For American viewers, The Great British Baking Show (known as the Great British Bake-Off in its native UK) isn’t just one of the most adorable reality shows on-air today — it’s also a linguistic adventure. The show isn’t afraid to throw baking terms at viewers, and on top of expert-level kitchen jargon, there’s a whole other vocabulary of the British slang, that goes much deeper than simply calling a “cookie” a “biscuit.”
The current season, which airs Fridays on PBS, is the show’s last with the beloved judge Mary Berry and the hosting duo of Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins (although PBS will air older episodes next year). So, before the Great British Baking Show ends as we know it, re-acquaint yourself with the show’s unique language.
Bake: No, not “bake” the verb. The show adorably uses “bake” as a noun, from calling the episodes’ first challenge the “signature bake,” to the most revered of Paul Hollywood complements, “That’s a good bake.”
Soggy bottom: The bane of Mary Berry’s existence, soggy bottoms happen when the crusts of pies and tarts get a little too moist.
Biscuits: On the show’s famous “Biscuit Week,” the bakers aren’t making flaky Southern snacks, but rather a variety of cookies, and sometimes crackers (savory biscuits).
Proving: When the GBBO contestants fret about whether they let their dough “prove” for long enough, they’re using the word as a synonym for “rise.” The bakers often use the heated “proving drawers” in their ovens to assist with the rising of their various doughs.
Saucy puds: Turns out, one of GBBO’s most ridiculous phrases actually has an easy equivalent in the U.S: a lava cake. The “pudding” is actually a spongy cake, and the “sauce” is the chocolate filling, or other delectable liquid, hidden inside.
Spotted dick: Get your mind out of the gutter. The Brits classify spotted dick as a pudding, which means it’s actually a sponge-like cake. Along with currents and/or dried fruit, the dessert’s most notable ingredient is suet, or beef or mutton fat.
Bakewell tart: Another distinctly English dessert, bakewell tarts take shortcrust pastry (i.e. the flat crust of tarts or pies) and tops it with layers of jam, frangipane, and almonds. Which gets us to…
Frangipane: Is there a funnier word to hear spoken in a British accent than “frangipane?” The pastry cream-esque filling gets its distinct flavor from almonds, and isn’t to be confused with the more…