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The Clueless American's Guide To "The Great British Bake Off"

Why do they pronounce "scone" SCON?? And more.

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ATTENTION, FELLOW AMERICANS: By now you've probably watched The Great British Bake Off on your computer.

Netflix has put season, er, series one (It's actually series 5!!!) of the best show on television online for us Yanks. (It's called The Great British Baking Show here, for enigmatic reasons.)
BBC

Netflix has put season, er, series one (It's actually series 5!!!) of the best show on television online for us Yanks. (It's called The Great British Baking Show here, for enigmatic reasons.)

But if you're like me, deeply steeped in American freedom, all of the imperial accents and Queen's jargon can make it hard to tell what everyone is actually saying.

What is a pud and why do I want a moist one?????
BBC

What is a pud and why do I want a moist one?????

Fear not, friends of George (Washington)!

To get you ready for your next bingewatch, here are some British baking terms used on the show and their liberated American equivalents. (Feel free to throw the ones you don't like in the harbor.)

"Biscuit" is the word for cookie, leading to MANY a Brit being initially horrified when hearing of the classic American delicacy "biscuits and gravy."

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A pasty is not those sticky things you can wear on your nipples (although if you coated your pasty with a particularly stick icing, you could maybe get it to adhere to your chest). The British pasty is more like an empanada; a traditional Cornish pasty is stuffed with potato, beef and turnips.

"Baps," like any good bit of slang, also has a sexual connotation: "breasts," leading to many a great Sue Perkins innuendo. Other words Brits use for "roll": cob, bread-cake, tea-cake, scuffler, bridie, batch and lardy cake.
BBC

"Baps," like any good bit of slang, also has a sexual connotation: "breasts," leading to many a great Sue Perkins innuendo.

Other words Brits use for "roll": cob, bread-cake, tea-cake, scuffler, bridie, batch and lardy cake.

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"Sponge" is one of the most frequently used words on GBBO, and as far as I can tell, it just means "cake"???

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At first, I thought those drawers the bakers have at their stations were tiny ovens or cute lil freezers. But they're actually "proofing drawers," where you can stash your bread while it "proves," or rises. Some Brits also call it "blooming," which is pretty cute.

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Many Brits, including the judges, pronounce scone to rhyme with "john." SCONS.
BBC

Many Brits, including the judges, pronounce scone to rhyme with "john." SCONS.

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"Pudding," or "pud," can be used to indicate the dessert course of a meal. Sticky toffee pudding isn't a wobbling dish of Jello; it's a gooey caramel cake.

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To make that crazy German cake with the 800 million layers, the bakers had to "grill" each layer one by one, which meant putting their cake pans under the broiler, NOT slopping dough into a George Foreman.

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Perfect for storing your baps in the proving drawer.

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Perhaps the most British (and most fun to trill off your tongue) of all GBBO expressions, "saucy puds" refers to a tiny cake surrounded by lots of gooeyness. The best known American "saucy pud," unfortunately, is Chili's molten chocolate lava cake.

Fairy cakes is an adorable name for cupcakes, and it usually refers to ones that are a bit smaller than the ginormous ones we have here. (Think more Baked By Melissa than Crumbs.)
BBC

Fairy cakes is an adorable name for cupcakes, and it usually refers to ones that are a bit smaller than the ginormous ones we have here. (Think more Baked By Melissa than Crumbs.)

Here are some other terms you might hear on the show:

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Bake on, America!

BBC

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