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The American Baking Competition - Wednesdays, CBS-TV, 8pm EST

This one premiered on 5/29. Since I don't have cable, I am unfamiliar with the judges. They seem to be setting up Francine, a hefty middle-aged Southern blonde (the Paula Deen clone?), as the one to beat. But so far, there does not seem to be a particularly obnoxious contestant to hatewatch. That's a surprise, as it's part of the established reality competition formula. Maybe we're supposed to dislike Francine.

The challenges were difficult, since baking is fussier than other cooking.
The time allotted was pretty tight, and competitors were unfamiliar with the ovens and other equipment they were using. In the savory meat pie challenge, they were given a list of ingredients but no instructions, and it had to be a hot-water crust, which is not something called for in most pie dough recipes. Most of the crusts were not very successful but viewers had no indication which, if any, contestants were familiar with the process.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amer...

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  1. I liked this show more than I thought I would. I was disappointed that the network failed to post the recipes on their website, even though there was a spot for them. They dropped the ball there.

    Paul Hollywood is one of the judges; I recall selling one of his books in a garage sale years ago. He was unfamiliar with the use of bacon in sweet applications; has he been living under a rock?

    2 Replies
    1. re: sandylc

      That was my thought exactly - he's never had or heard of chocolate covered bacon?? How could he be a judge of any food competition if he's so behind the times.

      1. re: pley

        I looked again. Evidently I TRIED to sell his book (the sticker is still on it), but it wasn't bought. So I have been looking through it. It isn't very impressive....there are some edting issues, such as recipes on facing pages with different names, yet almost the exact same ingredients and amounts, and one says it produces one 1-lb loaf and the other says 2 1-lb loaves.

        Also, breads such as Pain de Campagne are mixed straight and baked right away, which in my experience does not produce the desired result.

        O.K., done.

    2. I got turned of by the judges Jeff Foxworthy? And then Marisa Hemorrhoid or what ever her name is best a bad contestant on Martha Stewart's version of the apprentice. She since gone on to do equally bad Mexican cooking shows. Paul Hollywood fit the mandatory role of British judge he at least is a baker and did UK version of the show.

      5 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          Very true. But still seems like an odd coice.

          1. re: Withnail42

            I thought JF was a very odd choice, also. Definitely do not associate him with good food. Thankfully he plays an unobtrusive role.

          2. re: greygarious

            Exactly, grey. I find JF a very good choice for a host. He seems truly interested and keep the shows "feet on the ground" with none of the high mindedness one get on some of the other cooking show. Even the judges do not pose themselves as "Gods" of cooking! Enjoyable show.

          3. re: Withnail42

            I've learned some things from Marcela Valladolid. I'm not always enamored of her recipes, but some of them are staples in my repertoire, and she's easy on the eyes to boot. If I were to watch the show it would be because of her.

          4. The American Baking Competition actually airs on the CBS television network.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chazpage

              Oops, you're right. There's a repeat Sunday at 8.

              1. re: greygarious

                Hmm...I was out to dinner on Wednesday so didn't think to watch it (but was also watching MasterChef when I got home). Perhaps I'll try and catch this repeat tonight.

            2. Oh, boy, I am watching the cookie episode now. Can they find any more ways to incorrectly pronounce "macaron" and "macarons"?

              2 Replies
              1. re: sandylc

                Oh my god they did not...really? Funny Same challenge on masterchef this week with macaroons:) and someone complained about the wording. They should all be shot how dare they.I have a lot of British friends and funny thing is they can't pronounce the "TH" like in Through it's Frough...what I don't do is get on a high horse and correct them:)

                1. re: sandylc

                  Last night, Francine knew what croquembouche means in French, but thought it's pronounced "crooked bush", which is a pretty decent eggcorn, not to mention an apt description of what most of the choux towers looked like. The French pastry tasks were pretty daunting, and the time very tight, so it's no surprise that it was no one's finest hour.

                2. I'm excited about the potential for this show. It's the American version of the Great British Bake-Off, which has been on the air for three seasons now and which I've greatly enjoyed. So far, it matches up with the British version, which has a lovely, homey feel to it. Different from most reality shows. I hope the American one stays fun, accessible and not overly dramatic.