Report on Worshipful Company of Bakers study tour to Akademie Weinheim - 15th July to 18th July

This was one of the most successful bakery courses I have had the privilege of hosting, the candidates gelled from the start.

It is always a relief when they all turn up on time at the airport, although Ashley from Scotland who flew down from Glasgow on a domestic flight was able to get airside international at Heathrow without a ticket, I had his ticket! The three that we were to meet at Frankfurt were all there waiting for us. There then followed a one and half hour coach journey to Weinheim. 
 
On arrival we were greeted by Sally, we dropped our bags and then off to a brewery for a taste of German beers and a very nice typical German meal. Arrived back at the Akademie at 10.30pm.
 
The next morning was taken up with a demonstration on both butter cream gateaux and black forest gateaux. Also, a demonstration of traditional German gingerbread, followed by practical cutting out and baking. Followed by a hands on practical with both gateaux.
During the afternoon session we prepared for the long fermentation wheat doughs and a preferment for the stolen and the pretzels. 
 
The evening meal was taken in the Akademie restaurant which was very good and enjoyed by all.
 
Wednesday morning was finishing the German ginger breads, which was hands on and produced some very good examples of pipping. Following this was the production on 50% butter stolen and production of pretzels with the traditional Lye finish, the moulding of the pretzels produced some good humour amongst the students.
 
After a short break we carried on with production on German breads, including 60/40 rye mixture, wholemeal rye long fermentation wheat bread. This was then followed by a presentation of all the products made over the 2 days, (see photos) and presentation of the certificates from the head of the school.
 
The evening was followed by a visit to Wachenburg castle and restaurant which was lovely with views of the town of Weinheim, a nice summer evening with a very nice meal with a selection of German wines, and taxis back to the Akademie.
 
Thursday morning was taken up with a theory session with a discussion on the European bakery markets and how the UK compared with the other countries in Europe with various bar charts, this did not look good from the UK’s prospective. Also, a discussion on sour dough production and the various ways of controlling the fermentation and sour production. This produced some good discussion from the students.
 
Sally at the Akademie was very helpful and was English which was a great help. 
The afternoon was taken up with a walk into town and a guided walking tour of the old town of Weinheim, which most to the students found interesting, a walk back, followed by coach trip back to Frankfurt airport. And a good flight back to Heathrow, although slightly late. 
 
Conclusion
 
As I explained at the beginning of this report it was very good visit.
It must the accepted that we are providing learning and practical skills for a wide range of students both from colleges and from bakeries, with a varying range of skills and knowledge. I am sure all gained lots of skills and knowledge one way or the other.
Both the lectures were well skilled in their different categories and were very good at delivering an excellent course. They also accompanied us on our visits to the evening events.
 
Constructive comments
 
I think it would have been better to have had the theory earlier in the visit, with more time for Q&A.
 
If we had had more time, for example leaving earlier from London which could have given us an extra half day, the last time we went to Weinheim we managed to include two bakery visits, this would have been good for the students to see behind the scenes of a typical German bakery.
 
The hospitality at the Akademie was excellent we were looked after very well, and the food was of the highest standard. If there was any criticism, it was that some had a to share a room, I tried to sort it out but they were full, if this occurred in the future we could ask if any one mined sharing, as this was a minor problem with one person who was more mature.
 
Kathy was a good help and support, she will be making her own comments at some time in the future, as she had some points of her own. 
 
 
Liveryman and Trade liaison committee member
Henry Jefferies
 











 
 
 
 
 
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