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Flour Power: The Great South African Bake Off

The Great South African Bake Off (GSABO) is back with its fourth season, bringing together some of the country’s best amateur bakers to compete in a series of challenges inspired by the format of The Great British Bake Off (GBBO). While the local version may not have the same level of recognition and resources as its British counterpart, it offers its own unique flair and local flavor.

In this 10-part series, 12 hopeful contestants gather in Muldersdrift, outside Johannesburg, to showcase their baking skills in themed rounds featuring signature, technical, and showstopper challenges. As the competition progresses, the challenges become more difficult, and each week, the weakest baker faces elimination.

Unlike many reality shows, the prize for the winner of GSABO isn’t a grand sum of money or a new car. Instead, the ultimate reward is the honor of being crowned South Africa’s best amateur baker.

The show is dedicated to highlighting the talents of home bakers who are passionate about their craft. The contestants come from diverse backgrounds, ranging from culinary students and investment analysts to artists and homemakers with unique skills.

Siba Mtongana, a celebrity chef and restaurateur, serves as the head judge of the show. She is joined by Paul Hartmann, the owner of Chefs Academy and Woodstock Bakery in Cape Town, who brings his expertise as a judge. The show is hosted by Lesego Tlhabi and Glen Biderman-Pam, who add their own touch of humor and charisma to the mix.

Throughout the series, the bakers face a variety of challenges, from creating biscuits and fruit loaves to tackling more complex recipes like butternut Parmesan scones. While the competition tests their skills and creativity, it also showcases the diversity of baking talent in South Africa.

As the bakers strive to impress the judges and outdo each other, viewers are treated to a display of skill, passion, and culinary artistry. While the show may not have the same level of recognition as its British counterpart, it celebrates the joys of baking and brings a taste of local flavor to the baking competition scene.

So, whether you’re a seasoned baker yourself or simply enjoy watching others showcase their talents, The Great South African Bake Off promises a delectable journey filled with flour, creativity, and plenty of surprises.

Butternut Parmesan Scones with Homemade Butter: A Recipe by Paul Hartmann



  • 250ml (1 cup) double cream
  • 2.5ml (½ tsp) fine salt


  • 200g butternut, peeled, chopped, and cooked until tender
  • 150g (300ml) cake wheat flour
  • 75g fine mealie meal
  • 5ml (1 tsp) salt
  • 10ml (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2.5ml (½ tsp) bicarbonate of soda
  • 30g (2 tbsp) homemade butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Approx 80ml (⅓ cup) buttermilk, from the homemade butter
  • 2.5ml (½ tsp) mustard powder


  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • A drop of reserved buttermilk
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) pumpkin seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. For the butter, whisk the cream until it collapses and separates into buttermilk and butter. Strain the mixture and retain 150ml of the buttermilk for the scones.
  3. Whisk the butter again to remove any retained buttermilk and drain once more. Knead the salt into the butter.
  4. For the scones, drain the cooked butternut on paper towel to remove excess moisture. Mash and cool.
  5. Sift the flour with the mealie meal, salt, baking powder, and bicarb. Rub in the chilled butter until you have coarse crumbs.
  6. Fold in the butternut and grated Parmesan cheese, adding enough buttermilk to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press it down to about 4cm high. Cut out rounds using a floured cutter.
  7. Beat the egg with a tablespoon of reserved buttermilk and brush the tops of the scones. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over the tops.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve the scones with the homemade butter.

The Great South African Bake Off brings the joy of baking, creativity, and competition to the forefront, celebrating the diverse talents of amateur bakers across South Africa. With a touch of local flavor and a variety of challenges, the show offers a delightful journey for both bakers and viewers.

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