It may seem like something a good few years away from now, but we recently saw an article on LinkedIn discussing SpaceBakery and straight away it caught our attention and thought that we would share it with you!
According to spacebakery.be seven Belgian partners including Puratos have been researching how to make bread baking in space a possibility, through a closed loop system.
"Seven Belgian organisations took up the challenge of developing the ‘Space Bakery’ and the next generation of bread products, high in nutritive value and low in resource demand, that could support such future space missions." Source https://spacebakery.be/consortium
There are a group of seven companies who are working together and sharing their expertise in different fields to possibly make sourdough bread baking a reality in space, and even on space expeditions too distant planets such as Mars. For the full report and explanation on how it might work, click here
We think this is really interesting and look forward to seeing how the project continues, as it could also provide useful findings in regard to sustainability here on planet Earth as well! What do you think though? Is sourdough destined to be made in space? If it does happen, we are sure the bread will be out of this world!
To celebrate the end of a very unusual year at UCB and all other colleges around the country, the Level 3 Bakery students at UCB have been innovating to create the best Vegan Loaf, where they competed in house to be crowned the winner. The judging was held on Friday 25th June 2021 at University College Birmingham and there were some very impressive prizes with 1st place winning an amazing £250.00!
Vegan Bread - Whats the difference?
Students had to think carefully about the ingredients that were used in the loaf, to ensure that it was suitable for vegans, which meant no animal products. There were a range of breads, in all shapes and colours, including a rainbow themed loaf which caught the attention of head judge and ex UCB Student Katie Garrett.
Not all bread is suitable for vegans as it sometimes includes ingredients such as cheese, milk and other diary products. Even egg is something that couldn't be used to glaze bread with, so although it seemed simple at first, it was a bit more of a challenge than simply making a loaf of bread, seeing students having to really think about the ingredients they were adding to ensure the finished product was suitable for vegans.
The final loaf had to weigh 400g on judging day and students had spent the past two weeks developing their recipes and shapes to have the best chance of winning the competition on the day.
Overall, Katie was very impressed by the innovative approach the students had taken to the competition and this was demonstrated in the final products. The shapes were really interesting and it was extremely hard to pick just three loaves from all of the entries, hence the reason for joint 3rd place.
The Winning Loaf
Although all of the bread produced was very innovative, there can only be one winner. The winning loaf was produced by Aisha Shaikh which was named "Shroom in the Hole" and was chosen because of the interesting concept and shape. The flavour was excellent, with fresh garlic, parsley and finely chopped mushrooms combined into an interesting shape as well.
1st Place £250.00 | Aisha Shaikh
2nd Place £125.00 | Ciara Murphy
3rd Place £75.00 | Amira Feyyaz
3rd Place £75.00 | Tionne Cohen Grant
Congratulations to everyone that took part and the winners of the competition. All of the entries looked amazing and we are sure everyone learnt some valuable skills in regard to product development along the way. Here are some other pictures from the day!
We would love to hear what you have been up to at college and university. If you have something to share with the rest of the ABST community! Drop us an email at email@example.com so we can share all of the great skills you have been learning.
Many of you will have just finished college or university and it wont be long until the summer arrives which means you have plenty of time on your hands. So to keep you entertained and also encourage you to develop your newly learnt bakery skills during the long break, we have pulled together our top 5 bakery inspired things to do.
Some of them can be done quite easily in the comfort of your own home, where as others need a bit more thinking about. Let us know which ones you will doing and tag us in your progress! We would love to hear how you found them.
NO.1 BAKE A PIZZA FROM SCRATCH
Now this one might seem relatively simple and in essence it is. All you have to do is make a pizza but making it from scratch just makes it a little bit more interesting and a little bit more special as well. But don't worry, we are giving you a recipe that you can use if you are not sure on how to get started, and we think you will agree that once you have made it and tasted it you will never buy a frozen pizza again!
Even if you have a mixer at home, it might be more fun to mix and knead the dough by hand and why not get the rest of the household involved as well? You could even turn it into a competition for who makes the best tasting pizza, or most interesting toppings.
