Great British Bake Off episode 5 2023 – Pastry Week

A wooden countertop displays three intricately designed pies. The first pie on the left has a woven top with a green book motif in the center. The middle pie showcases an artistic representation of a person in sunglasses holding a wine glass, surrounded by various objects like a plant. The third pie on the right depicts a detailed scene with a person wearing a hat and colorful attire, surrounded by cut-out shapes. In the background, there are kitchen utensils like scissors and a cooling rack. The logo for 'The Great British Bake Off' is positioned at the bottom right corner of the image.

Great British Bake Off episode 5 2023 – Pastry Week – This week, the oven timers ding for the much-anticipated Pastry Week, where our talented bakers face the multifaceted challenge of mastering savoury picnic pies, brimming with tantalizing fillings, encased in perfectly crimped crusts. The heat intensifies as they delve into the intricate art of classic French rough puff pastry—a task demanding delicate balance and precision. And for the grand finale, they must harness their creativity and baking prowess to concoct showstopping decorative sweet pies, where flavors burst and artistic designs captivate. In this flaky battlefield, the question looms: who will emerge as the baker with the true upper crust?



The much-anticipated fourteenth installment of the widely celebrated series, The Great British Bake Off, made its grand debut on the 26th of September 2023, continuing the tradition of culinary excellence and fierce competition. This series marked a significant change in the show’s ensemble, following the announcement in December 2022 by the much-adored presenter, Matt Lucas, who decided to bid farewell to the show after a remarkable three-series tenure that undoubtedly left an indelible mark on fans.



In a thrilling reveal, March 2023 bore witness to the announcement of Alison Hammond stepping into the considerable role left vacant by Lucas. Hammond, known for her infectious enthusiasm and charismatic presence, was set to join the iconic Noel Fielding, promising a dynamic co-hosting partnership that brimmed with potential for both humor and heartwarming moments.



The judging panel saw the return of the esteemed culinary connoisseurs, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. Both judges, revered for their profound expertise and critical yet constructive insights, were poised once again to evaluate the creations presented by the skillful contestants. Their presence continued to provide the series with a sense of continuity and professional rigor, much to the delight of long-standing viewers.

Eager audiences were not kept in suspense long regarding the newest batch of baking contestants. The official announcement, made on the 18th of September 2023, unveiled a diverse and talented lineup of bakers, each ready to delve into the high-pressure yet enchanting world of competitive baking. With a blend of unique personalities and unprecedented culinary talents, they were set to embark on a journey of flour-filled drama, delectable delights, and the pursuit of baking glory, all encapsulated in the latest exhilarating series of The Great British Bake Off.


Great British Bake Off episode 5 2023 – Pastry Week


This week, the oven timers ding for the much-anticipated Pastry Week, where our talented bakers face the multifaceted challenge of mastering savoury picnic pies, brimming with tantalizing fillings, encased in perfectly crimped crusts. The heat intensifies as they delve into the intricate art of classic French rough puff pastry—a task demanding delicate balance and precision. And for the grand finale, they must harness their creativity and baking prowess to concoct showstopping decorative sweet pies, where flavors burst and artistic designs captivate. In this flaky battlefield, the question looms: who will emerge as the baker with the true upper crust?


A History of Pastry in Baking

Pastry holds an illustrious place in the pantheon of baking. Its origins can be traced back millennia, with the earliest known pastry recipes found etched on ancient Babylonian tablets. The Egyptians further developed pastry dough techniques, using oil rather than butter, to harness the magic that occurs when fat is rubbed into flour. But it was the ancient Greeks who transformed simple pastries into veritable works of art, creating multi-layered dough masterpieces.

The Romans spread pastry fare across their vast empire. In medieval Europe, globetrotting crusaders returned home with exotic spices and ingredients that soon found their way into pastry recipes. Offshoots like the French croissant, the Italian calzone, and British pork pie were born. By the Renaissance era, pastry had become an enduring symbol of culinary prestige.

