Our reporter Bronya Smolen talks transfering skills from building to baking, and the benefits of taking inspiration from outside Britain in this weeks GBBO blog.
Four bakers became three as The Great British Bake Off lost its Indian-inspired recipe queen, Chetna Makan, this week. Her fight was brave, but five times ‘Star Baker’ champion, Richard Burr took the winning title again, and Makan was sadly sent home.
The first challenge took the contestants on a Turkish baking experience, as they were asked to make two different Baklavas. While many pointed out on Twitter that these were not necessarily patisserie, the bakers took to the tricky challenge and Louis impressed the judges.
The technical challenge, a German cake called Schichttorte, proved exactly what it said on the tin - a technical challenge. The bake required bakers to grill 20 layers of thin sponge before coating it in chocolate. While I have no desire to spend an hour of my life grilling layers of sponge, I was extremely keen to try the Baumkuchen, made on Mel’s VT in Germany.
Made traditionally, the baumkuchen was turned on a spit by brushing on even layers of batter and then rotating the spit around a fire. Each layer is allowed to brown before a new layer of batter is poured, much like the Schichttorte. I would love to see something like this in a British bakery! Like watching pizza chefs spin dough, I can imagine the method of making a baumkuchen would become a pantomime for customers and kids.
The two European inspired challenges should remind bakers to occasionally think outside the borders of the next county. From experience, customers love to try things with a bit of culture, and exciting German style cakes, or Turkish baked delights could draw in sales from those after a bit of something different, especially around Christmas.
Favourite to win has to be Richard. His ability to keep calm, along with his knack for precision (presumably because he is used to making sure he doesn’t build someone a wonky house) has made him a skilled baker. That being said, Louis and Nancy have also proved their magic with a wooden spoon, so watch this space!