I have been watching The Great British Baking Show quite a bit lately, and it has me thinking about cakes and pastries wayyyy more than I should be. Every challenge, I say out loud, “I would eat that right now. I want that!” It hasn’t been good for my bikini bod goals this spring.
There is coffee shop near my apartment that I frequent on weekends pretty often, and a coffee with their pumpkin bread has become a fun ritual for my man friend and I. We have even made our own a few times, not a simple feat given our in-aptitude for high altitude baking.
In any case, I have been thinking a lot about these excellent bakers on the Great British Baking Show and how they have become so good. We have sat on the coach, sipping hot beverages and eating snacks many a night wondering what the prize is for the GBBS winner. So far our research (minimal, admittedly) is NOTHING. These folks are out there cranking out cakes, crying, winning or losing, stressing, and more just for the benefit of being on the show.
Aside from the delectable baked goods and the beautiful emotions that happen on the show, I am consistently surprised by the simplicity of the baking components. Everything is some combination or version of sugar, butter, and flour. It is maddeningly simple that we can create such unique and magnificent baked creations using various proportions of a few core ingredients. Country singer of the 1950’s Harlan Howard is credited with saying that the only thing you need for a good song is “three chords and the truth.” This is certainly true in music, and it seems to be true in baking as well.
While I may be exaggerating the simplicity of a great pastry’s inner workings, I am not simplifying things that much. Sure, you often use eggs and new baking techniques use all kinds of substitutes, but I implore you to have an open mind. Please watch a few episodes of the GBBS and pay attention to what they are each putting into their blender or their dough each week. They set out to create new things and to accomplish new challenges at the direction of the show leaders, but they start off with the same few core ingredients.
This may not shock any of you. This will likely bore all of you. BUT, it is fascinating to me. I tend to live in lala land and visit earth every once in a while, usually when forced. So, to see this very regular, normal, everyday thing in life in a new way has been quite exciting for me. I have the apartment to myself for a few days and am excited to maybe bake some new things free from pressure or expectation. What shall I bake? Pumpkin bread with chocolate chips and frosting? Yeahhh, that is exactly what I was thinking too. How did you know?
Stay tuned until late next week to find out whether I did or did not complete this goal or try something completely different.