What a way to start off the new term with National Sourdough Week!
The trend for "Sourdough" has been a trend that has stuck for quite a few years now, in fact, it is a shock to not see some sort of sourdough on a menu in restaurants!
Now we know that the Egyptians were the first civilisations to discover and use wild yeast in bread, it was their primary food and for many years after it had become as popular to consume as potatoes. The term wild simply means no physical additon of yeast, it is natural and this is why it is such a controversial topic! Many bakers believe that bread should not be called Sourdough if it has commerical yeast added in, what are your thoughts on that?
A typical Sourdough will have a thick crust, dark in appearance and the famous 'ear' burst. There are many different types of Sourdough and what is facinating, is you could buy a Sourdough with the same ingredients from different bakeries and they would taste different. However, from researching this, many people buy Sourdough for the health benefits it imposes; for example, people claim Sourdough has reduced problems with digestion incomparison to bread with additives.
Now, I am not a professional with Sourdough and I am constantly learning more and more about it, if you have any comments or advice please comment below!
Thanks so much,
ABST Student Rep.
WHat do you need to bring?
Conference is almost here!
We thought it would be good to list the Top 10 essentials for the weekend to make sure you don't forget anything.
1. Fancy Dress
Friday night is fancy dress night. Our theme this year is 60s-80s, so all delegates are to turn up in fancy dress on the night. There are prizes on the night for best costume, so it is definitely worth making the effort and getting involved. Please ensure that you have read our other blog post regarding fancy dress at Alton Towers.
2. Black Tie Dinner Attire
On the Saturday evening, we hold our awards dinner which is a black tie event. Get prepared early if you need to buy dresses or suits for the evening ceremony. You could also hire these to save you some money if you don’t already have one.
3. Comfy Clothes / Footwear
Now we know you will pack clothes but we all know how the british weather can be. We suggest wearing comfy clothes, especially for the Sunday at the theme park! You may be walking around alot so wear comfy shoes.
4. Swimming Costume
This isn't an essential if you're not going into Splash Landings, Alton Towers does have a shop if you do forget it but we're not sure of the prices. If you're not sure whether to go into Splash Landings then just bring a costume just incase you change your mind.
Although some meals are provided, you may get hungry throughout the day. Drinks on both evenings are not provided so be sure to bring money to cover the two nights. There is also an arcade and convenience store and of course Alton Towers on the Sunday, you may want to buy the hilarious pictures of yourself from the rides!
If you plan on drinking alcohol throughout the weekend then please remember to bring your I.D. Alton Towers are pretty strict and will not serve you without, it is their right to question your age if they feel to do so.
7. Camera & Chargers
You will for sure have your phone with you throughout the weekend which obviously has a camera but if you do own a separate one please bring it along to take pictures of your competition pieces! We will be taking photos too but yes, make sure you bring all chargers that you need!
You may not require specific medication but if you do then please do not forget to bring it as you may be quite a distance away from your home to go back and fetch it. It is so important to ensure your lecturer and the ABST know of any allergies you may have so we can inform the appropiate people.
9. Bathroom Essentials
The one item most people forget! Don’t forget to pack all of your bathroom supplies you will need over the weekend. Alton Towers do have some essential items available such as toothbrushes, but you will need to pay for them, and there aren’t any shops around Alton Towers to quickly nip out and get something. The closest supermarket is about 30 minutes drive away.
10. Suncream / Aloe Vera Gel or maybe even an Umbrella...
Now, we know the weather changes all the time but we usually get pretty sunny weather, be sure to bring sun block just incase the sun is beaming! UV protection is imnportant and we don't want you to get burnt. Though, it could rain so bring a coat & umbrella just incase, we don't want you getting ill!
We've listed the Top 10 items in which people tend to forget, we hope it helps!
See you soon,
s This year the theme is 60s-90s and we can't wait to see all the costumes!
If you have been before you will know that previously we have held a mini competition for the best male and female costume and it is the same this year. So be sure to get your costumes made/bought soon as the conference is in 19 days time!! However, the fancy dress is just for fun it is not a requirement, if you don't want to dress up that's absoultely fine, you will still enjoy the evening.
As always there will be a photo booth as well to get some groooovy photos taken and as always the DJ will play music that matches the theme, be sure to get those dancing shoes on!
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us either by email email@example.com or via our social media pages.
