Jane's January Blog

Posted on February 07, 2017

Here is our first blog from Jane at our Cookery School, telling you a little bit about what's been baking.......

Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that January might be a quiet month, and maybe I’d be forgiven for thinking that I could ease back into the New Year at the Cookery School. Time to reflect on Christmas; what went well, what not so well, to think about the year ahead and what we would like to achieve in 2017.
Here we are, nearly at the end of the month and I’m asking myself what happened to January? Well apart from delivering a selection of bread and pie making courses, we welcomed some newcomers to our pre-school bakery apprenticeship on a Wednesday afternoon. We have squidged, kneaded, and baked our way from pizzas to cheese scones and carrot cake muffins complete with a cream cheese topping this month. Noise levels can be pretty high, and I’m often asked what on earth have we been doing. I’d like to think we’re having fun, or maybe that’s just me!
Earlier in the month St Joseph’s School, Malmesbury came on a bus to the Cookery School in Chipping Sodbury, after an unscheduled detour via the bakery. It’s pretty narrow there with plenty of cars to manoeuvre around and the driver didn’t look too pleased when they finally arrived. One of the many benefits of working in a bakery we have found is that there’s not much that can’t be solved with a piece of our chocolate brownie.
Once the children were safely here, we were ready to get going. The plan was to help the children work on their project of development and where better to start than in the schoolroom with Carla who heads up the patisserie team and is constantly working on developing new products. A group of 30 (yes 30) children came and made bread dough adding a host of ingredients to it just to see what would happen. We talked about how adding different ingredients can affect the texture, consistency and even the colour of the bread depending on what you add and when. In addition, the considerations you must make regarding your customer. Just because you like chocolate and anchovies in your bread, does not mean you will be able to sell it to anyone else.
We also asked the children to taste a selection of our breads and we set a competition to design a sandwich. The class were set the task of drawing a sandwich that we could sell, using one of the breads they had tasted, their knowledge and a pinch of imagination. The results were pretty impressive and inventive, but there had to be a winner and it was a tricky task to choose one. After some deliberation Sophie’s smoked chicken with rocket and tomatoes using wild white sourdough came out on top. We have since spent some time smoking chicken using a blend of woods to get it just right, and tweaking it here and there. The result is delicious, and we are now planning to sell it in all our shops after launching in our Malmesbury shop as part of their 1st Birthday celebrations on 28th January.
All I can say is roll on February!