The Great British Baking Project





Like many people, my consumption of TV shows has skyrocketed during the COVID19 pandemic. One of the things we found ourselves watching a lot of was the Great British Bake Off, or if you are watching it on Netflix like we are, The Great British Baking Show (referred to in the blog henceforth as GBBO).

We started with the most recent season, then I started going back to the beginning, and have now almost caught back up. We talked a lot about making many of the recipes we saw, which slowly morphed into a plan: to bake all of the Technical Bakes from the show, in order.

I picked the Technical Bakes for two reasons. One, all the bakers are making the exact same thing. With the Signature Bakes and the Showstoppers, they are all doing their own thing (within theme), so I’d need to choose one, or make my own, and having the structure of an assigned bake makes the most sense. And two, it seemed like it would be fairly easy to find the base recipe, since they say who the challenge came from (this turned out to be mostly true). 

With that decided I sat down and started a spreadsheet listing all the episodes, what the theme was, and what the Technical recipe was. Here, I ran into the first hurdle. As simply as I can tell it, the show started off on one of the BBC channels. It then moved to another BBC channel (being a Yank, I have no clue on the differences here). Finally, it moved to yet another channel, that doesn’t seem to be BBC affiliated(?).  At some point, some of these shows appeared in the States on PBS. And now, they appear on Netflix (still available on PBS). Simple enough… except the first 2 seasons (series, as they call them), are not available at all in the US. The third is available on Netflix, titled “The Beginnings”, then the rest are on the main Great British Baking Show series, on Netflix… but the ordering is weird. So, to summarize:

  • Series 1 (2010) & 2 (2011): not available in the US.
  • Series 3 (2012): Available on Netflix as “The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings”
  • Series 4 (2013): On Netflix, “The Great British Baking Show: Season 2”
  • Series 5 (2014): On Netflix, “The Great British Baking Show: Season 1”
  • Series 6 (2015): On Netflix, “The Great British Baking Show: Season 3”
  • Series 7 (2016): On Netflix, “The Great British Baking Show: Season 4”
  • … and then in logical order for the rest, up through Series 11 (2020), Netflix season 9.

Since I can’t get Series 1 & 2, short of ordering European region DVDs and getting a player for them, or possibly getting the Canadian DVDs, I’ve decided to officially start with 2012’s Series 3, “The Beginnings” on Netflix. This will allow me to watch the show, and at least know what I am getting into.

This will be the biggest difference: I’ll have the full recipe available to me, as well as being able to see how they did, what the end product SHOULD look like, and see how any mistakes the bakers make affect the final product. 

I plan on getting a few under my belt and notes taken before I start publishing my results. But I did do the first two of Series 1 (2010) before I changed my mind on where to start, so I may write up those (disappointing) results before I start 🙂