Sourdough Course 2014

The Worshipful Company of Bakers and Lesaffre UK & Ireland were pleased to host the second annual Sourdough course at the Lesaffre Baking Centre in Lille on June 23-25th June 2014.

The students were drawn from the following colleges: Tameside, Sheffield, Dublin Institute of Technology, Belfast Met, Neath Port Talbot, Leeds and the National Bakery School in London. These students were joined by delegates from Burns the Bread, Dunn’s of Crouch End, The London Bread & Cake Company and Rays in Liverpool.

Even though the college students had just returned from the annual ABST Conference at Alton Towers, all were very prompt in arrival at the departure point and eager to begin.
Arriving at the Baking Centre in the afternoon of the first day, the students and trainees had a tour of the facilities including a look at the test bakeries and laboratories where yeast and improvers undergo QA testing. After this, the course proper began with a PowerPoint presentation about the various aspects of sourdough production, touching on legislation, production methods, measurement and controls. The afternoon ended with the preparation of sourdoughs ready for dough making the following day, and then the group retired to the hotel for dinner.
The second day was the ‘Day of the thousand baguettes’ with the students learning to handle very soft and highly fermented dough, moulding traditional shaped baguettes by hand, and getting the feel of the dough as it proves. Using the setters to load the oven was a new experience for many too. The result was a range of baguettes with different flavour profiles, crust and crumb characteristics according to the different sourdoughs used to make them.

They also made a range of sourdough ciabatta using the traditional double hydration method, which gives a light product with an open texture and a deeply rounded flavour. There was an opportunity to taste all of these breads as they accompanied the buffet lunch that was enjoyed under the bright sun in the grounds of the Baking Centre buildings.
The beautiful weather continued into the evening and the group were able to enjoy some of the sights of the city of Lille before dining in a brasserie on French cuisine with a Belgian twist.
The third day was spent using sourdoughs in sweet products and pastry, with the students making croissant, Danish Pastries and Brioche. Their creativity was apparent in the different brioche shapes that they produced, and different fruit combinations used in their Danish work. After a fitting vote of thanks to the Baking Centre technicians, Loic Ledru, Richard Brant and Julien Jubin. the whole party piled back into the minibus, laden with tasty goodies, for the journey home. All in all, a very worthwhile visit that appeared to be enjoyed by the whole company.

The pictures below show the students hard at work and with the end results.