The Great British Bake Off is one of the most popular shows on British television, which is quite a feat considering that Bake Off is famously twee and prefers technical bakes and soggy bottoms to wine tosses and screams of “Rickayyyyy” (yes Eastenders, we’re looking at you).
The Great British Bake Off debuted on the BBC in the summer of 2010 and went on to achieve huge success, as well as resulting in renewed fame for the original line-up of judges and presenters, namely Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. At one point during the 2014 series, contestant Diana made the decision to remove her fellow baker Iain’s Baked Alaska from a freezer prematurely, causing it to melt and resulting in Iain throwing his creation in the bin. The moment secured GBBO’s place in British television history, sparking a huge national debate which saw the scandal grace the front page of several national newspapers and someone change Diana’s Wikipedia page to label her an ‘ice cream melting supervillain’ (bit harsh).
In 2017, the BBC made the shocking announcement that Great British Bake Off would be leaving the channel and finding a new home on Channel 4. The move also saw judge Mary Berry, plus hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc quit the show, although judge Paul Hollywood stayed. The revamped series now airs on Channel 4 towards the end of each year and has since been warmly received by most critics and viewers, proving that Bake Off hadn’t lost its magic.
Now, The Great British Bake Off is back for another year, bringing some much needed light relief to what has been a challenging 2021 for most. To give you the full lowdown on everything you need to know about this year’s series, we’ve rounded up details on everything from the contestants and judges all the way through to how the Coronavirus pandemic affected filming. Read below to get all the answers you’ve been looking for - happy baking!
Who left Great British Bake Off last week?
The 12th series of GBBO got off to a flying start, with the judging panel donning wigs and partaking in a musical intro sequence that featured a rendition of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’. Next, this year’s batch of bakers were tasked with creating a mini roll, before taking on the technical challenge of recreating a malt loaf from a stripped back recipe. Finally, the showstopper challenge saw the bakers attempt anti-gravity cakes - in the end it was IT professional Jurgen who won star baker, while software developer Tom failed to impress the judges and was the first to be sent home.
The second episode of the series saw the contestants tackle Biscuit Week. First, they were tasked with creating a classic Brandy snap, before the technical challenge asked them to create 12 ‘Jammie Biscuits’ (we’re guessing Channel 4’s lawyers put the kibosh on the judges calling them Jammie Dodgers). For the showstopper challenge, the bakers had to create a 3D biscuit-based creation: Jurgen’s windmill tower saw him crowned Star Baker for the second week in a row, while Jairzeno’s poorly constructed biscuit ship saw him fall foul of the judges and become the second contestant to be eliminated.
For this episode, the contestants were faced with bread week. First, the bakers were asked to try their hand at making focaccia, before the technical challenge saw them attempt to recreate ciabatta breadsticks from a limited recipe, This week’s showstopper was all about milk bread and it was Giuseppe who nabbed Star Baker after impressing the judges with his vegetable patch themed creation. Unfortunately for Rochica, the judges found her birdcage inspired milk bread to be lacking and she became the third contestant of the series to be sent home.
Pudding fans rejoice, as it’s dessert week. For the signature challenge this week, the remaining bakers had to pull off a pavlova, while the technical challenge saw them whip up four individual sticky toffee puddings. This week’s showstopper is a celebratory joconde imprime - if you’re as confused as us, it’s apparently a sheet of sponge cake that has been imprinted with a different color of batter and was originally inspired by the Mona Lisa. Chigs won Star Baker for the first time this week after impressing the judges, while it was goodbye to the show’s oldest contestant Maggie, who was eliminated after forgetting to add flour to her sticky toffee puddings...
This episode, the bakers tackled the show’s first ever German Week. The signature challenge saw the bakers tasked with making 24 identical German-style biscuits, while the technical challenge was a Prince Regent Cake: eight layers of genoise sandwiched with chocolate custard and coated in ganache. This week’s showstopper was yeast leavened cakes, with Guiseppe impressing the judges most and being awarded Star Baker. It was the end of the road for this year’s youngest baker, 19 year old vegan Freya, whose cake was described as “a bit messy” by judge Prue.
For the sixth episode of the series, this year’s batch of bakers tackled Pastry Week. First up, it was the signature challenge in which the bakers had to get choux buns exactly right. For this week’s technical challenge, the contestants had to tackle Ottoman sweet treat baklava and were given three hours to get it right (highlighting the difficulty of the challenge). For a showstopper, the bakers had to come up with their take on an intricate terrine pie. Crystelle impressed the judges with her pie and was crowned this week’s Star Baker, while it was the end of the road for Amanda, whose not quite good enough attempts saw her leave the tent.
The seventh week in the tent saw the bakers tackle the sticky subject of caramel. For the signature challenge, the bakers had to whip up a number of caramel tarts, while the technical challenge saw the contestants trying to create 10 identical caramel shortbread biscuit bars. This week’s showstopper had the rather lofty brief of “a visually spectacular caramel-flavoured dessert, complete with an exquisite caramel dome or sphere”. Once again, it was Jurgen who took Star Baker (his third time winning the accolade), while it was the end of the road for George, who despite making a decent showstopper, was let down by his performance in the first two challenges.
