The Best Episodes of The Great British Bake Off
Last Updated: Feb 6, 2019
The Great British Bake Off sees passionate home bakers take part in an elimination competition to test every aspect of their baking skills. Each week the surviving bakers are put through three challenges in a particular baking discipline, such as cake, pastry, pies, bread, or biscuits. Round One is the Signature Challenge, which contestants will have had a chance to practice. However Round Two, the Technical Challenge, is unknown to them until filming, and they are given identical ingredients and a vague recipe to follow. Finally, the Showstopper Round tests their ability to impress the judges with outstanding workmanship, decoration, and design. Judging the baking are professional baker Paul Hollywood and food writer Mary Berry, who was replaced by restaurateur Prue Leith after the show's move from the BBC to Channel 4.
#1 - Tarts
Season 2 - Episode 2
The second round of The Great British Bake Off, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, continues in the search for Britain's best amateur baker. Eleven bakers remain and this time their pastry skills are scrutinised as the bakers tackle tarts. Over two days the bakers will face three increasingly complicated challenges whilst trying to avoid a soggy bottom. Judged by acclaimed master baker Paul Hollywood and legendary cookery writer and baker Mary Berry, the bakers start with a signature bake: a quiche that says something about them. Next is the dreaded technical challenge where they are faced with baking a classic tarte au citron. Finally, our bakers have to deliver in bulk as they are asked to deliver 24 show-stopping sweet miniature tarts. The pressure of pastry proves too much for some. Who will be named Star Baker and whose Bake Off journey will be over?
#2 - Masterclass
Season 3 - Episode 11
It is the calm after the baking storm, and Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry take over the Bake Off tent to show how the technical challenges should be done. Free from the frenzy of whipping, piping and kneading, Mary and Paul tackle treacle tarts, rum babas, creme caramels, hand raised pies and Paul's infamous eight-strand plaited loaf. Going through every step of the first five technical recipes of the series, they show exactly how to avoid the mistakes some of the bakers made.
#3 - The Final
Season 7 - Episode 10
It is the final, and with just three of the original twelve bakers remaining. The theme for the final is a Royal Bake Off, as the tent plays host to three challenges to impress the Queen.
#4 - Tea Party
Season 1 - Episode 6
It's the Grand Final and the last three surviving contestants face their biggest challenge yet - baking for the Bake Off's Afternoon Tea Party. In order to be crowned the victor, they will need to bring together all of their skills, making cakes, bread and pastry.
#5 - The Final
Season 2 - Episode 8
It’s the grand final for the contestants and after seven tough weeks the three finalists face their biggest challenge yet – baking for The Great British Bake Off’s street party. They will be baking for judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, but also friends, family and former Bake Off contestants. Our finalists will reach new height of baking. They will be making a selection of petits fours and puff pastry, a first for The Great British Bake Off. They also be baking mille-feuille, mini Victoria sponges, strawberry and cream meringue nests and miniature strawberry and rhubarb cheesecakes. Who will be crowned as Britain’s best amateur baker on Great British Bake Off 2011? If sonly it could be all of of them…
#6 - Pastry
Season 1 - Episode 5
It’s the penultimate round and as the travelling marquee pitches up in the Cornish village of Mousehole, it’s time for the bakers to get to grips with the most difficult of all baking skills – pastry. They bake their own versions of hearty British pies, get down to details with exquisite pastry canapés, and take a crash-course in crimping for this week’s surprise bake. While they’re rubbing-in and rolling-out, Mel and Sue will be finding out that Britain’s earliest pies really were humble, how pastry became an art form and how pies used to have a more sinister side. Then judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood will decide who will be the final three to go through to the final.
#7 - Pies
Season 2 - Episode 5
The search for Britain's best amateur baker, with Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, reaches the fifth round and everyone is out to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom as the seven remaining bakers face pies. The marquee is soon filled with the delicious aroma of fresh baking as the signature challenge has the bakers doing all they can to impress acclaimed master baker Paul Hollywood and legendary cookery writer and baker Mary Berry with their signature family pie. Topping their pie with either flaky or rough puff pastry, some decide to play it safe whilst others get more experimental. Next is the dreaded technical challenge where for lifelong vegetarian Jason delivering six individual, beautifully baked and seasoned pork pies to the judging table proves problematic. Finally, there is a sweet showstopper challenge in the shape of a meringue pie. The judges' expectations are high with hopes of crisp pastry bases and delicious custard and fruit fillings topped with a perfect meringue. But the pressure of pies proves too much for some. Who will be named Star Baker and who will leave The Great British Bake Off?
