Thu. Oct 29th, 2020

‘Great British Baking Show’ S8 E4 recap: “Ooey, gooey chocolatey chewy”

It’s another week of “The Great British Baking Show” and there’s a Rowan-sized hole in the tent. Our wood nymph gay uncle is gone, but his legacy lives on in our hearts, minds and plaid vests.

My name is Daniel Trainor and I think I might be attracted to Noel Fielding?

While my name is Sam Stone, and Noel Fielding looks strikingly similar to my sleep paralysis demon!

Let’s get into Chocolate Week!

DT: For the Signature Challenge, the contestants are asked to make brownies. I thought this was a baking competition. Immediate points to anybody who just whips out a box of Sara Lee mix.

SS: Brownies are historically something one makes with all their girlies at a high school sleepover, but I guess this week eight adults will compete to see who can make superior ones. What a strange television program we’ve committed to watching for hours.

DT: There’s lots of talk about making sure these brownies are ooey, gooey, so soft and chewy, while remaining simplistic and uncomplicated. I wish Rowan was here. I’d love to see his brownie homage to climate change featuring Marzipan ice caps and polar bears made from real fur.

SS: I would like to use this platform to share that I prefer cakey brownies and everyone who disagrees is, in fact, going to hell after they die.

DT: That’s a bold statement and you’re also wrong. It’s become abundantly clear that Hermine has never baked in her life and, better yet, never used an oven. Hermine says she’s planning on turning her brownies around mid-bake, Paul Hollywood tells her not to do that and, just like that, Hermine will not be turning around her brownies mid-bake. 

SS: Linda reveals that she’s adding dates to her brownies, and topping them with chopped nuts and Turkish delight which are simultaneously the most British and disgusting sounding brownies ever conceived. 

DT: Lottie seems to have taken the “I don’t care what it looks like, sorry!” mantle from Rowan. Now I’m dreaming about a body swap movie starring Lottie and Rowan. Imagine Rowan at the beach with Lottie’s old lady friends. Imagine Lottie picking flowers in Rowan’s secret garden. I’m realizing this isn’t a very exciting body swap movie.

SS: Laura tells the camera she thinks s’mores means “melted marshmallow.” I always thought America’s biggest export was culture, but I guess it’s just hatred and “I Love NY” memorabilia. 

DT: Mark is also making something marshmallow-inspired called the “Gimme S’more brownie,” which I choose to interpret as an homage to Britney Spears. Mark is now my favorite baker in the world.

SS: When it comes time for judging, Lottie’s brownies are an underbaked cheesecake disaster, Laura’s salted caramel s’mores meringue brownie explosions are shockingly too sweet, and Prue declares that Mark’s brownie “tastes like a brownie.” High praise.  

DT: Despite brownies being something most eight-year-old Americans can whip up with their eyes closed, most of the bakers really struggle with the challenge. The judges are particularly ruthless, missing the ooze, goo and chew they were so desperate to find.

SS: What we’ve learned here is that brownies taste best when they’re just regular.

DT: It’s time for the Technical Challenge, in which the bakers must make a chocolate babka. It’s at this point where I will say that I’ve never had a babka and I need you to not yell at me, Sam.

SS: I don’t need to make you feel worse than you should already be feeling, Daniel, you fucking barbarian ass bitch. It would seem that all of our bakers are in the same boat! No one has ever heard of babka before – am I in the goy twilight zone?!

DT: The only person who has had a babka is Prue, who basically says the one she once had in New York was horseshit, which felt….odd? Yeah, that’s the word.

SS: Babka, for those idiots who’ve never had one, is a loaf of enriched dough swirled with chocolate or cinnamon, but the most important part of the babka experience is asking “Where did you get this babka?” whenever someone brings one to your brunch. 

DT: What I’ve learned about the babka experience is that it involves a lot of waiting around as the dough rises. Matt and Linda pass the time by talking about stroking things to make them bigger. Now that’s the body swap movie I need. Meanwhile, Lottie deals with Matt’s bad jokes with the patience and affability of a woman who is very used to odd men talking to her without permission.

SS: The bakers succumb to the usual pitfalls of enriched dough bakes: proofing time, kneading time, and shaping. Lottie has a particularly tough challenge when her dough won’t properly rise, and seems to get exasperated immediately. 

DT: Lottie is having a tough week and our enigmatic queen will need a big Showstopper Challenge in order to stick around. 

SS: Quirky aunt Linda wins the Technical Challenge and, out of nowhere, has put together a string of impressive bakes.

DT: We move into our Showstopper Challenge, which, this week, is to bake a “celebration cake” using everyone’s favorite ingredient: white chocolate.

SS: The amazing thing about white chocolate is that it’s both too sweet and somehow not sweet enough, you know what I mean?

DT: Lottie is making a cake in honor of her grandparents. I’m a little alarmed that Lottie does not appear to have any friends under the age of 75.

SS: When will these bakers bake a cake in honor of ME?

DT: While baking his cake, Peter says he loves “coming across a hunk of white chocolate.” I AM RIGHT HERE, PETER.

SS: Peter’s cake is for his brother…again, which is uh…math themed? I have never heard of a less appetizing cake. 

DT: Dave is making something called a “Fraisier cake,” which I’ve come to find out, unfortunately, does not mean it’s made of tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

SS: Kelsey Grammer based jokes are evergreen!!!!!!!!!

DT: Meanwhile, Linda is baking a cake to honor her daughter who passed away at the age of 18. Please ignore what I said about Mark earlier. I was hallucinating. Linda is the greatest baker of all-time and I would take a thousand bullets for her.

SS: Laura pulls the classic Bake Off maneuver of completely starting over on her cakes halfway through the bake which usually does not bode well. 

DT: But this time, it actually pays off! While these bakers cannot make brownies, most of them are able to construct successful, elaborate, multi-tiered cakes under terrible working conditions just fine.

SS: As we move into judging, Paul Hollywood absolutely destroys Linda’s daughter’s memorial cake. Completely savage. Pans her frosting, tells her it looks horrible. No mercy from Paul, here. 

DT: Sura’s cake is “raw” and “inedible,” which I guess is a bad thing on a baking competition or whatever? It’s been a tough week for Sura.

SS: Peter’s math cake (ugh) goes over very well, Lottie’s cake decorations are the best of the bunch, and Mark’s lemon and pistachio birthday cake stands out as Paul and Prue’s very favorite. 

DT: In an effort to carry on Rowan’s legacy, Sura gets sent home for giving the judges something they refused to put in their mouths. A lovely tribute.

SS: In Sura’s memory, I will never eat white chocolate again for the rest of my life. 

DT: As a hunk of white chocolate myself, I take offense. Call me, Peter.

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