After Mary Berry accidently gave away who was leaving live on the radio the morning this episode was aired, the results of this week were less of surprise. Dorret has had a couple of shaky weeks, managing to pull through despite her collapsing Black Forest Gateau and nearly breaking Paul’s teeth with her Biscotti. In the end it was the bread of week three that finally defeated her. With raw dough at the centre of her marzipan filled bed base after a five-hour challenge, Dorret left the Great British Bake Off – as Mary commented you can’t expect to get through a showstopper without practicing it at least once.
— Sainsbury’s (@sainsburys) August 20, 2015
Even if you knew about Dorret’s exit, there was still plenty of excitement to keep you glued to the TV. Starting with the Signature Challenge, the bakers were tasked with making two Quick Breads. With no proving and as little kneading as possible, the success of these speedy breads all came down to the liquid to flour ratio. Paul’s serious faced questioning made all the bakers second guess what they thought was a good plan – we’re sure he does it on purpose! Paul kept the pressure high, asking for a Technical Challenge everyone knows and loves – the French Baguette. The only problem the bakers had was making it – with barely any instructions. Confusion built on where to prove the dough – oven, proving drawer or room temperature – and don’t even mention how to slash the dough! As Sue described, it was all about keeping ‘man gorilla’ Paul Hollywood happy. Finally, the Showstopper was bread baking at its most artistic: Bread Sculptures. With three types of bread required, and one a filled dough, the bakers pulled out all the stops for this mammoth task.
Mat complained about needing a bigger oven, and Alvin made so much bread that Mel suggested he open a bakery. This week the bakers could be split into two predominate categories: the steady favourites and those in for a bumpy ride. In the later category was Paul. He earned a handshake from Paul Hollywood as he hits the mark with texture and taste in his Orange and Cranberry Sweet Loaf, despite Paul’s doubts. But tumbled down to last place in the Technical Challenge with his baguettes that were more like Ciabatta. Paul rose from the ashes, to do what no baker has ever done before and receive a special commendation for creating a stunning Lion bread sculpture. As Paul said, it was “one of the best things I’ve seen in bread EVER.” Another baker who struggled in the Technical Challenge was Nadiya – the third week in a row she’s been in the bottom few in this round. She brought it back by wowing the judges with the colour and flavour of her spicy snake bread, slithering out of a snake charmers basket. At the other end of the spectrum we saw a strong performance throughout the episode from Flora. Impressing with her blend of flavours and use of hazelnuts in the Signature, taking second place in the Technical, and receiving lots of compliments from Mary for her delicious and delicate but large ‘Herb Couture’ bread dress. Another strong performer was Tamal; he combined ‘gorgeous’ flavours in his fig, walnut and goats cheese bread, came third in the Technical Challenge, and captivated everyone with his bicycle showstopper that demonstrated a marriage of technical skill and great design. Finally, we come to this week’s Star Baker. His steady run of strong performances won Ian the title for the second week in a row – well done Ian! Winning with the same tactics of last week, Ian achieved perfect flavours in his Pesto Bread with a little help from the wild garlic he picked in his local forest, and created a beautiful bread vase of flowers using another homemade mould to get the right shape. We love how he champions the ingredients in his bakes and how he’s prepared to go the extra mile.
— British Bake Off (@BritishBakeOff) August 19, 2015
So is Ian finalist material? Or has he peaked too soon? We’ll have to keep watching to see if consistency or moments of brilliance will make this year’s winner.