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Great British Bake Off's Andrew Smyth rises to bread week challenge

By Cate McCurry

Published 08/09/2016

Andrew Smyth on last night's Bake Off show
Andrew Smyth on last night's Bake Off show
Tom Gilliford was awarded star baker for his ingenious creations
Andrew Smyth cooking on the Great British Bake Off

Northern Ireland engineer Andrew Smyth narrowly missed out on the star baker crown for the second week in a row on the Great British Bake Off.

The Holywood native impressed the show's judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, with his chocolate version of the traditional Barmbrack loaf for the programme's bread week.

But the amateur baker was beaten in the last round by fellow contestant Tom Gillford for the accolade.

The 10 contestants were all tasked to bake a selection of breads including the tricky German Dumph Noodle.

For the 'chocolate round', the straight A student and Cambridge graduate substituted the Barmbrack's customary raisins for chocolate chips.

Andrew, son of outgoing Northern Ireland CBI Director Nigel Smyth, told presenters he had been "prodding his bread at the centre" in practice runs at home to ensure he impressed Paul, who is renowned for his ruthless bread critiquing.

The 25-year-old, who now lives in Derby and works as an engineer for Rolls Royce, was praised by both judges for his Irish-inspired loaf.

"I love that. The flavour is excellent and it's baked very well," said Paul.

For the skills challenge, Andrew nervously tackled the Dumph Noodle, admitting that his baking was based "purely on intuition".

Despite over-cooking it slightly, Andrew came out in second place, placing him firmly in the top two bakers.

The final show-stopping challenge required contestants to create a savoury platter centrepiece.

After four hours and some probing later, Andrew's braided harvest bread basket earned him high praise from both judges.

Belfast Telegraph

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