After it was uploaded to Netflix, “The Great British Baking Show” has been gaining a lot of popularity over the past few years. It now has six seasons, and a few spinoff series. For the holidays, Netflix released a miniseries called the “Great British Bake Off Holiday” where contestants from previous seasons are invited back for a mini competition of baking holiday goods.
“The Great British Baking Show” takes place in the British countryside. Each episode often starts off with montages of the lush, green pastures, bubbling rivers, and baby lambs and ducks.
The contestants on the show vary in ages, from college students to the elderly. The actual competitions happen in “the tent,” which is in the outdoors, and competitions occur rain or shine. Every baker is equipped with an adorable pastel-colored cooking counter and matching appliances.
Each episode has three timed challenges. The first is a basic making of a signature baked good. The judges choose a dessert (or anything else that can be baked, such as breads,) and the contestants create their own flavor profiles and creative designs.
The technical challenge is the second of the three challenges. In this challenge, all the bakers are given a partial recipe, which they must complete on their own. Usually the recipes are somewhat obscure treats that the bakers have never made before. The recipe is extremely vague and designed to be confusing. For example, a recipe will say “bake” and not give the correct oven temperature or time. Once the bakers finish their bakes the are told to line them up on the “gingham altar,” or a table that has a tablecloth. They are then blindly critiqued by the judges.
The third challenge is the “showstopper challenge.” The bakers must complete an elaborate and large bake to showcase all their skills. Natalie Berner (12) loves the showstopper because, “it is always intensely creative and it allows me to live vicariously through people who can actually bake.”
The show’s audience is mostly enamored with it because of the kindness and gentleness between the contestants. Paul Fenske (12) describes the show as a “wholesome experience.”
If someone finishes their bake, but someone else is struggling, they will go over and help the other baker out. In the sixth season during ‘Vegan Week,” four other contestants helped make someone’s cake stand up. The previous hosts of the show, Mel and Sue would start shouting profanities if a contestant’s bake was going horribly wrong, so that the footage of the upset contestant would not be used.
It is also super fun to hear and learn the British lingo and pop culture. It takes a while to get used to, but you will learn a lot of odd British words and pronunciations. They pronounce oregano “or-uh-gano” and basil “bah-sil.”
“The Great British Baking Show” is entertaining, uplifting, and you will learn useful baking techniques along the way.