Bush Baking in Pingelly
Bush Baking in Pingelly
On this leg of the Tour Down South, we roll into the beautiful wheat country of Pingelly, a couple of hours east of Perth. The Bush Baking Workshop will be held on Saturday 21st July 2018. I will be setting up on my fellow baker Ed Taylor's property. Ed's micro bakery, known as the Breadwright, services the local community. I'm really looking forward to seeing Ed's setup, and students of the workshop will no doubt be fascinated to see his place as well as the Bush Bakery Mk II in action. Ed has camping space available on his property, so if you are withing driving distance and wish to spend a day or a weekend but don’t feel like driving on the day, he will be happy to accommodate you. Probably a good idea to contact him first if you want to camp, otherwise you can simply book right here.
The workshop starts at 9am and finishes about 5pm.
Pingelly is situated in the middle of the wheat belt, and Ed's connection is clearly with local flour from Eden Vally biodynamic farm and mill, only 100 klms away. As Australian bakers know, 100km from the grain is about as close as it gets!
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 kneading our bread by hand, using some tips and tricks to save time and effort.
I’ve built a really simple thing which bakers call a proofer/retarder into the Bush Bakery MkII. My version uses an evaporative system requiring only airflow to cool things down, and a spirit burner with some terracotta pots to warm up dough. So far, it’s been so cold that the cooler hasn’t been all that necessary - but the proofer has been a huge success!
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.
I won't lie; I don't always get it right. Funnily enough, I'm so far down the track now that the best I can manage in these situations is to be able to figure out what went wrong! Gotta say, getting it right in these low tech circumstances is pretty satisfying. You will share the feeling, I promise you.
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.
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!