Food & Travel

That’s a (Rough Puff Pastry) Wrap! The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

The labor of the fall harvest — which in Wisconsin Public Television terms means the successful production of Quilt Expo 2018 in early September, the launch of brand new seasons (!) of Wisconsin Life and Around the Farm Table, and the premiere of our new documentary Hip-Hop U: The First Wave Scholars (loaded with digital extras) — means we regrettably left our buns in the oven way too long! We’re now circling back to our beloved Wisconsin bakers to celebrate their time, labor, creativity and achievements baking along all summer with Season 5 of the Great British Baking Show! Their patience and understanding call for a thousand thanks and pithiviers. . . say wah? Speaking of. . .

We rewind the egg timer to the Sept. 9 WPT broadcast of The Final across the Atlantic when Brendan, John and James entered Paul and Mary’s tent one last time to compete for the winning crown. All three gentlemen brought singular talents: Brendan a remarkable consistency in baking beauty and precision; John an unbending passion to learn new techniques and one day attend Le Cordon Bleu; and James an edge pushing him to innovate and take last-minute risks.

Our wonderful Wisconsin bakers were asked to deliver their final Wisconsin Twist — with an oomph —  adding to their bakes at least three local ingredients and turning the Wisconsin-ness up to 11!

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Wisconsin Week challenges: 1) a Savory Pithivier, 2) at least a dozen Fondant Fancies, or 3) a Chiffon Cake based on their favorite things about Wisconsin!

Don’t forget to read to the end to find out who our Wisconsin Week six featured bakers are. In addition, read about and give a Great Wisconsin Baking hand to our 33 stouthearted Star Bakers who baked along with us all ten weeks. You inspire us, friends, and we thank you from the bottoms of our ovens to the toppers of our cakes!

C’mon baby, let’s do the (Wisconsin) twist one last time!

All Season 5 contestants pose in front of the tent

Continue reading That’s a (Rough Puff Pastry) Wrap! The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Around the Farm Table returns!

A Note From Inga…Inga Witscher, host of Around the Farm Table

Has it really been six years since we started this quirky little show we call Around the Farm Table? My father Rick (producer, director, and the guy that irons my shirt) and I are absolutely humbled to help tell the stories of the hard working and inspiring farmers here in the great state of Wisconsin.

Read more to find out where we’re headed this season on Around the Farm Table – and join us for our new episodes airing Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Television!

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Week 9 Patisserie Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Ça va, mes amis? Here we are in the semifinal week, and as much as Mel, Sue and your humble recapper might like to lighten the mood with French that is, how you say, pas mal, the mood is tense. So let’s get right to it, non?

Our four remaining bakers delved into the precision of French-style patisserie this week. Brendan, Danny, James and John faced their last elimination week before the final with just as much finesse as they have displayed all season.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Patisserie challenges.

So let’s follow the neither-French-nor-British Chairman Kaga, and allez cuisine!

All Season 5 contestants pose in front of the tent

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Week 8 Biscuits Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Snap, Crack(le). . . Bake! 
English Digestive Crackers by Jean from Madison

The poet Carl Sandburg’s Good Morning, America begins with 38 definitions of poetry. His memorable line, “poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits,”  is as scrumptious to speak as the 62 snappy crackers, stout tea cakes, and sturdy gingerbread structures submitted to our Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge: Biscuits Week (and by “week” we mean 20 days — thanks for your patience and support of the WPT August pledge drive, bakers)!

Biscuits — or crackers and cookies to Americans — took center stage in Paul and Mary’s tent, along with our five remaining British bakers this week. Cathryn, Brendan, James, Danny and John faced the quarterfinals with three demanding challenges testing their skills of precision, dough handling and even their architectural acumen.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Biscuit challenges. Let’s get cracking with our review! 

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Week 7 Sweet Dough Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Oh my,  Wisconsin Bakers! We sure do love your sweet, Sweet Buns!

