The Reason Great British Baking Show Contestants Think The Bread Challenges Aren't Totally Fair

One of the reasons people love The Great British Baking Show is because it feels so welcoming and relatable. Slate described the show as a "wholesome standout" in a sea of television cooking shows where the competition is cutthroat and the episodes are rich with drama.

There's no denying that the show has a fun and endearing vibe, with the bakers and even the judges in the tent genuinely getting along with and encouraging each other (via Spoon University). That doesn't mean, however, that the show doesn't have its share of controversy and even accusations of unfairness. Tom Hetherington, who competed in season 8 of The Great British Baking Show, shared in an interview with Insider that the timed bread baking challenges, in particular, felt unfair.

While bakers may be able gain an edge in some challenges by taking shortcuts or simply working faster, they don't have this option with bread making. Serious Eats points out rushing through steps like dough proofing results in flavorless or dense bread. And when sharing a recipe for bloomer bread with Hello! Magazine, even Paul Hollywood warned against trying to speed things up, saying that a long rise in a cool location is best. (That means no proving drawer!)

This nonnegotiable bread baking fact, combined with a timed competition that has little to no wiggle room, and the steely-eyed judgment of a world-famous bread baker? Yeah, that feels a little unfair!

This isn't the only way that the challenges feel unfair

There have been ways that bakers have felt the odds were intentionally stacked against them in the tent. Delish shares that some contestants think The Great British Baking Show's producers pair the most temperamental bakes with the worst possible weather days. Like picking a steamy, 95-degree day for an ice cream cake challenge! (via AV Club).

Speaking of ice cream, contestant Ali Imdad from Season 4 pointed out to Insider that there never seem to be enough freezers. This is a problem that certainly could be addressed, but not fixing it is sure to produce some drama. This was the case in Season 5 when, according to The Guardian, contestant Ian Watter's Baked Alaska was removed from a crowded freezer by another contestant and never put back. It promptly melted and was thrown in the "bin." Fans were outraged and #bingate went viral on Twitter.

Another move in recent seasons of the show that critics despise is how the Technical Challenges have changed (via The Atlantic). In early seasons they were a way to test contestants' basic baking skills. However, they've now become a "meandering tour through Europe's most arcane pastries." Bakers are left struggling to comprehend and create competition-worthy baked goods they've never heard of, using techniques they've never tried. It seems The Great British Baking Show is abandoning the very things that once made it unique: fairness and a lack of drama.