31 May 2009

Bread for the Home Baker I

Attended Bread for the Home Baker Workshop I conducted by Chef Daniel Tay at Shermay's Cooking School last Saturday. Have always been interested in bread making, just that the process is seemingly tedious and requires ample workspace as well as lots of patience. Recent attempts on some bread recipes further sparked my interest so decided to sign up for the workshop. I know there are hands-on bread making classes offered at Creative Culina (where I attended a Dim Sum class before), but the classes offered were conducted for 4 full-day consecutive weekends (either Sat or Sun) which I don't think I can commit.

Then again, the process itself requires time and thus it would not be easy to squeeze everything into the space of just 3hrs. But I was hopeful of picking up some useful tips and thereafter explore by myself.

Recipes introduced were:

  • Mini Raisin Bun - soft crust sweet bun
  • Dinner Roll Plan - hard crust plain bun
  • Ciabatta - moist Italian bread made with olive oil, crisp crust, large air holes, shaped as small loaf
  • Focaccia - large flat Italian bread, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and herbs before baking
  • Sponge dough - a method whereby part of the ingredients ferments for a short amount of time, after which the sponge is added to the main recipe

Very curious with the Sponge Dough as I have never heard about it before. Apparently, it adds as a 'flavour enhancer' to any bread recipe.

The mini raisin bun is really soft and fluffy. Apparently, the raisins have to be 'treated' before adding to the dough to retain its shape and taste.

I like the lovely aroma of the herbs and fluffy texture of the bread. The colourful toppings certainly enhanced its appearance as well. This earthy bread is definitely one of my to-try breads one of these days!

Always have a very vague idea of what ciabatta is, I guess it would be lovely to make a mean sandwich.
Hubby loves dinner roll and I have attempted similar bread before. Would be interesting to explore this recipe and compare results.

Due to shortage of time and constrained by the nature of bread making, I was busy trying to digest the vast amount of info, jot down notes and look at the demo at the same time. Was a little lost at some point. Like I said, it wouldn't be easy for the chef to complete the demos in 3hrs, so hats off to Chef Daniel Tay who tried to share with us as much info as he could. Nevertheless, still a fruitful class as I learnt new techniques and gained insight into the world of bread making which is rather profound and not as easy as it looks. Like Chef Daniel Tay jokingly commented, it's not worth all the effort to bake bread at home when you can easily buy it at a bakery for a dollar! Ha. True indeed!

Each participant brought home a bag of bread (recipes demo-ed) courtesy of Bakerzin as well as a bag of bread flour courtesy of Prima and Shermay's Cooking School. Chef Daniel Tay even gave us homework, to attempt one of the recipes he taught and bring it along for comments in his next bread workshop. I hope he's just joking :p

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