We would love to hear and see how you got on with this one, so tag us in any pictures on facebook, twitter and instagram using the #ABSTPizzaPerfection
Pizza recipe available here to download
NO.2 WORK IN A LOCAL BAKERY
Now this one might take a bit more planning and will of course depend on any restrictions that are applicable in your area. So before you think about this one, ensure that you are able to do it safely without breaking any national and local guidelines.
But as long as it is safe to do so, gaining some work experience in a bakery, (even if it is for free) will be a brilliant way to increase your skills and knowledge. Obviously you will need to agree with the chosen bakery if you are able to help out and you never know it could become more permanent over time and even lead to a job.
You will learn a bit more about how a bakery works and meet some new people as well. A great opportunity to add experience to your CV, which will be vital when applying for jobs and will give you something to talk about at any interviews as well.
Again, we would love to hear all about your experience, so tag us in any updates on facebook, twitter and instagram using the #ABSTWhereImKneaded
NO.3 CREATE A SOURDOUGH STARTER
We should also add "and keep it alive!" This is something that anyone can easily do at home and it is a great way to see sourdough at work.
If you have never made one before, you will be able to witness the magic of taking flour and water, mixing it together and see it come alive during the week, bubbling away after a couple of days.
Again we have got some instructions for you to get you started and all you really need is some bread flour and a container with a lid. Once you have created your sourdough, and it is alive, don't forget the most important step in the whole process which is the naming ceremony of course.
Once you have your freshly named sourdough culture, why not go even further and bake some sourdough bread with it. We will be waiting to see the picture of your sourdough starters along with some interesting names as well. Tag us in your pictures along with the name on facebook, twitter and instagram using #ABSTSourdough
Sourdough starter instructions here to download
NO. 4 BAKE SOMETHING DIFFERENT
If you bake a lot, you may find that over time you end up getting stuck on the same recipes, (which are doubt brilliant) but it can be the same thing over and over again.
Why not have a go at baking something different, maybe even something that is more challenging. If you are more of a confectionery baker, maybe have a go at baking bread at home.
If you find yourself baking bread a lot of the time, why not have a go at confectionery, chocolate, pastry or even decorating cakes or biscuits?
Not only will it challenge you, but it will also increase your skills and experience working in different areas. There are lots of ideas on the internet, and you could try something completely different like pitta breads, doughnuts or cronuts.
Let us know how you get on, and what you have made. We would love to see some pictures of your creations over summer as well. Use the #ABSTSomethingNew
NO.5 HAVE AN ENGLISH TEA PARTY
What better way to practise and keep your new bakery skills up to date with your own tea party? Don't forget to make all of the treats yourself!
We would be really interested to hear what you have served at your tea party. Will it be scones with jam and cream, or is that cream and jam?
Maybe shortbread or something even more challenging like macaroons? Let us know what you have made and also tag us in your pictures as well and we would love to see them.
This one might be a bit more difficult so why not get everyone in the household involved and give them different jobs to do. You could even turn it into your very own "Great British Bake Off" style competition to see who made the best scone!
We aren't going to give you any recipes for this one, but there are plenty of ideas online and we look forward to seeing your creations! Tag us in your updates using #ABSTGreatBritishTeaParty
We hope that you enjoy our list of things to do over summer. Did we miss anything that you are going to be doing? We hope you all have a very enjoyable summer and well earned rest ready to start back in September! Good luck with the baking over the holidays, and don't forget to tag us as we would love to see the awesome creations!
Exciting news from lesaffre
Lesaffre have just announced their newsletter, which is free for you to sign up for, and gives you lots of information about the company and products that they produce, as well as some very tasty looking recipes to try out as well. There are also technical webinars that will be announced via the newsletter as well, which will no doubt be great for learning and knowledge that you might be able to use at College and University.