That's right, its World Baking Day and yes we deserve it! Us bakers work hard day in day out to create fine goods for the public to eat. It's a day celebrated world wide and we thought it would be good to share what our ABST members have been making.
Now, we have a Confection to make... yes, you've guessed it there will be some puns throughout this blog!
We also feel that this day is to celebrate all the students studying or working in this fantastic industry, after all you are the bakers of tomorrow. The conference is just around the corner, so we know you're probably busy finishing off your semesters and practicing for the competitions.
But as your semester is coming to an end, some of you might be finishing off writing your dissertations & assignments but maybe you could take a break and have a ...dessertation day instead to bake something you and others love. Work on skills you didn't know you had or just simply eat from your favourite bakery!
If you don't want to share your bakery pictures, why not share some recipes that you enjoy using? Inspire us and others, we are all constantly learning and experimenting, a previous blog post focused solely on vegan pastry and it was fantastic to learn little tips from some of you. Or do you simply have questions to ask in regards to baking? We have top industry experts who would be happy to help with any enquiries. Use this platform to your advantage :)
Here are some bakery products students have shared with us to share with you, enjoy this day of Celebration!
Before you go... What did the flour say to the loaf of bread?
I saw you Yeasterday...ok sorry, Happy Baking! :)
What is it?
#LobTheCob is a yearly tradition which involves well...lobbing a 400g
cob on a peel!
It's all a bit of fun, each College/Uni will hold their Semi-Finals to determine their two finalists (One Female and One Male). There are certain rules to follow so click this link to see the "Lob The Cob" section on the ABST website. You may be disqualified if the rules aren't followed, this goes for both Lob the Cob and any other competitors, read carefully.
We then hold the final on the Saturday at 12.30pm, this where all the finalists verse each other LIVE! The winners will then receive their prize and celebrate their victory! Be sure to spread the word so your fellow student friends can come and support you.
We're surprised this sport isn't held in the Olympics, it's a unique sport I guess! Check out our social media pages, you can find previous videos of the finals to see how it runs.
Good Luck, have fun and be careful...don't injure yourself! :)
Dunn's Bakery - London
Last year I was lucky enough to attend British Society of Baking conference. I had never attended any conferences before as this year is my first year attending ABST! There were many inspring speakers throughout the day and networking time. In fact, I got speaking to Christopher Freeman from Dunn's Bakery. This bakery offers many high end products ranging from celebration cakes to bread and confectionery goods. What I really apprecated was that they use local & fresh ingredients, supporting other independent businesses to create the finest products. It was Christophers grandfather, Robert Freeman, who traveled down from Northamptonshire to London in a hay wagon in 1820. By 1827 Robert opened Dunns Bakery in Crouch End.
Now, I already know what my end goal is, I would love to have my own business one day and Christopher really advised me on the best way possible to go about it. That was when I built up the courage to ask for some experience, I mean if you don't ask you don't get, right? Cut a long story short I was now in contact with Lewis Freeman, current bakery manager at Dunn's and is the SIXTH generation baker, wow! A few emails and phone calls later, I had secured a weeks experience at the bakery. Lewis was really helpful and sorted accommodation out for me with someone who works at the bakery.
My main love in bakery is bread, but my first shift was with the cake decorating department starting at 5:30am. I was nervous going straight into cakes as I have no confidence with creating visually stunning products. I was introduced to Neil who is the cake decorator, the first thing he asked me was if I had any cake decorating experience and all I said was ‘don’t let me pipe’. So he straight away reminded me how to make a piping bag and he spent the first hour with me just teaching me ways of piping. Each time I practiced I got better and better and I was so lucky to have that one on one experience with him. Neil made me feel so much more confident in myself and I learnt so many new skills and now I’m actually pretty good at piping!
As it was Easter week I got the chance to make the chocolate bunnies. Making and using chocolate at University is great for learning but seeing it all done a bigger scale was such an eye opener. Neil said to me "I’ve never trusted anyone else to do the chocolate bunnies so someone at University must be teaching you right" which just shows how important it is that we are learning these skills before going out into the industry.
The main thing I took away from my experience there was that I gained so much more confidence in myself. Going on placements is nerve racking and it’s scary staying in a city you don’t know well but you just have to believe in yourself and have fun! The skills I have learnt are so valuable now and the memories will stay for life.
The one piece of advice I would give to students in a similar position is to take the plunge and ask! After all, we are the up and coming bakers, if you specialise in a particular subject then go experience something you're not confident in. Knowledge is power, never stop learning :).
