At this stage in the competition nothing ever comes easy as judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry do their best to sift (sorry!) out the strongest bakers. Sweet dough we thought, 'this'll be a breeze. A little brioche? No problem!' But quickly we realised this was unchartered teritory for a lot of our remaining Bake Off contestants.
Last week, the girls continued their lucky streak as poor Rob was voted out, so we were quietly rooting for one of the boys to take centre stage this week. As we are more than half way through, the competition intensified in the way only The Bake Off could, with mostly good humour and a few puns from hosts Sue and Mel mixed in with a few wobbly moments from the contestants.
Signature round: Tea Loaf
Perhaps a little less glam than the usual signature round, the humble tea loaf is something which is often overlooked, but everyone loves a classic now and then, sliced and spread with butter beside a hot cuppa? Well, it'd be rude not to.
So, anyway back to the Bake Off...
Made sweet with tea-soaked fruit, these traditional loaves came in many shapes and sizes. There were chai loaves, hemp loaves and even a panettone loaf among the offerings for Mary and Paul but what was even more interesting was some of the contestants' techniques.
Teacher Glen was left unsure of his cooling process after Paul planted the seed of doubt in his mind when he asked how his bake was going to be cooled. Charmingly inventive, Glen managed to prepare some sort of pulley system with a pan, string and a handful of metal skewers to hang his panettone upside down, avoiding the famous soggy bottom.
Poor Howard was left deflated after presenting his date and hemp Yorkshire tea loaf to the judges only to be told, quite flatly, by Mary that it was ‘different'.
Technical challenge: Apricot couronne
In classic Paul fashion his Techincal Challenge was something hard to
pronounce and even harder to master - a sweet dough ring
called a 'couronne' which requires much kneading, proving and nimble-fingered twisting.
Without much instruction and with a lot of hurdles to overcome, the bakers dove head first into the signature bake this week with many having never made one before.
It was again a battle of the boys at the bottom of the pack, as Glenn's apricot twist was voted in last place for being too thin, doughy and over-baked - ouch!
Fancy twisting some dough of your own? Our sweet almond plait is made the same way as a couronne and can easily be given a Paul Hollywood twist with a little apricot jam and a wreath shape. Recipe here.
Showstopper: European buns
A suitably vague title opened up a world of possibilities for our bakers. The contestants were challenged to bake their way to victory by making a whopping 36 perfectly-puffed buns. There was Swedish cinnamon buns to German schnecken and French brioches.
Now, this is usually our favourite round, but the showstopper this week proved (sorry, again!) stifling for the creatives of the group with only one or two presenting their buns in an interesting fashion. We were disappointed, but knew that there would always be couple who would persevere with elaborate presentation and fiddly decoration.
As we were yet again unable to taste the creations for ourselves (when are they going to invent edible telly?), we formed our opinions on looks alone and here's what we thought: We loved the look of Howard's little peachy buns that were baked with a spoon handle across the top to create a little dent and decorated with a leaf.
In true Francis style she brought her buns to the table with a flourish and presented her two bun recipes as alternating noughts and crosses. If only she had let us play!
Poor Glen had a nightmare with his cinnamon swirls as they stuck to the tin and wriggled all over the place, having only minutes earlier declared proudly that nothing could go wrong - whoops!
Week 6 summary
Ruby was told off for ‘always coming forlorn and saying "if only''' by Mary as she apologised for her chocolate buns which she thought were over baked. However the judges received them well and congratulated her on her delicious and well-baked goods.
But devastatingly it was Howard who didn't make the cut this week. After six weeks in the show, he'd become something of a national sweetheart and we were really sad to see him go. We weren't alone in our forlorn state either. Glen felt the full effect of Mary and Paul's decision as he wept onto Howard's shoulders that it should have been him and Twitter was flooded with tweets of 'Howard, noooooo'. We hope Glen can pull himself together by next week, he's the last boy standing after all!
Best bake: Purely based on looks, Howard's buns
Best moment: Kimberley profiling all other contestants by describing their baking personalities!
Star baker: Ruby
Going home: Howard
Pun of the week: 'Why where her buns so famous?'
Next week: Pastry
Where to next?