“Great British Bake-Off” S9E5 Recap: German Week

October 23, 2021

Is it even worth it?

Is it even worth continuing to watch this show now that the warming glow of candlelight that was Maggie has been snuffed out? 

While last week we were all left with a gaping, nan-sized hole in our chests as Paul Hollywood performed the final Kali-Ma coup de grace that removed Maggie from the competition, I know Maggie would want us to continue. With a knowing wink and a posh giggle, she would urge us to carry on without her. And that we must.

We join the bakers this week for what, in my opinion, seems to be a rather unfair advantage for one of our front-runners. As Lizzie called it, Jürgen Week, also known as German Week, will put the bakers on their toes. Who will get das boot? Only time will tell. 

This week’s signature, German biscuits, immediately confuses most of the people in the tent. What makes a biscuit German? A neat haircut? A fastidious, efficient personality? Social unrest and a wall down the middle? Apparently they are shortbreads made with almond flour; the wall is optional.

Already-Star-Baker Jürgen spends some of his time giving German lessons as the other bakers massacre his language. Especially Lizzie, whom I can’t understand when she is supposedly speaking English. She shares that she plans to make Cheeky Boys as one of her cookies. I’ve heard Paul Hollywood is a big fan of cheeky boys, so I have high hopes for her this week. 

George, who I’m shocked is still in this competition, chooses a biscuit that typically takes 24 hours to prepare, and uses a fiddly rolling pin with a design that I could not at all see as he rolled them out. As expected, the judges’ feedback suggests that maybe this wasn’t the recipe to choose for the tent.

Amanda impresses Paul and Prue with an amazing-sounding mulled wine jam to fill her linzer cookies, but mere minutes later she is shown slopping what looks like simply wine on her cookies. While they looked a bit messy in the lead up, her mulled wine jam cookies were a triumph. 

To no one’s surprise, Giuseppe excels with both of his cookies, but narrowly avoids consecutive handshake weeks. He is quickly emerging as the man to beat. 

Lizzie’s cheeky boys look rather pale, and her chocolate almond cookie looked quite turd-like. Had she done things “completely different,” Paul promises, she’d have surely had a handshake. Maybe next week, Lizzie. 

Already-Star-Baker Jürgen gets a handshake for German week. Quel surprise. Oh, you’re German? Here’s a handshake. Germany – 1, Italy – 0.

The technical challenge of the week, a German prinzregententorte, proves to be a challenge for everyone – even Jürgen. A multi-layer genoise sponge cake coated in chocolate with chocolate cream and chocolate crowns seems very difficult to do, especially while baking in the Second Circle of Hell. 

George manages to run out of batter by the final round, making a genoise crepe rather than a layer of cake. I’m ready to be rid of him. Bring back my nan!

Sponge, cream. Sponge, cream.  

Amanda seems to be in trouble – her chocolate cream has fully split and looks rather disgusting, but rather than remake it, she forges forward. 

Sponge, cream. Sponge, cream.  

George, for some idiotic reason, decides to pour his ganache mid-air, making a horrible mess everywhere. Amanda makes… chocolate butter? Rather than a ganache. Also disgusting.

Sponge, cream. Sponge, cream.  

Every season, the show decides to do chocolate challenges in the middle of July, which seems so sadistic to me. Nearly every cake has melting problems by the time the judges enter the tent. 

After the technical, Giuseppe comes away with the technical win, and for a moment looks as though he may vomit for some reason. After watching this episode, I’ve realized I want to see a buddy cop film starring Giuseppe and Jürgen. The score at halftime: Germany – 1, Italy – 1.

Amanda and George are in a horse race to the bottom. In my opinion, Amanda is a more talented baker, and more interesting to watch than George. George brings little more than his Cyprian backstory to the tent, and has a lot of climbing to do to get out of the hole he’s baked himself into.

For the show stopper, the judges ask the bakers to make a yeast-leavened multi-layer cake. Yum? Jürgen explains that in Germany, you would never make a multi-tiered yeasted cake, and Paul apologizes for anglicizing the challenge. Jürgen likens it to baking a three-tier apple crumble. Drag her, Jürgen! Die Bibliothek is now open!

Giuseppe shares that Jürgen also gave each baker individual tutoring on German names of different baking terms. This show is too wholesome for 2021. These people must be protected at all costs. 

Sexy Daddy Chigs, who doesn’t get nearly enough camera time for my liking, plans to make a soft, pillowy cake full of nuts and adorable bees. I would welcome his nuts in my yeasted cake. (Yes, I’m married.)

Amanda hopes her caramelized plums will save her own caramelized plum from getting das boot. It certainly sounds delicious. 

George pulls his cakes before anyone else to spend time decorating them. Is that the death knell tolling?

Mrs. Frizzle Lizzie tells the viewers that Paul Hollywood told her to show some finesse. With the comedic timing of a young Joan Rivers, she deadpans to the camera “finessssse” as she pulls her cake apart while removing it from the tin. When using such a decorative cake mold, as in life, you must be well lubricated. But upon judging, Paul claims she still reaches the level of finesse he was hoping for. Ta!

Amanda’s edelweiss cake, cram-jam full of fruit, is beautiful and very likely has saved her. Glad to see her sticking around for another week. But with Amanda pulling herself up, who plummets to the bottom?

Pru, while wearing the colorful plastic bracelets in which I invested heavily as a goth teen, tells George that his hideous cake is “beautiful.” I’m afraid I cannot agree. And as the foreshadowing told us, the inside of his cake is raw. 

Giuseppe excels once again in German week, even though Paul attempted to throw his cake into the floor. Final score: Germany – 1, Italy – 2.

The cream rises to the top again: Giuseppe and Jürgen, future buddy cops, take the lead. Burned to the bottom of the pot, unsurprisingly, is George, but somewhat surprisingly is also Freya. Freya’s cake had some delicious bits, but was unbalanced in fruit-to-cake ratio, earning the ire of Hollywood. 

Winning star baker, and proving that Italy is better than Germany in all ways, Giuseppe walks away with this week’s prize (of nothing, not even the cute sheriff’s badge they used to give out).

OH YA’LL WANTED A TWIST!? Getting das boot this week, Freya the vegan baker takes her final bow. While I certainly didn’t taste the food, I am shocked that they would send her home over George. George was in the bottom of all three challenges this week, while Freya was middling, middling, then bottom. Perhaps next week is meat week and they were doing her a solid.

I am honestly not terribly sad that Freya is gone. I do appreciate that she was bringing something interesting to her bakes and honestly cranked up the difficulty setting in being fully vegan. But I found her constant vocal fry and personality devoid of excitement when receiving praise to be a turn off. I just couldn’t find it in me to cheer for her like I do for most of the others remaining. I’m sure she will do well in whatever she pursues after the show, but I don’t believe it should be in front of a camera. 

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