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Great British Bake Off: Doughnut drama

September 24, 2014
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Following Kate’s departure last Wednesday, GBBO returned for the quarter finals stage  and saw the remaining five bakers compete for the coverted Star Baker title.

In 'advanced dough week', Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry asked the bakers to create sweet loaf doughs in two and a half hours. The sweet dough could be any flavour but needed to be baked in a free form. 

luis tree

A slow prove is essential for a sweet, enriched dough - a task which challenged in the bakers in such a limited baking time. "Butter, eggs and flour sit on the yeast which slows the process," explained Paul.

Flavours of the doughs ranged from Luis’ black forest tear and share, cherry tree, to Martha's spiced plum iced bread swirl to Richard's date and walnut swirl.

Chenta decided to challenge herself by creating eight rolls of dough filled with cocoa and dates while Nancy opted for a Lincolnshire plum braid filled with marzipan, marsala wine and lemon zest. Concerned with her proving time, Nancy decided to bypass the hour and a half proving time by proving her dough in the microwave, which was "a dangerous thing" according to Paul. "It destroys the protein structure as you’re forcing heat and can destabilize the dough," the baking professional explained. In judging, both Nancy and Martha failed to prove their doughs for enough time while the bakes of Luis, Chetna and Richard impressed with their great flavours and attractive presentation. With positivity filling the tent, the bakers approached their technical bake with optimism, until hearing the Paul demanded them to create and Eastern European Povetica pastry.


However, having already baked a Povetica bread in her signature bake that morning, Chetna was shocked that she knew exactly how long to prove and decorate the challenging bake.

With two and a half hours, the culinarians were asked to create the  Croatian sweet walnut and chocolate bread which was unknown to the majority of the bakers.

"Chetna has a bit of a lift up," joked Paul as the bakers rushed around the tent, attempting to decode Paul's sparse recipe. Divide time between baking and proving became the essential factor in the bake, in addition to the difficulty of spreading the filling on the buttered dough.

Nancy devised an ingenious plan of using an icing bag to pipe the filling onto the dough and then covering the spread with clingfilm, before rolling over it with a rolling pin.

 Richard soon followed Nancy's inventive idea , much to the amusement of the tent.


While the majority of the bakers proved the dough for as long as possible, Chetna fortunately knew to allow the dough to rise in ten minutes, as she pointed out that the key was a "slow and long bake on a low temperature" to Sue. Ultimately, many of the bakers had underproved their bakers and failed to evenly fill their dough.

Both Richard and Martha suffered raw bakes but, luckily for Chetna, her knowledge of the Povetica was her saving grace and she came first in the baking challenge.

For their quarter finals show-stopper challenge , the contestants were asked to create two different types of doughnuts. Pressure mounted as they had to make thirty-six doughnuts in total in four hours. "I know what a good doughnut looks like and tastes like,"  stated Paul as the bakers got to work on their final challenge of the day. In an attempt to win over the judges, Luis opted to make cocktail doughnuts ranging from raspberry mojitos to chocolate mudslides , while Chetna created South African- inspired bakes.

luis co

Other flavours included Martha's lemon and poppy seed and chocolate and passion fruit doughnuts, to Richard's toffee apples and heart shaped rhubarb jam and custard bakes to Nancy's family tree of ringed doughnuts. With a keen eye for detail, Luis wowed with his presentation by inserting his doughnuts into martini glasses while Richard presented his bakes in orange boxes from the market. When Paul and Mary came to judge the bakes, Richard's doughtnuts were praised for their professional presentation and taste, while Nancy and Chetna were congratulated for their rich flavours, despite their over-baked doughnuts.

Unfortunately for Martha, she accidently overproved her doughnuts which resulted in large doughnuts with the "wrong texture" according to Paul. However, Luis' Bailey-filled doughnuts were praised and his originality was commended by Paul and Mary. "Why are we bothering with the doughnuts," joked Mary as she sipped on the Baileys filling through a straw.

rich do

In the end, Richard was surprisingly crowned Star Baker for the fourth time this series while Martha was sent home.

"I think her name will crop up again," suggested Mary as the tent was sad to see the 17-year-old depart from the quarter finals.

Tune in next Wednesday for the semi-finals in Patisserie Week on BBC One at 8pm.

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