The Great British Bake Off: Bread Week
October 7, 2020 4:10 AM - Season 11, Episode 3 - Subscribe

It's Bread Week, and the remaining bakers have a lot to prove in a sweet and savoury signature, a technical that honours the NHS, and an ambitious, artistic showstopper
posted by bitteschoen (20 comments total)
 
(and as a little extra gift from twitter, after Noel Fielding as cakes last week, here’s a thread of Matt Lucas as cakes)
posted by bitteschoen at 4:13 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Those bagels were horrifying.

Nice that Paul is back on his bullshit of being shocked by entirely common flavour combinations.
posted by jeather at 9:36 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I'm going to be interested to hear comments from US viewers on the bagel recipe. The online group I watch with has quite a few members who are Jewish, expat-US or both, and the general consensus from them was that this was bagels done very wrong.

I made Mark's Stout and Chocolate Soda Bread tonight, using vegan spread rather than butter and soya milk plus cider vinegar instead of buttermilk (as milk products disagree with Mrs Clanger). It worked fine nonetheless, and comes out as a sort of bready cake, or perhaps cakey bread, that is very chocolatey and utterly delicious. Mrs Clanger and I have devoured a third of it already.
posted by Major Clanger at 2:42 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Where is it common to see smoked salmon mixed inside bread?
posted by schroedinger at 3:43 PM on October 7


I'm going to be interested to hear comments from US viewers on the bagel recipe. The online group I watch with has quite a few members who are Jewish, expat-US or both, and the general consensus from them was that this was bagels done very wrong.

I live in NYC and actually, the example rainbow bagels looked pretty close to the ones I've seen occasionally in bagel shops here. I've never ordered one, and I'm pretty sure they're mostly for tourists (you definitely see them more in touristy areas), but they do exist in the wild and that is basically what they look like. Almost everyone screwed them up pretty badly, of course...
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:59 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


It wasn't the colour that drew criticism, it was the way the bagels were made, even sticking to the suggested recipe. Apparently proper bagels should be boiled in lye solution rather than bicarbonate of soda, and baked far hotter.
posted by Major Clanger at 2:54 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Eh... it's certainly not the classic way but I wouldn't consider baking soda instead of lye to be a major crime. Also I recently watched... whatever the series was that Netflix confusingly lists as "The Beginning" (series 3?) and one of the showstoppers was to make bagels, and I didn't see any lye there either, though I could have missed it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:00 AM on October 8


Even if Paul Hollywood does think lye is the proper way, it's lye. Are they really going to have lye in a home baking competition where it is very possible a number of the bakers have never handled it? And whose audience is big into reproducing the bakes?
posted by schroedinger at 3:25 PM on October 8 [12 favorites]


The bagels drew criticism also because of Paul saying the rainbow represents the NHS rather than the LGBT+ community
posted by bitteschoen at 6:29 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


...which is a really weird thing to say on a show that has had a succession of openly gay hosts and bakers.
posted by Major Clanger at 6:49 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


"Home baking" come on, they have been treating the bakers as wannabe professionals for many seasons now.
posted by jeather at 8:17 AM on October 9


Eh, I'm Jewish and was raised in NY/NJ and while I've never had a rainbow bagel, it is a little unusual to twist bagels I guess? I'm more offended by Matt Lucas's American accent, though I was kind of charmed by Mel's attempt at a New York one during a pretzel technical back in the day. I was also surprised when Paul said the rainbow was for the NHS and not LGBT+ pride. After a bit of Googling on where the NHS rainbow thing came from...that's not great.

I'm pleased for Marc, though! I'm glad he made it through to bread week to get a chance to shine. It seems like he really loves bread. And I'm glad they finally cut Rowan. He knew his time was short going in, and he grated on me but it was nice to see him finish something for once.
posted by j.r at 9:15 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I've never heard of a rainbow bagel but when I saw it on the show I thought it was going to be different flavors of bagel twisted together but, no, it's just different colors. So like what's the point? Seems like a lot of time and effort for a plain tasting bagel.
posted by guiseroom at 9:06 AM on October 10


So like what's the point?

To be fair, the technicals have often prioritized difficulty over tastiness - I'd rather eat a rainbow bagel than that damn tennis cake thing from a few seasons back. And dying a batch of risen dough five different colors, then binding it all back together, is a pretty difficult thing to pull off.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:35 AM on October 10


I usually use Peter Reinhart's bagel recipe via Smitten Kitchen which has a 2 hour proof of a sponge to start and then an overnight proof, with a 20 minute or so proof in between. It's then boiled (I use baking soda) and baked at 500 F. So my main issue was proofing time, especially in an episode where he scolded Hermine for rushing brioche. Those have got to be some very bland bagels
posted by damayanti at 5:36 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


The bagels drew criticism also because of Paul saying the rainbow represents the NHS rather than the LGBT+ community

That was the bit that set me off, as well. I literally cannot imagine anyone selling a rainbow bagel other than as a gay pride month thing.
posted by dnash at 12:28 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]


Finally caught up on this week's episode.

Rainbow bagels have been around for a few years - I've never actually eaten one, but I'm aware of them, mostly because of the flurry of news coverage when they started being sold in London. Ahh, the heady pre-Brexit, pre-Trump, pre-pandemic days of February 2016, when newspapers could write about colourful bread products without the piece being immediately lost in a maelstrom of doom and despair.

I literally cannot imagine anyone selling a rainbow bagel other than as a gay pride month thing.

Maybe this varies by location? In any other year, sure, but certainly where I am (market town in the English countryside), literal depictions of rainbows have been very strongly associated with the NHS this year. My daily walks during lockdown took me past an astonishing number of children's rainbow paintings in front windows, usually accompanied by THANK YOU NHS; the local Women's Institute yarnbombed the main pillar box in front of the Post Office with a crocheted(?) THANK YOU NHS rainbow diorama. It was the standout positive symbol for the lockdown period, and as such seems like a pretty natural choice for the series.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:45 PM on October 11 [5 favorites]


I assumed the NHS callout was a nod to Covid, not a snub of the LGBTQ+ community. I think rainbows have been very NHS-associated during the pandemic. And it's a pandemic. We don't have a monopoly on rainbows.
posted by schroedinger at 7:11 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Yeah, rainbows for the NHS was a big thing here a few months ago, right when this season was filmed, BUT it was still weird to ONLY mention the NHS and not contextualise it like "and at the moment it's being used to reference the NHS". The bit about "it originates in the US" was almost like, oh over THERE it represents LGBT+ but HERE it means the NHS, which was... pretty silly.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:49 AM on October 14


In these times, and especially among a group quarantining together, I think honoring the NHS with rainbow bagels is great.

The bagels themselves were pretty but uhhh no desire at all to eat them!

I was sad for Rowen, I think he just couldn’t get a hang of how to bake for the show. But he was trying his best and I still find it touching that his imagination kept getting the best of him.

Very happy for Marc! I love that he’s a home baker whose kids are always shown eating his food, his story about healing from losing his leg was so heartfelt, and he was always going to be a favorite of mine because he’s a sculptor (which I think is very cool). To me, Marc is one of those bakers who finds a lot of confidence and really comes into himself while on the show, and I hope he stays on for a long while.

I really like all the bakers this time around, though!
posted by rue72 at 12:23 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


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