Monday, May 28, 2012

Baking Bread at Becasse Cookery School

I've talked about baking bread before but from now on our home made bread will be taken up a notch or two.  On Saturday I had the good fortune to spend the afternoon at Justin North's Becasse Bakery and Quarter Twenty One Cookery School.  I had a huge amount of fun, learnt a lot and came home with a bag packed full of goodies. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


The class was run by the head pastry chef at Quarter Twenty One, Julian. He is an incredible baker and just such a nice man. His easy teaching style makes the knowledge so accessible.  Julian's assistant Roberto was hilarious and kept us all very amused and our wine glasses filled :)  The classes are intimate, we had just 4 in ours. The class would be a perfect idea for a hen's party or special occasion for a group of friends.



We spent our time making sourdough bread using Becasse's own Levain (sourdough starter mix) that is many years old. Part of the goodies you get to take home from the class is a small jar of Levain. It is truly an honour to have this and I will be busy keeping it alive.  I hope to have many years of bread making from this small sample!





Julian says "here's some I prepared earlier!"
We learnt to make lots of different classic French bread shapes - baguette, boule, epi and fougasse. I will definitely be making more of these and experimenting at home with different flours and fillings.  We also learnt different  little techniques that are essential for good bread making. I know know all about the dough key, the fermentation process, how to nurture the levain and keep it alive; as well as how to steam the bread at the start of the baking. 

Brushing olive oil on the dough, Jamie Oliver Style

Making French Epis - filled with spinach, goats curd and olives



French Epis ready for eating

My rustic baguette with sesame seed



And this little boy was very excited that I brought home a French boule loaf for him. A great accompaniment for our dinner that my lovely husband had prepared while I was gone all afternoon.  I was tucking Jonty into bed that night and he was saying that he'd missed me and how much he likes living with me. I said but you know one day you'll get married and not live with me any more. His reply - "Don't worry Mum, I'll call you every month". Thank god I've got a few years yet!  Boys crack me up, they love you so much but there's always a kickback comment...


The Quarter Twenty One Cookery School has a range of amazing course. They are reasonably expensive - my afternoon was $170. At first I thought this was quite a lot of money but actually it's pretty good value. Becasse is incredibly generous with sharing their knowledge, I got a lot of goodies such as bread, levain and dough to take home, as well as a folder full of detailed notes and an invitation to email Julian at any stage with questions. You are also given 10% discount at the produce shop and I came home with a bag full of divine food (lemon curd, fresh pesto, marmalade and mayonnaise).  The course program changes regularly. Current courses can be found here.

A special thanks to the other class attendees (Nim, Nicole and Leah) who were my gracious models for the photos).  I haven't been paid or reimbursed by Becasse in anyway for this post. (but Justin North, you are definitely welcome to contact me with a kickback! LOL).  The course was a gift from my sister in law for my birthday last year. What a wonderful gift!

So who's up for a little baking?

cheers 
Fiona


14 comments:

  1. That looks like so much fun. Love the comment from Jonty. xT

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    1. Thanks! That boy cracks me up!
      Have a good week?

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  2. What a lovely gift! I've got my sister in laws 40 th in Octobr, that might be the perfect present for her. Thanks for sharing! Mx

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    1. hi Marita - that a great idea for a present for her. I think she will love it and you just can give her a gift voucher for Quarter 21 and she can chose which way she wants to spend it. - restaurant, class or produce.
      all the best
      cheers Fiona

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  3. That's awesome...I am soooo tempted to do a cheese making course but yes put off a little by the cost which is around the same as your bread course. I really should just bite the bullet and do it!

    xx Karen

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    1. hi Karen -i think a cheese making course would be great. definitely just do it! (you can always blog about it also!) hee hee!

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  4. Hi Fiona

    Great post and photos! It was such a delicious and fun afternoon - bread making is such good therapy. :-) I ate so much of that gorgeous bread that junior and I didn't need dinner!

    Cheers

    Nin

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    1. hi Nin - I know it sure was a carbo loading session that night. I'm hoping i can replicate Julian's amazing work...
      all the best with your baby and thanks so much for letting me take photos. BTW email me (see my contact page) if you want me to send you the photos. i love that one of you with your dough ball.
      cheers Fiona

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  5. That looks like so much fun and delicious too! I love fresh out of the oven bread! And what an adorable boy you have there!

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    1. thanks Sharon. When he's good he's adorable...not so sure about the rest LOL.

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  6. What a fantastic idea. The photos are really good.

    Kelly

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    1. thanks Kelly - that's so lovely of you to comment. much appreciated!

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  7. Hi Fiona

    So pleased and lucky to have been able to go to the cooking school before its demise - so sad. Hope you are well. Loving the blog and am going to try the pearl barley and lamb shank soup!

    Cheers

    Nin

    PS. I had a little girl, Charlotte - and you were totally right about saying that I'd love my husband more than ever once we were a family. Very true :-)

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  8. I'd go with tie but far more on Hulk for winner:

    Feel free to surf to my web page - superman stamina video free

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