Thanks for reading, I hope this inspires you to get yourself out there more! I am so looking forward to ABST to network with even more industry experts!
Holly Weeks :)
This is only the Veganning of the bad puns!
If you hadn't guessed, this blog is all about Vegans specifically around baking. I've been a vegan for years now and when I first made the decision to change I actually found it difficult to find good recipes. I especially found it difficult in college/uni to find good recipes to substitute the dairy products that were needed for the recipes.
I then decided to experiment a lot more in baking, researching and trialling until I achieved a consistent outcome. However, with Veganism on the rise, the demand for good vegan bakery products has grown massively. In 2018 there were 600,000 vegans as opposed to the 150,000 in 2014!! This is why I started to research and experiment deeper with products that would be hard to find alternatives for. This year I have been working on creating my own vegan puff pastry, making my own dairy free butter using aquafaba, cocoa butter, coconut oil and olive oil, I can successfully report that it works and tastes delicious!
It's been said that if the world turned Vegan, it could save 8 million people by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, I mean...WOW! A plant based diet is great for maintaining healthy cholesterol and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and thats only a few of the benefits to consider.
Whether or not you decide to give the Vegan lifestyle a try, you should broaden your knowledge on the subject as the demands in the baking industry are changing all the time, give some recipes a try and share!
Last week our student rep from UCB wrote a blog talking about #WorldWaterDay and how sustainability affects bakery products. We also heard about another story from UCB related to #BrumGoesGreen2019 where a number of Universities in Birmingham were involved in sustainable living events for one week. In the bakery at UCB, students looked at making Recycled Bread which is an interesting subject that we thought you may also like to look at. The link to the blog on the recycled bread, along with some pictures of the bread being processed here so check it out and let us know what you think! Click here to view: RecycledBreadBlog
Have any other colleges or universities been involved in new ways to be more sustainable? We would love to hear from you and any stories you have to share as well!
Did you know that when you eat egg on toast you are also eating 175 litres of virtual water?
A normal day breakfast could be egg on toast, and a slice of bread (30g) contains 40 liters of virtual water, and An egg takes 135 litres of virtual water to produce. This calculations are only taking into account the water used to produce the product locally, when the product is imported, the water footprint is added.
You're probably wondering what on earth 'virtual water' is, well continue reading to find out...
The concept of virtual water was first developed as a way of understanding how water scarce countries could provide food, clothing and other water intensive goods to their inhabitants. As food and other products are traded internationally, their water footprint follows them in the form of virtual water. This allows us to link the water footprint of production to the water footprint of consumption, wherever they occur.
Water is life and our planet is 75% covered by it, that’s why we’re called the Blue Planet yet 96.5% of that water is salt water and only 3.4% is freshwater, which out of that 1.7% is frozen in the glaciers and 1.6% is used 70% in agriculture, 20% goes into industry and 10% for domestic use. While developed countries uses around 282 litres of water per person every day, developing countries can use as little as 20 litres in a day.
It is important to highlight the importance of water in the baking industry. Taking the main raw material within the baking industry, Wheat; a worldwide staple food, and it takes on average 1334 m3/ton of virtual (hidden) water to produce it.
Being conscious about water can help us in the future of the baking industry by making sure there is enough of water to grow, harvest, clean and process all the ingredients to manufacture bread, cakes and any other baked goods.
What are you doing today to save water for the future? What are your thoughts on this, comment below to let me know!
Thanks for reading,
Macarons, a product created as a simple treat with no filling now evolved into a patisserie delicacy! They're most popular in France and many believe they originated from there but actually they were invented in Italy! Though, the filling of ganache idea came from a chef in France.
Often people confuse macarons for macaroons but to clear the confusion, macarons are simply made using egg whites, ground almonds and sugar whereas macaroons are a small biscuit containing either coconut or almonds.
The ongoing trend of replacing a wedding cake with a macaron tower is still popular in today's industry, maybe there's a reason for that...Fun fact: a macaron is approximately 70-100 calories whereas a slice of cake is approximately 260 calories...maybe that's why everyone is loving them?!
Many people will only share their baked items that look fantastic but these macarons are tough to make! So perhaps it would be good to share any tips for making the perfect macaron and if you have experienced any issues, share with us! We'd love to try help you out.
I hope you have enjoyed these fun facts, have you made any macarons?