‘The Great British Baking Show’: Amateur bakers rise to the top

In a word: Sweet!

All the decadent breads, cakes, pastries and pies take center stage for an encore of “The Great British Baking Show.” Follow the trials and tribulations of passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be named the U.K.’s best.

Each Friday night at 9 p.m. this summer on Arizona PBS, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds under the judicious eyes of Mary Berry, a leading cookbook writer, and Paul Hollywood, a top artisan baker.

Together with hosts and comic foils Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, Berry and Hollywood spend 10 weeks in search of the country’s best amateur baker by testing the competitors’ skills on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts.

Come hungry.

June 14: Cake

Follow 12 amateur bakers as they enter the competition tent for their first hurdle: cake. The Signature Bake requires a Swiss roll, a seemingly simple task fraught with risks. For the Technical Bake, bakers must duplicate Mary Berry’s classic cherry cake. In the Showstopper Bake, the competitors tackle classic 36 miniature British cakes. Watch via Passport.

June 21: Biscuits

One week down and 11 amateur bakers remain. Let the biscuit baking begin. The Signature challenge is to create biscuits that go well with a cheese course. For the Technical, the bakers must follow Mary’s basic instructions for her Florentines recipe. In the Showstopper, bakers are tasked with creating three-dimensional “biscuit scenes.” Watch via Passport.

June 28: Bread

It’s week three and the remaining 10 bakers get ready to brave bread. For the Signature, they must bake 12 perfect rye bread rolls, shaped as they prefer. The Technical calls for ciabatta loaves, using judge Paul’s recipe. For the Showstopper, the bakers have to make a filled centerpiece loaf. Watch via Passport.

July 5: Desserts

The competition intensifies. For the Signature, bakers must create so-called “saucy puds” – delicate cakes hiding a gooey filling or saucy surprise at the bottom. In the Technical, bakers take on Mary’s tiramisu. In the Showstopper, they have to beat the odds and the heat to make the perfect baked Alaska. Meltdowns ensue. Watch via Passport.

July 12: Pies and Tarts

Nearly halfway through the baking competition, custard tarts are their Signature challenge, followed by mini pear pies — one of the more unusual Technical challenges. Then contestants battle their biggest bake yet: three-tiered pies. The Showstopper allows them only four hours to create a towering collection of pies. Watch via Passport.

July 19: Continental Cakes

And then there were six. The remaining bakers now face three European cakes. For the Signature, bakers are asked to make yeast-leavened cakes. Their work’s cut out for them in the most demanding Technical challenge yet: they have two hours to make the 24-step Swedish Princess torte. For the Showstopper, they must create a contemporary version of the Hungarian Dobos torte. Watch via Passport.

July 26: Pastries

Week 7 in the tent sees the bakers tested on all kinds of weird, wonderful pastries, from pasties to samosas. The Technical challenge throws them into uncharted territory with a pastry none of them has heard before: a round and crusty kouign amann. Paul tests the bakers’ patience in a challenge to create this multi-layered, buttery pastry, then Showstopper eclairs give five lucky bakers a spot in the quarterfinals. Watch via Passport.

August 2: Advanced Dough

In the quarterfinals, the bakers face sweet fruit loaves, showstopping doughnuts, and a Technical challenge that stretches them to the limit. Watch via Passport.

August 9: Patisserie

It’s semi-finals time and the tension is palpable as the bakers are challenged with baklava, elegant entremets and the tricky German schichttorte, cooked in stages under a grill to create 20 layers. Watch via Passport.

September 6 at 9:30 p.m.: Final

Just three challenges lie between the three finalists and the trophy. And what a trio of challenges they are: mastery of a classic pastry technique that normally takes a day – in just three hours; a Technical test that requires mastering the basics – with no recipe; and a Showstopper that demands delivery of perfect sponge, caramel, choux pastry and petit four in the bakers’ final five hours in the tent.

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