolate Cinnamon Twist Loaf Fail. Pretty, but raw.
  • Kate Cobbled Loaf Fail. Underbaked.
  • Jane Chocolate & Cranberry Couronne Fail. Underbaked.
  • Candice Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Pecan Brittle Brioche Bread Fail, but we knew this because it collapsed.
  • Michael Chocolate & Chilli Swirl Plait Fail. Too much chilli.
  • Tom Chocolate, Orange & Chilli Swirl Bread Pass. All flavors spot on.
  • Rav Chocolate Cardamom & Hazelnut Loaf Pass. Fully cooked, good flavor.

After that brutal round of fails, let’s move on to the Technical Challenge so everyone can fail again, eh? As the Great British Weather pours down around the tent, Paul scare mongers before Sue and Mel kick him out and declare the bakers are making dampfnudel. Mel gives us a hint. “Dampf” means “steamed” in German.

Steamed buns! They look a lot like something you’d get at an asian fusion restaurant. (Paul even serves it with plum sauce.) The trick is for them not to lift the lid until the steaming is finished, or the rolls will collapse. There’s nothing about kneading, but half the room does anyway. It says proof, but not how long, so there’s lots of guessing. There’s also a lot of guessing at how to produce plum sauce. And when they all get to the “divide the dough into 12s” scene, Sue calls it the most painful hour of television you’ll ever see. PBS!

Image via BBC

Let’s see how bad the results are.

10. Rav: So raw, it’s still dough that can be kneaded.
9. Jane: Raw on top, inedible.
8. Kate: Wrinkly, burnt on bottom, raw on top.
7. Michael: Raw on top.
6. Benjamina: Undercooked a bit, sauce too thick.
5. Selasi: Good texture, plum sauce thick.
4. Tom: Underproofed but tastes ok.
3. Candice: Well domed and cooked, but not quite done.
2. Andrew: Bouncy, cooked through, good sauce.
1. Val: Smooth, perfect on bottom and plum sauce is perfect.

This year’s Bread showstopper is a braided centrepiece, using three flours in the braid. (Not three flowers in the design.) Paul reminds us that the Star Baker in bread usually has his favor and will be pushed to the finally, even if they don’t deserve it. Oh did I say that out loud?

Image via BBC

Braiding is an interesting experience. Some of the bakers have very intricate designs that look like the could come out a marvel. So are…less so, and look like they will probably bake up looking rather messy. Jane worries hers will swell in proofing and hide all the braid work. Others are less concerned. Selasi drops in my estimation when he complains he doesn’t know how to braid because he wasn’t paying attention to “girls things.”

At least this year, everyone practiced their bread centerpieces. They also all made two loaves to assemble together. (All except Kate and her intricate braided maiden). There’s lot of fretting about getting everything through the one oven and hoping everything is baked.

Let’s see whose centerpiece stand up, and whose fall down in judging.

Image via BBC

Jane’s Chorizo & Chilli Flower with Parmesan & Pesto Cheese Good flavors on all breads, and good plaiting as well.

Image via BBC

Val’s “And They All Went Into The Ark To Get Out Of The Rain” No definition in the actual animals, Paul asks if one is a chicken (It’s supposed to be a giraffe.) Oh and it’s raw.

Image Via BBC

Tom’s Jörmungandr & Mjölnir It’s soooo screaming for sexual innuendo, but as breads, it’s perfect, both outside and in.

Image via BBC

Andrew’s Braided Harvest Basket Bread I wasn’t initially impressed, but the results are lovely. Paul complains it’s a weave instead of a plait (he’s right.) But flavors are great.

Image via BBC

Benjamina’s Braided Bread Heart High marks all around for flavor design, plaiting and bake.

Image via BBC

Rav’s Three Tier Diwali Centrepiece Pretty but flat? And hot. And not all the breads are baked right.

Image via BBC

Selasi’s Bedouin Escape Tear & Share Bread It’s not a centerpiece says Paul, it’s three loaves, not all baked alike in dignity. And he hates the plaiting.

Image via BBC

Michael’s Cypriot Dove and Olive Branch Plaited Loaf with Houmous Michael has the same several loaves idea, but he’s trying to join them with sauce. Paul calls it an utter mess, the plaits are bad, and the flavors are awful.

Image via BBC

Kate’s The Corn Maiden The braiding is so pretty, and the bake on everything is perfect.

Image via BBC

Candice’s Italian Light and Dark Rye Twist You know as Candice walked up that she tried hard with this. Too hard. The top braid is lost its shape. And the flavor isn’t coming through. The bottom is good, but the top is a disaster.

Andrew, Tom and Rav were are only ones who passed yesterday’s Signature, but Rav was last in the technical which leaves us only two candidates. And that goes to Tom. As for going home, it could have been Jane, Selasi or Michael. and of the three, Michael’s was the worst showstopper. He is out.

Next week: Batter! Wait, how is that different from Cake Week exactly?





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