We think it looks brilliant, and Lesaffre have been a great supporter of the ABST for many years. To check it out and sign up visit the Lesaffre website on the link here https://lesaffre.uk
Preparation for the bakery competition starts months ahead. Even in the final few weeks before the competition, you will be preparing and making products. The last few hours are most crucial, as you will be getting everything sorted out for the big day. It can be pretty daunting if you have never entered a competition before, but proper preparation will minimise panic situations. It is completely normal for the anxiety to intensify especially on the day before the event but here are 7 tips that I hope will help minimise your worry. I might not be an expert at these competitions but since it is my 3rd time competing for the ABST, I thought I’d share my thoughts.
1. Read the guidelines
Read, read, read! This is a vital step in a competition. Make sure that you read the rules and specifications of your chosen category before you start preparing anything.
2. Sketch ideas
If you have an interesting thought or idea, just jot it down or sketch it on a piece of paper. If you find it difficult to think of ideas, you can always search for some inspiration on social media!
Once you have got an idea of what you would like to take part in, make sure that you plan out your preparation time. Make a note of the days/times that you hope to practice making the product and stick to it.
4. Get a second opinion
It is always a good idea to get a second opinion from your teacher, lecturer, family member or friend. They will look at your idea from a different perspective and give you their views.
5. Stay focused
Set yourself some goals and try your level best to stick to them. Practice as much as you can because “practice makes perfect”!
6. Prepare what you need the day before the competition
The morning of the competition can be stressful, so avoiding rushing around as you may forget the things that you need for the competition. Organize yourself the day before. It is a good idea to make a check list of all the things that you need to bring along with you. This will help put your mind at ease.
7. Learn from your mistakes
If you win 3rd, 2nd or 1st place, then well done to you in advance! If you don’t win a place, well done anyway for trying! Even if you don’t win a place this time, there will always be a next time, so don’t give up.
Finally, once the competition is over - have fun! Meet new people, make friends, cool off in the pool and just enjoy the rest of the conference!
Thanks for reading!
Hello, and welcome to my first blog!
I am currently undertaking an NC in baking, which covers more than just bread, in fact it covers almost everything baking related, but I’ve carved out a little time each Monday morning to hone in on a tasty sourdough loaf.
I initially used the starter and sourdough recipe from Richard Bertinets book, Crust. This turned out to be way too wet, and over proved rapidly in the conditions of our bakery, so I have been keeping a record of changes I’ve made to the original recipe trying to get the right workable dough. The starter Ihave not altered at all.
So, for the recipe I have experimented it to a point where it works for me, it is vastly different from the original. I have reduced the starter by 50%, reduced the water by 10%, increased the salt by 1%, but am also considering changing the salt altogether, to try and find one that doesn’t disappear in the final loaf, I did not alter the flour quantities, although I did whilst practicing, to varied results, in the end keeping it as a constant worked better.
The recipe as it stands –
Refreshed starter left in fridge for two days to increase flavour(this works well up to five days)
700 grams strong white flour
90 grams rye flour
200 grams starter
600 grams tepid water
2% salt (18 grams)
The method I am following at the moment has also developed since finding out control methods from my tutor like, taking the temperature of the flour, air, and using the expected dough temperature, plus an estimated mixing temp to discover a good water temperature, this has helped with the proving consistency.
I start by incorporating all the flour with 80% of the water and leaving it to autolyse for 40 minutes. I then add the rest of the water and starter, mixing thoroughly. I then turn it out onto a table and using the slap and fold technique, knead for roughly ten minutes, this has lessened as my knowledge of the technique has increased, at this point I add the salt, by pressing it into the dough, then continuing to knead until it comes away from the table cleanly, and it is smooth looking on the surface.
It then goes through two hours of relaxing and two times folding in a warm proving area, after this I place each dough in heavily floured bannetons, and place in split plastic freezer bags. This then spends sixteen to eighteen hours retarding at 16 to 18c.
To bake, I dusted peels with fine semolina, set oven to 250c, and baked loaves for roughly 30 mins, if loaves still feel a little heavy but are coloured well, I will reduce the oven to 160c and leave the loafs for a further 15/20 minutes. I also steam the oven before the bread goes in, and after 10 minutes of baking. With a 180 degree turn of the loafs half way through the bake.
