Wow. This summer schedule is really spacing out my Great British Bake Off fix, but I can wait no longer. We're into Biscuit Week of Season 6, yay!! Rolling into my recap of GBBO S6:E02 after the break.
Hello and welcome to Biscuit Week on GBBO, Mel Geidroyc and Sue Perkins are almost as excited as I am! Guaranteed I will forget that biscuits are cookies halfway through and it'll be a mishmosh. Who's ready??
We lost hipster musician Stu Henshall to a forward-thinking Black Forest Cake last week, who made it through?
Alvin Magallanes, Dorret Conway, Marie Campbell - our first Star Baker!, Mat Riley, Nadiya Hussain, Ian Cumming, Paul Jagger, Sandy Docherty, Tamal Ray, Ugne Bubnaityte and Flora Shedden are still kicking in the tent, although Dorret and Ugne were pretty close to the wire.
Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood join Mel and Sue in introducing the Signature Challenge of Biscuit Week, the baketestants will be preparing 24 identical biscotti for our viewing pleasure. I know it sounds like the 'identical' part is the trickiest, but really it's the being baked all the way through, twice, that's the difficult part. Two hours, people!
Mary emphasizes the "being able to actually eat" difficulty but Paul is focused on flavours. He's positive he and Mary would choose the best, most classic flavours: hazelnut, cranberry and chocolate. He's just so pleased with himself for deciding they'd be of exactly the same mind that I had to take a snap of him being delighted.
Mary is a Traditionalist (note the capital T), so she's concerned about Alvin's use of southeast Asian staple jackfruit. Paul just wonders if it will be too moist, you want crunchy biscotti. We shall see!
Firefighter Mat is going traditional with his cranberry pistachio white chocolate biscotti, Paul warns him about the dried fruit turning out like bullets but neither Mat or I know what that means?
Ian is using rosemary in his efforts, according to Paul this is controversial.
Everyone struggles with over-wet dough and measuring out things evenly, I'm all in for Sandy's biscuits!
I like some of what prison gov'nor Paul is baking but Paul Hollywood warns him of under-baked dough due to cocoa powder in the mix.
Bodybuilder Ugne is using super-food Goji berries in her biscotti.
Hm. Dorret is using sugar crystals sitting on top of her dough, there's no way those won't be hard as rocks after being twice baked. She seems confident, though, so we'll see!
Young Flora is going full traditional.
Nadiya is using some unusual ingredients, Mary wants to know how she came up with "all of this." Nadiya has converted her mum's Bangladeshi recipe, let's see how it turns out.
Nadiya always looks...worried.
Young Tamal has several berries and a complicated plan for his biscotti, I hope it all turns out.
Now that the first bake is mostly complete, the bakers have to cool down the biscuits quickly, which is why everyone is doing the Sheet Pan Fan. Ian's added a complexity!
Marie has had a mishap, she whispers the details to Paul as we wonder if that ever, ever works.
A few rushed minutes of decorating and already we're at judging! Has it been two hours? I bet time flies in that sweltery tent.
Mat is up first with his crunchy soldier-like take on biscotti, he gets a 'good job' for his trouble.
Nadiya forgot to add her fennel into the biscotti dough, so she threw it in with the coconut and I dunno, man.
Marie tied hers with ribbon, I think that's expected but they're a bunch of different sizes.
Ugne knocks it out of the park.
Alvin's jackfruit was his downfall, his biscotti do not snap.
Sandy did a fantastic job.
But Dorret's biscotti lack flavour and are way too hard.
Paul doesn't like that Tamal went with a full slate of flavours, pick on, man! I absolutely love Tamal's.
Hm. Paul has done an excellent job baking and preparing his biscotti, but Mary Berry doesn't believe the flavour combination is for her. Hm.
I like a biscotti dipped in chocolate, that's the problem I'm having (except for Tamal's!), Flora's look sort of plainish to me.
We've been waiting this whole time to see if Ian's rosemary ruined his biscotti or not, Paul loves them!
We can all breathe now. The rosemary has been vindicated!
Food Historian Professor Kate Williams takes us through the history of biscuits, apparently it was all Peak Frean's fault and majesty, who knew? Never before have I seen such a breathy and beguiling presentation on baked goods before.
On to the Technical Challenge! This one is set by Paul and consists of this succinct piece of advice: "don't rush it." Helpful!
They've got two and a half hours to make eight arlettes. Googling! Oh. It's like a flat cinnamon bun. Huh. Why would you do that? On purpose?
I guess the more important question is HOW would you do that, which is tripping up the bakers almost across the board. All the dough looks different, this is going to be interesting. Most people have figured out this is another lamination challenge, I was confused because usually when we're doing a rough-puff or full puff pastry, we do it on Pastry Week like normal people.
There's very little direction in the recipe, the bakers are told to add in the filling in one of the layers but not which layer. We've got people doing it in either of the three, I'm curious how that will affect the final product.
