Is The Great British Bake Off good for the baking industry?

The Great British Bake Off entered our tv’s in 2010. I remember watching it at the time thinking it would never take off. How wrong I was!

Especially in the way it has become such a popular conversation starter at break time! 

To be fair, it started off with a bit of a cult following, without the fanfare launch that’s typical of terrestrial's premier programs. Around the time of the second series hitting the screens it was widely considered that The Great British Bake Off was now mainstream.

It was popular and (if I remember correctly) was given a more prominent time on air.

So what is it that makes it so special and is TGBBO good for the baking industry?

Ten years ago back in the days (when I owned a tv) I hopped over to BBC2 and discovered something different. For it was the program my work colleagues had been going on about for ages.

“The baking show you should enter Gareth”

Busby's school

TGBBO wasn't my slice of cake to start with...

Simply produced, the great British bake off was a millions miles away from Kitchen Nightmares and Cake Boss.

No eerie sound track to create effect, suspense and drama.

No, the great British bake off at first glance is dull, uninspiring and well, kinda boring.

I didn’t get why someone could get all sweaty, hot and panicky about serving bread to a fake tanned scouser? The guy has trained his natural accent out to sound more bbc…But not fully!

Or what about an old dear who should surely be enjoying retirement, not as a pioneer of the food industry.

It seemed wrong to me.

Back when Busby’s Bakery mach 1 was in existence the suggestions for me to “enter the bake off” kept coming. Daily actually, it drove me mad!

The show become the way to make baking a profession for many. As I was already a pro I had everything I wanted, so no desire to enter.

Just like what x-factor has done for music, doing hard work to make their passion a success is not the common path today. Now it's expected that you enter a reality tv show and become a celebrity and a recognised talent in your forte.

But only to those outside of the industry.

What is it that makes the Great British Bake Off so gripping?

Watching people do things they are passionate about is very attractive. Watching the contestants talk about their achievements and struggles is hard to turn off.

It’s almost rude to change channel when watching someone desperately trying their hardest to get the perfect dough in the short time that they have!

The contestants give their all in the show and it’s totally gripping to see what happens.

I also have to point out that the editing of the show is so unique it forces a channel skimmer like me to pay attention. Even if it’s just to see what it is all about.

The Stars

Paul Hollywood

You’ve got to admire his experience in baking. He knows everything about bread and achieved what many of us dream of in the industry.

Personally I find him trying too hard to be a tv personality. I'd rather he was more of a baker.

The great british bake off

The fake tan, forced smile and odd body language say he’s hoping for a call from“the generation game” production team to host a new series.

But we love you Paul!

Mary Berry

Ok, so she’s not in it anymore but her legacy was revived in the modern era because of The Great British Bake Off. 

Mary’s wealth of experience does demand authority. 

Is The Great British Bake Off Good For The Baking Industry?

Her charm shines through in the show and she’s often thought of as the grandmother everyone wants to have.

Prue Leith

Despite a long-standing figure in the food world, she’s not done much for years.

I remember having one of her cook books at home, but that’s about it.

I can’t recall anything on television that she’s featured. 

learning bakery skills

She looks uncomfortable, not herself and trying to emulate her predecessor.

She’s ok, I suppose. But you wish she would relax a little and be herself. Not Mary Berry.

The presenters

I have no idea what their names are, but they seem to all have bold and vivid looks. Very much typical Brightonians.

Considering I have no idea who they are, or what they’ve contributed to the baking world, I find them overbearing, over confident and pretty annoying.

But that’s just my opinion.

artisan baking

The time limit

Yes, this is the problem. I’m keen on doing things properly, I’m also keen on developing bread dough for a long time. On the great British bake off the two aren’t often allowed to meet.

From what I’ve seen, the are given only a few hours to make the bread. 

They often use “warm ovens” to prove bread, that’s not good for flavour development. Plus, I’m not sure what they do in the proof or bake time??

Other than wash up, what else is there to do when baking one loaf?

The cakes

TGBBO

I’m not really a cake guy.

Yeah I’ll knock out something simple, drizzle a bit of chocolate or icing on something or dust off my piping skills with pleasure.

But I don’t have the patience for going to far off the standard bread baker realm.

I tend to turn over for cake week (which seems to be every week I watch!). 

Would I enter bake off?

Maybe it’s arrogance, having more experience than most home bakers, or fear of losing. I’ve never felt the inclination to enter the great British Bake Off.

But I’m sure if I did, it would push me to develop my baking skills to a new level.

If I was an amateur baker and not already a professional  would be able to enter. However, I’m not sure if I would truly immerse myself into the show.

Like many, my baking methods are based on using long fermentation periods. There isn’t enough time to make these in the rounds. So I couldn’t bake with my heart.

So I won’t, even if i could.

So…. Not really a bake off fan then??!

Er, nope.

I can’t really get into it, despite public interest. I’ve found there to be many bread and cake critics in the UK now, all learnt from their sofa. Soggy bottoms?

Underproofed…. dense….

It’s easy to critic, hard to do…

I'm happy as I am. Here's a post on why I loved owning an artisan bread bakery!

But then again the bread and cake world has exploded in the past decade, would it have done without Paul, Mary and co?