Ah it’s that time again! Nothing is more British (and more enjoyable, for me at least!) than watching 12 people panic over pastries and crumble over Paul Hollywood’s icy stare…(I mean, who wouldn’t?!).
The Great British Bake Off is back for its ninth series (its second at its new home, Channel 4), which means we’re set for a few weeks of cake (and pastry and bread, of course) delights, frights and plenty of baking based banter.
(Can you tell I’m excited?!)
As a self confessed super fan (at least if watching every season, sometimes at least twice, and owning my very own Great British Bake Off apron- cheers Mum and Dad!- qualifies as super fan!), I thought I’d give you a breakdown of what happens each week plus my thoughts on the contestants, the bakes, the Star Baker and (in the end) the latest to leave the tent.
DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, SERIES NINE EPISODE ONE, AHEAD!
(I got Ruby in the annual Great British Bake Off sweep with my friends, so I guess if I had to pick someone to root for I guess it’d be her!).
A brand new baker’s dozen entered the tent and let me tell you I’m excited! It’s early days (obviously) but a few people stood out. As she proved, Manon (a Software Project Manager from London) had Star Baker Potential. I was also impressed by Briony (a full time parent from Bristol), Dan (also a full time parent, from London) and [surprisingly] Terry (a retired Air Steward from West Midlands).
I sort of love Karen already, too, especially after she (having finished her Signature bake early) sat eating a packet of crisps, completely ignorant of the chaos around her!
This week was Biscuit Week and the show began with the Signature Challenge, in which the bakers were tasked with making 24 identical ‘regional’ biscuits. This challenge produced all kinds of different results, including orange blossom flavoured biscuits, biscuits featuring (or at least they were meant to feature) lambs and Yorkshire parkin biscuits finished just in time for a celebratory packet of crisps….as you do!
The second challenge, the Technical Challenge, was actually technical as the baker’s had to make Wagon Wheels. This presented difficulties for a few bakers especially (Antony had never heard of them and Manon, despite coming third in the challenge, had trouble getting her head around the name (settling for ‘wheely wagon’ instead!)) and, to be fair, I was amazed by how fiddly this bake was- part of me half expected Paul and Prue to ask the bakers to make the red wrapper from scratch, too!
(Safe to say, if I ever find myself eating a Wagon Wheel, I’ll appreciate the work that goes into it).
The final challenge, the Showstopper, was perhaps one of the hardest (especially this early) in the history of The Great British Bake Off: a biscuit selfie (how current?). This involved several layers of biscuit and icing, in the hope of depicting a memorable moment in the baker’s life. For many of the bakers, this ‘moment’ was a mountain climb (maybe they had to specify this in their application?), but a particularly memorable one was Dan’s: a less than flattering depiction of himself and his first-born child (is it a prawn? is it a pink burrito? is it a…well you decide).
When it came to the nail-biting reveal, Manon (unsurprisingly) gained the accolade of Star Baker- showing the other contestants (and the viewers) she’s the one to watch…for now. Despite failing to complete her marathon (in biscuit form, at least), and failing to cement her place at the top in the other two challenges, Ruby survived the first week of the competition. The unlucky first contestant to leave the tent was Imelda, who failed to wow the judges with her offerings.
Aside from Manon, nobody (so far) screams ‘winner’…just yet. Of course, there are plenty more weeks to go.
Next week, the bakers face Cake Week.
As for me, Cake Week came early as I (expecting cake based challenges this week) baked marble cupcakes for watching the first episode with my mates [Recipe will be uploaded on Sunday, so keep a look-out!].
What did you think of the episode?