Bush Baking in Cowra
Bush Baking in Cowra
As the Tour Down South continues, on Saturday, 18th August 2018, I'll be setting up the Bush Bakery Mk II in Cowra, NSW. At the time of writing, I am in the process of finalising details for our venue. It’s centrally located, easy to access, and the hosts are putting on some treats for us on the day. I’m looking forward to visiting Cowra again, a town of amazing history and some interesting baking connections which I’ll be telling you about in a later blog post!
The workshop starts at 9am and finishes about 5pm.
The Bush Baking workshop is all about making great bread with very little more than flour, water, salt and fire. I'll be showing you how things were done a hundred years ago, including my own take on various pieces of bakery kit which have been adapted or reimagined to suit the Bush Bakery Mk II, which is the mobile classroom I've designed for baking on the Tour Down South.
You'll be learning about sourdough fermentation, and how it can be successfully done with minimal temperature control to create tasty and nutritious breads.
We will learn about a baker's 'sponge', and why it is so important in making wonderful sourdough bread. We will be using a baker's trough to knead our dough, a wonderful piece of equipment that has been relegated to second hand shops (if you are lucky enough to find one).
I'm currently designing a purpose built Coolgardie for the Bush Bakery Mk II, which is a type of fridge early Australians used to keep their veggies and milk cool in the middle of summer over a hundred years ago. It will be used to keep our dough and starters at optimal temperature while they ferment, and also to keep the butter cool for our toast!
Finally, we will bake our bread in the portable Bush Oven, which is a special, super lightweight oven powered by anything that burns, including charcoal, biochar, briquettes, twigs, treefall and actual timber. The oven is designed for baking on the sole, so students will also get to experience this type of baking first hand.
The workshop is all about real world baking, with, and in, the elements. Expect a day of fun and adventure, as we see and experience a little more deeply how things we take for granted today came to be there in the first place.
The great thing about the Bush Baking workshop is, just for once, we have to let go of all our safety nets - the timers, the refrigeration, the oven's programmability, the internet and it's zillion variations on a single 'half baked' piece of information.
We have to make do with what we are handed on the day, with one mission; to bake some bread to take home and feed the family. It's a simple thing; but this basic task can be quite daunting. See how it's tackled by someone who has been doing this for thirty years.
My workshops tend to be pretty casual - there will be camp coffee and billy tea, and possibly toast at some stage. Bring things to nibble on as the day progresses, and maybe something to add to sourdough toast. Home made jams, cheeses and dips are all welcome, but not essential. Or, if you prefer, why not grab a bite to eat at the Yirri Grove restaurant?
This workshop is a full day event, and you will learn a great deal about all manner of things, including thermal, mechanical and biological engineering. As applied to the combination of flour, water and salt. To make great sourdough bread, anywhere, anytime.
The Bush Baking workshop is a new thing for 2018. It's all about taking some of the ideas I've been working with this past five years, and bringing them to the people; wherever they are, in the flesh. The internet has changed so many things; we can get all the information we want by a simple 'search'.
As a baker, I know that every home and every kitchen and every bakery around the country have common elements; yet each one also has a unique set of inputs which must be mastered and manipulated to create a great loaf of bread, or indeed, many. Inputs include flour, water and salt; heat, cold, and atmospheric temperature; then there's fermentation strength, fermentation time, and seasonal factors. In addition, there's availability and storage of ingredient, various philosophical and ethical considerations, physical considerations, and so forth. The list could be bigger than this, when one really applies oneself to it, but you get the idea. So by bringing my bakery to you, we both get a clearer idea of these things; your understanding of fermentation when it comes to bread making will grow, just like your dough!
The Bush Baking Tour Down South 2018
This first tour is heading South and then West. Future tours will be going North, and also West. Eventually, I would love to traverse this wide brown land and meet every one of you who have been following my adventures this past few decades!
The Bush Baking Workshops are about baking with the elements, but they are about much more than that. They are about 'Reverse Technology', about simplification, about working with what we have. They are about getting amongst people and communities, gathering and telling stories, and taking in the country and the environment where we all live.
This first series of workshops will be held between June and September 2018, specifically heading South from the Hunter Valley of NSW. I'll be heading through parts of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and then to Western Australia. I'll be travelling with The Bush Bakery Mk II, a special, super low tech trailer bakery, which will be our classroom for each workshop. The Bush Bakery has on board some pretty interesting bits of bakery gear, including a Baker's Trough, a Coolgardie safe and a Bush Oven. It has been designed with the ability to bake small volumes of bread almost anywhere; it's off the grid and an excellent way to get you started on making bread yourself. If we can do it in the Bush Bakery, you can do it too!