And which way is everyone meant to roll their dough? Lengthwise or widthwise? However he's done it, Paul's done it wrong.
At three minutes to judging Marie realises her oven hasn't been on, the sheer terror on her mute face is sobering.
In order from least awesome to most amazing, we have:
- 11th place - Marie because she only had four to present
- 10th - Paul - he rushed and rolled the wrong way
- 9th - Nadiya - underbaked and too thick
- 8th - Tamal - too thick
- 7th - Ugne - she did not achieve lamination - that's a high placing for that, isn't it?
- 6th - Alvin - he also rolled the wrong way
- 5th - Sandy - just okay but a bit thick
- 4th - Ian - slightly dry and chewy instead of crispy
- 3rd - Mat
- 2nd - Flora
- And Dorret wins the Biscuit Week Technical Challenge!
The Show Stopper is a big one this week, the bakestestants will be baking 36 biscuits displayed in a box made out of biscuits of a different variety than what's inside the box.
I bet we're going to see a lot of gingerbread! Nice and sturdy and classic.
Paul is making a gingerbread box (TOLD YOU) filled with pink macarons for his wife.
I've discussed my feelings about macarons, yes? Yes.
Alvin is also making a gingerbread biscuit box (TOLD YOU) but with brandy snaps...in a coffin...?!
Okay, I'll stop shouting out how smart I am, seven of eleven bakers are making gingerbread boxes. There. Reasonable choice.
Nadiya is using ginger and cayenne??? Literally nobody wants to eat a cayenne cookie on purpose.
Tamal isn't putting any ginger in his gingerbread box, hm. It looks pretty!
I like Flora's tea box, I'm curious to see how it turns out with the wee tea bags.
I can't figure out Ian's design but I do enjoy that it's not gingerbread.
Sandy is doing a savory box and I literally never would have guessed anyone would do that and it's messing with my understanding of "biscuit" again.
Gingerbread firetruck from Mat! In case we forgot what we does for a living for one moment!
Any manner of oddly shaped bits of biscuit are flying carefully into ovens, I am disappointed in how Nadiya's looks. She's shaped her dough around a bowl so it's not the orb we saw in the drawing. Keeping an open mind!
Our Scottish Marie is of course making shortbread, wooooo!
Ugne is going to attempt sculpting.a.baby.out.of.fondant.
Like, half a baby which is somehow grosser.
Lookit how cute Dorret's box of frogs is!!??!!??
Structural pieces make their way out of the oven, Tamal tries to figure out why his massive jewelry box sides are massive coming out of the oven after going in massive. Weird.
Nadiya's pieces come out nice and roundly shaped, she pops one back into the oven to firm it up and it collapses. Oh noooo. She's got to remake the one layer, this could be a critical time loss.
Decoration is key for everyone else, watching the royal icing flooding is so calming yet also terrifying.
Oh no, Alvin has run out of time entirely and has abandoned the biscuit box and is now focusing solely on his brandy snaps. That's a terrible idea! I'm so sorry you're in this awful position. Time management sucks.
Sue Perkins wrecks Nadiya's newly created bowl bottom. She leans on it and what do they do in a case like that?
I'm really not sure what to think about Mat's cookies because I don't really associate firefighters with...tea. I see fondant on Dorret's and Ugne's efforts. Le sigh.
Ian is up first for judging, he did some excellent pink macarons, if you're into that sort of thing (I am not into that sort of thing).
Flora did a great, if rushed, bake.
Alvin and the biscuit box that almost was. I'm sorry for him that he gave up and maybe I cry when he cries explaining. It's so hard in that tent.
Marie didn't use fondant and she could have and I love her for that.
Sandy offers up our sole savory contribution, Paul loves that it's a jigsaw.
Tamal's jewelry box and fancy cookies.
What in the. UGNE. What. This is when we start carefully mentioning taste level.
Paul doesn't like the cookies inside.
He loves them!
There's the temperature of the room, Paul Hollywood tells the exact same jokes one of my kiddos did when he was 7.
Dorret's box of frogs lacks flavour.
Nadiya had to throw on a disc on top, so her biscuit box isn't fancy but it is filled with excellent fortune cookies.
Paul's macarons are YUGE and he's overfilled them with chocolate, which I didn't even think was a thing but here we are.
Hollywood couldn't love Mat's firetruck any more if he tried. Mat's up for Star Baker for sure.
Awww yay, our shy ambidextrous Ian is Star Baker, woooo!
And going home: Marie. WHAT. WHAT. She just got Star Baker are you JOKING?? How is that even possible?????? I DEMAND A RECOUNT. They know she can bake, they literally just gave her Star Baker 7 short days ago...for the love of.
And going home is out lovely Scot Marie Campbell. All the best to you, you're an excellent baker and Top 11 in Britain in 20whatsitIdontevenremember.
Cheer, everyone, until next time!