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Baking, British style: The U.K.'s biggest baking hit returns to PBS

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Andrew Warren / TV Media
Sue Perkins, Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry as seen in "The Great British Baking Show"

Sue Perkins, Paul Hollywood, Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry as seen in "The Great British Baking Show"

Perfect pastries: that's not too much to expect, is it? Sadly, soggy bottoms and tumbled-down edges are common, and enough to get any hopeful home baker sent home in "The Great British Baking Show."

The popular baking import is back for its fourth season, which premieres Friday, June 16, on PBS. Actually, "popular" might be an understatement. In the show's home country, where it goes by "The Great British Bake Off," it consistently ranks as one of the most-watched shows on television, while here on this side of the pond, the third season was PBS's most-streamed series last summer.

Pretty impressive stuff for a show that, on the surface, looks not so different from a lot of the other cooking and baking competitions out there. Each season brings together a number of home bakers eager to outbake their fellows and impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood in a variety of challenges.

Each episode features three separate challenges: a signature bake, in which the amateur bakers get to make one of their own recipes that they've practiced at home; a technical bake, in which the contestants are tasked with making a specific product, but are given only limited instructions, thus testing their technical knowledge of the baker's craft; and a showstopper bake, in which each baker pulls out all the stops to create a breathtaking masterpiece -- then Berry and Hollywood send someone home.

English comedians Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc serve as the show's presenters, offering commentary, insight and some slightly saucy quips.

As for those judges, they're certainly a qualified pair. Berry has published nearly 80 books on cooking, including 2009's bestselling "Baking Bible," and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to culinary arts. Hollywood has served as the head baker at numerous hotels, written cookbooks about bread and, in 2008, baked a bread that was named the most expensive in Britain.

In the crowded cooking competition space, it's hard to stand out from the crowd, but the quintessential British-ness of "The Great British Baking Show" has allowed it to do just that. The fourth season of the U.K.'s biggest culinary hit kicks off Friday, June 16, on PBS.