The Great British Bake Off: Bread Week
October 6, 2021 11:50 AM - Season 12, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding present as the amateurs demonstrate their bread-baking skills, putting their own twist on a classic Italian focaccia in the signature challenge and making a Greek-inspired snack in the technical. On day two, judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith task them with creating an artistic showpiece rendering decorative designs in milk bread. Who will be leaving the tent this week?
posted by ellieBOA (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How are people seeing it this early? It's driving me bonkers!
posted by miss-lapin at 12:57 PM on October 6, 2021

It originally airs at something like mmm 8pm UK time on Tuesdays. Netflix delays it until Friday nights because simulcast would make too much sense.
posted by Kyol at 1:17 PM on October 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

And on that, I would like to once again thank the fanfare community for not being _particularly_ spoiler heavy for the first few days. I mean, once the dam breaks, the dam broke, but the first few days are usually good natured ribbing of the content rather than the contest, which I think helps the conversation?

On the other hand it might be that we've lost the majority of our British commentators and it's all Netflix viewers at this point? I'm not nosy enough to check user pages to see.
posted by Kyol at 1:28 PM on October 6, 2021

I'm into that roasted grape focaccia. Another showstopper where it's all about making a sculpture.

The trying to humanize Paul Hollywood work continues apace and remains horrible, though not as bad as Noel and Matt's jokes. They need to recast everyone on this show.
posted by jeather at 5:50 PM on October 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

I find Noel far worse than Paul.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:02 PM on October 6, 2021

They're just very different kinds of irritating. But Noel is a host, while Paul is a judge, and so Paul's weird misogyny and semi-xenophobia have a larger effect on what is baked and who wins.
posted by jeather at 8:49 AM on October 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

While I agree an episode ago Noel said "What is wrong with you" to someone struggling with the technical. To me that's just as destructive.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:23 PM on October 7, 2021

not being _particularly_ spoiler heavy for the first few days

Like, in the discussion? I think clicking into the comments for an episode one hasn't seen absolves others of being at fault for spoilers. I'd consider it fair game for UK viewers, impatient VPN-havers, etc. to discuss right away while it's fresh.

I find Matt much more irritating than Noel though I can see how Noel's style of hosting may clash with the straightforward lightheartedness that I gather many people come to GBBO for.
posted by supercres at 5:05 PM on October 7, 2021 [6 favorites]

I dunno, Matt has grown on me as he seems slightly less intent on being the center of attention, compared to Noel. I still feel bad for Prue being stuck with three child-men as coworkers.

It really does not pay to be great the first two weekends- Jürgen is going to be judged more harshly on everything now. Sad that Rochica had to leave, but not surprised.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:23 PM on October 7, 2021 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I liked Rochica a lot, but I don't think her concept for the showstopper was a good idea. She needed more loafy objects, but seemed to spend most of her energy on her birdcage. I blame the production's early hyper focus on structural challenges pointing her in the wrong direction.

I like Lizzie more each week, so I'm glad she did well. I don't love truffle oil myself, but I did appreciate her "well, I'm not paying for it" approach to ingredient choice. And then her Tudor pig roast was quite cute, although the mango tea seems to have not been a hit.

I'm always surprised how much theme overlap the bakers sometimes have - 3 seascapes, 2 of which had an octopus. I was pleased for Amanda that her octopus did so well after her rocking horse disaster.

Maggie is on borrowed time - more than one challenge with Paul griping about your bakes not being enough to show for the time given, and you're hard pressed to turn it around.

I was a little worried about Freya's vegan milkbread, but probably just because I don't know much about vegan baking. Certainly didn't seem to be an issue.

No suspense for star baker, Giuseppe ran away with it. My favorite Giuseppe moments this episode were 1st, when he looked around at the end of the showstopper and marveled at how well everyone's bakes had turned out, and 2nd, when Prue asked in the signature if his choice to use milk was something his grandmother had done and he laughed and said his grandmother bought her bread.