This is as far as I have got, and the loaf produced has a nice crust, soft and elastic crumb, with a nice, but not too strong, sour flavour.
I am considering a slight increase of the starter to try and achieve more of that characteristic big hole crumb everybody loves so much. That is for the next attempt but have been happy to learn more about the feel of dough, ways to have more control, and how a different environment can alter the outcome drastically.
If you had the chance to read this blog, and love your sourdough, I hope some of my journey gives you tools to improve your outcome, or at least start to experiment a little with your own journey. If you have any advice, I would love to hear it.
Till the ABST conference,
All the best, and happy baking!
The National Bakery School is buzzing with alumnus, former lecturers, bakery friends and visitors during its 125th year celebration last November 2019. The hallways are decorated with various works and awards of the students alongside purple banners with quotes from different the industry personalities and history timelines from 1894 to 2019 of the bakery school.
One of the highlights of the evening was the talk from NBS alumni, renown author and co-founder of Baketran Mr. Stanley Cauvain. He just recently published a book entitled “Baking Technology and Nutrition: Towards a Healthier World”. Before Mr. Cauvain stepped on the small stage, I managed to talk to him and asked for his advice on some tips that can help me on my dissertation which is perfectly aligned with health and nutrition on bakery products. This is what he said: “There will always be challenges in any industry and innovation will be here to stay. These innovations will hopefully, provide people with better and healthier choices.
However, for bakers, the challenge is to meet certain expectations and perceptions on the products they wish to modify, whether these can guarantee acceptance and give the wow factor, or even find alternative. This is valuable advice from the bakery industry’s top consultant. This is one of the advantages in volunteering in an event where people in the industry were present. Inputs that they give are priceless and its completely free.
In the up-coming ABST 2020 conference, there will be people from the industry that will be present in the event. Therefore, take this opportunity to explore and ask questions that will be helpful or beneficial in your studies.
Happy Baking everyone!
In a world where there are so many different dietary choices now, I wanted to look at those who choose a ketogenic lifestyle. For those who don’t know, keto in a nut shell is; very-low carb and high in fats and because sugar is a carb you’ll find you need to alter your choices of sweeteners to keep those carbs low. The idea of a keto diet is to place the body into ketosis which switches the body into breaking down fats and ketones as opposed to carbs.
So, how on earth to you bake keto?
Turns out, it’s not that difficult but could get a bit pricey – so if you fancy the switch, prepare to face the cost.
Here are a few staple replacements in the keto world:
• Almond flour
• Coconut flour
• Almond Milk
• Oat Milk
Personally, the idea of a low-carb diet freaks me out – I just love them too much. But after diving into this world a little bit; I’ve seen that a few changes don’t usually have a detrimental effect on the final outcome of a bake. I found a recipe which promises a chocolatey and fudgy cake and uses only 7 ingredients. Considering it’s a keto recipe I was expecting a tonne of alternatives and fancy ingredients – but surprisingly instead of a traditional flour and caster sugar – instead they use almond flour, erythritol and give the option of using dairy free milk!
Back in January, Tony brought you a fab no added sugar cake recipe; as bakers it’s definitely a tough one to avoid adding sugar and using alternative flours but there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. So why not give this recipe a go:
210g Almond flour – if you don’t fancy buying this but have almonds to hand; you could blitz these up yourself just make sure not to take it too far otherwise you’ll start to make almond butter instead!
35g cup cocoa powder
12g baking powder
50g water or almond milk
30g erythritol or ordinary sugar
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
I will 100% be exploring this world more because as Tony said for sugar awareness week as a nation our sugar intake is more than recommended so any little tricks to keep it lower is a win in my book!
Welcome to the world of Keto!
Sugar? Why is everyone always talking about cutting down on it? Is it really that bad? What can we do about it?
Sugar can be broken down into 2 categories, natural sugars and added sugars.
Natural sugars are the ones that appear naturally in nature, in fruits and vegetables, when we consume them they always come with added vitamins and minerals that help the body to process sugars and keep us healthy, such as fiber and proteins.
