Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bread making training at iBakery

I was fortunate to have been invited by ibakery (a Social Enterprise of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals - 東華三院) to attend a professional bread making training given by Master Wang, a famous Taiwanese artisan baker.
For the past 2 years I have been making my own rustic-style bread, using Mark Bittman’s no-knead bread recipe. As the name indicates kneading is not required and it is easy to make. Recently I have tried to make a “Yes-Knead” bread with my own sourdough starter (I don't have a bread making machine) and, as of today, my trials have not yet been successful. Therefore I was more than happy to be able to attend this training and gladly accepted the invitation.
But here is more about the bread making training.

Sweet and savoury breads! Rolls, brioches, baguettes, Ciabatta… 

During the 5 day-course Master Wang shared with the iBakery team some of his bread recipes. 
Skills, techniques, expertise…
After having mixed the various ingredients, one of the main factors for making good bread is to knead the dough well until the gluten has fully developed. In short, the dough is ready if it is a bit sticky and elastic; if you stretch a bit of dough (as thin as a membrane) you should see the light through it.
The dough is left to rest in a covered place until it has doubled in size.  The timing depends on the temperature and humidity level.
Different types of dough left to rise in yellow trays (bulk fermentation)
The dough is divided into smaller portions, pre-shaped, and left to rest again.
Dividing the dough into equal portions

The dough is shaped into long or round loaves (depending on the type of bread) and left to rise in a controlled-temperature environment (proofing in a special room or fridge) until it has doubled in size again.
The two most important tools are your hands. Shaping affects the quality of the bread, its taste and texture. It requires skills. You need to be able to shape the ball of dough with regular motions – with both light and harsh rolling movements (moving forward to backward, then from right to left) -, and to slap and press the dough so as to knock the air out.
Some bread needs to be scored (slashes made with a sharp knife on top of bread).

Both temperature and time are crucial and depend on the oven size, the space between the breads, the size of breads, and also the outside temperature (weather). Temperature is adjusted during the process and sometimes steam is sprayed {for some types of bread – e.g. baguettes} at various intervals (a few seconds at a time).


Colour, Sound, Smell…and Flavour
Scores expand and the crust is slowly turning golden brown. Another indicator to see if bread is done is to turn it over and knock it with your fingers: it should make a hollow sound.
Aroma is another detector of good bread. I learnt that you should smell the bottom (not the top) of breads.
Enjoy the fruit of your labour
Then, you slice the bread, check the inside (crumbs must be airy), and finally taste it.

The above is only a brief summary of the training I took part in. Bread making is much more complex and there are so many types of savoury and sweet breads that required different skills. I learnt a lot and I am very grateful to TWGH and Master Wang for allowing me to attend his class meant for professionals. Ha-haha, I need to 加油
In the meantime let me share with you a few addresses where you can try these freshly baked & delicious breads and rolls.
iBakery (a Social Enterprise of TWGH), Shop 2, G/F Block 2, Centenary Mansion, 1 Victoria Road, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong.
iBakery Express (HKU) 愛烘焙輕食站 (a Social Enterprise of TWGH), Run Run Shaw Podium, Main Campus, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.
iBakery Gallery-Café 愛烘焙餐廳 (a Social Enterprise of TWGH), Tamar Park, Admiralty, Hong Kong.
iBakery Express (Tamar) New Outlet  愛烘焙輕食站 (a Social Enterprise of TWGH), Promenade, Tamar Park, Admiralty, Hong Kong.

And of course if you go to Taipei, you must visit Master Wang's bakery: 
SolarismBakery / 陽光宣言烘焙坊
47, Kangding Rd康定路47 (Wanhua District / 萬華區)
There you can find excellent pineapple cakes (a Taiwanse specialty) and many kinds of other exquisite cakes and breads.

Don't feel guilty and indulge yourself in healthy and natural breads…
One important point to mention about all the above bakeries is that they don't put any additives in their products.
(Photo: Pan-Seared Fish Fillet with Lemon Grass Ciabatta @ iBakery Express)

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