Series 1 of The Great British Bake Off, aired on BBC 2 saw ten home bakers take part in a bake-off to test every aspect of their baking skills as they battled to be crowned the Great British Bake Off’s best amateur baker. Each week the nationwide tour saw keen bakers put through three challenges in a particular discipline. The rounds took place in various locations across the UK following a theme, for example, the episode on puddings would take place in Bakewell, bread baking would take place near Sandwich. This first series had a voiceover by Stephen Noonan; for the subsequent series this role was taken by the on-screen presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.
This first show uncovers that Queen Victoria is responsible for Britain's wedding cake tradition, that the Puritans tried to ban cake because it was too pleasurable, and that cake baking contributed to women's liberation.
The ten bakers tackle three increasingly difficult challenges as their cake-making ability is tested. They start with their signature bake – the cake they love that says something about them. Next up is the technical challenge – a blind recipe for Victoria sandwich that delivers drastically different results. Finally they tackle the ingredient even professionals fear – chocolate. Whose chocolate celebration cake will win the day? And which two bakers will leave the show at the end?
Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins take the eight passionate home bakers who made it through the first round to Scone Palace near Perth to make biscuits and teatime treats.
Judging their efforts are renowned baking writer Mary Berry and master baker Paul Hollywood.
Over two days the home bakers are set three increasingly difficult challenges as they bake their signature biscuits, attempt many a baker's nemesis – scones – and finally a tower of petit fours with meringues, choux pastry and macaroons.
As the bakers battle it out, Mel and Sue find out how the digestive became Britain's favourite biscuit; ask what's so Scottish about shortbread and discover why Sir Ranulph Fiennes has the world's most expensive biscuit.
Which of the eight bakers will wow the judges with their originality and skill? And which two bakers will fail to make it through to the next round?
It is week three of the competition and the six remaining bakers are making bread in Kent. If they found cakes and biscuits challenging, it’s bread that’s considered the real test of a baker’s mettle.
In the shadow of Sarre Windmill, the bakers will be kneading, proving and knocking back their dough under the watchful eye of baking writer Mary Berry and master baker Paul Hollywood. And as they battle it out to produce the perfect loaf, Mel and Sue will be tasting Britain’s earliest bread roll, finding out what happened to bread during the Industrial Revolution and relating the hidden history of the sandwich.
Making bread is an ancient skill. Which of the bakers will best cope with the pressure and who will be the one who has to leave the Bake Off?
It’s week four of and the remaining five bakers have travelled to Bakewell in Derbyshire. This time the bakers are reinventing an often neglected British classic – the pudding.
There will be sticky toffee puds, peach and blueberry ”boy-bait’, rhubarb and orange betty and a cherry queen of puddings.
But the surprise bake set by judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry really tests the baker’s ability to cope with the pressure. Will the bakers rise to the occasion?
As the puds go in the oven, Mel and Sue roam the country finding out how and why puddings changed from ‘meat’ to ‘sweet’, visiting the birthplace of school puddings and discovering how puddings helped change Britain’s image overseas.
It’s the penultimate round and as the travelling marquee pitches up in the Cornish village of Mousehole, it’s time for the bakers to get to grips with the most difficult of all baking skills – pastry. They bake their own versions of hearty British pies, get down to details with exquisite pastry canapés, and take a crash-course in crimping for this week’s surprise bake.
While they’re rubbing-in and rolling-out, Mel and Sue will be finding out that Britain’s earliest pies really were humble, how pastry became an art form and how pies used to have a more sinister side.
Then judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood will decide who will be the final three to go through to the final.
It's the Grand Final and the last three surviving contestants face their biggest challenge yet - baking for the Bake Off's Afternoon Tea Party. In order to be crowned the victor, they will need to bring together all of their skills, making cakes, bread and pastry.