What better time to get ready for Valentine's Day treats than to try some recipes from the ever popular television program: The Great British Bake Off, found on local PBS stations and YouTube. The show is hosted by Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, a pair of cut-ups, with the hard core judging done by two redoubtable bakers, Mary Berry, aka Mary Queen of Cakes, and Paul Hollywood--their real names by gum. Mary Berry has a solid background in food preparation and judging, having graduated from Bath College of Domestic Science where she studied catering, and definitely belies her octogenarian years. Paul Hollywood's father and grandfather were master bakers, and his appearance may resemble some other TV food program hosts, but not his seriousness and background in food, in particular baking. Mary and Paul are very precise in their criticism of each competitor's creation, and where needed offer helpful advice on how to improve. Both of these bakers also provide hands-on demonstrations in baking complicated recipes. The program and the book offer a certain amount of levity, but are grounded in a serious approach to baking.
This book has the work of the 2016 bakers/competitors, with recipes from Mary and Paul. For beginners, the recipes for cakes, especially with the photos of perfectly decorated cakes, may be a bit off-putting, but those for biscuits, aka cookies, and teatime treats are more approachable. The chapter on bread includes several quick-breads, those that do not require yeast. The Savory Bakes chapter provides great ideas for party appetizers. In addition there are Desserts & Puddings and Sweet Pastry & Patisserie. The recipe pages have a clear lay-out. There are metric conversion tables, baking tips, basic recipes beautiful color photographs throughout, and the sturdy binding and paper will be appreciated by serious bakers.
The 2015 winner was Nadiya Hussain, and her acceptance speech drew tears from tough judge, Mary Berry. Nadiya was invited to bake a multi-layered cake for the 90th birthday celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II.
Here are a few other Great British Bake Off books, with two from Mary and Paul: The great British bake off : big book of baking; Cooking with Mary Berry; Paul Hollywood's British Baking; Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood have many more cookbooks which are in our library's collection.