Backstage Baking: The Great British Baking Show Masterclass
Sitting in the shadow of its charming and competitive predecessor, The Great British Baking Show, The Great British Baking Show Masterclass gives viewers a chance to try their own hands at some magical cooking. Judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are now the centers of culinary attention as they recreate past signature, technical, and showstopper recipes that were featured as challenges on The Great British Baking Show without all the pressure. Some are their own recipes; others are their adaptations of international signature dishes or British classics such as Mary’s Cherry Cake, her version of the Swedish Princess Torte, or Paul’s doughnuts and St. Lucia Buns. It offers a wonderful blend of tried-and-true and delectably adventurous recipes and insight on how to perfect them.
Though one has to have great stores of baking skill and knowledge to even claim an envied spot as a contestant on The Great British Baking Show, the more recent groups of contestants (who did exceptionally well with challenges that were some of the hardest over the course of the show) have inspired a class taught by the masters themselves. Mary and Paul break down some of the most complicated recipes so that viewers can make them at home, and though they may be difficult and always need practice, Mary and Paul provide tips and guidance garnered from their own experience over the years.
They also share insults. As they concentrate on their work, they don’t forget to have a little fun. While they weigh grams of caster sugar and laminate dough for a satisfyingly flaky pastry, the hosts uphold a mildly cheeky banter that creates a more relaxed atmosphere than the competition, and the narrator fills in where they leave off in this laid back, educational visit to the tent. Unfortunately, Mary and Paul do not have to put their own creations atop the gingham altar for judgment, but their critique of each other’s methods certainly makes up for it and really acts as the glue for a great series.
Available on Netflix
Time Commitment: 3 Seasons
Why It’s Worth the Binge: Step-by-step cooking ‘class’ by professionals; the Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood partnership; a wide range of cooking know-how on a variety of dishes
– Kelly Gatewood
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