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Kneading to impress

Bakers feel the heat, writes Andrew Stone

There are some difficulties that we can't walk away from

THE latest batch of bakers will be hoping that they don’t serve up a soggy bottom in the new series of The Great British Bake Off, which starts on Channel 4 on Tuesday (28 August).

Avoiding any such culinary catastrophe will improve the amateur cooks’ chances of staying in the competition. At the same time, successes in the signature bake, technical challenge and show-stopper rounds could result in their being crowned as each week’s star baker. Deciding who will be awarded that coveted position will be judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

Prue joined the show only last year after the production company took the programme away from the BBC and pitched the white marquee at the commercial channel.

At the time, there was a storm of protest over the departure of judge Mary Berry along with presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. The presenting duo were replaced by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding – a move that caused quite a stir. At first, the pair had to sift their way through some adverse reactions on social media.

But they ground their way through any animosity and the last series proved to be a show-stopper in its own right, attracting Channel 4’s biggest audiences for five years.

While that may have reduced the pressure on the presenters for the new series, they still felt the heat when recording during this summer’s heatwave.

‘The last few weeks were almost unbearably boiling,’ Sandi told The Daily Telegraph earlier this month. ‘There’s no air conditioning in the tent. And then we turned a dozen ovens on. Yay!’

Could this have been a time when the saying ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’ should have been taken literally? Perhaps – but it’s normally said to encourage people to walk away from situations they are finding difficult or stressful.

Sometimes, however, that’s not an option. There are some difficulties, such as our own health or money concerns, that we can’t walk away from. Then there are other pressures that we don’t want to walk away from, because they are being experienced by people we love, who need our support.

We feel stuck in a challenging situation and don’t know how to make things any better. We can wear ourselves out worrying about how we will ever cope.

At these times everyone can turn to God. The Bible promises that God ‘strengthens those who are weak and tired’ and promises that ‘those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed’ (Isaiah 40:29, 31 Good News Bible).

God is willing to give that help to whoever turns to him, whatever problems they may be facing.

Trusting him is a recipe for success.

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