As copious amounts of rain lashed against the sides of The Great British Bake Off tent, the seven remaining bakers tackled sweet dough. Buns were the order of the day, and plenty of them.
Despite the rain putting a dampener on the British spring/summertime (note the daffodils in the foreground of most aerial shots), the bakers seemed chipper. It is good to know that, despite this being a huge BBC competition, which could alter the course of some of the bakers’ lives, they remain pals.
With Sue and Mel informing viewers that bun puns were strictly prohibited, it was time for this week’s Signature Bake: a tea loaf. Kimberley started by sizing up her Bake Off comrades for Sue - such as Ruby, “the ninja” to Beca the “solid” one. Unsurprisingly, Frances was the totally-unique-bit-crazy baker.
Meanwhile, Howard decided to add a dash of spice to the show by adding hemp to his bake, leaving Mary Berry lost for words. Described by Sue as the other half to “naughty cigarettes”, the Berry looked on as if lost in a fog...or smoke. Butter would not melt.
Christine, last week’s star baker, started to make up words such as “plumpsious”, punched a knitted baking doll which looked remarkably like Mr Paul Hollywood and managed to make an under-proved loaf. Frances was her usual creative self and put her tea loaf in an oversized tea cup. Glenn decided to turn his upside down with an intricate string-based tool.
Unfortunately all the tricks in the tent do not a good loaf make. Kimberly, Ruby and Glenn all had good flavours, but under-baked their loaves, while Howard’s hemp cake was classed as “different” by the Berry. Despite Christine’s past accolades, Paul opted out of trying her nutty bake in case it messed with his tummy.
As always, a history lesson followed, led by Sue, who explained the origins of the Welsh Bara Brith, or speckled bread.
The Technical Challenge, a Paul Hollywood recipe - Apricot Couronne - left the bakers in a bit of a twist. . Leaving no instructions on how long to actually bake the sweet dough, Paul was dubbed “very cruel” by Mary with a slight smirk.
Panic, as always, ensued. Dough was thrown, tea-towels were wrapped around faces in moments of madness, and comments were made about the connection between storms and baking omens.
The bakers pondered about size, twists, fruit structure and timings. Despite their worrying, all of the bakers produced “rather good” loaves. The viewers were relieved. But Mr Hollywood? We reckon he was hoping for a few catastrophes.
In last place was Howard, closely followed by Beca and Glenn. Despite her worrying, Ruby was awarded the accolade of top loaf with her “almost perfect” crown, which looked like the one Paul would have conjured up himself. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Longing for their beds, the bakers were asked to do the first stage of their Showstopper bake: two varieties of European buns.
With the dawn of a new day the bun puns were being thrown all over the tent. Apparently Paul is “an expert in buns”, according to Mary, Christine was going to make naughty buns, and Howard wanted some super-peachy ones. As Frances designed a set of bun-based noughts and crosses, she mused that she’d “never known buns that big”.
Sadly, Howard’s buns were a bit of a disappointment. They might have looked like peaches, thanks to the use of a spoon while they were baking, but there wasn’t much of a peach taste to them. Beca had some nice iced buns, but Glenn’s almond and apricot brioche tasted good but looked “awful”. He also had trouble removing his kanelbullens from their tin, forcing him to unravel them as he went.
Despite a supposedly ruined bake, Ruby was named star baker for the second time. If this show has taught us anything, it is best to let the baking pros make their own minds up.
With Glenn holding back tears at the thought of leaving the Bake Off tent and rejoining his sixth-formers, he prepared to go. Instead it was Howard who was told to pack away his utensils and hemp.
Farewell, peachy Howard.
Next week, it is pastry. With the promise of oozing and suet, we cannot wait.
The Great British Bake Off is screened on BBC2 every Tuesday, at 8pm.