#8 - Masterclass 2
Season 5 - Episode 12
Back in the Bake Off tent, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood roll up their sleeves, baking the challenges that they set the bakers in bread and desserts weeks on the Great British Bake Off. Paul takes us through his ciabatta technical and his show-stopping roquefort and walnut loaf one step at a time and Mary shows us how to make her layered tiramisu cake from desserts week. Paul shows his saucy side with chocolate volcano fondant puds and Mary finishes off with her flamboyant neapolitan baked alaska.
#9 - Desserts
Season 4 - Episode 3
It's week three, and the heat in the kitchen is already too much for some, as the remaining 11 bakers get ready to deal with desserts. Mary and Paul are upping the ante. Having survived cake and bread, this is the first week we see the bakers having to multi-task across several different baking skills at the same time; a signature trifle combining biscuit, cake, jelly or custard in perfectly distinct layers; a technically difficult task of making floating islands, which result in various forms of unrecognisable landmass by the end of the bake and a showstopper that pulls out all the stops, getting the bakers to juggle 24 petit fours that the judges might finally deem acceptable. They are taking no prisoners, and for the first time ever, there's a baking burglary in the Bake Off tent and it becomes a crime scene. Mel explores the origins of the trifle and discovers how it was transformed in the Georgian era from an elitist dessert for the aristocracy to a dish that was accessible to the masses.
#10 - Bread
Season 6 - Episode 3
The ten remaining bakers tackle quick breads, baguettes and 3D bread sculptures. Starting with the signature challenge, the bakers must tackle a Bake Off first and make quick breads - with no proving necessary, the bakers have an hour and a half to get creative with their flavours. Ranging from sweet chocolate loaves to manchego and prosciutto stuffed bread, the finished loaves are a delight, and one even earns a handshake from Paul. In another Bake Off first, Paul sets baguettes as the technical challenge. A seemingly simple recipe, everyone knows what a baguette looks like... or do they? The pressure of the tent gets to a few of the bakers, and the finished baguettes result in one of Paul's most brutal judgings. For their show-stopper, the bakers must make edible 3-D bread sculptures. As one baker says, 'it's doughverload', with another making enough bread to start up his own bakery. Mary and Paul have to work their way through a bicycle, a snake, an array of flowers, a lion and even the Brighton Pavilion, all made of bread. The results are impressive - so much so that one baker renders Paul speechless by making the best bread sculpture he's ever seen.
#11 - Class of 2015
Season 7 - Episode 11
A catch-up with the contestants from The Great British Bake Off 2015.
#12 - The Final
Season 6 - Episode 10
Only three of the original twelve bakers remain. They've made it to the final. Over 27 challenges, they've worked their way through every baking discipline Mary and Paul have thrown at them - from cakes to bread, pastry to puddings, and biscuits to chocolate. Along the way they have tackled recipes from the 70s and 80s, they've gone back to the Victorian era, they've made gluten-free bread, strange meringue concoctions, incredible constructions out of biscuits, bread and choux... They have all survived, and now they face their last three challenges. The signature challenge sees the finalists tackle enriched dough to create delicious filled iced buns. The technical requires them to conquer something they have all struggled with, and finally, for their last ever showstopper, they must make a classic British cake. Mary and Paul expect nothing short of perfection. So who will hold their nerve? Who will be crowned winner of The Great British Bake Off 2015? On your marks, get set... bake!
#13 - Patisserie
Season 3 - Episode 9
There are only four bakers left vying for a place in the much sought-after final of the Great British Bake off. The weight of the occasion is getting to the most unflappable of the bakers as they frantically work against the clock to deliver petits fours to Paul and Mary's exacting standards. The hardest technical bake ever seen on Bake Off finds two of the bakers left wanting as their fraisier cakes collapse. It's possible to hear a pin drop in the kitchen as the bakers pull out the stops for their showstopping choux gateaus. Paul and Mary think they have seen it all until they are presented with a tribute to the Tour de France..
#14 - Semi-final - Patisserie
Season 5 - Episode 9
It's Patisserie Week, and the remaining four bakers will need to demonstrate that they have skills worthy enough to see them through to this year's final. The bakers are challenged to make a signature baklava - two types of any flavour they like, before the technical challenge demands they knock up a German Schichttorte, a cake cooked in stages under the grill to create 20 layers of different coloured sponge. Finally, the showstopper sees the semi-finalists baking non-stop to create two entremets in which they should demonstrate as many personal skills and techniques as they can.
