The Great British Bake Off: Bread
September 7, 2016 6:26 PM - Season 7, Episode 3 - Subscribe

It is bread week, and Paul Hollywood has put together three of the toughest challenges ever.

First up is the signature challenge - a sweet dough with a twist. And with Paul's digits primed for prodding, no dough is safe from scrutiny. The bakers then face a steamy technical challenge without an oven, as Paul and Mary step out of the tent to leave the bakers with only a basic set of instructions and ingredients. For the perfect bake they have to avoid a burnt bottom and a soggy top. Mel heads to Germany to discover how one brave baker and a few hundred dumplings saved his small town from the ravages of the Thirty Years' War. And there is a mighty final challenge which requires the use of three different flours to create a huge showstopper centrepiece.

description via bbc iplayer
posted by everybody had matching towels (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So sad to see Michael go. And I never realized that every Bread Week's Star Baker has made it to the finale - interesting! GO NERDY TOM BAKER GO!

I have to say, though, that the most exciting part of the episode was the teaser for next week's brand-new category: BATTER! Oooh am I looking forward to that!
posted by tzikeh at 9:50 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


This week's technical was impressively hard, although I admit that when they showed the clip I briefly thought it was going to be bao. But that's seriously not a British thing, I don't think. So far the "foreign" challenges have all been European or American, IIRC.

I felt bad for Candice and Selasi, and was very happy that Benjamina did so well on the last challenge. And that Rav's tiny loaf turns out to have been a brilliant move on the signature.
posted by suelac at 10:37 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't understand people who go on the show and haven't learned to do at least a three-strand plait. It comes up every year! (At least it seems like it does.)

Good work, Tom! I do think that if Selasi's centrepiece wasn't a unified whole, though, Tom's really wasn't either. (Yes, Thor, but it was still two separate pieces.)
posted by minsies at 1:07 AM on September 8, 2016

There is a lovely documentary about Mary Berry on youtube (The Mary Berry Story) for midweek Bake Off replacement.

A good episode, but without the wonderful lion bread of last season. I am surprised by all the chili going into bakes this year - is that just becoming a new British standard flavour to spice up food with chili?
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 1:59 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was very excited about the technical because I had just taught myself to make germknodel that very same day! Which aren't as difficult as the ones they had to make, I don't think, in that I didn't mess them up at all and I'm crap at bread.
posted by theseldomseenkid at 4:38 AM on September 8, 2016

This year's lot is so funny, but so nervy! They all seem terribly wound up (and Paul's vicious mood this week didn't help).

In the Signature and Showstopper, it appeared that the only way to thread the needle between the short time allotted and the need to prove twice and bake completely was to go small but exquisite. Rav did well with his mini loaf, and Kate's corn doll had less height than some of the others, but was so beautiful. Everyone else went too large with their loaves, and they didn't bake through.

Andrew is my favorite. I just want to put him in my pocket.
posted by merriment at 4:41 AM on September 8, 2016

I'm always a little disappointed when the show sets the contestants up for failure; especially the chocolate bread challenge this week. Even an extra half hour of time would have given the contestants a bit more of a chance to let their dough prove and bake - especially since with the chocolate requirement it shouldn't have surprised anybody that most/all would use an enriched dough. I don't think a bunch of shots of Paul bellowing "Raw dough!" (or the alternative "Underproved!") is all that compelling.

Yes, the contestants knew the time limit and should have taken that into account - Rav's small loaf seemed a good choice. But there's a reason that the 100m sprint is more watched than the 110m hurdles; let's just sort out the best rather than screw around with a bunch of obstacles that fundamentally don't need to be there. (Forewarned: I'll post this exact same rant later in the season when they do a mandatory ice cream challenge and can't be arsed to bring in a half dozen chest freezers so the contestants don't have to make do with sharing the smaller, less powerful fridge freezers.)

On the positive side, did you see Kate's sketch of her corn doll? It was a better drawing than the ones the show commissions for the bit where they describe their bakes.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:21 AM on September 8, 2016 [10 favorites]

100% agree, Homeboy Trouble. That corn doll sketch was *beautiful.*
posted by merriment at 9:39 AM on September 8, 2016

I hope Candace recovers and doesn't go all Flora on us. She needs to adapt Coco Channel's accessorries rule to her bakes. Selassi needs to step up his game a bit too, there's being chill and there's being half-assed. Jane's creeping up on me, she's been so solid through almost all the challenges so far.
posted by Diablevert at 2:14 PM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Paul, if most of the bakers can't finish baking the things in the time window, maybe it's the time window's fault!
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:36 PM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I keep wanting Val to be eliminated, and I feel sort of bad about it, but she just seems like she doesn't have what it takes.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

I always get a bit annoyed when people go on a well established show and are unprepared for the bog standard challenges issued by the show. PRACTICE YOUR TIMING PEOPLE.

I want to see more hustle from Selasi.

That corn doll was quite lovely.
posted by Julnyes at 12:09 PM on September 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

she just seems like she doesn't have what it takes

Oh god, same. So same. She seems like such a lovely woman but she has struggled with nearly everything on the show. She's been in the bottom in each of the three weeks. Candice has been in the bottom twice in three weeks, but her bakes have shown a lot more creativity and ambition. Would be shocked if Val makes it through to week 5.

I can't decide if dampfnudeln sound fantastic or terrible.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:55 PM on September 9, 2016

I can't decide if dampfnudeln sound fantastic or terrible.

