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The Great British Baking Show kicks out the jams in episode 2

The Great British Baking Show Season 12, Episode 2

Bring some milk for three challenges involving cookies…er, ah, biscuits.

After a trippy cold open featuring Noel and Matt as biscuits that get eaten by Paul Hollywood, The Great British Baking Show’s Biscuit Week is off and running! Who will stand up to the pressure of a snappy signature, a jammy technical, and a 3D showstopper? Will anyone get a Hollywood Handshake? More importantly, what other quirks will we learn about our contestants? It’s episode 2 of The Great British Baking Show!

It’s Biscuit Week, and the bakers are worried. After all, biscuits are deceptive bakes, appearing relatively simple, but are complicated at heart. Even detective Amanda feels the heat, as she usually takes three days to bake biscuits?! Regardless, the bakers head to the tent for the signature: 24 identical brandy snaps. Prue and Paul want to see perfectly crisp brandy snaps with decadent fillings. The biggest obstacle the bakers face is a soggy biscuit, as the often creamy fillings could seep into the biscuits. They’ve also got to bake their biscuits in batches, then form the snaps as they’re removed from the oven, so timing is of the essence. 

There’s a nice mix of some traditional bakes, like Maggie’s blackcurrant-filled snaps, and snaps with non-traditional flavors, like George’s Cypriot-inspired bakes with mastic. Lots of bakers are adding fruit to their fillings, like Lizzie’s “fast-food inspired apple pie” snaps (she mentions it’s the type of pie you bite into and burn your mouth immediately with the filling, so I’m guessing its the fast food joint with golden arches). And many opt for caffeinated snaps, like Freya’s cappuccino treats, Chigs’s espresso martini bakes, and Rochica’s coffee with Irish cream

apsFreya presents her brandy snaps (Netflix)

At the judging rounds, Paul and Prue check the bakes for textures and tastes. Some bakers, like Jairzeno and Freya, have too strong of flavors. Poor Maggie, a strong baker from last week, has the only soggy biscuit. Jürgen, last week’s Star Baker, packs a perfectly spiced chai snap with a crunchy texture. Rochica comes in strong with her boozy snaps, admitting she threw in an extra shot of alcohol to her filling. So far it seems like Jürgen is still the baker to beat, but will he keep the momentum going into the technical?

Paul sets this week’s technical, tasking the bakers to create 12 sandwiched jammy biscuits. These are common store-bought biscuits featuring defining characters like a heart cut-out and swirling stamps Many of the bakers seem familiar with buying them in shops, but not in baking them. Of course, the recipe’s paired down to essentially “Make jam. Make biscuits. Fill accordingly.” The big risk is that the day’s hot in the tent (they never mention the temperature, but it does look sunny), so they risk melted dough that won’t have the definition. They also must create a smooth raspberry jam and a perfect buttercream, so there’s a lot to get right with these simple biscuits.

Rochica stamps her jammy biscuits dough (Netflix)

The bakers are all in a mad rush to get their bakes finished and sandwiched in time. Poor Rochica had issues with her dough, and her biscuits look very underbaked. Crystelle’s jam seems downright gummy, and she ends up laying sheets of it on her bakes. Jürgen seems in control of the technical, even giving us a hint of a jam test (yes, why rely on gadgets when you can throw it in a bowl and see if it sticks?). Alas, the bakers finish, and the rankings are as followed: Rochica (11), Crystelle (10), Jairzeno (9), George (8), Chigs (7), Lizzie (6), Maggie (5), Amanda (4), Freya (3), Giuseppe (2), and Jürgen is back in 1st. Jürgen is surprised, shocked, humbled by coming in on top again. Giuseppe is less surprised, coining a new nickname for Jürgen: The Baking Terminator. 

There’s just one more challenge in the episode: the almighty showstopper. The bakers have 4 hours to create a 3-D biscuit replica of a childhood toy. Their bakes must have an interactive element to them, as a child’s toy isn’t much fun if it doesn’t do anything. Will Jürgen, The Baking Terminator “be back” on top? Or will another baker wow the judges and clinch the Star Baker title?   

