You see a shy woman come out of her shell. That is precisely what happened this week. One of our trainees surprised us all when she brought in ingredients to make buns which she holds dear from childhood memories. She did a demo for us all, front and centre. She was beaming throughout. And that, dear reader is why we do what we do. Oh, and lest I forget…we greedily gobbled them all up with lunch! Stay tuned. The recipe is forthcoming.
All our trainees are in fact a joy to work with. They come with their “homework” – samples of bread, eager to share. One submission this week was kneaded by the fourteen-year-old daughter of a trainee, as she is recovering from what appears to be a touch of whiplash thanks to a nasty fall while seated on an erratically driven bus. She and her daughter shared a nice moment working on the bread together and both share pride in their result: a lightly sweetened, soft free-form loaf made of a mix of strong white and whole meal wheat flour.
As the focaccia was such a hit last week, we made more this week, in keeping with our theme of pre-dough breads. We learned during an employability skills development workshop at the Refugee Council earlier this week that some of our trainees had already managed to make focaccia at home with the rosemary, tomatoes and onion we gave them. They were ecstatic to see their kids craving more. And let’s face it, good focaccia is down-right addicting. Don’t you agree? We also made some lovely free-form spelt loaves with poolish, another term for pre-dough for those of you who aren’t (yet!) bread bakers. The poolish was prepared in advance, thanks to the contributions of two of our trainees.
We also re-visited the theme of week one: the various flours one can make bread with, and increased their options to include kamut and barley. Everyone made a loaf with their preferred mixes of flours. Their homework will be to taste their breads with particularly analytical minds and report back on their findings.
Lastly, for a bit of something new, we introduced a simple, yet deceptively tricky pastry: scones. We learned that when making scones, “less is more”. Those who handled their pastry the least ended up with the tallest, fluffiest scones. Our trainees, who worked in pairs, enjoyed a playful air of competitiveness as they reviewed their scones coming out of the oven.
And so another week goes by…