Over the last six years, The Great British Bake Off has taught us a lot – and not just that there’s a huge audience for competitive sponge-making.
Here, we look back at five essential life skills the show has taught us:
How to cheat with a microwave
Running low on time, season five contestant Nancy Birtwhistle was racing to finish her plum loaf, but didn’t have the hour and a half it needed for proofing. Throwing caution to the wind, she popped her dough in the microwave. “It’s a dangerous thing to do,” warned master baker Paul Hollywood. “There is an issue with that, because it destroys the protein structure… It can destabilise the dough.” Sure enough, it didnt‘ go entirely to plan as the dough swelled to the “size of a Labrador” in Nancy’s words. But the experiment was a success: Nancy shaved more than an hour off her baking time, and Mary deemed the finished product “absolutely scrumptious”. Eat that, Hollywood.
The zen art of focaccia-stretching
Kneading focaccia might be a challenge, but the art of focaccia-stretching as demonstrated by Paul Hollywood is an intensive workout and an hypnotic meditation. Like pilates, with added gluten. Just watch him stretch and fold and stretch and fold. It’s utterly mesmerising. That oil-drenched dough is putty in his masterful hands, and we are too.
Viewers will see 12 amateur bakers trying to impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood when the new series begins on BBC One on 24 August.
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