The Tent tackled “sweet dough” during Week 7, which is baker-speak for beloved items like doughnuts, coffee cake and cinnamon rolls, as well as the loaded and elaborate breads that adorn our holiday spreads. But instead of using Grandma’s Christmas fruit loaf as a door stopper — sorry, Gran — this week, “celebration loaves” are the showstopper!

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Sweet Dough challenges. Overcoming yeast, fryers and fruitcake, Sconnie bakers faced off with 24 Sweet Buns (see how Oxford Dictionaries settles the “bun” vs. “roll” vs. “cake” debate), 10 Jam Doughnuts and a partridge in a pear Celebration Bread. 

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Local cooks rise to the Create Cooking Challenge

Creative cooking shows – from unique international flavors to  comforting favorites – have long been a key part of the public TV experience. Recently, the Create Cooking Challenge 2018 gave viewers of the Create channel a chance to envision a show of their own.

Watch 2017 winner Buki Elegbede – a judge this year – create the perfect whoopie pie. (And check out his series, Baked by Buki!)

This year, several Wisconsin cooks rose to the challenge! Read on to see what they shared – and maybe get some tips of your own.

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Week 6 Puddings Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Last season, admittedly, we were a little hesitant about the, well, Britishness of some of these challenges. “They don’t want to use all that suet, do they?” we thought. “And where do you get treacle, anyway?”

Wonder no more, friends; in Week 6, this pud’s for YOU!

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show,  The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked our bakers to select just one of the three pudding challenges.

Before we get started: If you have not watched this episode yet, SPOILER ALERT!

And don’t forget to read to the bottom to find out who our six featured Wisconsin bakers are!

All Season 5 contestants pose in front of the tent

Continue reading Week 6 Puddings Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

WPT Exclusive First Look: Wisconsin Water From the Air

Are you ready to come soar with us again?
Watch an exclusive first look at the all-new Wisconsin Water From the Air.
Coming to Wisconsin Public Television at the end of November 2018.

The all-new Wisconsin Water From the Air takes viewers above, atop and along state waterways that inspire reflection, wonder and adventure. From the routes that the Wisconsin, Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers carve through the state’s landscape to the wide-stretching shores of Lake Michigan, celebrate the waterways that shape Wisconsin.

As we anxiously await this exciting new show, we want you to be the first to take a look inside the program with an exclusive clip from the show’s first segment that explores the wonders of the Wisconsin River.

Looking toward the premiere in November, we will be sharing other new segments from the program each month here on the WPT Blog, along with information on a series of premiere screenings at venues across Wisconsin for you to take in the beautiful imagery and stunning musical score on the big screen before the television broadcast.

Enjoy this clip from the show’s first segment and share this video with your friends!

Week 4 Desserts Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Last week showed off pastry prowess – and flavors that went flop. This week’s episode went from wobbly to wondrous, as bakers were asked to rise to the occasion in the Desserts challenge and tackle Torte Cake, Crème Caramel and a Four-Layer Meringue Dessert.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show,  The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked our bakers to select just one of the three dessert challenges.

Before we get started: If you have not watched this episode yet, SPOILER ALERT!

And don’t forget to read to the bottom to find out who our six featured Wisconsin bakers are!

All Season 5 contestants pose in front of the tent

Continue reading Week 4 Desserts Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Week 3 Tarts Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

The Queen of Hearts indeed made some tarts, but our Wisconsin bakers staged a veritable overthrow of her crown as they whisked along with this week’s Great British Baking Show: TARTS! Devoted entirely to topless (gasp) pastry, Paul and Mary’s tent tormented contestants with a Classic French Tarte Tatin, Mary Berry’s (Very Own) British Treacle Tart and a Designer Fruit Tart worthy of a Parisian patisserie window — speaking of overthrows, step aside, Napoleon.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked our bakers to select just one of the three tart challenges. It was a holiday week in Wisconsin and the nation as we celebrated Independence Day, but our bakers still delivered: through road travel, motor boating and oodles of Aunt Nanette’s noodle salad. Thanks for the fruity fireworks, friends!

Continue reading Week 3 Tarts Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge