My Make Me a Baker Diary
Rising Tales: Reflections from modules 9 & 10
My Make Me a Baker Learning Journal
by Hannah Scott
One of the things I love most about food (besides the obvious) is that every dish tells a story. Stories about where the eggs in the cake came from, stories about the significance of a dish, stories about who is famous for making that dish, and stories about the memories that are created when a dish is shared with others. It’s quite magical that even the smell of something baking in the oven can instantly spark these memories – where you were when you ate it, who made it for you and who you ate it with. For me, the smell of bread baking takes me straight to family Christmas celebrations.
One of Rowan’s beautiful loaves.
After many years of my mother making a special loaf for Christmas she recently passed her recipe and baking duties onto my partner, Rowan. The recipe comes from a bakery in New York and is cooked in a cast iron pot which makes it extra crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. So far he hasn’t disappointed.
Rowan slicing his homemade bread.
As bread forms such happy memories in my family I was thrilled that this month’s Make Me a Baker module was all about Breads and Yeast Baking. In class we made an impressive spread for lunch; Tomato Bocconcini & Prosciutto Pizza, Mini Rolls with Cheese, Olive & Rosemary Focaccia and a Sticky Cinnamon Pecan Scroll for dessert.
Make Me a Baker student making Mini Rolls with Cheese.
After lunch we prepped some of our earlier creations, including a Salsa Verde Pizza, Fig & Walnut Bread and Fennel Grissini Sticks to get ready for a Masterclass with industry professionals, Food Stylist Jane Hann and Photographer, Alan Benson. Jane showed us how to prepare and present our baked goodies in the most beautiful way for photographing and we gained some fantastic insight into how a food shoot works behind the scenes. What a joy it was to work with both of them to turn our creations into masterpieces as we created a visual story together.
There were lots of opportunities for us to practice our kneading and proving skills and we also got the opportunity to work with fresh yeast for some of the recipes which was something I had never worked with before. Knead-less to say (excuse the pun) fresh yeast will be making an appearance in our next Christmas loaf!
My biggest take-aways from this module was learning the skills to not only make, but serve my baked treats beautifully for perfect entertaining and also how to convert dried yeast to fresh in my bread recipes – The formula Anneka shared with us makes it easy to substitute fresh yeast for dry and I can’t wait to test this out at home!
Anneka’s formula : 7g of dried yeast is equivalent to 14g of fresh yeast.
Unlike dried yeast, fresh yeast needs to be activated first. This is done by dissolving it in a small amount of lukewarm water (to speed its activation) with a small portion of flour and/or sugar (subtract these amounts from the recipe).
Fennel Grissini Sticks styled to perfection.
I can’t believe my Make Me a Baker journey is almost over. What an amazing experience it has been and how far my baking skills have come. The focus for the last few weeks has been preparing for graduation which is just under a week away (insert nervous but excited squeal)! I’m sure many memories will be created and food stories shared.
Until next time. X
Hannah Scott (aka @thefoodstoryteller) won a scholarship to BakeClub's Make Me a Baker program thanks to SBS Food. Her rustic approach to baking is partly to thank for winning her the top spot in the competition. We followed her over the last 6-months of her journey, stay tuned to Instagram and the blog as she graduates from Make Me a Baker. In the meantime, click here to get to know a little more about her.
To find out more about how you can be part of a future Make Me a Baker program, click here.