The quarter finals of GBBO introduced Free-From week to the tent which saw the bakers tackle vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free bakes. Most contestants glided through the signature challenge unscathed, impressing the judges with a series of dairy-free ice cream sandwiches, while the technical brought a slightly trickier feat – vegan sausage rolls. The showstopper challenge this week was gluten-free cakes and, despite impressing with a multi-coloured cake that represented her Special Educational Needs (SEN), the judges decided it was Lizzie’s turn to leave the tent. On a brighter note, Chigs was awarded the accolade of star baker with his gluten-free red velvet celebration cake.
Episode 9 of GBBO was devastating for some as much-loved Jurgen got voted out the tent by judges Paul and Prue. It was patisserie week for the semi-finals, with bakers tackling layer cakes in the signature challenge and a sable Breton tart for the technical. The showstopper was a themed banquet display arranged around an edible centrepiece – so you know, no biggie. Crystelle won star baker for her 'Tropical Wedding' showstopper (plus a handshake in the first round), while Jurgen's ‘Torii gate in the sea’ was criticised for being bland and wasn’t enough to get him through.
It might have been coined by the judges as one of the closest finals in Bake Off history, but the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off 2021 is Giuseppe Dell’Anno. So, let’s rewind to the events that led to his victory. Bakers were tasked with making a carrot cake for the signature challenge – plain and simple – while the technical elicited another (seemingly) straightforward feat: Belgian buns. All three bakers struggled however, and Giuseppe actually came in last with his overbaked batch. The showstopper brief was to make an Outstanding Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Display made from sweet and savoury elements and showcasing at least four baking techniques. All three bakers produced some truly spectacular creations, but even with a major setback where he forgot to preheat his oven, Giuseppe pulled through with a giant brioche mushroom, ‘drink me’ panna cottas, heart-shaped orange and fig muffins and a choux caterpillar. A huge congratulations to all three finalists – we expect they’ll go far.
When is Great British Bake off 2021 on?
GBBO usually airs towards the end of the summer season, but this year filming was delayed slightly due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The latest series kicks off on 21 September 2021 at 8pm on Channel 4.
Meet the Great British Bake Off 2021 contestants
This year’s batch of bakers will see 12 contestants taking part, which is one less than a 'baker's dozen' of 13. The show is typically filmed on weekends across three months, but the Coronavirus pandemic meant contestants were instead asked to take six weeks off work and all live together in a secure filming location.
Find out more about this year's line-up of GBBO contestants below.
Profession: Shared lives co-ordinator
George's baking obsession is rooted in his Greek-Cypriot’s family's love of all-things food. He now bakes regularly at the home he shares with his wife, three kids and a whole load of pets (we assume they're not given many tasting rights). Dave's baking strengths include adding a classy touch to puds and bringing a bit of vintage flair to his creations, he says.
Profession: Car production operative
Raised in Liverpool, Lizzie is a keen dancer who also loves a bit of grit delivered by way of true crime dramas. Lizzie enjoys a good old-fashioned cake bake and says she prefers distinctive, delicious flavours and simple presentation over fancy presentation. Quite controversially, she doesn't like cheese in bread. TBC how that attitude is received by the Great British public.
As a father of three young sons, Giuseppe loves to make treats for his family in his spare time - saying he'd rather feed them homemade goods than buy sweets from the shops. A dreamy dad, we're sure you'll agree. Originally from Italy, Giuseppe now lives and works in Bristol and loves to use traditional Italian flavours in his bakes. We're expecting precision engineering from him.
Profession: Psychology student
This year's youngest baker, Freya lives at home with her parents and is currently studying for a degree in psychology. Plant-based goodies are her niche, which she originally got interested in as a way to treat her dad. She says she can create vegan bakes that taste just as good as the originals, and enjoys intricate presentation styles.
Profession: Software developer
With many facets, Tom enjoys running, singing and acting as well as the required baking. His passion for baking was only ignited four years back after his dad made a stand-out sticky pud that piqued his interest, and the Kent-dweller now loves nothing more than rustling up sweet treats, as well as pies, quiches and breads. He loves a theme apparently which can only be a good thing for a GBBO contestant.
Profession: Junior HR business partner
A keen dancer since the age of two, Rochica was left unable perform and while injured took up baking. She now loves to whip up delicious things for her niece and nephew (biscuits are a favourite of theirs apparently), and takes inspiration from her Jamaican family for her creations. She feels particularly proud when her nan or aunty says her bakes taste like something they would have had as children.
Having moved to the UK in 2003, Jürgen is originally from the Black Forrest in Germany. He now lives with his wife and sons in Sussex and specialises in breads. His interest in baking began back in 2003 when he couldn't find his favourite German bread anywhere here, so decided to recreate his own. He's now also apparently famed for his Jewish challah bread and his over-the-top celebration cakes he lavishes on friends and family.
