The Great British Baking Show Season 4 Recap: Batter Week

The Great British Bake Off gets a little experimentally meta with a brand new theme: Batter Week!

After three episodes that follow the traditional GBBO format, “Cakes”, “Biscuits” and “Bread” week, this week the season takes a turn into the experimental. Welcome to “Batter” week!

We start with a Signature Bake that might have been the excuse for this theme: Yorkshire puddings. It doesn’t neatly fall into any of the traditional categories Bake Off does, but yet, it is definitely a baked good.

PBS

The problem is that Yorkshire puddings are a bit of a ‘freeform” baked good, like popovers. So when Sue announces that they have to make 24 identical ones? No wonder Jane says she’s been dreading this. (She also claims she’s never been able to make them — way to lower the expectations.)

Val insists if she fails, she won’t be allowed home to Yorkshire. Lady, considering your time management skills, and the near impossibility of the task at hand I wouldn’t be claiming I can never go home again if I don’t get a passing grade.

Let’s see who will pass go and who will be left homeless.

PBS
  • Andrew Yorkshire Tapas Puddings Pass. Well bakes and the flavors are good.
  • Kate Christmas Dinner Compromise Fail. Irregular and small, but good flavor
  • Jane Meat & Two Veg Yorkshires Fail. Dense and small, but they love the flavor.
  • Candice Yorkshire Wellingtons Fail. Too flat. Paul says “there’s not much life in there.”
  • Benjamina Red Onion Chutney, Brie & Bacon Yorkshire Puddings Pass, but barely.
  • Selasi Perfect Sunday Roast Accompaniment Pass. Perfect bake. Hollywood Handshake!
  • Rav Thai Tofu Panang Yorkshires Pass, despite Paul’s hatred of tofu.
  • Tom West Yorkshire Fusion Puddings Fail. Paul calls them blinis.
  • Val Mum’s Chilli Yorkshire Puddings Pass, because they need her to be able to go home.

The technical challenge comes with a bizarre warning before we learn what it is: “Practice your pattern before you use your mixture.” Say what, Paul?

That’s because this challenge is “Lace Pancakes.” Not just “lace pancakes” but heart-shaped lace-pancakes. yes, that’s right. Heart. Shaped. Lace. Pancakes. AND! The bakers only get one practice pancake. The next twelve after the first one must be presented.

They have one hour. On your mark, get set….GOOGLE WTF A LACE PANCAKE IS!

PBS

To be fair! Lace Pancakes actually sound like something they’d ask for in Tudor Week (which will be coming, don’t you worry.) It’s a dessert delicacy that Henry VIII enjoyed. Because back in the 1530s, apparently pancakes were as good as desserts got.

Armed with that knowledge, I think we should all grab our favorite Cadbury snacks (mine’s the Caramel Cake Bars) and be very glad we live in the 21st century, no?

Stop! Pancake time.

PBS

9. Rav: All overdone, and too much sugar. “A biscuit”
8. Selasi: Too small lace looks like an alien
7. Kate: Lace is clumsy and different levels of doneness
6. Val:  Lace is “fat” and some are pale.
5. Tom: These are fine without being remarkable.
4. Andrew: Nice design, a few are overdone.
3. Jane: Good color, good pattern
2. Candice: Delicate and matching
1. Benjamina: Elaborate and gorgeous

This week’s Showstopper is one of those bakes that reminds us Americans how little Mexican food has penetrated Europe. Churros! For GBBO’s purposes this is a spanish dish, with is why Mel speaks in Castilian Spanish when introducing them.

The brief says 36, but many bakers are simply making as many as humanly possible, so they can pick the best of the batches. We have several bakers who have never had one, including Candice and Jane. The ones who have an advantage are the ones who have at least eaten them before and know what they’re supposed to taste like.

PBS

Some who know what they taste like and throwing that out, like Rav, who is going for Japanese flavors, including wasabi. Mary and Paul looks slightly frightened. The real fear comes when they start tossing them into the oil.  Those who piped out designs survive their frying, some…less so. Then there’s the ones who piped their stuff straight into the oil. Traditional, yes. Showstopper looking? Not so much.

Let’s see who as the sweets and who has the grease.

BBC

Val’s Chocolate Orange Churros Good definition, everything’s uniform. The only issue is the sauce: too runny. Paul says they’re doughy.

BBC

Tom’s Fennel Churros Snake In The Grass The head of the snake failed, but the design helps him get away with non-uniformity. They’re overdone. Mary sighs at too much fennel flavoring.

BBC

Selasi’s Lemon & Anise Churros Mary says they’re too dark and clumsy. Paul says they’re burnt on the outside and raw on the bottom.

BBC

Jane’s Pistachio and White Chocolate Churros Mary loves the flavor. Paul loves everything about them.

BBC

Rav’s Three Dip Matcha Pistachio Churros Paul hates that they’re green and inconsistently sized. Mary calls them fatty. Paul thinks they’re too savory.

BBC

Andrew’s Churros Window Box It’s an adorable presentation. Paul says they’re overcooked. Mary says they’re too fatty.

BBC

Kate’s Hot Cross Bunny Churros Paul calls them “sad”. He says the bunnies have been run over. Mary says they are way too greasy. Paul says they’re so greasy, he can’t eat them.

BBC

Candice’s Two-Way Peanut Butter Churros Mary says they were too runny, and not defined enough, and they’re too small. They’re also greasy where the figure 8 crosses in the center.

BBC

Benjamina’s Tropical Churros Paul calls the display lovely, and she’s the only one who got the right color and density. Mary says she’s cracked it.

With a first place finish in the Technical and a showstopper review like that, Benjamina is shoo-in for Star Baker this week. As for who’s going home, Rav’s haplessness is bad, but Kate’s bunny boiling was worse. She’s out.

Next week: Pastry!

 

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