From top: Paul Hollywood (right) gave his first handshake of current series of the Great British Bake-Off on Channel 4 last night: Vanessa Foran

Interestingly, the weakest three on Great British Bake-Off Week 1 are now gone, and in the correct order. In fairness to Amber she was the better of the three.

However I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Amelia  I expect her to start appearing on daytime telly any minute now showing us how to make curtains in-between homemade healthy lunch box’ibles and dinners for a fiver.

There is nowhere to hide in Bread Week, it’s the Marquee Event, the Cork v Tipp Munster Hurling Final of Bake Off. Even Gardeners and Anglers would tune in for it.

It could be just me, but the Hollywood was more visible around the bakers last night than in other years, and we finally got a handshake out of him.

The moment he turned over Michael’s signature Keralan Star Bread  to check the bottom I knew he was smitten; btw this isn’t as complicated as it looks, and that that Coconut chutney recipe is a keeper.

As I’ve said before, the really the great thing about breads is that there is no kit needed; only patience and your respect.

So tell me; what’s more important, the burger or the bun. A veggie burger? From Paul Hollywood? On Bread Week? That might be all you need to hear from me about the technical last night.

But if, and it does happen, say if you had someone awkward or worse again – a vegan, coming for a proper sit down with matching plates, and candles, you could always say it’s a Paul Hollywood recipe , so it’s worth bringing it to your attention; but he can keep his baps. I’ll still be buying them from the old SuperQuinn Bakery in Walkinstown.

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t really arsed with last night’s technical and didn’t even give the judging much attention, like – a veggie burger, come on. The Bake-Off Lifer can hardly be expected to hang off every word the Hollywood has to say about a veggie burger; besides I had a hidden bar of Dark Milk to find.

I preferred the tradition of doing more international bakes in the set technicals, like that Couronne  (series 4) and Dampfnudel  (series 7).

Before I take us through the Showstopper to the end, Tear and Share isn’t a new in the tent, and I remember Dan’s Chelsea Buns getting a HH.

I’m mentioning this type of bake because I’m a divil for the Cinnamon Roll myself and we saw two attempts last night. I know I would have preferred Helena’s  and to be fair I think the Hollywood tried to as well. But here’s David’s  Cinnamon Swirls  because if you’re going to the effort of a show-off brunch you might as well make them more fancy.

I loved the Showstopper.

Especially the Judging. The Hollywood was handling and dissecting those loaves of bread like he was a forensic pathologist. I was quite giddy; it must be said.

You don’t even need a surgical scalpel to achieve the look most got last night, so do try Steph’s Wholemeal loaf  (Although I would be more likely to do a mix of lemon balm and purple thyme rather than just the rosemary.)

Remember what I said about yeast and bread baking; patience and respect. And these scored loafs are an example of patience and respect. Even if it’s a a homemade shiv your using to slash the shape of a daffodil.

The oven doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who has mixed the ingredients, what their socio-economic status is or if the operator has a gender. It doesn’t demand you have your shots before your go in nor dose it ask your for a reference. You give it its instructions and its contents.

A recipe doesn’t proscribe religion or who its follower should vote for, or the define a family or even who you use it for.

Baking is the great equaliser, it keeps manners on everyone; and the Hollywood is its independent authority.

So what about our Bakers, Star Baker Michael’s was in no doubt, I didn’t even look at anyone else in the line-up. He reminds me a lot of John Thwaite  who went on to win (series 3), and actually has some of the best recipe books out there.

John was also accident prone and took his baking seriously, but not personally if it went wrong; and he was watchable, Just like Michael.

Delighted Steph and Helena had good weeks, but I’m just not warming to Rosie.

In a way they’re all still in it but I have a suspicion David might struggle next week; Dairy

He just doesn’t have the look of a lad who likes his creamy custard, thick ganache, crème pat or even keeps a just in case carton of double cream in the fridge.

Yes, you read that right. Dairy.

Pic: Channel 4

Previously: Vanessa Foran on Broadsheet

38 thoughts on “Loaves Island

  1. Clare

    If you spend your time watching Bake Off, you really need to reconsider your life. If you write about Bake Off you really need to consider whether you deserve life.

      1. Paulus

        Good retort there V.
        (Though I do sometimes wonder how you slot your multifarious contributions in around the day-job?)

