Fortune favours the braid! Babkas baffle Great British Bake Off contestants
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Fortune favours the braid! Babkas baffle Great British Bake Off contestants

The bakers were all in a twist for Paul Hollywood's technical challenge on the popular Channel 4 show

The bakers were all in a twist for Paul Hollywood's technical challenge on the popular Channel 4 show
The bakers were all in a twist for Paul Hollywood's technical challenge on the popular Channel 4 show

There were blank stares and anxious looks on last night’s The Great British Bake Off after Paul Hollywood challenged the contestants to rustle up babkas.

It’s the second week running the Channel 4 show has chosen a bake with Jewish origins – following on from last week’s bagels – and it truly stumped the remaining contestants.

“If brownies were meant to be simple, we’ve got no chance at this,” lamented Dave, who along with the rest of the hopefuls failed miserably to turn out a good batch of what should have been an easy first bake.

Even Linda, who perfected rainbow bagels last week, nervously laughed.

“No idea,” she said. “I’ve never made one. I wish I knew what it looked like.”

The sweet braided bread comprising a yeast-leavened dough and chocolate, cinnamon or fruit filling, originated among Ashkenazi communities from Poland and Ukraine.

Presenter Noel Fielding took time to explain their babkas, “must consist of an enriched dough with layers of nuts and chocolate, which must be rolled, split and twisted to make the shape.”

Matt Lucas added: “Once baked, it should be brushed with syrup to finish.”

Over the next two-and-a-half hours, the contestants indeed mixed, proved, rolled, cut and twisted their dough, before popping it in the oven.

But it all sounded much easier than the reality, with some babkas coming out too long, too thin, too heavy or just woefully undercooked. The soggy bottoms were back.

Despite her protestations, it was Linda who was praised yet again for turning out “a model babka”, with Prue Leith praising the “excellent” taste.

But just like last week, Linda was pipped to the post for Star Baker, this time by the other Mark for his showstopping pistachio and white chocolate cake.

Great British Bake Off is show on Tuesday, 8pm on Channel 4. Episodes are also available to stream on demand.

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith challenged the contestants to rustle up babkas
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