Freo Food Bread bake day
I belong to a local Facebook group called Freo Food Bread. Freo is the abbreviated version for Fremantle the port city for PERTH the capital of Western Australia . Australians love to shorten everything up.
I have ended up as the admin for this group and we have over 300 members with probably half that number regularly accessing the site. One of the things that often gets asked is whether bread making lessons can be organised and to that end I recently visited a number of locations from commercial kitchens through to local halls. Even the commercial kitchens fell short with small mixer and smallish ovens with lack of trays or shelves. As some of you may know I used to work at a hospitality training centre where there was all the goodies . Anyway I was reporting back my progress or lack thereof when one of the members gave me his number and asked me to call as he thought he might have a solution.
I followed up and had a meeting with Lachie, I had heard of the NORTH STREET STORE and how popular it was, I had also heard of their expansion to South Fremantle with LITTLE LOAF moving into a premises vacated by another very good local Bakery WILD BAKERY which had only moved a block or so away to bigger premises. I had also seen the signage go up on a building on the edge of an Industrial area close by home proclaiming BIG LOAF. This is where it was arranged i meet Lachie.
My cousin Ray who I did my apprenticeship with accompanied me and we had a tour of the facility and had a great time chatting with Lachie about all things bread. ANYWAY Lachie wanted to make the facility available to the group for a baking session and Sundays is a much quieter day at BIG LOAF so there would be plenty of mixer space bench space and oven space.
My immediate concern was having oversubscription to the event and Lachies answer to that was just schedule more days! I acknowledged that as being very generous but perhaps we would suck it and see how things worked out with the first one.
As you can imagine I came away from that meeting like I had won the lottery I was already imagining the awe that our baking enthusiasts would feel in such a great environment.
The proposal was reported on and very quickly the very active members were putting their names forward so a date was set that coincided with Lachie returning from a trip to the other side of Australia to purchase and ride a BMW motorbike back across the Nullabor Plain, one section has the longest straight section of road in Australia being 90 miles dead straight its also dead flat and tree less.
I settled on a bakers dozen with a couple of reserves on a wait list. I elected to make my 50% Wholemeal with Stout Dough, I wanted to make sure we all had 3 kgs of dough to process so the dough was to be 48kgs . Fortunately I had already set down a Home Brew of New Zealand Miners Stout and even at 50% of the liquid content we were going to require a dozen 750ml bottles or 9 litres of the black stuff. I just knew this was going to blow the groups mind. The second dough would be a fruit dough that they would be able to make scrolls with, that was a 32kg dough.
On The day everyone arrived in good time as requested and this was the first time that many had put faces to names , everyone had their printed sticker put on , I was able to spread the workload with a number of members doing tasks such as the name label printing, the money collection and preparing fillings for bread rolls at lunch time which was a big help and one less thing for me to do.
Introductions were made and a few house rules were also mentioned as this was a work site and a 24/7 site, Sunday is a relatively quiet day so we had plenty of room but still able to witness commercial production. A tour was given from where stores came in through to the despatch.
Lachie had weighed up the first doughs ingredients from the printed out sheet that I had prepared which had the formula as well as the 2 recipes for both 48kg and the home version 750g that could be replicated at Home
I think the scale of things was becoming apparent with the emptying of the 12 bottles of Stout, Lachie's son Monty was assisting in that task as well as taking the temperature of the stout so that we could achieve our desired dough temperature and of course we needing to factor in mixer friction.
The dough did not look at all large in the spiral mixer as it went about its task. Frequent stops were made to allow the members to feel the changes taking place and quite a bit of extra liquid was added , even taking into account that we didn’t want to have a slack dough for inexperienced hands . The dough was well mixed, I was surprised with the amount of development that Lachie was putting into the mix! We can all learn something as we go along. The dough was placed into a couple of tubs and wheeled into the prover on a dolly.
