Poor Paul Hollywood. The Great British Bake Off judge was doing a sterling job of describing how to bake a good Cottage Loaf for the Technical Challenge this week, keeping a straight face as he delivered innuendo after innuendo – and then Prue Leith broke him.
As he explained without a hint of a smile, Paul wanted the contestants to deliver a bread with “good slashes all the way around.”
With one little loaf balanced on top of a bread ball like a gluten version of BB-8, shaping would be a key point: “You’ve got to be able to bond the top with the bottom. If they don’t, the bottom will blow off the top.”
He continued: “It’s all about making both of the balls quite tight. And the way you do that – and the way I do it – is just drive my finger right through to the tray underneath.”
Danger zone! Prue Leith leaned over to her new Channel 4 compatriot and, with a little grin, asked: “Do you flour your finger?”
It was too much for Paul. He broke down in giggles.
“I could oil it,” he suggested finally.
As we reach episode three, it’s great to see Prue settling in as one half of the Bake Off judging duo. The more she relaxes, the more personality she shows. Paul may be more used to working with Mary Berry, but their bond is forming like two parts of… well, a Cottage Loaf.
Of course, she’s not the only one to have mined the humour in Paul’s Cottage Loaf bread fingering technique.
Minutes later, in the tent, baker Stacey Hart shows us how it’s done. “What Paul does is he sticks his fingers in the flour,” she says with an eyebrow waggle. “And he goes down like that, with two fingers, up and down like that. I just know how he does it.”
The Great British Bake Off airs on Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4