Today, its popularity remains ascendant, from the ubiquitous apple pie to cronuts and elevated tarts served in Michelin-starred restaurants. For bakers, conquering pastry week on the Bake Off remains a rite of passage.


The Science Behind Pastry’s Allure

So what gives pastry its coveted status in the baking world? The answer lies in science. Pastry dough contains relatively more fat versus flour compared to bread dough. When rolled out, these thin sheets of fat and flour create flaky layers. During baking, water in the butter creates steam, resulting in the beloved puff pastry effect.

Executing this delicately balanced chemistry is an art. The butter must be chilled to precisely the right temperature and incorporated just so. Seasoned bakers know tender, yielding pastry comes down to mastering this science. For Bake Off contenders, the stakes are high to perfect not just the chemistry but to also imbue their creations with beauty and their unique stamp.

Great British Bake Off episode 5 2023
Great British Bake Off episode 5 2023


Savoury Pastry Bakes – A British Favourite

The signature challenge for pastry week specially hit close to home, as bakers were tasked with creating a British classic – the humble picnic pie. These handheld pies with savoury fillings hold a special place in British food culture. Their popularity soared in the 13th century as portable items that could be tucked into pockets or saddlebags. The crimped edges created a perfect sealing to keep the filling safely encased.

While in Medieval times, fillings were frugal, modern picnic pies burst with lush ingredients like roasted chicken, steak, or cheese paired with vegetables. Top contenders balance creamy fillings with the light flakiness of the pastry shell. Decorative crimping and strategic venting add visual flair. For Bake Off competitors, perfecting these little parcels offered a chance to showcase their skill in encasing flavours within delicate pastry cocoons.


The Art and Precision of Rough Puff Pastry

Moving from savoury to sweet, the technical challenge brought with it a classic French technique – rough puff pastry. This multilayered dough requires artistry and precision. Unlike the chilled block of butter encased in flour dough in regular puff, rough puff incorporates butter directly into the flour using a fraisage technique of ‘smearing’ until a flaky dough forms.

When baked, this dough then rises into ethereal layers, the holy grail of pastry. For Bake Off technicals, executing this difficult dough without the comfort of a familiar recipe tests the bakers’ intrinsic grasp of pastry fundamentals. The inclusion of ‘rough puff’ in particular as opposed to classic puff added an extra variable, demanding an adjustable hand to achieve the desired flaky glory.


Showstopper Challenge – Where Creativity Meets Pastry Prowess

After testing their technical skills, the bakers faced a creative finale by crafting uniquely envisioned sweet pies that doubled as works of art. This showstopper challenge required not just masterful pastry skills but also bold artistic visions.

Whether modern flavor combinations or elegant old-world classics, their creations had to achieve flavor and texture perfection while encapsulating their personal style and baking philosophy. The bakers reached deep within to produce centerpiece pies that wowed not just with flavor but through striking designs, displayed like sculptural installations.

This challenge separated the wheat from the chaff, with some designers falling short on taste while others struggled to fulfill their ambitious visions. But a select few managed to harmoniously blend creativity, stellar pastry technique and enticing aromas in their pie toppings to emerge as star bakers.

In the high-stakes pressure cooker of the Bake Off tent, pastry week distinctly sorts the contenders, testing every facet of their skill and poise. For viewers, it serves up an irresistible indulgence, with layers of drama against the backdrop of to-die-for baked creations. But for the competitors themselves, pastry week represents a trial by fire on the path to baking glory.


The Psychology Behind Baking Mishaps

As pastry week unfolds, inevitable mishaps emerge despite the bakers’ expertise. From soggy bottoms to collapsed showstoppers, where does this disconnect between vision and execution come from?

Baking psychology reveals factors like intense time pressure and being outside one’s comfort zone can impede performance. Within the cauldron of the Bake Off tent, anxiety and nerves chip away at working memory needed for multi-step execution. Technical challenges especially amplify stress as bakers grapple with unfamiliar recipes.

