Food & Travel

Join the 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Bake along with Britain’s best – and add a Wisconsin twist! Share your results with each us each week to be featured on our website.

Wisconsin Public Television’s second-annual Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge launches today – Sunday, June 17! Season 5 of The Great British Baking Show premieres across the WPT viewing area 6 p.m. Sunday, June 24, and we’re once again inviting you to try your hand at the challenges from the show’s new season!

Each week during Season 5, try one of our fun baking challenges and share the results with us online. We’ll feature a variety of bakers, just like you, on the official website and right here on the blog – each week.

Whether you can build a showstopper with your eyes shut or are trying a Paul Hollywood recipe for the first time, we want to see your best attempts at greatness — even if they fall flat.

We won’t be judging your entries; we just want you to participate and have some fun in the kitchen this summer. All ages and abilities are welcome!

Last year, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge featured hundreds of bakes from participants across Wisconsin and around the country. One baker even joined from Australia! Incredibly, 12 “Star Bakers” joined us throughout the summer for all 10 challenges.

Check out all of last year’s challenges and entries here.

A few of our 2017 "Star Bakers," who completed all 10 challenges throughout last year's Challenge!
A few of our 2017 “Star Bakers,” who completed all 10 challenges throughout last year’s Challenge!
Now it’s time to announce the first challenge … CAKES! Here’s this week’s prompt:

We invite you to bake ONE of the following challenges …

Signature Challenge – Upside Down Cake
Traditionally, this cake is all about firm fruit, but the possibilities are endless. Don’t let this challenge turn your world upside down, no matter how intimidating Paul Hollywood’s glare might be. Pick a cake recipe, choose a bottom layer that will wind up on top (think: traditional pineapple or radical tomato), and flip!

Technical Challenge – Rum Baba
It’s time for a classic 1970s treat! In the show, the bakers used Paul Hollywood’s very own recipe, but you’re not required to do so. Regardless, the Baba does have some unique characteristics: It’s a yeasted cake filled with chantilly cream and topped with fruit. Hollywood describes Rum Baba as a cross between bread and cake; what’s not to love?

Showstopper Challenge  – Hidden Design Cake
Pssst: This cake has a secret. When you slice your cake, a hidden design or pattern should appear. We’re talking colored sponge with a mouth-dropping secret design, whether it’s a rainbow, a heart, a patriotic theme or something even more unique. This is the perfect time to hide a Wisconsin twist! Yes, this cake takes some planning, but the wow factor is well worth the effort.

Visit the website to explore more about this week’s challenge and all of the upcoming nine baking challenges, which correspond to episodes in Season 5. Each week, we’ll issue more specific instructions about the upcoming challenge and open the form to submit your story. Trust us … cakes are just the beginning!

Along with details about the baking challenge, we’ll be asking you questions about what you’ve prepared (and we’ll want to see your best photo!). Try one weekly challenge, or do them all. No matter what, we know the results will be delicious.

Now pre-heat your ovens, tie your aprons, and submit your results HERE when you’re done! Happy baking!

Be sure to invite friends and family to The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge! Use #WisconsinBakingChallenge on social media to follow along.

Meet Around the Farm Table’s Inga Witscher!

Around the Farm Table is going around the state! Join host Inga Witscher in person at fairs, libraries and other fun events as she travels around Wisconsin in the coming months.

Don’t forget: while Inga and friends are filming Season 6, you can catch past episodes and clips online with WPT!

Continue reading Meet Around the Farm Table’s Inga Witscher!

Top 5 Most-Watched Videos From Wisconsin Life’s Fifth Season

Season five of Wisconsin Life produced some of our most memorable stories yet. On our Facebook page, we had over 137,000 views from our top five most-viewed stories alone. In celebration of the completion of season five, we’ve compiled our top five most-watched stories: Continue reading Top 5 Most-Watched Videos From Wisconsin Life’s Fifth Season

Q&A: John McGivern

As the new year begins, John McGivern is on the road once more, visiting cities across Wisconsin to uncover unique locations in each neighborhood – and meeting the interesting people who make our state’s communities thrive.

We caught up with the host to talk about Around the Corner With John McGivern ahead of the show’s seventh season premiere 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 on Wisconsin Public Television.

You can catch up with McGivern, too, in a series of free community screenings premiering new episodes in the communities they profile!

  • Appleton: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17
    Fox Cities Exhibition Center
  • Middleton: 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22
    Performing Arts Center, Middleton High School
  • Viroqua: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31
    Historic Temple Theatre

Check in for more details posted soon at

Continue reading Q&A: John McGivern

Introducing… Midday Me Time!

Weekday afternoons aren’t just for kids anymore!

In September, the flagship channel of Wisconsin Public Television introduced something new. Now viewers who tune in between 1 and 3 p.m. from Monday-Friday can settle in for a relaxing treat with the new Midday Me Time block.

Mary Berry takes a taste on the Great British Baking ShowSo indulge yourself! Whether you’re taking a break from hard work or just enjoying some time to yourself, Midday Me Time is the perfect way to catch up on classic PBS favorites – or discover new ones featuring the thoughtful, intriguing stories you love.

Read on for a preview of what’s coming up!

Continue reading Introducing… Midday Me Time!

North to Alaska! With Inga Witscher, Host of Around the Farm Table

For years, Wisconsin Public Television has partnered with Holiday Vacations to provide unique travel opportunities around the world. Viewers join experienced guides and enthusiastic WPT personalities to visit many sites they may have experienced for the first time through a program on PBS.

Inga Witscher, host of Around the Farm Table, recently traveled to Alaska with one of these groups. Read on for her reflections on travel, television and the world we share.

Continue reading North to Alaska! With Inga Witscher, Host of Around the Farm Table

More to Savor: Around the Farm Table is back!

A Note From Inga…Inga Witscher, host of Around the Farm Table

It’s officially fall – which means it’s time for another great season! Rick, the producer, director, idea guy and – most importantly – my dad, joined me over the last few months as we had a blast touring the state in search of new farms and unique opportunities.

Read more to find out where we’re headed this season on Around the Farm Table – and join us for our new episodes beginning Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.!

Continue reading More to Savor: Around the Farm Table is back!

The Final Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

In the beginning, there were 12. Now, only Andrew, Candice and Jane remain. The Final marks the end of an era in more ways than one, as the iconic show announced that its format will change drastically next season.

But, for now, let’s bask in the glow – or the dough – of The Great British Baking Show we all know so well. The Final put the spotlight on the three remaining bakers, as Mel, Sue, Mary and yes, even Paul, stepped aside for a minute to let the bakers do their magic.

And unsurprisingly, our Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge bakers amazed us till the very end, tackling the most challenging of The Final challenges, and not backing away from incorporating hard-to-find local ingredients (we asked our bakers to do their best to incorporate three local ingredients in The Final).

We cannot say it enough: You are all incredible.

So, it’s that time again: Let’s recap the happenings in the tent and in our bakers’ kitchens. If you haven’t seen The Final yet, here’s your spoiler alert!

Continue reading The Final Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Pie Week Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

It’s the semi finals, and there’s plenty of drama and plenty of bakes. But only four bakers remain!

We broke from convention this time, transforming the week’s challenge from patisserie to pie.  Everyone loves pie — and we couldn’t bear the thought of going all summer without baking a whole bunch of pies. But don’t think we forgot about our beloved Great British Baking Show friends: We did incorporate some inspiration from this week’s episode since pie crust is a type of patisserie.

Let’s showcase the efforts of our local bakers and recap this week’s episode of The Great British Baking Show. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, here’s your spoiler warning!

Continue reading Pie Week Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge