It's Bread Week: IT’S BREAD WEEK!
This week we hit the halfway point in the competition and with only 7 bakers left they have to tackle Paul Hollywood’s specialty, bread. Darlene wins the technical and ultimately beats out a hopeful Brian for star baker. Kolette continues to struggle with her bakes and is eliminated from the competition.
Seven bakers gather in the tent ready for another week of stiff baking competition. Greeted by Jeff, Paul and Marcela, Jeff announces this week will be Paul Hollywood’s specialty, bread. For their signature bake they will have 3 hours to make a free form, yeast loaf from a tried and tested home recipe. The bakers get to work. James is confident in his bread baking skills as he makes a lot of bread. The tricky part is that you need to practice bread to know the tricks of the trade like keeping you yeast away from you salt at first or it will die and your dough will never rise. The judges first visit Darlene who tells them she is making a Twist and Turn Pesto Wheel, a favorite of her kids, but she is making the pesto with cashews instead of pine nuts. The judges are intrigued by this new flavor combination.
With the dough mixing the judges head over to Kolette who is making her interpretation of a German Pumpernickel. Paul is wary that Kolette will have enough time to properly accomplish this loaf, as it is a rather dense and time consuming bread.
Meanwhile Effie is hand kneading her childhood challah loaf when the judges check in with her. Paul has made this bread many times and this only adds to Effie’s anxiety. There are a wide variety of flavors in these signature bakes like James who is making a manly prosciutto, capicola and pepperoni loaf and 2-time star baker Elaine who is making her old-fashioned potato loaf. Francine is pushing her flavor barrier with a red hot, braided loaf and Brian is making his Grandmother’s braided onion loaf. After not winning star baker last week, which Brian believes he should have, he confronts the judges to let them know he deserves it this week. Paul tells Brian to do his "talking thru his baking.”
After the bread has proofed and the bakers have moved onto shaping and baking their loafs, Effie and Kolette are concerned with their time management. Darlene has shaped and twisted a stunning circular loaf and James is very happy with how his bread is turning out. Time is running out and the bakers must remove and present their loaves. Kolette is struggling with time and last to remove her loaf, Effie is unhappy with the way her challah turned out, but the ever-confident Brian thinks he has a star baker loaf on his hands. Only the judges will be able to tell how the bakers have faired once they cut into each loaf.
Paul and Marcela begin with Francine and love the flavors of her red-hot loaf, again surprised by her combinations. Elaine’s loaf is also a hit and so is James’. When it comes to Effie her bread was under baked and too dense. Brian’s was a mild success though Paul stressed the use of real, raw onions would have worked better instead of the onion-flavored mix he used. Kolette was a dismal failure as her bread did not bake, it was raw and turned right back into dough in the palm of Paul’s hand.
With Effie and Kolette’s failures looming over them they entered the technical bake. This week Jeff announces they will be making 8 soft pretzels and they will have 1 hour and 45 minutes to do so. This is Paul’s recipe, and he is looking for a large pretzel with a dark exterior, while maintaining a chewy interior. The bakers have not been given any boiling or baking times and just a list of ingredients to work with.
Darlene has made pretzels before and James is confident they should be similar to making bagels, which he is familiar with. Elaine has no clue how to make them or what the shape is like, she has at least tasted them before. Kolette has not made pretzels before and is unsure of the dough consistency. The bakers work to mix, knead and proof their dough.
With proofing complete they remove their dough to start their shaping; Effie is concerned as she has over proofed her dough and it is too puffy. Darlene and Francine have no trouble with the shape. Francine learned how to shape pretzels on a family trip when she was 16 to an Amish pretzel factory and so she twists them with ease. James struggles a bit; Elaine is totally out of her element and cannot get down the twist. Now it is time to boil, the bakers struggle because there is no instruction on how long to boil each pretzel; James guesses at 1 minute 30 seconds, Kolette at a few minutes. James’ pretzels lose their shape in the boiling water and he begins to struggle with time. The bakers start to bake their boiled pretzels and Effie’s are looking very puffy and fat going into the oven. Everyone is in a time crunch hoping their pretzels will come out, but no one is worse off than James who waits for the final time calls to pull his pretzels from the oven, struggling to get them off the pan and onto the pretzels rack. He is unsuccessful ending the challenge with burned hands and two pretzels short.
Not knowing which pretzel is whose, Paul and Marcela comment on the wrongly twisted shape of Elaine’s, the passable shape and taste of Brian’s, then onto Kolette’s pretzels. Paul reveals, to Kolette and James’s surprise, that the boiling time of a pretzel is only supposed to be 30 seconds! Otherwise you boil the pretzels in the water and they will never bake through.
Both Paul and Marcela are shocked by the over boiled, not uniform and incomplete state of James pretzels. Next they like the look and taste of Francine’s and then the darkness, uniformity and flavor of Darlene’s. Finally they arrive at Effie’s fat, undercooked pretzel creations unimpressed. James gets 7th place, Effie 6th, Kolette in 5th, Elaine 4th place, Brian in 3rd, Francine is 2nd and Darlene’s winning shape, color and taste comes in first. This is the first time Darlene has won a technical and she is "over the moon!” Effie has now failed at two bakes for bread week, realizing she is in a precarious position going into the showstopper. James is also disappointed in his failed pretzels.
A SHOWSTOPPER SO BIG IT WILL TAKE TWO DAYS!
