The Great British Bake Off: Bread

“We do not see with our eyes but with our trades.”

Mervyn Peake

We’re back in the land of Yum today, with episode 3 of Bake Off. It’s Bread Week, an occasion which gives our irrepressible and sometimes annoyingly cheerful presenters an excuse to make silly dough-related jokes of the “rise-to-the-challenge” variety. The ten remaining bakers must make twelve identical rye rolls, four loaves of ciabatta, and a bread-related showstopper – entrants this week include a brioche berry cheesecake and an Spanish Epiphany loaf.

It’s another cosy hour of warm, comfortable television, full of shiny dark rolls and dough kneading, together with Sue Perkins’ disquietingly off-kilter puns and a general sense of comradeship. I’m not sure how much this effect is due to the editing, but there’s no real sense of competition in Bake Off. Everyone is just having fun. And, unfortunately and apparently entirely incidentally, someone has to go home at the end.

This week, it has to be said, the judges were particularly harsh. Bread is difficult anyway, and none of the contestants were very good at it. Mary Berry gave out an inordinate number of Bad Looks (especially to Kate, who was unfortunate enough to serve an uncooked loaf to her critics) and as for Paul Holland, well, he was having a field day.

I’m not sure there’s very much more I can say about this episode. It had food in it. There was mild humour, and just enough bakery-related drama to be interesting without being sensational. In other words, it was perfect post-work television.

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