Great British Bake Off episode three review - Who didn’t rise to the challenge and prove themselves in bread week?
- Credit: Love Productions/Channel 4
There were baked cats and dragons, soggy bottoms, nasty naans and burnt buns in bread week, but the Hollywood Handshake was activated. Guest reviewer chef Richard Hughes tells us what we knead to know about episode three of GBBO.
By week three on the Great British Bake Off, we are starting to sort the wheat from the chaff, quite literally, as this was bread week.
I realise that I'm supposed to be reviewing their bakes, but if I'm honest I'm far more enthralled by what the contestants all wear each week. All of them, presenters and contestants, seem to be auditioning as children's TV presenters in the 1990s, except Paul, who seems to think he's the man in black: either a Johnny Cash lookalike or the bloke who zipwires into your house with a certain brand of chocolates.
(The winner of the Norfolk Home Chef of the Year at this weeks EAT Norfolk Food and Drink Awards was an Elvis impersonator. Once again Norfolk is ahead of the game!)
Kim Joy looks like she's come straight from the pages of one of her boyfriend's comics, Prue seems to be morphing into Alan Carr progressively each week, Noel had on the most excellent jumper that I'm sure would suit me and which gave him the appearance of a friendly wasp and Terry (potter, painter, gardener, beekeeper, beer maker but not so sure if he's a baker) was perfectly coiffured under the nose.
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Dotty Karen won the dress-off this week with her Parisian Sue Pollard party piece complete with beret, Bake Off meets Allo Allo meets Frank Spencer.
But enough of the style guide, let's get back to the baking.
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First up we had an array of Chelsea buns. I thought most of them made a decent fist of it, though the judges struggled to muster much enthusiasm. Dan received a Hollywood Handshake for his spiced orange Chelsea buns, but after last weeks glad-handing fest, this one appeared limp and half-hearted. Even Dan failed to be moved by the gesture.
Terry forgot to put the sugar in his dough (I can't criticize, I forgot to put the currants in my bread and butter pudding in a pastry exam in 1983), and Rahul, who though far ahead in the popularity stakes, admitted to being frightened by his own mango chutney.
This week's technical challenge was the easiest and so therefore the most boring we have seen on any series: non-yeast naan bread. It even sounds like a yawn. Garlic naans were the takeaway order of the day and the contestants had an hour to create a basket-full. I'm telling you now, most cooks can knock them out in five minutes, max.
Terry, the King of Inconsistency, won the challenge and Ruby was overjoyed that she wasn't the 'worst Indian in the room' when it came to naan-bread making. More of the Indian who WAS the worst in the room later…
The showstopper was the incredibly painstaking business of making Korovai. The judges were throwing another curveball (though not as warped a last weeks spinach-topped Gateau Vert) by asking contestants to whip up a traditional Eastern European bread, usually served at celebrations.
Three-tiered, intricately decorated, it was basically a sort of Warburtons' take on a wedding cake.
Kim Joy obviously made kitten bread, complete with a cat wedding ceremony and kitten guests. Terry's tiers collapsed into one despite his homemade pottery 'foolproof' proving apparatus, there was a Welsh disaster involving the least ferocious dragon ever and Manon's effort was a classic case of style over substance, looking beautiful tasting 'like a bath bomb' thanks to heavy-handedness on the orange flower water.
In the end Antony's creation complete with doves zipwiring (more zipwires) down the Himalayas was not spectacular enough to save him. It really must have tasted bad. Banker Antony went bust and is closed for any further business. His abject misery at leaving the tent was bravely covered with 'happy tears' – I will miss his perfectly-groomed facial topiary.
Rahul was awarded Star Baker for the second week running. This is fast becoming the Rahul show, and I'd imagine his book deal is in the bag. I'm sure all bets are already off on him scooping the biggest prize, providing he doesn't get intimidated by chutney.
He cooks to make friends and said this week: 'I'm not confident about anything in my life.' R u OK hun?
Rahul is adorable: even his competitors seem to want him to win more than they want to win themselves – he's the nation's sweetheart. Bless him. Shall we just say he's won now so that he doesn't have to put himself through this stress?
* Next week it's DESSERT WEEK! Meringues, a chocolate showstopper and something in a jelly mould. Will it tremble more than a certain contestant?
* Read Richard's review of episode two, here http://www.edp24.co.uk/going-out/great-british-bake-off-2018-review-episode-two-cake-week-channel-4-paul-hollywood-noel-fielding-1-5681662
Antony is the third baker to leave the GBBO tent
Banker Antony's first Bread Week challenge of Chelsea Buns caught him out on numbers, he struggled to rise to the Technical of Garlic Naan, and the Tiered Korovai finished him off.
'Bread has never been my strongest baking strength. The first bread that I baked was only this January, so I am a relative newcomer to it. I went into that tent pretty nervous knowing this, and without enough practice. So I was fully aware this could be the week that I was going to go,' he said.
'Although I knew bread week might be my doomsday, I wouldn't change the experience for the world. To have met the most amazing bakers and made new best friends has been incredible for me. Also the whole production team behind the programme helped make this an amazing three weeks of my life.
'Putting the sign of the cross on a Chelsea bun as a prayer didn't work, there was no saving grace for me! The stress of the tent changes you completely as a person, you are so concentrating on the bake in hand, that I couldn't think of the maths when counting the Chelsea buns, it's madness I know! But you forget you are being filmed, and I forgot about the day job.
'The judges were great and I really wanted to impress them both the same. Paul prowling around the tent made me stupidly nervous as he is the Bread King, so that wrecked my nerves as I wanted to try my best in bread week.
'The region I am from in India we make rotis, which are simple flat breads, and not naan breads. So where I am from nobody would make naan bread, so it was all new to me!
'My best bit was biscuit week when Paul said it was a melt in the mouth regional biscuit (Chilli Jam Goosnargh Cookies) and Prue came back for second helpings. My worst bit was leaving, I was really sad to go as I knew it was the end of my baking in the tent with all the other bakers.
'My bond with all the other bakers was superb, and we gelled from the start. More often than not it would be at the bar after a long day of filming - there was definitely a bit of unity at the bar!
'The Himalayas featured a lot in my bakes, as I love the mountains. I love climbing them, and the peace it gives you. Next month I am attempting to climb Mount Elbrus, Europe's tallest mountain, I am just doing it for myself with a group of friends. It's something I have really wanted to do, from when I first fell in love with the mountains when I climbed the Himalayas for the first time as a young man.
'The reaction has been wonderful at work, lots of bankers who I didn't think would be interested in baking have really got involved in the show. I have turned them from football watchers into bake off watchers, so I am pretty chuffed with that.
'It's unexpected to think that bankers make good bakers, but maybe because it's something we do to relax and unwind at the end of a busy working day. To be at home in your own kitchen, where you don't have the time constraints of the tent or Paul and Prue judging you, it's stress free and pure enjoyment!
'My family in India are pretty elated about the whole experience. They are so proud of me, and the support and love that I have had from India through family and even social media has been immense, a huge ego boost.
'Each week while the show has been airing I have made a challenge from each week - biscuits, wagon wheels, and a cake - and I will continue to bake along with the show each week. I will carry on baking, I am not sure what the future holds for me, but I know it will include baking.
'The smile doesn't go away, it just gets bigger, I can't believe I was still smiling as I finished the bake as I felt an emotional wreck.'
Antony will join Jo Brand on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday 14 September Channel 4 at 8.00 pm.