Personality also plays a role. Perfectionists like Syabria may find their exacting natures a double-edged sword under pressure. Meanwhile, Zen-like Janusz relies on an even-keeled approach to maintain consistency. Understanding these psychological traits helps explain why some thrive under fire while others falter.

For many bakers, their worst enemy is their own self-doubts. Fears of not living up to expectations can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Overcoming inner critics and focusing on the sensory joy of baking is key to finding flow state amid chaos.


The Journey of Growth and Self-Discovery

More than a baking contest, Bake Off is a crucible for growth. For bakers like Rowan, far from home at just 21, it accelerates the journey of self-discovery. Thrust into complex challenges outside her experience level, Rowan learns about her strengths but also her gaps. Her willingness to take risks earns admiration, though sometimes at the expense of finesse. Through harsh critiques and triumphs alike, Rowan gains insight into her identity as a baker.

A collection of golden-brown pastries is displayed on a dark plate, each topped with a small green leafy garnish. Sprigs of rosemary are scattered amongst the pastries. The background shows a portion of a wooden countertop. The logo for 'The Great British Bake Off' appears prominently at the bottom of the image.
Bake Off episode 5 2023 – Pastry Week

For all contestants, the experience of surviving new trials each week galvanizes their understanding of themselves and their purpose, shaping who they become as bakers. Though the growth process can be painful at times, the greater the adversity, the more profound the self-knowledge. Bake Off reveals that our potential often far exceeds what we believe possible.


The Alchemy of Flavour and Texture

Bake Off elicits awe through the science and wizardry of transforming raw ingredients into feats of flavour and texture. In pastry week, this alchemy requires mastering the architecture of dough and fat. Creating those ethereal flaky layers comes down to precise choreography of butter incorporation.

Eliciting depth of flavour depends on balancing seasonings and using quality ingredients like real vanilla or Valrhona chocolate. Such details separate the good from the sublime. The bakers’ journeys highlight how even basic recipes can transcend into the realm of art when crafted with care and a spirit of discovery.


Defining the Qualities of a Master Baker

So what distinguishes the master bakers as they navigate Pastry Week? Attention to detail emerges as a key trait, from precise measurements to careful monitoring during baking. A deep intuition guides their hands in feeling when dough achieves that perfect silky consistency.

Creativity and fearlessness to experiment also characterize the standouts, like Janusz’s global inspirations. But most vital is their relationship with baking itself. The top bakers exude a childlike wonder and passion. Through ups and downs, they remain absorbed in their craft, discovering new sides of themselves through each creation. Such mindfulness and connection prove the ultimate secret ingredient.


The Legendary Handshake: Harder to Earn than Gold

Perhaps no symbol encapsulates the heart of Bake Off more than Paul Hollywood’s coveted handshake for exceptional bakes. Its power derives not from any prize value but as a sign of ultimate professional respect. For the bakers, it cements self-belief and reaffirms their efforts.

Despite its whimsical nature, the handshake holds weight. It cannot be demanded, only earned through bakes that exhibit technical mastery with a measure of heart. When it finally arrives, the honor stays etched in memory long after any finished showpiece crumbles.

As much as any trophy, this brief human contact represents the pinnacle. For it signifies that a baker has unlocked the pure joy and passion that called them to baking in the first place.


The Lasting Appeal of Comfort Food

While flaunting advanced skills, Bake Off still captivates through classic comfort foods like pies that awaken nostalgia. Year after year, we delight in rediscovering homely bakes elevated to new heights yet retaining their soothing familiarity.

This emotional component helps explain why otherwise ordinary items like bread and cakes have achieved global resonance. The bakers’ creations transcend culture or language through their embodiment of warmth, community, and human creativity.

Even amidst ever more flashy concoctions, the true icons of Bake Off have been its humbler fare, prepared with generosity of spirit. Their ubiquity speaks to how even simple things well-made can become exceptional and honor tradition while feeling novel.


