If I was to say to you that I went to the School of Slow, I bet the first thing that springs to mind is that it had something to do with slow cooked meat or alike.
However, in this case School of Slow is a bakery school run by The Handmade bakery and refers to the art of making yeast baked goods using a slow fermentation method – last year I went on their Artisan Patisserie course.
I had made croissants before this course, but really wanted to get a better understanding of the process of laminating the dough (the process where you fold the pastry to build up the layers) and also how not to make the butter ooze out the sides (I know, very technical term there).
Held in Slaithwaite (pronounced slough-wit) at their bakery which is based on the Huddersfield canal, The Handmade Bakery is a popular stop for cyclists, dog walkers and bread lovers alike.
We were led to a table at the back of the bakery and greeted with coffee and pastries, We then did quick introductions. Many on the course had either a keen interest in baking or had been on another bakery course here and decided to come again.
We were given our named handouts straight away which was great, as it gave us the opportunity to pen notes as we were getting the information.
The handout also contained lots of information on the process and function of each step we were doing in order to make the dough and subsequent pastries.
We started with making the laminated pastry which was the basis for our pastries.
A mix of flour, water and a little yeast which is called a poolish was added to the dough.
This mixture not only gave the dough more character but also helps the pastries to keep fresh for longer.
The dough needs a lot of work and to be fair if I was at home I would have chucked it in the KitchenAid.
However, kneading the dough by hand was somewhat therapeutic, it was amazing to watch it transform in my hands from a hard dough to one with buoyancy as the gluten enabled the dough to stretch.
After the first rise you would be absolutely shocked by the amount of butter used within the recipe. Thankfully, I did learn some tips on how contain the butter within the laminated pastry as we built up the layers with a series of folds.
Whilst we left the dough to rest we were shown a demonstration on how to make Finnish Pulla Buns, the cardamom mixed within these buns worked so well with a nice cup of black coffee.
My croissants did not turn out exactly how I wanted them to, saying that I am a bit of a perfectionist.
I do really feel that the course has been able to at least start me off on a path of discovery when it comes to making pastries.
Look out for my next post where I will talk about how my time at the School of Slow has faired in a home environment.
A big thanks to Rich over at award winning food blog Them Apples for writing about his experience on this course.
Without that write up, I would have never shamelessly dropped so many massive hints to the Other Half to purchase this treat as my anniversary present.
Though, to be fair teaching me to make pastries at home is surely win win for him, no?
The Handmade Bakery
Unit 6 Upper Mills,
School of Slow: http://www.schoolofslow.orgSocial tagging: croissant > dough > handmade bakery > patisserie > pulla buns > slaithwaite