BaxterStorey’s Chef Academy Share Their Secrets to Baking the Perfect Bread

At BaxterStorey we love the smell of freshly baked bread in our kitchens. Our Level 2 Chef Academy apprentices spent a day learning the art of artisan baking, from getting that perfect rise to making biscuits that snap!

Here they share some of their top tips on baking some much-loved favourites…

Pinch Back White Bread

1. When kneading the dough, use the heel of the hand, push in to stretch the dough and pull back, this will allow the develop of the gluten. You should knead the dough for 5-7 minutes.

2. It’s good to mark the bread before it goes in the oven. Firstly, because it can be the bakers trademark and secondly it allows the gas to escape during the cooking process. Dusting with flour achieves an artisan finish.

3. The pinch back loaf uses up to 20% of yesterday’s dough to improve flavour, crust and crumb within your bread.

Soda Bread

1. Act fast with soda bread, as you don’t want to develop the gluten. The making process should take no longer than 3 minutes.

2. The acidic butter milk is require to form a reaction with the alkaline bicarbonate of soda to form carbon dioxide that helps rise your soda bread.

 

Chelsea Buns

1. Put some elbow grease in! The dough needs to be slapped 100 times, to form that gluten.

2. Before rolling, brush with soft butter and sugar. Then roll lengthways, with the first two rolls being nice and tight. Push some of the filling towards the end, or it will be too thick in the middle and too thin at the ends.

 

Flat bread

1. The key is to roll the dough out as thin as you can. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour, this also give an authentic finish to your bread.

2. When the dough is placed on the hot frying pan, the heat generated causes the baking powder to re-gas and little bubbles puff up in the flatbread.

 

Cinnamon Shortbread

1. Use strong flour, as it will give the biscuit a good snap, as well as a longer shelf life; but remember you have to protect the flour by rubbing in the butter really well, to give a fine sandy texture.

2. Unsalted butter is best for shortbread. As it has less water content, the biscuit will have a better crumb, as it won’t activate as much gluten.

Jenna Petkeviciene, Chef De Partie at Thomas Cook Peterborough commented on the day: “I’ve been waiting for this day since I started the Chef Academy. I have memories of my Grandma baking since I was 10 years old; baking bread reminds me of happy times. I’ve learnt so much from today’s session, from understanding the knocking back process, to baking the best sourdough.

“My team love to learn and develop their knowledge, so I can’t wait to share with them what I’ve learnt about baking speciality bread. I love to challenge myself, so I’m going to practice baking fresh bread for our soup station.”

If you’re interested in attending the next masterclass, find out more about our Chef Academy courses via the training calendar on the Vine.

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