Final Takeaways from Pastry Week

As another pastry week concludes, key lessons emerge for bakers aiming to level up their skills. First and foremost is embracing patience and precision, from proper chilling of dough to careful shaping. Rushing the process leads to flawed results.

Second, taste each component separately during preparation to better understand its role in the final product. Third, vary the fats used – butter, lard, suet each contribute distinct flakiness. Finally, save time for cool down before baking to relax the dough.

Beyond technical insights, pastry week again shows Bake Off’s enduring charm. Its pleasures are sensory yet emotional, taking us back to nostalgic joy of baking with loved ones. Through victory and defeat, growth happens, both in craft and character. What remains is the knowledge that one need not be perfect to find wholeness through baking.


The Takeaway: It’s the Journey, Not Just the Destination

In the end, Bake Off reminds us life’s joys come from the journey as much as the destination. While awards await some bakers, all will emerge better for having experienced the ride.

Along the way, they slow down, embrace patience, and reconnect with their faith in themselves. Against a landscape of elaborate creations, we’re reminded that perfection lies not in grandiosity but in the determination to try again. Bake Off reveals that if you honor the process, taste and technique can always improve.

Winners or not, each contestant, like each viewer journeying with them, leaves with less self-doubt, more resilience, and renewed inspiration to savor each moment. That is the greatest prize of all.



Pastry Week represents a pivotal point in separating true contenders on Bake Off, testing every aspect of skill and nerve. Creating perfect pastry demands honing an extensive array of techniques from dough lamination to intricate crimping and shaping. Beyond technical prowess, the bakers must demonstrate creativity, resourcefulness, and grace under pressure.

Those who thrive do so by harmonizing left-brain exacting qualities with right-brain imagination and flexibility. Their path highlights how dedication, self-discovery, and human connection remain vital ingredients even amid the most dazzling constructions. While only one can take home the trophy, all participants emerge enriched by pushing boundaries and deepening passions.

Through vicariously experiencing the competitive thrills and poignant personal journeys, viewers gain inspiration to pursue growth and meaning in their own lives. Bake Off’s enduring appeal owes to its power to delight and transport us while revealing new truths about ourselves – and the alchemy that occurs when purpose meets perseverance. Pastry Week, like the show itself, reminds us that with care and vision even life’s simplest ingredients can be elevated into spectacular creations.


Frequently Asked Questions


What types of pastry challenges did the bakers face in Pastry Week?

They tackled savory hot water crust pies, delicate palmiers, and elaborate showstopping decorative pies.

Which contestant was eliminated at the end of Pastry Week?

21-year-old Rowan’s baking journey came to an end after struggling with technical aspects.

What was the source of the most drama during the episode?

The demanding palmier technical challenge separated strong bakers from those with gaps in fundamental pastry skills.

How did the bakers manage stress during the high-pressure challenges?

Approaches ranged from Zen attitude to intense perfectionism. Self-doubt often sabotaged success.

What was the biggest lesson learned from Pastry Week?

Patience and precision are vital. Even simple bakes require care and mindfulness at every step to achieve greatness.

14 thoughts on “Great British Bake Off episode 5 2023 – Pastry Week”

  1. You recorded the ads that appear, and they got mixed within the show. I can’t hear the audio of the show because of it. Can you reupload a fixed version?

  2. Why are the commercials playing right through the show (GBBO) commercial audio coming through the show

  3. Hey, the file is messed up. Starting around 11 minutes, the audio from the commercials starts playing.

    1. Also audio from TV adverts during the judging of the technical bake portion.
      Both versions (video links) have the same audio problem.
      Thanks for all your hard work!

  4. Same issue with commerical audio playing over the judging of the technical. Could be more later in the episode but decided to stop watching. Really appreciate you uploading these videos so promptly and usually there aren’t any issues. Just a glitchy week.

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