This is how Matt Brock, training manager at Brasserie Bread describes the artisan baker, of which their bakery in Banksmeadow surely houses a few.
|Unearthing Artisan Bread class at Brasserie Bread, Botany Road, Banksmeadow|
The café adjoining the wholesale bakery in Banksmeadow does a roaring weekend breakfast and brunch trade, while the dedicated Baking School, opened in September 2008, has seen its fair share of kids graduating through the free Saturday kids’ baking classes.
|Brasserie Bread ciabatta to taste|
|Schiacitta mise en place|
The ingredient list was brief: organic unbleached flour (Brasserie Bread uses Kialla flour that has a high protein content, which helps with the bread’s elasticity, I think), fresh yeast (though dried stuff can be substituted at half the amount), water, salt and a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (which contains natural sugars for the yeast to feast upon).
|Adding water and oil to flour, salt and yeast|
|My dough - not exactly smooth...|
The next stage introduced us to a kneading technique I’ve never seen before. Pretty awesome for stress relief, it involved picking up the entire ball of dough in one hand and pretty much flinging it down to the table, whilst keeping a hold of one end. That one end is then folded over and the process repeated many, many times over a couple of minutes; then followed by a couple of minutes’ resting.
This noisy and, at times, messy technique is repeated four or five times, and saw a few bits of still wet dough go flying across the table towards others doing the exact same thing.
|Done with the dough (with some professional help...)|
After a suitable amount of ear-bursting dough slamming, Matt demonstrated how to deftly bring the dough together into a smooth ball. Four attempts later, I think I had more dough between my fingers and stuck on the table than in my not-so-round ball. A seasoned helping hand was more than appreciated.
This dough was to rest a while and rise while we moved on to the second project of the night - dinner.
|Fillings for the coulibiac|
It was also going to have crepes, salmon, boiled eggs, diced mushroom and Russian mustard - which is sensational; like a chutney crossed with mild mustard.
|Putting the fillings together|
|Coulibiac crepe package|
|Egg wash for the brioche dough|
|The dough gets the hedgehog treatment|
|Coulibiacs in the oven|
But it gives us time to take a tour through the Brasserie Bread factory, hair nets and all, for a sticky beak at all the different products that Brasserie Bread sells to customers direct and online, restaurants, food retailers and in its own café.
|Uncooked pane croccante|
|White epi rolls|
|Seeded epi rolls|
|Signature caramelised garlic bread|
|Brioche burger buns|
|Iced coconut tea cakes|
|Sourdough starter mix|
|Shaping the soft dough|
I've not been a very successful home baker, and punching the air out of this dough, I can feel substantial differences in textures. While this is a wetter dough, it's obvious that I'm adding way too much flour at the kneading stage (for easier kneading and less stickiness) to the detriment of the later result.
I'm looking forward to trying a wetter dough recipe at home now, once I find an appropriate surface to be whacking dough upon (along with appropriate screen guards to protect the nearby walls/people).
|Adding the caramelised garlic cloves|
We're making minis today, which are suitable as a snack or a couple for lunch. Makes me wonder about the size of the dough they actually use to make their full size ones. We add garlic and fold into thirds longways, and then thirds again the other way, cutting to create the fold-y over, wrapped form of the bread.
|Garlic bread ready for the oven|
|Some good colour on the coulibiacs|
|Coulibiac dinner is served|
|Brasserie Bread fruit mince pies|
|Fruit mince pie with Pepe Saya creme anglaise|
(Indeed, we're gifted with a mammoth, seriously heavy loaf of Quinoa and Soy loaf, which is lovely toasted and spread thickly with Pepe Saya cultured butter.)
|Miniature caramelised garlic bread|
We may have been newbie bakers, but thanks to Brasserie Bread, our hands got a pretty good workout but we baked our little hearts out.
Find out more about Brasserie Bread baking classes here and check out their Crave Sydney International Food Festival events here.
Food, booze and shoes and a guest attended the Unearthing Artisan Bread class courtesy of Brasserie Bread - thanks for the fabulous class and evening. See more photos here at my Facebook page.