Two of our fantastic chefs, Tracy and Ben recently went for a days training at Bread-A-Head to learn some new skills and show what Thomas Franks is made off, here is their story
Early rise, early train with a hop skip and a jump to meet up with Tracy and head to Bread-A-Head for some awesome bakery lessons.
The area is a hive of amazements with markets and businesses in and around the bakery. The shop front is filled with breads staked high that draws the eye of any passerby, if the smell of freshly baked goods doesn’t excite the senses first.
After changing into our (TF) whites (which added intrigue to tutors and other participants of the program) we went through the meet and greet and personal brief scenario (hi my name is…. I’m here because…). This was most interesting when Tracy and I spoke as we were professionals amongst amateurs…… Much was expected from us both!!!
Manuel, the tutor for the day gave full and detailed itinerary of our day ahead and with excitement and enthusiasm the entire group set out weighing ingredients for our first task…… French sweet pastry. Its all about the circles with this recipe (no Audi symbols!). working the pastry on the table top, gradually bringing in each ingredient (circle) of the recipe. A method that is extremely effective and one that will be put into practice. Once made the pastry was wrapped and rested.
Straight on with next task, we made a live yeast dough for our croissants and Danish pastries. A recipe that requires time and care. Making, mixing, resting, proving….. (we had a “heres a batch I made earlier” – due to time scales). Learnt about the love hate relationship between flour and dough – dusting and brushing to ensure smooth dough (it’s all quite technical!). This activity took a three stage process over the course of the entire day, due to the addition of butter, folding dough, rolling dough and folding into three before resting for an amount of time before repeating rolling and folding requirements (it’s all about the finesse).
Back to the sweet pastry after its rest and chill out. Greased and dusted flan cases and proceeded to make cartouches for blind baking. With prep set we proceeded to divide and roll out pastry. Pressed into cases, cartouche in-place with baking beans inside we baked them off (with names written next to who made which).
Whilst cases were baking we set to work weighing and mixing our frangipan recipe, placed mixture into the fridge and clear down for a break. Manuel was keeping a watchful eye on the cases.
Lunch and munch consisting of absolutely delicious homemade ciabatta with grilled peppers / cheeses and mixed salad Mmmmmm so good, washed down with (really strong!) coffee and amazing brownies.
After an amazing lunch we set to work on our croissant dough, rolling, folding resting.
Then proceeded to make crème patisserie and crème anglaise for use in our sweet pastry cases. We then made egg custard tartlets with the anglaise. Whilst they were baking we added raspberry jam to the base of another case, filled with our frangipan mix and topped with fresh raspberries before baking these off too. As both baked tarts were cooling we added crème patisserie to our final case, topped with fresh fruit and gazed over with apricot jam.
With the final stage in hand, it was now the croissants turn. Rolling cutting and setting the scene we all hand rolled our pyramids of dough into the resemblance of croissants. Trayed and sprayed with egg was they were ready for proving. As this was happening pan au raisin and pan au chocolat were made. As they went through the proving process the croissants were finally placed ion the oven (there’s no going back now…)
End result…… Amazing success. All goods looked awesome my all and tasted pretty damn good too.
Thank you for this experience and opportunity to embark on this excellent and highly recommended program. Tracy and I really enjoyed it and we will certainly pass on what we have learnt.