A coffee break was taken at the same time observing the famous scrolls that are in such great demand and produced all by hand in big numbers, something like 2,000 a day.
Following the coffee break the 2nd dough was commenced being a mere 23kg. enough to give 2kg each and the ability to produce a dozen cinnamon 100g fruit scrolls and a couple of jubilee twists or a single 800g loaf. This dough was then also placed into tubs and consigned to the proofing area.
Lunch was then taken with Big Loaf show casing their really good pies ,sausage rolls , quiches and a number of loaves and baguttes for the pre prepared fillings that Charlotte and Phil had brought to the table. Much chatter and laughter was happening during this great spread of food , but i reminded them that we work with the dough and an inspection had told me the W/M dough was now ready for their attention. The dough was knocked back and emptied out onto the bench, I got to revive my scaling off skills and in no time was hurling 3kg lumps of dough down the bench to be handed up. a sheet was draped over the dough pieces while the recovered and relaxed. Suggested final loaf shapes were discussed so each of the participants would need to further divide their allotted dough balls into 4 x 750g pieces . I demonstrated shaping for the plastic Bannetons also for using the genuine french couches that the bakery possessed, (another first for me) Once shaping was under way help was provided by Ray, Lachie and myself if requested. The shaped dough pieces were then consigned to the proover. A little later the fruit dough was then processed diving off 1200g pieces followed by 800g pieces these were handed up with the scroll pieces preshaped into oblongs ready to be pinned out. After allowing the dough to relax and recover the pinning out and application of cinnamon and sugar was demonstrated as well as the rolling out and twirling of the jubilee twists.
No sooner than we had consigned the fruit dough rack to the prover and a bit of a clean up than it was time to get the W/M into the oven. Big loaf has a rack oven where the whole rack goes into a baking chamber and is rotated . A 4 tier hearth oven which was the one we were using for the W/M and another larger oven that has the belt loading apparatus, again another first for me seeing one of these in the flesh, Lachie did demonstrate its use earlier a great piece of kit, I recalled the days of loading the big peel ovens with a very long pole and the need for speed as the loaves that go in first are the last to come out , i also remember many an unfortunate bread carter that tried to run past as the peel was slide into the oven and the swift pull back that was required to deposit the dough piece on the floor of the oven resulted in the peel handle skewering them in the leg or groin if the were really unlucky .
Each of the 4 tiers in the oven had controls for top and bottom heat and also steam application that could be dialed up and would commence and cease automatically. The loaves were tipped from the Bannetons scored and slid into the oven, it was evident the some may have gone into the Bannetons upside down and were left unscored to show the natural relief look .
Big Loaf favours a bold bake on most of its breads as do i and that's what our loaves got. I must say the aroma from the 48kg W/M baking was well and beyond just the increased in size factor of the home bake. Just before it was time to unload the oven the fruit dough was rolled into the rotating rack oven another first for me to see.
Pulling the bread from the oven was that feeling of a magic trick that has been performed right in front of you and a number of the members got in on that act.
The Fruit dough was next out and the honey wash was applied A final tidy up and moving a bench or two concluded our great day all that was required was to load bread and buns into vehicles express our deepest gratitude to our host Lachie and Monty.
We have been invited back again and Lachie has even offered to have a dough or two already prepared especially if we want to handle a longer or retarded dough next time
not sure if the videos will work
And some of the other pics of the famous scrolls being made. Anyway a great day was had by all, a good way to spend 8 hours on a Sunday with new friends.
Other things we intend doing is building a WFO or two visiting a historical bakery but probably doing a bread tasting day in conjunction with the history people .
maybe a flour mill visit
certainly a bread and spreads afternoon in the spring where we all bring along a bread or two and the things that make good companions to those breads.
Most of all a huge thankyou to Big Loaf Bakery and Lachie and Monty for their time, and space . i was very pleased to receive a lovely message from Lachie who said how much fun he had with us and a lovely moment when Monty said to his dad How nice his new mates were!