        1. V

          I’m self employed Paulie

          All my facilities ie wiffy, devices, refreshments etc, are from my own resources
          All my Broadsheet activity is at my own expense
          Any risk is with my PI Insurers
          I am a referral only practice – so I must be doing something right by my clients.
          High Court term isn’t back yet so I’m pretty flexi at the moment

          Since I am no longer doing pro-bono housing/ MTR cases, I now have another 20 hours a week to do other stuff. like my Credit Union carry on and other voluntary directorships and governance supports
          And Bake off
          The teenager is in TY, so she’s allowed run wild, get the bus, and she knows how boil a kettle, make pasta and dress herself.

      2. kellyma

        You could be doing weekly reviews of Fair City. Now THAT would be tragic….
        I love the Bake Off. Add me to the list of those who need to reconsider their life so!

          1. some old queen

            Rory Cowan has already grabbed the Queen spot. Please Fair City- make the role strictly heterosexual and ruff guff?

    1. Chlorinated RTE Canteen Chicken

      I don’t think that’s a fair comment. Some people enjoy watching and commenting on this kind of stuff. It’s not for me, but my hat’s off to them.

      Besides, compared with Brexit who could make this stuff up? The whole British thing by this stage is half-baked.

      1. Susan

        Clare: If you spend your time thinking up vacuous meaningless attempts at put-downs towards strangers on the internet, you really need to reconsider your life. You’re absolutely everything that is wrong with commentary on social media.
        Deserving of life? Really?
        Vanessa, I thoroughly enjoy your musings on GBBO even though I don’t watch it. Don’t mind yer wan, she probably hasn’t had The Ride in a while, not surprising really with that sunny disposition she has dribbling out of her.
        Clare dear, if you have nothing nice to say please do keep it to yourself. Drivel has never, nor will it ever be edgy or entertaining.

          1. Susan

            Yes because what I said was “just as bad as what Clare said”. It was a play on her words.

            Thanks for the great comment though-really adds to the discussion.

            Ya wee fanny.

          2. Susan

            Another winner of a comment! Adding absolutely nothing to the original topic and seemingly having to google everyday words. Ya great big walloper.

  2. V

    I think I’m safe is assuming ye all recognise that I’m no crybaby here when it comes to comments
    Under any mantle; the late Frilly Keane, Vanessa off the Telly and now just plain V etc

    So I have to wonder with ye would “Clare” say
    If you spend your time watching Bake Off, you really need to reconsider your life. If you write about Bake Off you really need to consider whether you deserve life.
    to Sandi Toksvig or Noel Fielding

      1. V

        Ah but for the Hollywood telly is just a by-product, a side show, the concession stand outside.

        He is first and foremost and always will be a Master Baker
        For him it’s the craft
        And the same for Mary Berry

        It’s all about the bake on front of them
        Prue has followed that example in fairness to her, but it’s not her roots

  3. Chlorinated RTE Canteen Chicken

    Surprised RTE (or rather one of its production company willing shills) has not cooked up a similar offering, given the operation is out of bread.

    1. V

      There was an Irish Bake Off
      On TV3, only got three runs
      Biddy White Lennon (Maggie in The Riordan’s)
      And a Pastry Chef from the Shelbourne (I think), then Lily Higgins
      Were the Judges

      And the girl from Big Brother, Anna Nolan was the Sue Perkins

      It was obscenely overrun by product placement. Some baking going on in between the advertorial kinda thing

      We never got a chance to really get to know the Bakers
      And the Judges just weren’t up to it.
      Some of the Bakers if given a chance would have wiped the floor with the Judges on any challenge under “exam conditions”

      Whereas GBBO has never lost it; it is all about the Bakers and the Bake
      And although it mightn’t seem that way – the Judging & the Judges Feedback
      But the Hollywood is a Master Craftsman Baker and Confectioner first – telly celebrity and author and sex god after; almost as a consequence
      Mary Berry was always the patron saint of home bakers, and still is. Her books were bibles long before Bake Off made her primetime.
      She used to go ape on Bakers that didn’t follow her advice and guidance along the way. ie GBBO S1 Ruth Clemans lost the title because of not listening to Mary (her scones were too big and should have been in proportion to the other offerings on the “Garden Party Showstopper” cake stand – she was merciless)

      Prue Leith’s background is slightly different, she was more of a telly cook and baker and writer of steamy books; but has proved she is still worthy and qualified to follow Mary Berry.

      Mind you none of them were married to Benji Riordan

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