Profession: Client relationship manager
Speaking four languages, quadrilingual Crystelle loves to celebrate her diverse heritage in her baking (born in London to Kenyan born, Portuguese-Goan parents, no less). A keen singer in her spare time, Crystelle loves to add unexpected spices to her bakes and takes inspiration from the places around the world she has visited.
Profession: Sales manager
Having only begun baking in lockdown, Chigs is fairly new to the world of flour, butter and eggs. Working through online videos he taught himself the basics and can now master complex bakes and intricate chocolate design work. Bravo, Chigs. With a love of the great outdoors, in his spare time Chigs also loves walking, skydiving and bouldering.
Profession: Met Police detective
Bake Off's second Greek-Cypriot contestant for 2021 is Amanda, a Met police detective who learned the art of baking from her aunt. With a background in design before she moved to the police, Amanda loves to create visually beautiful bakes and has been known to hand-paint cakes that are inspired by her daughters.
Profession: Head of finance
With six years of baking experience under his belt, Jairzeno picked up his skills back in 2014 when he became tired of trying bakes that didn't taste as good as they looked. He loves a perfect pâtissérie finish and to use Caribbean spices in his creations.
Profession: Retired nurse and midwife
Maggie is the tent's oldest baker this year, and used to work as a nurse and midwife. Using her impressive library of cookbooks, Maggie loves to recreate classic bakes while giving them a new twist by using slightly unusual ingredients. Fiercely active, Maggie enjoys being on the water and is a keen sailor and kayaker.
What are the three challenges in The Great British Bake Off?
Each episode of The Great British Bake Off follows the same format, with bakers asked to complete three challenges in every episode. At the end of the day, one contestant is crowned that week’s Star Baker and one contestant is sent home. Although the format remains the same throughout the series, each episode is focused around a different theme, such as ‘bread week’ or ‘biscuit week’.
The Signature Bake
Every week, the first task the bakers undertake is the Signature Bake. For this challenge, the contestants have to create a classic baked treat, giving it a rustic and home-made feel. In the current series, signature bakes have included mini rolls, brandy snaps and focaccia.
The second challenge the bakers face is the Technical. Here, bakers are tasked with recreating a classic bake using a limited recipe. Each baker is given the same recipe sheet and instructions, but key elements have been intentionally left out and its up to the bakers to fill in the gaps.
The final challenge the bakers face each week is the Showstopper. This is the chance for contestants to really show off their skills, by creating something that is dramatic and elaborate. Of course, in order to win the coveted Star Baker accolade, the bakes need to taste just as good as they look.
When is The Great British Bake Off final?
The official date for The Great British Bake Off final has yet to be announced by Channel 4, but it is likely to air on Tuesday 23 November.
How does The Great British Bake Off final work?
The final round of The Great British Bake Off sees three remaining contestants battle it out to take the Bake Off crown. The format of the final isn’t dissimilar to the rest of the series, with the three remaining bakers still undergoing a signature, technical and showstopper challenge.
However, this time around, the challenges are stepped up a gear - in past series, finalists have been asked to bake a perfect Victoria sponge without having a recipe to follow and been tasked with creating a full picnic spread featuring sausage rolls, quiches, fruit tarts and other picnic staples. The final tasks for The Great British Bake Off’s 2021 edition have yet to be revealed, but if previous challenges are anything to go by, they certainly won’t be easy,
Who won The Great British Bake Off 2021?
Italian engineer Giuseppe Dell’Anno was crowned the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2021 after producing a spectacular Mad Hatter's display titled 'What Is The Hatter With Me'. His showstopper bake included a giant tear-and-share brioche mushroom, 'drink me' pannacottas, heart-shaped muffins and a savoury pea and asparagus choux caterpillar. The other two finalists were Chigs and Crystelle.
Which channel is Great British Bake Off 2021 on?
GBBO originally aired on the BBC, but was controversially sold to a new channel in 2016. The 2021 series will be the fifth one to air on Bake Off’s new home, Channel 4.
Who judges Great British Bake off 2021?
When the programme moved from the BBC to Channel 4, it lost presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, as well as judge Mary Berry. However, the new version of the show retained original judge Paul Hollywood, who was joined by new presenters Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, as well as judge Prue Leith.
In January of 2020, Toksvig announced that she would be departing the series and in March that year, it was announced that comedian Matt Lucas would be taking her place. For 2021, all of the existing judging panel and presenting team are returning.
Watch the trailer for Great British Bake Off 2021
Channel 4 has released a short teaser trailer for the new series of the show, alongside the caption "loaf is in the air". Watch it below.
Who won Great British Bake Off 2020?
Peter Sawkins won the Great British Bake Off 2020 after a particularly close final where he beat fellow contestants Laura Adlington and Dave Friday becoming the youngest ever winner. It was his sweet nature and consistant bakes that not only got him the crown, but also won the heart of the nation.
Bake Off was actually the inspiration for Edinburgh-born Peter to start baking - he had watched every single series. Throughout the series he loved to use Scottish ingredients in his bakes, such as berries, whisky, oats and honey.
Prefer buying your sweet treats to making them yourself? Check out the best bakeries in London.