The Great British Bake Off 2014 - Episode 8

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th September 2014
The end of The Great British Bake Off is fast approaching and with just five bakers left competing in the tent it was time to undertake a ‘PhD of bread' in advanced dough week. To start the quarter-finals the signature dish required the bakers to produce a sweet fruit loaf from enriched dough with any filling or flavour. They had to be free-form, so baking tins were out the window. Time pressure was immense as proving the dough for long enough was essential but the two and half hours’ time limit restricted the bakers heavily.Nancy and Paul - credit to the Metro Luis crafted a beautiful tear and share cherry tree with a brandy soaked sugar cube in the centre of each bun. Martha opted for a bread swirl and Chetna introduced an Eastern European tang with her povitica. Nancy, on the other hand, stayed local in making a Lincolnshire braid. She was brave enough to defy Paul’s dismissive attitude and microwave her dough to quicken up the prove. In the end, the microwaved bake did not let her down, and Chetna and Luis also received positive feedback. However, it was last week’s star baker Richard who shined. The close competition was clear to see, so would the technical bake separate them? Chetna had a stroke of luck when the technical challenge was announced; reproducing a povitica that she made in the first round would surely be a breeze for her. The key for the other bakers was to 'watch' what Chetna was making, as Richard slyly put it. Unsurprisingly, the instructions were bleak and spreading thick, sticky filling on extremely thin dough was arduous. The bakers were innovative in their methods, but who had done the best job? Chetna got her loaf in the oven well before the others, stating the critical importance of baking for longer instead of proving, and it turned out to be the correct decision. In between the proving and baking dilemmas there was just enough time for a nuts innuendo. chetna As the judges perused the cakes the tension inside the marquee was palpable. Although the exterior of the cake counted somewhat towards success in this challenge, it was only on opening it up that the real result could be seen. Luis' filling was not spread enough but his holding back on the blitzing of the walnuts was praised. Martha and Richard’s bakes were raw in the centre, and Nancy’s bread ‘had a few issues’, as Paul bluntly described. Martha finished fifth followed by Richard, Nancy and Luis. As expected, Chetna won the technical, the first time in the series for her. The pressure was on Martha to produce a master class in the showstopper final round and save her bacon. The judges asked for two flavours of doughnuts and 18 of each type. Paul's experience made him an absolute expert on this doughy favourite and Mary wanted to see ambition and originality. No plain jam doughnuts then! Luis made two types of cocktail-inspired doughnuts which were served in cocktail glasses and had a liquid accompaniment. Chetna’s worldwide influence this time came from South Africa and braided doughnuts. Martha slipped up and overproved her dough, but it remained to be seen if this would cost her a place in the semi-final. Martha Richard's heart-shaped creations kept their shape after frying and he seemed a sure bet to progress through to the next round. Nancy presented her adult and child doughnuts beautifully, with half of them hanging from a tree. Chetna fared typically well, but Luis's presentation was simply stunning. Martha, who had done so well as a 17 year old to get this far in the competition, had great tasting doughnuts but they had overproved, and the bake proved her undoing. The big question was who would be voted star baker. Richard broke records by winning it for a second week in a row and a fourth time overall. Paul reasserted that any of the four remaining bakers could win. Tune in next time for the penultimate week of The Great British Bake Off to see who will advance to the final and who will stumble at the last hurdle. Words by Mark Savile
The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th September 2014

The Great British Bake Off 2014 - Episode 8