The Great British Bake-Off: Episode 2 Review

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF: Tuesday 21st August, BBC2, 8pm

After the concept cakes of episode one, the contestants had to rustle up flatbreads, bagels and an eight-plait loaf in this week’s baking extravaganza. Hollywood the town lives by some crazy mantra’s (“Work smart, not hard”, “Go Big or Go Home”, “You Can’t Spell Scientology Without the Word Science” etc) but Paul Hollywood the Bake-off judge lives by a more modest code. “Understand Bread, understand Baking,” he says with earnest. Apparently bread is his speciality, so it might as well have been me or you running the rule over those cake’s last week. What a fraud..

There were some impressive debuts last week, but with ketchup cake and over-boiled Babas still fresh in the memory, some of the participants had much to prove as they took on the first challenge of creating two types of flatbread; one with yeast, one without. Stuart looked intense as he started his ‘yeast-slapping,’ whilst Brendan (the old, relatively annoying one) began boring us with how ‘satisfying’ the bread-making process is. It’s not X Factor, Brendan, and ‘being retired’ is the worst sob story since that Irish girl explained that she was from a ‘tiny village’.

Favourites are starting to emerge from the pack and hot (but possibly gay?) law-student John certainly gets the pulses racing, whilst the ever-nervous Catherine has a certain endearing fragility about her. Meanwhile Mel and Sue chime in with some vague baking history and few few shocking puns (“Paul ‘won’t feel any pitta for you!”)

Then came the great leveller of the surprise round and this week eight-plait loafs were on the menu. Ryan said he thought he’d be ‘knitting’ his, which might not be a bad idea given that there were suddenly rolls of dough being endlessly crossed over one another. To be honest, it didn’t seem hard from the safety of the sofa – sort of a plait-by-numbers, but given that some of the bakers struggled to count to eight, it’s not a surprise that some nightmares emerged from the oven. Namely Peter’s – whose bread was both raw and plaited incorrectly.

The final challenge of the day came in the form of the infamous New York Bagel – leading to many comments about how important a ‘nice, equal ring’ was. Ryan, whose use of flavour is often sound, created a ‘Flagle’, meaning that his have gone soft. Who knew there were so many innuendos to be had from these baked goodies?