It was bread week on The Great British Bake Off and the competition got real for the bakers this time - you could almost smell the fear through the TV screen.
We can’t blame the contestants for their jangled nerves, as after all they were being judged by Paul “King of Bread” Hollywood whose face was even more stony than usual.
But the extra effort and sheer terror paid off for one contestant, who became the first of the series to get the famous Hollywood Handshake for an outstanding achievement, even managing it in Paul’s pet week.
Paul’s not joking when it comes to bread, and the 11 bakers left in the tent weren’t either with Michael declaring he had “bread dread” while Amelia made the nervous pun “I want to prove myself”.
It’s always a tough week in the competition, but would any of the bakers be able to calm down for long enough to rise to the occasion?
The Signature Bake
Henry put his foot in it right from the start when he explained to Paul that his parents had judged his charcoal bread just ok, saying: “My mum’s quite a harsh critic.”
Alice was obviously feeling the pressure too, as her overenthusiasm went into overdrive.
Why can I not stop imagining Alice sending me very organised WhatsApps about a hen weekend. #GBBO— Lauren Bravo (@laurenbravo) September 10, 2019
But wait! One lucky baker really did get the first Hollywood Handshake of the series, and in bread week, no less!
We couldn’t be more thrilled for Michael, who genuinely looked like it had made his entire life to be praised by the bread guru on his Keralan star loaf, and it’s possible we may have even shed a tear along with him.
You know it’s a big deal when Paul brings out the handshake episode 3🤣 #GBBO— Char🥰 (@charoliviaxxx) September 10, 2019
Meanwhile, our villain of the tear and share challenge was Amelia, who committed the ultimate food sin when she dared to criticise Michelle’s absolutely delicious-looking Welsh cheese bread, entitled “Cheese Night”.
As she blurted out: “All I can smell is cheese, Michelle, and I HATE cheese so much,” even she seemed to have a dawning look of horror at the terrible words she’d just uttered.
Seriously, who hates cheese? Collectively shaking our heads at Amelia.
Amelia now cannot be trusted because she doesn’t like cheese. Who doesn’t like cheese?? That’s wack. #GBBO— Chloe 🐍 (@PethBridge) September 10, 2019
Who won the Technical Challenge?
Of course, this week’s Technical Challenge was set by Paul, and it was a particularly evil one as not only did the bakers have to make eight identical floury baps, they also had to fill four of them with veggie burgers made from scratch.
#GBBO is normally such lovely TV but the technical reminded me of how divided we are as a country 😥. Bun? Bap? Barmcake? Roll? What you call it really shows the North/south divide— ShirlieDuckworth (@ShirlieDuckNip) September 10, 2019
Despite Paul telling Prue Leith that they’d be judged 90% on the baps, there was an awful lot of complaining about the burgers, which to be fair didn’t look especially tasty.
The challenge also featured Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig’s adorable moment of the week, as they drummed each other’s heads with mixing bowls and spoons.
Even some of the most accomplished bakers in the tent struggled with this Technical and in the end, Henry was the unexpected winner with a near-perfect offering.
Read more: Bake Off week 2 - how we lost Jamie
However, Amelia still had a lot to prove going into the final day as she finished in last place.
The challenge might have been a little underwhelming, but at least it upped the innuendo count effortlessly.
Bread week’s Showstopper challenge gives us our annual opportunity to celebrate that most glorious of Bake Off dough creations, the hallowed bread lion of 2017.
If we all just accept that nothing will ever be greater than Paul’s lion loaf, it makes the whole challenge much easier to deal with.
So, moving on, this year’s contestants had to produce two scored loaves and then use them to fashion a piece of bread art.
This was the perfect moment for Helena’s weekly instalment of Halloween, which this time took the form of a jaw-dropping witch’s cauldron. Can you imagine the excitement of an invite to one of Helena’s Halloween parties?
Helena week 2: I have made witch biscuits— innocent drinks (@innocent) September 10, 2019
Week 3: I have made evil pumpkin bread
Week 4: I have made a croissant graveyard
Week 5: I have made a portal into hell from a bagel
Week 6: I HAVE RELEASED THE SHADOW LORD FROM HIS ETERNAL PRISON. Would you like a cupcake?#GBBO
A sporting interlude from Noel actually wowed us as much as many of the bakes - look at this hand eye coordination.
We were also seriously impressed by Alice’s geographical trio with bread map, Michelle’s garden scene, and David’s African masks, despite their problems with splitting.
Michael, who stormed through bread week, had another triumph with a bread fire pit which brought a rare smile to Paul’s face, and Rosie saved herself from elimination with some beautifully scored safari loaves.
But sadly for Amelia, she had another really tough round as Paul and Prue complained about her tasteless, underbaked bread.
Who won Star Baker?
Did this one even really need announcing?
Of course, there could only ever be one Star Baker in a week when Michael not only got the first Hollywood Handshake of the series, but also achieved it in a bread challenge.
It was a hugely well-deserved win, and lovely Michael still managed to look graciously surprised.
Can we make an early call that Michael will win?
Who was sent home?
The baker going home this week wasn’t exactly a surprise either (which is presumably why Paul and Prue kept bluffing that two people would be leaving, to build some tension).
But you can’t help but feel for Amelia, who had some terrible luck in the bread challenges and looked devastated to be leaving.
We’ll try to remember her for her triumphant cake creations rather than her completely unacceptable hatred of cheese.
The Great British Bake Off continues on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.