Added sugars are processed sugars that are added to produce,usually for flavours, these include syrups. Added sugars don’t come with any added vitamins or minerals, they are known as empty calories, they are known as such because they have no benefit to the body at all, past a point they become detrimental to a person’s health.
The average consumption of sugar is roughly 60g per day, which doesn’t seem a whole lot, but when you consider that the recommended consumption is only 25g for women and 35g for men, then it becomes quite real. Excess consumption has been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and to strokes.
So we all know how bad sugar can be for us, so why do we all still consume so much of it? The answer is when we eat sugar it releases dopamine, which can be addictive.
So to combat it, we can do some of the following tips:
1- Avoid carbonated drinks
2- Avoid fruit juices as they tend to have a lot of sugar in them, stick to the whole fruit
3- Avoid sweets, seems like a no brainer
4- Avoid baked goods, you can try substituting sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract, vanilla, ginger, lemons and other fruits
5- Check labels on items, if they claim to be low fat, they sometimes have high sugar.
6- Cut sugar in teas and coffees
Below I have attached a fun cake recipe that is sugar free!
• 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
• 60g yogurt (full-fat dairy or unsweetened non-dairy)
• 125 ml coconut water
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 5g vanilla extract
• 210g plain flour
• 115g ground almonds
• 10g baking powder
• 5g bicarbonate of soda
• 5g ground cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
2. Beat the bananas, yogurt, coconut water, eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl until as smooth and combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until combined and there are no more visible flecks of flour.
5. Pour into 12-hole muffin tin lined with cupcake cases and bake for 20 mins or until slightly golden in appearence.
Happy sugar swapping.
If he isn’t vegan, let that mango…
We have come to that time of year again when it’s all about being vegan. So having been vegan for a good few years myself I’ve decided to include one of my favourite healthy vegan recipes down below for you to have a go.
As I’m sure everyone is feeling pretty guilty from all the Christmas indulgence maybe it’s time to try out some healthier snacks as we get back to our normal routines. Even if you’re an avid meat eater or love a good slice of cheese it can’t be denied that vegan food is getting tastier and tastier and not only that, but following a plant based diet is great for maintaining healthy cholesterol and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and that’s only a few of the benefits to consider.
A record 250,000 people worldwide signed up to the Veganuary movement in 2019 by embracing plant-based diets during January and is due to increase even more during 2020 this month. That means that this amount of people will cut all animal foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey – this may sound difficult but trust me it isn’t!
Why not give Veganuary a go and switch to a plant-based diet to reduce your carbon footprint by 60%. Anyway it’s time to share some tasty recipes to start baking!!
10 Ingredient Healthy Oat Cookies
• 84 g almond flour or buckwheat flour
• 67 g rolled oats
• 20 g desiccated coconut (or you could try and sub more almond meal, oats)
• 30 g vegan dark chocolate (chips or chopped bar)
• 3/4 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 73 g organic brown sugar or muscovado sugar (or coconut sugar)
• 60 ml aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas)
• 32 g almond butter (or other nut or seed butter)
• 45 ml avocado or melted coconut oil
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)Instructions
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, oats, coconut, vegan chocolate, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
2. In a separate bowl, beat aquafaba (using a handheld mixer or by whisking vigorously) until light and fluffy and loose peaks have formed. (Add a pinch of cream of tartar to help them along if not whipping.)
3. To the aquafaba, add the almond butter, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine. (The mixture will deflate a little - that's OK). Then add to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. You should have a firm, tacky dough. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 180 C and either lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Scoop chilled dough into roughly 2-Tablespoon amounts and form into small discs.
6. Place on baking sheet with about a 1-inch gap in between each cookie to allow for spreading. There should be about 12 cookies.
7. Bake for 10 minutes. Then increase oven temperature to 190 C and bake for another 2-4 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown. Be careful not to burn (especially on the bottoms) - they bake quickly toward the end.
8. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Then carefully loosen with a spatula - they can stick a little to the bare pan.
Bakery students from around the UK and Ireland sharing their experiences