This week the competition is challenging the bakers like never before and rolling directly into the showstopper. Three bakes in a day! This will separate the strong from the weak. For this showstopper the bakers have the complicated task of making 24 croissants-12 filled and 12 plain over the course of two days. Croissants take a long time to make, you have to start with the dough, a laminated dough, layers of dough and butter that takes hours to roll out and then you have to let it set overnight. So tonight the bakers have 2 hours to make their dough and then they will return tomorrow to finish the croissants. James is struggling with confidence knowing croissants are complicated and a lot can go wrong but pushes forward. The bakers mix their dough, knead it and start to roll it out and add butter. As the bakers incorporate a large amount of butter in their dough, Kolette lets us know she has 9 sticks of butter! The bakers continue to turn and roll out their dough until Jeff calls the end of the day. With their dough resting in the fridge, sleepless nights are ahead as Effie exits feeling the pressure, as does Francine who wants to be star baker more this week than even pie week!
Day two of this "epic croissant battle Royale,” Darlene is pumped by her technical win; James is still worried he is in jeopardy of going home. The bakers have three hours to finish their croissants, they need to roll out their dough, make their fillings cut their dough, shape and bake their croissants.
We start with Elaine, who has frozen her dough overnight instead of refrigerating it like the rest of the bakers, she is struggling to get it rolled out and defrosted. The judges stop by and Paul lets Elaine know that she shouldn’t freeze her dough it is only supposed to be refrigerated and left to rest overnight. After this visit Elaine seems a bit worried that her raspberry and white chocolate croissants will not work out. Next the judges visit Effie, who is making a pear and vanilla filled croissant. Paul loves the ideas of the pear flavor but is concerned about the liquid from the pears ruining the bake. Francine is making recipes she has made before with her date and honey filled croissants.
As the bakers start on their fillings, Darlene is toasting some pecans for her apricot and pecan flavored croissant, while Brian is working to finely chop the chives, ham and cheese for his filled croissants.
Falling behind the rest of the bakers, Elaine is just starting to get her dough to move and thaw out so she can roll it , while the rest of the bakers move on to cutting and shaping their croissants. Darlene is using a pastry scraper as a "secret” weapon, she hopes it’s straight edge will give her precision in her cutting and shaping to help her create perfect, star baker croissants. Meanwhile Brian has his eye on Darlene, desperately wanting star baker and worried about her progress.
While rolling up his plain and chocolate filled croissants, James is visited by the judges. Paul takes note that James is making a slit at the top of the croissant dough, this is a technique Paul has never seen before and he is looking forward to trying them. As the bakers are working to shape and adding in their filling, Kolette is stressing about the uniformity and presentation of her almond filled and plain croissants. The judges stop by to check in with her, Paul inquires about her butter to dough ratio; Kolette, who likes her butter, has twice the amount of butter to dough. Paul doesn’t express his concern directly to Kolette but lets the audience know this is double the amount you would need for croissants and it seems that Kolette might be in trouble. With only thirty minutes left in the bake, Effie is working on her pear filled croissants, and is still thinking about Paul Hollywood’s warning about the pear’s moisture.
With time not much time left in this challenge, the bakers have to put their croissants in the oven. Watching the clock Brian, Francine, Darlene, Kolette and Brian get their bakes in. Elaine is behind the rest of the team. Before time is called, Brian, Darlene, Francine and James pull their bakes. Effie struggle with her croissants as some "goo” has seeped out and Kolette pulls her croissants off a pan sitting in a sea of butter. Elaine’s filled croissants are obviously under baked and when time is called she still has a pan baking in the oven. Elaine is dreading the judging and Kolette realizes it is her fault that there was too much butter in her croissants.
Time for the final judging of this massive showstopper! Elaine is first to face up to her under baked and under delivered croissants. Paul points out that the filled ones are under baked and raw but the plain croissants are all right.
Next is Francine. Marcela like her presentation, but Paul breaks open a croissant to point out the structure of the croissant is more bread-like than croissant, which indicates not enough butter was used. Kolette’s next and her presentation is a disaster, none of the croissants look uniform, also as Paul predicted there is too much butter. Brian delivers his ham and chive, cheddar filled croissants; flavors both judges agree are lovely. Darlene shares her apricot and pecan filled croissants with a presentation so lovely Marcela has to comment. Both judges like the flavors and Paul appreciate the good bake on them. James is next and Paul is over the moon about the taste of his croissants, but hesitant about his choice of chocolate, which is too bitter. Finally we have Effie and her pear filled croissants, she has soggy bottoms, a big failure in her execution, but a nice flavor. Effie knows she is in trouble and Kolette is disappointed to the point of tears about her execution and delivery.
Now it is up to the judges to decide who will have the honor of star baker and who will be heading home.
The judges deliberate with Jeff in their tent. Starting with the positive, star baker, Marcela is routing for Darlene who has had a successful week in all her bakes, winning the technical and creating a beautiful signature bake. Paul also chimes in for Brian; he has enjoyed his flavor combinations and ideas. On the other end of the spectrum there are those who are in jeopardy of going home. Marcela starts the conversation with Kolette, her croissants were a mess and had raw dough. Paul also brings Effie into the conversation because of her low scoring in the technical bake and soggy bottoms in the showstopper. Another surprising baker who under delivered today was our former star baker Elaine; she had raw filled croissants and didn’t deliver the proper quantity. It is time to meet back in the tent and for the judges to reveal their decisions.
Jeff starts with star baker, both Darlene and Brian wait in anticipation but when the name is called it is Darlene and she is thrilled! Next it is time for elimination of the fourth baker to leave the competition and it is Kolette. She had three failed bakes this week, as Paul explains they were all raw and it was unfortunately her time to go. It is now down to 6 bakers with 3 weeks left and a promise that the competition is only going to get harder.
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