#15 - Pastry Week
Season 7 - Episode 5
It is Pastry Week, and with just eight bakers left, Mary and Paul are looking for perfection. They have set three challenges to test the bakers on three very different types of pastry. For the signature challenge it is breakfast time, Danish style. In the technical challenge, Mary asks the bakers to keep their cool, giving them limited time and instructions to bake a classic British tart. Mel takes a shift at a London Turkish bakery making baklava, and she discovers the history of this delicate dessert that hailed from the palaces of Sultans. And finally there is a bite-size showstopper, a fine pastry which notoriously difficult to make and even trickier to bake. Which bakers will impress Mary and Paul enough to keep their place in the tent, and who will be heading home?
#16 - Masterclass 4
Season 4 - Episode 15
Paul and Mary show what they would have done for the challenges in the final weeks of the Bake Off. Paul: wheat-free crusty rye loaf and sweet and savory pretzels. Mary: sussex pond pudding, choux pastry religious, and an opera cake.
#17 - The Final
Season 8 - Episode 10
Twelve bakers started, just three remain. Who will succeed with the demanding final challenges, including a high-end patisserie showstopper, to be crowned winner of The Great British Bake Off 2017?
#18 - Pastry Week
Season 9 - Episode 6
It is Pastry Week, and Paul and Prue are looking perfection - with savoury and sweet samosas, a classic French technical, and for the final challenge, a daunting majestic pie fit for a banquet.
#19 - Patisserie
Season 2 - Episode 7
Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins host the semi-final. After seven weeks of gruelling challenges, the four remaining bakers must prove they are worth a place in the final. To begin, the signature challenge requires them to make a baked, layered, mousse cake, and the standards are high as Mary-Anne again attempts something different with a joconde sponge and decor paste. As usual, judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood set the tasks. This week's technical challenge is Paul's favourite sweet treat - iced fingers. Finally, for the showstopper, the bakers have to make a labour-intensive and technically demanding layered or laminated pastry dough to produce a batch of three different types of pastries or croissants. With a place in the final within their grasp, the bakers know they have to deliver their very best to the judging table every time.
#20 - Cake
Season 2 - Episode 1
Twelve of the country's best amateur bakers take part in the second series of The Great British Bake Off, hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. Over eight weeks their cake-baking, pastry, bread-making and patisserie skills are tested to the limit as they are challenged to bake everything from the perfect tarte au citron to towers of macaroons, and iced fingers to family pies. All the challenges are devised by legendary cookery writer and baker Mary Berry and acclaimed master baker Paul Hollywood who are also on hand to judge and taste their efforts. This first show sees the twelve amateur bakers challenged to make 24 beautifully flavoured and decorated cupcakes in two hours and the stress of highly pressurised surroundings of the Bake Off's open plan kitchen soon shows. Next up, the technical challenge - to make a coffee and walnut Battenberg cake from one of Mary Berry's recipes that delivers drastically different results. Finally, for a place in the next round of Bake Off they have to make and bake a tiered showstopper cake. But whose cakes will have the wow factor and who will be the first to leave The Great British Bake Off?
#21 - Biscuits
Season 6 - Episode 2
With cake week over, the remaining bakers must prove themselves with biscuits. The signature challenge is to create 24 biscotti. Twice baked, these Italian specialities have to be crammed with flavour and have a crisp crunch. It's a delicate balance between underbaked and bendy, or overbaked and rock hard. Paul chooses the technical challenge, arlettes, a labour-intensive reverse puff pastry biscuit from south west France. Wafer-thin, flaky and swirled with cinnamon, delicious to eat but devilishly difficult to make. And finally, the show-stopper is to create and build an edible biscuit box filled with 36 biscuits of a different flavour. Judges Mary and Paul want to see the bakers exercise their creative muscles with clever construction and beautiful decoration, while not forgetting that flavour is king. The pressure is on, and the clock is ticking. Who will claim Star Baker, and who will be leaving the Bake Off tent?
#22 - Cake Week
Season 7 - Episode 1
Twelve new amateur bakers enter the iconic tent and take on three cake-making challenges.
#23 - Vegan Week
Season 9 - Episode 7
It is a Bake Off first with Vegan Week. Prue and Paul have set three very different challenges to test the remaining bakers including savoury pastry signature without butter, a cracking technical and a risky but spectacular showstopper.
#24 - Dessert Week
Season 7 - Episode 7
The bakers face three sweet challenges, including a mousse marathon showstopper.
#25 - Pastry
Season 6 - Episode 6
The remaining bakers have to prove their skill with pastry. They have to make frangipane tarts for their signature challenge and the technical challenge sees them having to make a traditional cheese-filled pastry from Cyprus called the flaouna. The showstopper is the classic 70’s canape, vol-au-vents. Bitesize puff pastry.