Sourdough baking class with Redbeard Bakery
By Kirsten McKechnie.
On the first weekend of May I was lucky enough to attend a sourdough baking class with Redbeard Bakery in Trentham. The class was running as a part of the Daylesford and Macedon Produce Harvest Festival, although Redbeard also run bread making classes all year round.
It was a stunning Autumn day and the region was buzzing with foodies from all over Victoria. The day before, Trentham had hosted it’s Annual Spudfest so it was a slow start for some but certainly not for the bakers who were already hours into their day as the eager students arrived. There was plenty of coffee and the obligatory ‘Nice Bun’ with organic currants, cardamom and preserved orange. I stopped myself at one but I have been known to eat multiples when I’ve spied them at Farmers Markets around Melbourne in the past.
There was such a lot to take in but Master Baker John Reid was able to guide us through the process and answer all our questions with ease.
John had some really great suggestions such as using an esky as a proving chamber for your bread, he taught us all about the importance of thermal mass and showed us how to use a scuffle in the traditional scotch oven.
It was the perfect mix of hands-on learning, science, history and John’s passion for simple, honest ingredients.
We learned how to make a traditional leaven (sourdough starter culture) and each took this home, promising to feed it every day…mine lived until day five. Never fear though, since I am now equipped with the knowledge of how to create my own leaven, from scratch! I have started again; ask me in three weeks how leaven number two is faring.
We proudly carried home the fruits (loaves) of our labour at the end of the day, the film of flour covering our bodies evidence of our hard work and general awesomeness. So, if you’re ever in town pop in and say hi to John at Redbeard and makes sure to try his sourdough.
Do try to not eat all of the Nice Buns, save one or two for me!