Someone upthread said they thought the challenge was to make bao at first, which is what I kinda thought too, and bao is great! It's a bun cooked in a steamer basket. It has a traditionally breadlike interior, and the outside is smooth like the skin of a steamed dumpling. Made me want to try dampfnudel when I realized how similar they were.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:01 PM on September 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I agree about Val. A great person who is stressing me out soooo much. Paul was really harsh this week, even for him. Interesting that Michael has now broken the recent pattern of the baby of the group staying in til the end.

All the babkas made me curious if there's ever been a Jewish contestant, I can't anything via googling but I happily volunteer to be the first if there hasn't.
posted by ariadne's threadspinner at 11:30 PM on September 9, 2016

I'm a keen bread baker and this is always my favourite week of Bake Off!

My suspicions that this year's challengers aren't much snuff was really confirmed this week - compare to last year's incredible lion and a fucking bicycle with a rotating wheel! I am not very good with small and neat things, but most of those plaits were very basic and many actively shite. The corndoll was fucking magnificent. I feel like they really undersold how difficult it is to get small plaits like that to prove and rise evenly. It's really, really hard, and it often comes down to using a low hydration, stiff dough with little to no yeast in it (ie it looks great, and tastes rubbish). That was a genuine feat, right there.

Selasi's was a poor joke, and the crumb on his wholemeal looked denser than tungsten. I'm finding the use of chilli this season very odd - Mary and Paul have demonstrated a totally wussy attitude when it comes to chilli before, they don't like spicy at all!

Agreed that the chocolate challenge was rigged. In addition to your average enriched dough taking longer to rise, doughs with too much sugar severely inhibit yeast unless you use osmotic yeast (or, do what I did this week making custard scrolls with challah dough, use a shitload of yeast!). There was virtually no way those loaves would rise and cook in time. A decent sized loaf like that needs a good forty minutes in my opinion, if not more.

I also thought of bao when I saw those dumplings. I would so love Bake Off to get a little more multicultural, i.e naans, chapatis, paratha; Asian bakery style sweet stuffed doughs, bao, steamed buns etc. Would be so much fun.
posted by smoke at 3:11 AM on September 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

I can't tell if the challenges are slightly more difficult or the S7 bakers are slightly more amateur, or both. Maybe we got really spoiled with S 5 & 6.

I started watching Bake Off in S5 and have watched all the way through until now. Yesterday I went back and started Season 1. The contrast is fascinating! Mel and Sue were more subdued of course; they hadn't honed their schtick yet. But the big difference is how Mary and Paul were filmed. Much more friendly and accessible with kibbutzing in the aisles. Paul actually looked like he enjoyed himself. Now they're more separated from the bakers, almost like royalty. Mary is still gracious but seems a little less warm. Paul is like a grouchy oracle being consulted against his will.

Apologies if this is common GBBO knowledge, is it filmed this way now because they added two contestants in S2 and needed additional time for bakes? Or just to increase the drama? And who's been piddling on Paul's babka?
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 6:10 AM on September 10, 2016

Season 1 is super different from all the other seasons, by season 2 they have it more down pat a bit. I haven't re-watched 1; I do think Paul's role as official Mean Judge has been more of a thing as they've gone on. But also the first couple seasons the skill level wasn't quite as high --- after the show had gotten so popular you started having contestants that, if not trained bakers per se, were often designers or some such and started doing much more elaborate pieces. IIRC, macaroons were a showstopper challenge by themselves in one of the early seasons, whereas Flora got a bit of stick last season for basically sticking the damn things on everything as a bit of decoration. So I think that changed Paul's critiques a bit, he expect something closer to professional quality from them now.

I agree that we haven't seen as much awesome stuff out of this bunch yet, it may be that the technical skill level was simply higher in S5 and S6. But on the other hand I'd rather have them be a bit below where they were last season than continue raising the level to the point where it's not really an amatuer competition anymore.
posted by Diablevert at 10:17 AM on September 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

I wonder if there was a slight chilling effect, where a lot of skilled amateur bakers saw the most recent seasons and psyched themselves out of applying because they thought they could never be as good. Maybe they even deliberately selected a few more 'everyman' bakers this time, in order to make it seem more of an achievable goal to make it onto the show.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:52 AM on September 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yes! As someone who likes to bake, S5&6 made me think I'd have to train a few years before I could MAYBE get on the show, and even then I'd get eliminated in the first round. It's nice to see contestants with closer to an average skill set.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 12:20 PM on September 10, 2016

An aside: should show-followers post meta-stuff about the show moving to Channel 4, personnel changes, etc. in these show threads, in FanFare Talk, or perhaps on the blue as an FPP?
posted by infinitewindow at 9:47 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

I was JUST coming here to ask that very question infinitewindow! Where can I cry about Sue and Mel?
posted by miss-lapin at 2:23 PM on September 13, 2016

This needs to be a FPP! Someone who can make terrible baking puns through tears, please post an FPP about this.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:32 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm honestly scared to do it for fear it would be labeled "newsfilter" and deleted.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:33 PM on September 13, 2016

There was an FPP about the previous series finale with Nadiya that wasn't deleted for newsfilter. Go for it!
posted by infinitewindow at 4:39 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yesterday I loaded up the Guardian front page and they were honest-to-god using their red breaking news banner, normally used for things like "North Korea tests nuclear missile", for the news about GBBO leaving the Beeb. Don't go, Mel and Sue :(
posted by dorque at 4:41 PM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's a walk off!
posted by infinitewindow at 6:16 PM on September 13, 2016

Selassi needs to step up his game a bit too, there's being chill and there's being half-assed.

I suspect that Selassi was set up from the start as a star with the knowedge that he falls off later, because it would make a good tragic arc.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:42 AM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

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