The labor of the fall harvest — which in Wisconsin Public Television terms means the successful production of Quilt Expo 2018 in early September, the launch of brand new seasons (!) of Wisconsin Life and Around the Farm Table, and the premiere of our new documentary Hip-Hop U: The First Wave Scholars (loaded with digital extras) — means we regrettably left our buns in the oven way too long! We’re now circling back to our beloved Wisconsin bakers to celebrate their time, labor, creativity and achievements baking along all summer with Season 5 of the Great British Baking Show! Their patience and understanding call for a thousand thanks and pithiviers. . . say wah? Speaking of. . .
We rewind the egg timer to the Sept. 9 WPT broadcast of The Final across the Atlantic when Brendan, John and James entered Paul and Mary’s tent one last time to compete for the winning crown. All three gentlemen brought singular talents: Brendan a remarkable consistency in baking beauty and precision; John an unbending passion to learn new techniques and one day attend Le Cordon Bleu; and James an edge pushing him to innovate and take last-minute risks.
Our wonderful Wisconsin bakers were asked to deliver their final Wisconsin Twist — with an oomph — adding to their bakes at least three local ingredients and turning the Wisconsin-ness up to 11!
In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Wisconsin Week challenges: 1) a Savory Pithivier, 2) at least a dozen Fondant Fancies, or 3) a Chiffon Cake based on their favorite things about Wisconsin!
Don’t forget to read to the end to find out who our Wisconsin Week six featured bakers are. In addition, read about and give a Great Wisconsin Baking hand to our 33 stouthearted Star Bakers who baked along with us all ten weeks. You inspire us, friends, and we thank you from the bottoms of our ovens to the toppers of our cakes!
C’mon baby, let’s do the (Wisconsin) twist one last time!
Ça va, mes amis? Here we are in the semifinal week, and as much as Mel, Sue and your humble recapper might like to lighten the mood with French that is, how you say, pas mal, the mood is tense. So let’s get right to it, non?
Our four remaining bakers delved into the precision of French-style patisserie this week. Brendan, Danny, James and John faced their last elimination week before the final with just as much finesse as they have displayed all season.
The poet Carl Sandburg’s Good Morning, America begins with 38 definitions of poetry. His memorable line, “poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits,” is as scrumptious to speak as the 62 snappy crackers, stout tea cakes, and sturdy gingerbread structures submitted to our Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge: Biscuits Week (and by “week” we mean 20 days — thanks for your patience and support of the WPT August pledge drive, bakers)!
Biscuits — or crackers and cookies to Americans — took center stage in Paul and Mary’s tent, along with our five remaining British bakers this week. Cathryn, Brendan, James, Danny and John faced the quarterfinals with three demanding challenges testing their skills of precision, dough handling and even their architectural acumen.
In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Biscuit challenges. Let’s get cracking with our review!
Oh my, Wisconsin Bakers! We sure do love your sweet, Sweet Buns!
The Tent tackled “sweet dough” during Week 7, which is baker-speak for beloved items like doughnuts, coffee cake and cinnamon rolls, as well as the loaded and elaborate breads that adorn our holiday spreads. But instead of using Grandma’s Christmas fruit loaf as a door stopper — sorry, Gran — this week, “celebration loaves” are the showstopper!
In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Sweet Dough challenges. Overcoming yeast, fryers and fruitcake, Sconnie bakers faced off with 24 Sweet Buns (see how Oxford Dictionaries settles the “bun” vs. “roll” vs. “cake” debate), 10 Jam Doughnuts and a partridge in a pear Celebration Bread.
Last season, admittedly, we were a little hesitant about the, well, Britishness of some of these challenges. “They don’t want to use all that suet, do they?” we thought. “And where do you get treacle, anyway?”
Wonder no more, friends; in Week 6, this pud’s for YOU!
Last week showed off pastry prowess – and flavors that went flop. This week’s episode went from wobbly to wondrous, as bakers were asked to rise to the occasion in the Desserts challenge and tackle Torte Cake, Crème Caramel and a Four-Layer Meringue Dessert.
The Queen of Hearts indeedmade some tarts, but our Wisconsin bakers staged a veritable overthrow of her crown as they whisked along with this week’s Great British Baking Show: TARTS! Devoted entirely to topless (gasp) pastry, Paul and Mary’s tent tormented contestants with a Classic French Tarte Tatin, Mary Berry’s (Very Own) British Treacle Tart and a Designer Fruit Tart worthy of a Parisian patisserie window — speaking of overthrows, step aside, Napoleon.
In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked our bakers to select just one of the three tart challenges. It was a holiday week in Wisconsin and the nation as we celebrated Independence Day, but our bakers still delivered: through road travel, motor boating and oodles of Aunt Nanette’s noodle salad. Thanks for the fruity fireworks, friends!
And we’re back! After a three-week hiatus to allow for baking vacations and the Wisconsin Public Television summer fund drive (we welcome your support and donations anytime!), our Wisconsin Week challenge has finally concluded.
Many of our local bakers really upped their game for Week 8, with impressive presentations and ambitious blends of local ingredients. The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge deviated slightly from the goals of Episode 8, which were to embrace the era of Henry VIII by baking creations to please the upper class at a fancy Tudor banquet. Rather, we wanted to see bakers bake for regular Wisconsin folk, tapping local farms, businesses and backyard gardens — and sourcing inspiration from our great state itself.
But don’t worry. You can find references to Game of Thrones in both.
It’s time to showcase the efforts of our local bakers and recap this week’s episode of The Great British Baking Show. Spoiler warning!
The eight remaining contestants walked into The Tent ready to put their layering skills to the test with pastry week. The mood was upbeat, and many bakers were still hopeful that Star Baker was within grasp. But Mary and Paul had a few challenges up their sleeves …