The Hairy Bakers get back on their bikes
Filming has begun on The Hairy Bakers, a brand new series for BBC Two to be screened this summer, with a Christmas special to follow later in the year.
As the UK tightens its collective economic belt, what better way to lift the spirits than a spot of home baking?
The perennially popular Hairy Bikers, Dave Myers and Simon King, become Bakers and take to the road to explore in their inimitable, anarchic way our timeless love of bread, cakes, pastries and pies.
Riding the popular wave, our Hairy Bakers get on their bikes to find the very best – from gourmet bread-makers, pie-makers and the designers of ornate wedding cakes to ordinary people passionate about endless varieties of baking.
Each episode will be a freewheeling journey of discovery, with recipes and tastings, meetings with experts and artisans, beautiful locations and stunning countryside, all set in their historical and social contexts.
The bread market is worth £2.9 billion a year; that's almost 12 million loaves a day, but only 3% is produced by regional artisan bakers.
The Hairy Bakers take to the road to look at the history of bread.
We have become a nation that routinely consumes ciabatta, focaccia and naan, but how many of us can turn out a decent loaf?
Our biking Bakers will show just how easy and rewarding that can be, baking a healthy white roll for the perfect bacon buttie.
They commandeer a windmill in Lincolnshire to mill their own flour – think Windy Miller meets Motorhead – and make a fermented country wholemeal loaf to go with their unique take on the perfect ploughman's lunch.
The Hairies conjure up homemade naan bread on the shores of a midge-infested lake, and a curry to go with it, whilst back in the warmth of Dave's kitchen they bake a fantastic cheese and beer bread, served with an apple and onion soup.
The British have long had a love affair with teatime treats. The Hairy Bakers set off for the Henley Royal Regatta. On the journey down south they fill their hampers with cakes and treats gathered along the way. Why do the British have such a sweet tooth?
In their quest to find out, the Hairies make Bakewell Tart in the Bakewell pudding shop before travelling back in time on a pair of priceless Brough Superior Bikes, the sort on which Lawence of Arabia met an untimely end.
At Chatsworth House the boys bake scones with oats, maple syrup, walnuts and buttermilk and examine the history and conventions of tea; for the first time, the Hairies are forced to don a suit.
They make the best chewy posh cookies with sour cherries, hazel nuts, almonds and chocolate chips before hitting Henley, resplendent in boaters and blazers, their hampers full of goodies, ready to have a go at rowing.
Pies and pasties take the Hairies on a long trip, from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands.
They make proper pasties down a tin mine then head northwards to cook apple pies in orchards and sample the best pork pies.
They show viewers how to make two of their favourite pies, chicken and wild mushroom in classic white wine and tarragon sauce, and a cheese and onion pie, cooked to perfection with a super tasty parmesan crust.
Arriving in the Highlands, they meet a baker who reveals the secrets of the Scottish pie, filled with the original mystery meat.
There are other strange but ancient Scottish treats; macaroni pies rub shoulders with mashed potato and baked bean pies.
By a tumbling Highland river, the Hairies cook a salmon coulibiac, a whole fish stuffed with prawns and baked en croute, accompanied by pipers, Highland dancers and the odd fiddler.
There are cakes and there are celebration cakes. It's a case of 'The Hairy Bakers meet Challenge Anneka' as they make four-year-old twins birthday cakes of their dreams; a mad layered cake for the boy, and a princess castle cake for the girl.
Inspired by this, they delve into the history of cake-making. Romans did it, Tudors did it, the Victorians loved it.
They find a couple who are prepared to let them loose on their wedding cake. The Hairy Bakers attend sugar craft lessons and follow the bride and groom in the nail-biting lead-up to their wedding.
It's a five tier job, a work of art and engineering – but will it spoil their Big Day?
Dave says: "This is our first series exploring Britain, inspired by the success of our one hour winter special.
"But rather than our usual thousand mile trip on our motorbikes, we have made this trip a freewheeling, anarchic journey through a wide-ranging subject, never losing sight of our love of the food, the landscape and most of all the people."
And Si adds: "Think Hairy Bikers with a liberal dusting of flour and you've got your hands in the dough mix that is The Hairy Bakers."
The Hairy Bakers is produced by Vicky Jepson (Ainsley's Gourmet Express, All The Queen's Cooks, Gardeners' World) and directed by Nicky Taylor (Coast, Home On Their Own, Gardeners' World), Stuart Bateup (Two Fat Ladies, Ainsley's Gourmet Express, Saturday Kitchen) and Oli Clark (Coast, Around The World in 80 Gardens, Don't Die Young).
It is a BBC Vision Birmingham production for BBC TWO.