Why didn't we get to see Giuseppe's phone call home at the end? I love that bit, sad to be left hanging.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:51 AM on October 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

I loved the way Giuseppe painted the zucchini/courgettes! I kept wondering what the leaves and vines were made of, though. Was it possible for those to have been milk bread (they looked way too defined for that?), or were they something else?

Pretty relieved that the handshake wasn't followed by a ton of awed mentions of said handshake for once.
posted by trig at 9:48 AM on October 8, 2021

Ah, we're sliding into the glorious middle section of Bake Off where we've started to know and mostly like everyone, but recognize bakers' faults and can make reasonable guesses. Mmm. Warm and hygge.

I agree, Maggie started out ok, but the past few weeks haven't been up her alley, and I suspect she's possibly _too_ traditional for Paul and Prue. Which is, I guess, kind of the usual failure mode for the senior baker on Bake Off.

Freyja has been a complete surprise - the younger bakers are usually that way for me. Despite getting a stack of ingredients and one word instructions, they still manage to make technicals work out despite never ever having seen the item before. Honestly, I'm always sort of surprised how relatively consistent the technicals are. Like, you rarely see something that's completely wrong, although this week came close, but almost everybody got it wrong the same way, sooo...

I'm usually kind of meh about the sculptural showstoppers; I think they come closest to making the competition into tv friendly glitz and glamor instead of solid baking and good flavors. BUT, man, I'd have eaten pretty much all of the milk breads this week no problem. I dunno, they all skirted the line between being pointlessly fancy and yet still sufficiently food-ish?
posted by Kyol at 12:46 PM on October 8, 2021

Also I'm happy that Paul hasn't been grousing about Freyja's alternative ingredients. I wonder if he was explicitly told to make an allowance, or if she's been really good about choosing substitutions that actually work.
posted by Kyol at 12:52 PM on October 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

I've been really impressed by Freya's ability to keep to vegan ingredients and do well each time. I was thrilled that Giuseppe won star baker this week, especially after saying that he was feeling the pressure because baking bread is his thing. Lizzie, who doesn't bake bread at all, was great this week and really surprised about it. I was very happy for her.

I really thought Maggie was going to go. Maybe if Rochica hadn't been at the bottom of the technical she would have. I can't imagine that she'll be around much longer.

I am actually enjoying Matt and Noel more this season than I have in the past, especially Matt. I get the impression that he is a warmer person, in the Sandi mode, and that they don't show much of that. They showed him doing that more last season. Paul on the other hand needs a kick in the pants out of the tent. Surely someone else in the country knows how to bake bread and isn't afraid of ingredients he hasn't worked with before.
posted by ceejaytee at 1:45 PM on October 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'm really enjoying this season, and I also have to say that I adore Lizzie...and also frequently cannot understand a word she's saying. (I'm USian.) Doesn't make me stop loving her though!
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:11 PM on October 8, 2021

BlahLaLa - you might already know this but Netflix does have subtitles which I always leave on for Baking Show since even accents I can decipher are sometimes talking really fast.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:28 PM on October 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yay for Lizzie! She really came on this week.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 6:34 PM on October 9, 2021

Why didn't we get to see Giuseppe's phone call home at the end? I love that bit, sad to be left hanging.

Agree! He really had an excellent week, and I wanted to hear his family enjoy it with him.

I was sure that Maggie was going home because Rochica's showstopper had such good flavors. I'd forgotten about Rochica being in the bottom of the technical. It was nice to see Chigs pick it up in the final challenge. I expect George will be a middle-of-the-pack exit, but he's delightful.

I had no idea that Noel was a dad. I think this is the first time he's made reference his home life.
posted by gladly at 10:37 AM on October 10, 2021

I admit I was sorta confused about the ciabatta bread sticks, is that an actual thing? Or was it just created to be a challenge on the show.
posted by Carillon at 10:37 AM on October 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also I'm happy that Paul hasn't been grousing about Freyja's alternative ingredients. I wonder if he was explicitly told to make an allowance, or if she's been really good about choosing substitutions that actually work.

Yeah, same here. Baking with alternative ingredients can be really challenging, and - even when it works - produces things that are quite good, but often not exactly like the original. So are they scoring her Showstopper as "milk bread" or "vegan milk bread"?

