The oven temperatures are rising and there’s an unmistakably pleasant searing aroma at the back of the nose – yes, it’s bread week.
This week’s signature is a ‘quick loaf’ inspired by soda bread – a yeast-free bake that uses baking powder or bicarb, with a boost of buttermilk.
Mat and Nadiya abandon any thoughts of the bread’s Irish heritage and both go Mexican for their quick breads. It’s jalepenos at dawn. Nadiya sniffs her spicy bowl… then sniffs it again to be sure, to be sure.
Mary’s eyes light up at Dorret’s walnut and Stilton loaf. “I love Stilton’, she tells Sue. I engage in a little bakery chat with the TV screen – telling Mary about my recipe for walnut and Stilton biscuits. Sadly, Mary doesn’t hear me. Our citron clad doyenne walks away with astringent aplomb and I feel a little foolish. That’s the problem when things have been pre-recorded… and you’re talking to Mary from Sheffield. I’m not sure Mary has ever been to Sheffield.
Suddenly, the tent is tense – Paul’s words and silences strike fear with equal measure. Has Flora messed up with her choice of rye flour? Will Alvin’s manchego be too strong? Is Ian’s wild garlic about to frazzle in the oven’s heat? In the end, the answer is no to all of the above. Phew. And Paul has kind words for nearly everyone – Flora’s loaf is “bang on”, Alvin’s is “a thing of beauty”, and Ian’s strikingly verdant offering is “a work of magic”.