Great British Bake Off – episode 8 review

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Advanced doughs this week for our final few bakers: Nancy, Luis, Richard, Martha and Chetna are starting off their signature bakes with a selection of yeasted breads with dried fruit. According to the Bake Off Facebook page, this episode is going to be jam-packed full of innuendo. Oooh-er.

Possibly my favourite moment of the series so far is the combined reactions of Mary, Paul and Mel when Nancy explains she’ll be proving her dough with a little help from the microwave. It’s hard to say who looks the most horrified, but the moment of tension is broken when Mel accidentally drinks oil, confusing it for alcohol. Going in the oven, Nancy proclaims “It’s enormous!” Boom!

Martha’s pink and white plum bread goes down well but even any slight implied criticism scares the bakers as they know that any tiny mistake could get them evicted from the tent. Chetna’s been a bit heavy handed with the cinnamon, Luis overdid the sugar, Nancy’s microwaved beast is OVER-PROVED, and Richard’s nailed his Swedish tea bread.

The technical challenge is the Croatian Povatisa, which none of the bakers would have heard of except that Chetna inadvertently made a variation of one in the signature bake! This rolled dough is filled with chocolates and walnuts and Paul’s huge version looks delicious.

The challenge is riddled with innuendo, and there are a varied results with the bake. Mary and Paul didn’t even taste Nancy’s or Martha’s as they were both raw. Richard’s was also raw in the middle (copying Nancy!), but Chetna’s was the winner. Luckily she knew the tricks of the trade.

The showstopper challenge is doughnuts, and there’s a great selection of flavours on offer, starting with Richard’s rhubarb and custard and toffee apple versions. Nancy’s are overcooked (although she is quite chippy and disagrees with Paul on this point). Martha’s are (as she knew) overproved but great tasting. Chetna has made South African Koeksisters which were too fatty for Mary, and the chocolate doughnuts were filled with ganache rather than mousse. Luis’ boozy creations are popular with Mary, especially the Baileys cream filled doughnut, which Paul finds a bit too moist (no complaints from Mary though!).

Star baker this week is Richard (for a record breaking 4th time!), and although it looked at some times like Martha and Nancy were tied for last place (and they both seemed to think they were going), Martha did eventually have to go.

Next time the bakers battle it out in a countdown to the final with ‘top notch patisserie’, and there are tears in the trailer, so it’s going to be a tough one all round.

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