F*** YES. IT’S BREAD WEEK. Thoughts on Bread week – no biggie but its abso-freaking-lutely my favorite. So many iconic moments are affiliated with this week. *cough cough* Paul’s bread lion from series 6? Alvin’s bread cornucopia? Scottish James’s homegrown sourdough? Selasi (can we get an amen) and his kneading technique from series 7??? This week is ~enriched~ with history. It makes legacies for the bakers and memories for the fans. And, much less importantly, it is judge Paul Hollywood’s favorite week as well, because apparently he’s famous for his own baking career instead of just judging others. Wow I just… like what a career move, taking this judging gig back in 2010 was. Anyway, let’s get cracking, because I have thoughts.
We start with the Signature, which this week was baking two soda breads – one sweet, one savory. I always love a dual challenge, and though I was a bit surprised that the judges chose a loaf that did not require kneading or proving, it was a fun task to watch. Highlights? Marc E somehow spraying buttermilk all over his face (which is absolutely the most relatable thing to happen in the tent thus far), Sura’s meme-worthy deer-in-headlights looks, and Peter citing GBBO, which has been around since 2010, as the reason he got into baking. It has been around for over half of his life! I, a fellow 20-year-old Bake-Off enthusiast (have you noticed?) who likes to pick up a whisk occasionally, felt very represented. Also, as a plus, it made Paul feel old. Anyway, Hermine’s salmon and cheese soda bread took first place, earning a bread week Hollywood handshake. Rowan, if anyone was interested, did not do well.
The Technical, shockingly, gave America some representation with rainbow bagels! I see you Brooklyn. Low key, though, if I was a baker and saw that I had to make bagels with 6 colors in them I think I might walk out of the tent. Good lord, that seems like a lot. The bakers did impressively well, with Linda, of all people, absolutely crushing it with perfect bagels. Rowan, the darling soul, was last.
Finally, the Showstopper. I was ready for it to be as strange as the previous technicals this season, and I was not disappointed. Bread plaques about something the bakers were thankful for? What? Though random af at face value, the plaques ended up being pretty darn beautiful. Incredibly, Rowan did finish his huge tree plaque, although it unfortunately did not taste great. All of the bakers struggled with taste, actually, though Sura and Marc E did marginally better than the rest. Marc E made a Buddhist knot in honor of the Buddhist faith, which helped him find meaning after losing his legs in an accident. It was a wonderful sentiment, and I was very happy for his success.
So how did the loaves fall? SPOILERS HERE
Star Baker: Marc E. The best part of this episode? All of my thoughts, prayers, and questionings were answered when Marc’s two daughters ran out to congratulate him on his Star Baker win, meaning that the bakers’ families are quarantining with them in the bubble! Somehow GBBO just got so much more pure. I hope they all hang out. Guys, can anyone teach me a British accent so I can PLEASE fake my way onto this show. I am so jealous.
Sent Home: Rowan. It was time, everyone knew it, but Rowan will undeniably go down in history as the most light-hearted contestant ever to be on Bake Off. King of the Bright Sides. I genuinely don’t think he knew what it was before he signed on, he just showed up to drink some tea and make cookies on TV. Regardless, in memoriam of his stay on the show, please enjoy a compilation of Rowan’s quotes from this episode:
On the Signature: “the comments were not entirely positive”
On the Technical: “oh I had a fabulous time, really great challenge… the result wasn’t great”
Amidst the Showstopper: “It’s probably curtains but I’m gonna have fun anyway,” “this is such enormous fun, it’s a shame it’s a competition, really,” “I don’t want it to go as a pancake and stodgy, which is another one of my trademarks”
Following the Showstopper: “It’ll probably taste appalling, but I’m quite pleased with the look”
In all seriousness, we all need some optimism right now, so cheers to Rowan for making me smile! See you next week, bakers!