If you know nothing else about Bread Week – know this: Tom baked a gigantic penis and still won Star Baker. As it turns out last week’s “will you grab my jugs” wasn’t even close to the pinnacle of innuendo-ness compared to the bread showstopper that Mel described as “a little bit male”.
Obviously Twitter went into meltdown – and rightfully so.
BREAD DICK. THERE’S A BREAD DICK. #GBBO
— Brohemian Rhapsody (@RachelBROwen) September 7, 2016
When a guy makes bread in the shape of a penis on #GBBO he gets star baker but when I did it in Food Tech at school I got detention.
— Tom Bellingham (@TommyWTF1) September 7, 2016
Penis shaped bread – we have reached peak Bake Off #GBBO
— Neil Gorton (@NeilGortz) September 7, 2016
— Ciah (@CiahW01) September 7, 2016
We’ve jumped the innuendo ship people, we’ve jumped the innuendo ship, someone is making penis bread #GBBO
— Stuart (@MadManFM) September 7, 2016
Candice had a self-declared “fall from grace”, but she survived probably solely on the basis of coming third in the technical. In the end it was Michael who, very justifiably, got sent home – he pretty much made “pig’s ear” out of everything he touched this week, despite trying to curry some favor by proffering a pungent drop of alcoholic Cypriot something or other as a side to his showstopper.
The baby of the group was eminently likeable, but I won’t tell a lie, he was also quite forgettable in the grand scheme of things. He’s not a dancing lunatic, he didn’t become everybody’s not-so-secret crush, and he certainly doesn’t wear themed lipstick.
Paul’s judging technique was a bit harsh last week (and didn’t go down well on the social networks), but this week he was brutal. Pacing the tent perimeter, playing cruel mind games and staring accusingly at whomever had the misfortune to catch his eye. He’s allowed be ruthless on Bread Week though being that it’s his schtick and all. Besides, after lion bread 2015, there was a lot to live up to.
SIGNATURE BAKE: CHOCOLATE BREAD
I wanted it to be gorgeous; I really did. Dozens of dough balls filled with salted caramel, chocolate and shards of pecan brittle. Surely, the bread of the Gods; and as Candice put it herself “no-one likes small unfulfilled balls”. Unfortunately, with only moments to go, her large, fulfilled balls took a turn towards the hideous. Imagine Shrek – but bread. It took a group effort to calm her down but Paul was merciless nonetheless, prodding and criticizing and leaving Candice in tears.
Kate had an ever so slightly more successful ball bread effort, hers being filled with pretty much every type of chocolate known to mankind, and though they were underbaked, at least they were tested and tasted.
A couple of babka bakes caused consternation from Paul, who definitely had put on his grumpy pants that morning. He corrected Rav’s declaration that they were Middle Eastern by telling him, with a touch of evil behind that Hollywood stare, that they were Polish. He then tried to correct Benjamina, saying she was making a couronne (whatever that is) but she dug her heels in and was having none of his nonsense.
Paul expressed cynicism that Andrew’s chocolate barmbrack only needed one prove, rather than two or three like everyone else was doing. The ballsy baker defended himself by saying it was an old family recipe, but a short while later, he was seen secretly confiding his single prove technique to Rav, whose reaction suggested that he would like to be anywhere else in the world rather than at the bench beside Andrew when Paul came a knockin’.
At this point it all got quirky in classic GBBO style. Tom chatted to his dough, a little like a madman. And Selasi, who had only practiced his chocolate orange bread once prior to the showtime, managed to have a little lie-down on the floor for a while. How can you not love this guy?!
Ultimately Rav’s fear of being Andrew’s collateral damage was unnecessary as Paul loved the single-rise bread. And both he and Mary were blown away by Rav’s own Middle Eastern/Polish cardamom chocolate creation.