I like Noel and Matt just fine. Not as much as Mel and Sandi, but it's a different energy. I do think they should take some of the emphasis off trying to be "funny" and just be willing to be enthusiastic observers. Be patient, and wait for the humor to come more naturally, and it will be that much funnier.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:04 AM on October 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

I adore Lizzie...and also frequently cannot understand a word she's saying. (I'm USian.)'

Ditto! Just hit home this episode when Lizzie was featured saying something after the technical and my wife and I looked at each other and just busted up, admitting that neither of us had understood what she had said at all. We'd commented about this in passing before but never to that degree of intensity.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:09 AM on October 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Missing Mel and Sue so much it hurts.

Giuseppe is clearly the love child of Anthony Bourdain and Frank Zappa.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:22 AM on October 12, 2021 [7 favorites]

I realize probably no one will see this at this point since a new episode is coming, but Vanity Fair agrees with everyone complaining about how this is turning into science fair projects.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:59 AM on October 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

No, no, 100% that. I'm not sure I want to go through 11 years of showstoppers and see if you could characterize when they went from "just make a really fuckin' big figgy pudding, all right?" to "make something that isn't quite ready for Ace of Cakes, but looks like maybe it might be."

Like, I don't mind fussy patisserie work and petits four and whatnot, that's all exciting and interesting. Make a cake that gets 80 miles to the gallon and seats 26, on the other hand, not so much.

I mean, I'm bitching but I still love the contestants and general format, but it feels like at some point the showstopper went from "make a lot of repeats of some fussy item, or quaint ye olde dessert, or a really big goddamn cheesecake" to Cake Wars, yes.
posted by Kyol at 2:23 PM on October 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

Absolutely agree with that article.

That new netflix show, Baking Impossible, is explicitly baking + engineering, and it's great! I am super happy to watch them do an edible Rube Goldberg machine! I recommend it to everyone.

But it's not at all why I watch GBBO, or what I watch GBBO for. I don't want "how would these work if sold" because this is for home bakers, I definitely don't want engineering projects, go look at early seasons that people loved and go back there. Remember in one someone made a rum raisin cheesecake in like, 2 hours and just sat and waited while the others baked and still won?
posted by jeather at 4:41 PM on October 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

I groused about Lizzie last week, but am gonna blame it on how she was edited for the first two episodes. She does bring a fun energy to the tent. I'm glad she did well this round and was able to show off her skills. Bread week is hard!
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 11:30 AM on October 13, 2021

Giuseppe's lack of a phone call home -- he did mention he has not told his kids he is competing. I guess they will all watch together as a surprise?

I so long for the early series when I would watch and actually contemplate baking something from the show. I actually baked one year! Wouldn't bother now because... wouldn't care to eat this stuff!
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 11:45 AM on October 13, 2021

Sat down to watch this while eating some fresh made focaccia, and whaddya know, they've got a bunch of people making mine look like an actual peasant meal by comparison. (Though I don't feel so bad since I used a preposterously low-effort no-knead recipe, which came out with a beautiful open crumb and crunch exterior, just no fancy toppings).

I liked how the first two challenges were pretty normal recipes that actual (highly-skilled) home bakers might make for a special occasion. I'm also curious if ciabatta breadsticks are a real thing in the UK, they looked delicious (or Paul and Giuseppe's did, at least). Ciabatta in general is something I've always wanted to try, but high-hydration bread is such a pain to work with, I always just chicken out and do something that I'm sure will turn out.
posted by skewed at 7:37 PM on October 17, 2021

skewed, Paul Hollywood demonstrates ciabatta in one of the Master Class episodes (in the Mary Berry era). It’s not too bad.
posted by janell at 8:19 PM on October 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Just catching up to this, but is no one going to mention the baby?? What an absolutely bizarre idea that was. I almost think Jürgen did it as a stunt: "I am going to make Paul Hollywood cut up and eat a baby on international television."
posted by jedicus at 12:19 PM on October 27, 2021 [5 favorites]

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