This showstopper can definitely be divided by generation lines. Some of the more seasoned bakers from older generations, like Maggie and Jürgen, admit they didn’t have many toys in their childhood. Maggie opts for a beach model, complete with biscuit people who can lounge on the beach. Jürgen remembers his grandfather’s windmill, so sure, why not build a giant biscuit windmill? Not all older bakers forget their toys: Giuseppe goes all in for a “reversi” table, based on an ancient game. Yes, Giuseppe, if it’s one thing kids love, it’s ancient board games!

Some of the younger bakers get on with more toy-ish bakes. George gets mechanical, building an airplane complete with a motor to spin it around. Freya and Amanda are both making rocking horses. Crystelle opts for a vanity make-up set (again, sure, it’s a toy kids have, but the interactive bit is a mirror made of sugar glass and biscuit lipsticks). Rochica’s pinball game is intriguing, complete with a rice crispy pinball. Hands down the most exciting bake is Chigs’s snooker table. I don’t know if I’d consider snooker a traditional childhood game, but it’s an impressive table, complete with snooker balls. These are the quirks I’m talking about! Showstoppers can often reveal the baker’s personality, and it’s always fun to see how they interpret the theme.

Chigs’s snooker table (Netflix)

Most of the bakers are using gingerbread to engineer their structures. Amanda is the only one using something different: American sugar cookie dough. Unfortunately, her horse’s legs start to crumble. There’s a funny moment where Freya helps her to stabilize the bake, and Amanda asks Freya, an avid horse rider, “What do you do you with horses with broken legs?” Freya replies “Shoot them.” Amanda’s horse meets a crumbly fate, collapsing before making it to the end. She’s not the only one with construction issues. Jairzeno’s boat loses its sails, and Maggie’s beach huts are poorly constructed as she “got the shakes” when putting them together. 

It’s showstopper judging time. Giuseppe wows the judges with his table. Chigs’s snooker table is a bit cakey, but it holds up and brings a childlike glee to Paul’s eyes. Jürgen impresses the judges with his towering windmill, complete with moving blades. George’s plane is impressive, motoring around, with a nice biscuit bake. Poor Amanda gets some harsh judging from Paul, claiming he would have never used a delicate sugar cookie to make a sculpture. Maggie’s beach scene is a bit too basic. And Jairzeno’s ship is in a rough state, with biscuits that just taste “okay.”

Final judgment time. Matt announces the Star Baker is once again Jürgen. The “Flavor King/The Baking Terminator” is on top this week. He seems surprised, but that’s just classic humble Jurgen. Then it’s up to Noel to announce the departing baker, who is Jairzeno. He always seemed a bit rushed for time, which resulted in overall uneven, untidy bakes. Jairzeno’s not too surprised at the outcome. Amanda and Maggie are glad they weren’t the ones to leave, both tearing up as they felt they were close to the bottom.

Predictions and other thoughts:

  • Sad to see Jairzeno going, as I think he had some fun flavors that were outside the traditional British pairings. I think Amanda has a lot of stops to pull out next week if she wants to stay. I’m also impressed that Lizzie had a relatively fine week, as she admitted she spent her baking practice day watching Harry Potter.
  • Jürgen is on a roll with Star Baker titles! I definitely thought Chigs’s may have gotten it with his fun snooker table, but happy to see our happy Jürgen staying close to the top. I do think Giuseppe may unseat him next week, as he’s had consistent bakes and impressive designs.
  • Did anyone else applaud when Jürgen finally got through to his family at the end of the episode? Y’all when the Flavor King calls, you pick up the phone!
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Ashley Lara

Ashley is a writer, producer, and avid karaoke fan living in New York City. She co-produces/co-hosts She Makes Me Laugh, a monthly female and non-binary comedy show. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @smashley_lara.