Previously on The Great British Baking Show...

Previously on The Great British Baking Show...

Get amped for season 12 by taking a trip through last season's highlights.

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Title card of The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

Netflix has announced that the new season of The Great British Baking Show premieres Friday, September 24, and if you’re having trouble containing your excitement, we’re right there with you. To help you emotionally prepare for another ten weeks of tasty bakes, soggy bottoms, and yelling at the television, here’s a look back at the edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that was season 11, one episode recap at a time.

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Episode One: Cake Week

Episode One: Cake Week

The Great British Baking Show Season 11 Cake Week Celebrity Cakes
Screenshot: Netflix

As it does every year, The Great British Baking Show kicks off the season with Cake Week, and introduces us to 12 of the most delightful folks British telly has ever given us, ostensibly as an apology for Piers Morgan. There’s a metal–loving pantomime producer who bakes a mean Battenberg cake, a 20-year-old badminton enthusiast with a penchant for gluten-free sweets, a man who knows how to play the flute and make his own vests, and nine other people who were forced to make cakes that looked like celebrities. Spoiler alert: the cakes pictured above were the good ones. Read the full Cake Week recap here.

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Episode Two: Biscuit Week

Episode Two: Biscuit Week

Inside the tent of The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

Cookies biscuits aren’t the real star of Biscuit Week, because we’re still getting to know the bakers. Week two brings us glimpses into their private lives. which are so spectacularly boring, they’re actually charming. The Florentine cookie challenge brings us the first Paul Hollywood Handshake of the season, followed by a coconut macaroon challenge in which nobody knows what they fuck they’re doing. For the showstopper, the bakers make three-dimensional place settings out of cookies, because after ten seasons, it’s hard to think of anything interesting to do with cookies. Read the full Biscuit Week recap here.

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Episode Three: Bread Week

Episode Three: Bread Week

Rainbow bagels on The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

Every hardcore GBBS fan knows what a BFD Bread Week is, because Paul Hollywood apparently is the king of all breads, and mentions it about 80 times in every Bread Week episode. For season 11 rainbow bagels are invited to the party, and just like that, Paul Hollywood’s bread bona fides head straight down the toilet. The accursed bagels are bookended with a quintessentially British soda bread challenge, and one concerning “harvest bread plaques,” which has something to do with trapping the souls of witches in corn husk dolls and setting them on fire. This episode should have been cool, but stupid rainbow bagels have to ruin things for everybody. Read the full Bread Week recap here.

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Episode Four: Chocolate Week

Episode Four: Chocolate Week

Contestants and babka on The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

The signature bake for this Chocolate Week is brownies, which is a more common dessert in America than it is across the pond. If any viewer didn’t already know that brownie factoid before this episode, chances are they’ll probably figure it out by the time the end credits roll, because holy shit do everyone’s brownies look terrible. The bakers remain clueless into the next round, the chocolate babka technical challenge: None have ever made a babka before, several don’t know what babka is, and the recipe they’re given essentially says, “Make dough; make into babka; piss off.” The showstopper challenge is white chocolate celebration cake, which technically doesn’t contain chocolate, but whatever. All bets were off once this show gave rainbow bagels its stamp of approval. Read the full Chocolate Week recap here.

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Episode Five: Pastry Week

Episode Five: Pastry Week

Linda on The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

Just like Cookie Biscuit Week, the series’ “Pastry Week” can come off as confusing to American viewers who aren’t well versed in Brit-speak. In the UK, pie dough is called pastry, and pies are called tarts. This episode’s challenges begin with humble Cornish pasties, followed by obnoxiously complicated French eclairs, and concluding with a grandiose display of fussy pies imprisoned in edible cages. But the real star of Pastry Week isn’t a pie, a pastry, or Paul Hollywood: it’s Linda, whose moxie and positive attitude will keep you smiling long after you finish watching season 11. Read the full Pastry Week recap here.

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Episode Six: Japanese Week

Episode Six: Japanese Week

Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas dressed up with anime masks for Japanese Week on The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

Week six brings us a mildly perplexing episode “celebrating” Japanese baking, a celebration which is seemingly all about making foods look like cute cartoon animals. After two such challenges, the third challenge involves matcha; coincidentally, this is the episode where we learn that Paul Hollywood absolutely despises the flavor of matcha. Read the full Japanese Week recap here.

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Episode Seven: ’80s Week

Episode Seven: ’80s Week

Noel Fielding saying he'll burn the tent down on The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

The funny thing about ’80s Week is that it commemorates a decade that more than half the bakers have no memories of because they were either toddlers or, in the case of one baker, ten years away from being born. If you’re heading into this episode expecting a nostalgia-fueled good time, prepare to leave pondering your mortality. In between watching the bakers make quiches, finger doughnuts, and ice cream cakes, we get to hear Paul Hollywood talk about how it’s so hot in the tent that he had to “peel his jeans” off between takes. We’re sorry to tell you that this image will resurface the next time you’re eating quiche. Read the full ’80s Week recap here.

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Episode Eight: Dessert Week

Episode Eight: Dessert Week

Mr. Spoon on The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

Dessert Week on The Great British Baking Show implies that all the other weeks are not dessert weeks, meaning that under the jurisdiction of Her Majesty the Queen, cake qualifies as dinner. It’s also the semifinal, and we get a big surprise for this very special episode: the return of the best co-host this show has ever had, Mr. Spoon. (Apologies to Mel and Sue.) To test the their technical skills, the amateur bakers try to make a 300-year-old recipe that none of them have never heard of with virtually no instructions. The episode concludes with big blobs of jelly artfully injected with syringes of food coloring, which somehow is classified as “cake.” Read the full Dessert Week recap here.

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Episode Nine: Patisserie Week

Episode Nine: Patisserie Week

Hermione on The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

By the time we reach the semifinal, we’re left with the three dullest bakers in the season 11 lineup—but also Hermine, the patisserie queen who could do no wrong. Until Patisserie Week, when she does absolutely everything wrong. It took me two days to make it through this episode because it was so boring and pointless, and lest you think that’s a harsh summation, I invite you to watch this shitshow for yourself. Read the full Patisserie Week recap here.

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Episode 10: Finale

Episode 10: Finale

Noel Fielding being silly on The Great British Baking Show
Screenshot: Netflix

Season 11’s finale was, to put it kindly, absolutely terrible. But considering the season was filmed inside of a quarantine bubble, in a year commonly described as a “dumpster fire,” terrible is better than nothing, right? On top of the heat, the isolation, and the knowledge that society was collapsing, this season’s COVID-shortened production schedule was downright sadistic. The fact that ten episodes were filmed at all is remarkable, and a testament to the character of these bakers. Kudos not only to the winner, but to everyone who made it through the tent in 2020. Read our full recap of The Great British Baking Show season 11 finale here.

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