Michael’s late chili kick had Mary squealing in a good way, but Paul disagreed saying it was simultaneously over-flavored and underbaked. Tom’s effort passed muster, but it was clear that Rav claimed the top spot
TECHNICAL CHALLENGE: Dampfnudel
When the technical challenge of some type of sweet German dumpling with custard on the side was announced, there was a collective gasp of breath. This is not a drill. The technical was steamed not baked. Steamed!!! In a steamer!!!
We don’t tune in for steamed things. Admittedly dampfnudel is a bread of sorts, but we want ovens godammit. Mary thought so too, when she very curtly asked Paul “why did you choose this?”, while looking at him like he was put on this earth just to annoy her.
Not a single one of the bakers had even heard of dampfnudel, and quite frankly that’s okay because probably not a single viewer had either. Val, however, was curiously confident as apparently she’s made dumplings loads of times. Who knew!?
Kate’s perspective was quite typically pragmatic – “I don’t know what I’m doing, so if I get it horribly wrong it doesn’t really matter: these will always be the best dampfnudel I’ve ever made”. As it happens she was lucky to have taken that approach as the end result of her bake (sorry, steam) managed to be simultaneously wrinkly on top having been lifted too early, yet burnt on the bottom. How is that even possible? Seriously. How?
Other notable failures included Rav who pretty much gave up halfway through the challenge, leading to his dumplings being malleable to the point that Paul was actually able to reform them back into a different ball of dough. Jane also fell afoul of under-steaming but Candice managed to redeem herself by finishing a very respectable third. Perennial bridesmaid Andrew once again claimed second place and the winner was Val. No, you didn’t misread that. Val won the technical. And there really is nothing more to say about that.
SHOWSTOPPER: SAVOURY PLAITED CENTREPIECE
For the first time this season the showstopper had everything to play for. Apart from Tom and Andrew who’d really have had to bugger it up in order to be at risk, all the rest were all butting heads in the relegation zone.
Benjamina saved herself by producing a “gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous” braided heart. Kate, in a moment of pure and utter Kate-ness, informed the team that the reason she was able to make an impeccable showstopper was that she was used to plaiting her pony’s tail.
Jane impressed with her chorizo and pesto loaves, which had me salivating. Andrew wowed with a woven basket, which under Mel and Sue’s instruction he subsequently wore as a hat.
Val’s moment of technical glory was indeed that – a moment. She made Noah’s Ark albeit with only one elephant and one dove despite Mel’s best efforts to point out that this pretty much undermines the entire premise of the Ark in the first place. When asked about the second dove, Val was resilient in the face of adversity and retorted “it flew away”. The end result was nothing short of an abomination; the lone elephant looked like a tortoise and the giraffes were misinterpreted as slugs and chicken. As always Mary managed to sugarcoat the situation with a very kind “it’s not a mess. It’s informal”
Best. Phrase. Ever. People all over the land will be using it for years to come. I know I will.
— Hanna Davidson (@hannakirsten10) September 7, 2016
Now describing everything a little messy as ‘informal’ from now on.
“Your hair is a little informal”
“Nice flat. A little informal” #GBBO
— Melinda Salisbury (@AHintofMystery) August 31, 2016
— Jackie McManus (@jackiemcmanus20) September 8, 2016
— Lee Jenkins (@jenko79) August 31, 2016
Also massively entertaining was Selasi’s cavalier attitude at justifying his dual offering of a tree-shaped loaf and a tear-and-share ball. When Paul questioned the logic of this confusion Selasi replied that it was an homage to the time he went to Egypt and ate some bread while sitting under a tree. I’m not even making this up. You couldn’t even make this up.
Tom’s two projects, Thor’s hammer and a serpent, were also not exactly joined up thinking. Although the bake and prove were deemed excellent, and the phallic nature gingerly skipped over, it was his consistency throughout the show, not his showstopper that won him top prize (if that was the case it would have been Kate), and I’m pretty sure that whichever Hemsworth brother plays Thor won’t be running around with knob-bread any time soon.
One day to the Batter Week….bring it!
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