Due to my slackery, here is a bumper edition of the last two weeks of Bake Off.
My good friend Kirby dubbed this episode the “Jew Bread” episode, what with the bagels and the unleavened and the oi vey, so that’s what it’s going to be called from now on. First up is flat-breads! No need to prove yourselves here, bakers…
Sue is very explicit with her list of what constitutes a flatbread, but basically it’s a tortilla, naan or roti: 12 flavoured breads good and true; 6 with yeast, 6 without. By far my favourite thing about the Bake Off this year is Mel & Sue’s “On your marks, get set…bake!” skit, which may sound like a Poundstretcher knock-off of Ready, Steady, Cook, but it is actually their ‘catchphrase.’ Each time they have to say it, they do it a different way and try to outshine each-other, it’s all very ‘Light Lunch’ but here Mel shouts “BAAAAYEEEEK” and it makes me laugh.
Peter is diving in yeast-first (He’s making a fennel and Nigella seed naan, and Bannock Bread), whilst Berry says not all of the contestants will be good in bread, and Hollywood tells us how it should be done, but I’m not listening; just gazing into his wolf-like eyes. He says they have to be spongey and not too thick.
Speaking of spongey and thick, Stuart is making Bombay Bread, which he essentially describes as bombay mix, but a bread. He’s also making a chorizo and onion naan. Clearly he has misinterpreted the challenge, and thought he was making a cake.
Adorable Hipster James has brought his own Shetlandian yeast strain with him for his Tattie Scones and Tricolore flatbread, and Hollywood takes a big whiff of his ‘active’ brewers yeast. Berry is beside herself with glee at what AHJ has planned.
Last week’s Star Baker, Victoria is dressed like a Union Jack, and is making a coriander and lemon naan bread, and some garlic, parsnip, and black cardamom chapattis.
John is making coriander and chilli rotis, and Pomegranate and Parsnip Potato Pitas…
Peter stirs up some controversy when Berry accuses him of trying to curry favour by having a framed picture of Mel and Sue on his cooking station, until Sue points out she’s not even a judge so Peter is just a kiss-ass. Who wouldn’t consider a framed picture of Mel and Sue at their workspace? Heaven knows I would.
This should be here because…civil rights. It’s the nineties.
Dowdy Parson’s Wife Sarah-Jane is making toasted coconut and lime rotis which sound delicious. I probably would have gone to Sunday school more if this kind of fare was on offer. She’s also making pale-ale oat cakes, Hollywood is looking forward to drinking the left-over beer. Tune in next week for his intervention.
Opressed matriarch Manisha is making good use of the asian culture’s monopoly on flatbreads by using her mother’s recipe to make Indian Flatbread. She’s also making an “Italian” Flatbread, which is basically the same recipe as he Indian Flatbread but with some basil on it. The judges chide her for not using an Italian cheese in her Italian flatbread, where she’s used mature cheddar.
“Keen gardener” Brendan is making taboon bread, and rotis, but ‘Hot Rocks’ Brendan is too good for conventional cookery and his baking his bread on some hot stones he found on the heath and rinsed off.
A wild Cathryn appears, just as I was suspecting she was away this week being treated for “exhaustion”. I’m not sure what she’s baking but it looks like she’s just fashioned a T-bone Steak out of dough.
SLAP THOSE BAPS! STOP COOKING!
Cathryn, reluctantly accepting praise
Stuart, Victoria and Peter have come out of this the worst, being mal-textured, bland, and salty respectively. Everyone else did pretty well but Cathryn made spiced mango bread which made Mary Berry exclaim ‘Ooh, ‘ello’ and Hollywood to burst out with a laddish “GET IN THERE!’ GO ON SON, Cathryn has effectively won this round.
TECHNICAL CHALLENGE — “The Rapunzel”
An eight strand plaited loaf, with limited instruction; Hollywood you old dog.
It needs to have a crunchy crust, and a soft crumb. Berry is feeling ‘festive’ and has probably been at the cooking sherry.
Derp Derp! Derpy here had his dough, but then he took it and he THREW IT ON THE GROUND.
Stuart uses his floor-dough to practice his plaiting skills, proving once again that the universe rewards stupidity. Cathryn and Mel have a little giggle at Stuart’s expense, thinking that he is perhaps a knitter on the sly, and finally Mel appraises Sarah-Jane’s tentacles and remarks:
“I haven’t seen tentacles like these in a long time…”
Everytime the camera points at Peter he looks off in one direction like a hammy actor portraying a blind person.
YOU A WINNER, HAHAHA / YOU A WINNER HAHAHA
1. John / 2. AHJ / 3. Danny / 4. Brendon / 5. Ryan / 6. Manisha / 7. Victoria / 8. Cathryn / 9. Stuart / 10. Sarah-Jane / 11. Peter
Peter and Victoria are so far the most likely to get the chop, despite Victoria’s previous performance; Hollywood needs a baker that is consistent. John, Ryan and Brendan are all likely master bakers this week.
SHOWSTOPPER CHALLENGE: BAGEL TIME
Mostly this is making me mourn the passing of Amy Winehouse, when she was in a Popworld segment and Alex Zane made her a bagel entirely out of beef because she was a jew. They’ll never make another one quite like her. RIP.
The bakers must produce two dozen bagels, one batch sweet, one batch savoury. The flavours can be in, on, or around the bagel. They need to be chewy, have a nice ‘skin’ and obviously: a hole in the middle.
AHJ gets no points from me for putting orange in anything, the only acceptable sweet orange thing is a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, I don’t care if it’s an Aero or some Calpol, there can be only one nice orange flavoured thing in the world and that is the Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
James does however get points for being Adorable, and Hollywood is giving him nuff respec’ for attempting to make a yeastless sourdough bagel in less than four hours.
Ryan has a sticky situation in that the rum-soaked dates (and we’ve all had one of those am-I-right?) have permeated into to his dough, making it entirely too wet.
Brendan has walked this for me, though John is making white chocolate and blueberry bagels…hold the phone! There’s a little bit of stand-offish editing, where AHJ swears by a rustic bagel, but John insists that the more uniform bagel the better in this challenge. Who is right? Who will win? Who even cares?
There is a five minute filler piece here, where Mel delves deeper into the history of the bagel, I will save you five minutes: they’re jewish. Back to the baking!
Mel: Do you think much about your presentation James?
Victoria’s bagels are too weak, and will never be a Pokemon master, Peter has made a bread roll by accident, quel surprise – Stuart’s bagels are sub-par, Brendan’s ring is too wide *pause* but they like his savoury ones. Ryan forgot what challenge he’s doing and made a circular flatbread — christened by Hollywood as a ‘Flagel.’ John does well again, and after a reality TV Judge pause Hollywood loves AHJ’s sourdough bagels.
The only shock once the verdict arrives is that Stuart is STILL there. We say goodbye to Peter, and usher in a new Star Baker in John.