2019 Trade Scholar
I started my BBM Global industry Scholarship in October 2019 in the bright city of Brussels in Belgium.
I had planned a three month journey through Europe to the United Kingdom where I would be completing a month-long placement in Dunn’s Bakery.
My first stop was in Puratos, Belgium. Puratos is a global company dedicated to helping bakers, pastry chef and chocolatiers with a range of innovative products and raw materials. During my stay at Puratos I completed a three day inspiration program with two other BBM scholars, Hayley Waterhouse and Samantha Trotter, who also since completed their scholarships.
Puratos provide a lot of important information within the baking industry, from quality to new trends and customer demand. Within the three days we were able to taste new products and ingredients, while being explained how to successfully promote a new line or how to dismiss a product without disrupting the workflow. On the third day we headed to St Vith to visit the centre for bread flavour. Here we discovered the sourdough library, which I found very interesting, as Puratos had over 120 sourdough starters stored in this library. For over 7 years they have been gathering different flavoured sourdough from all around the world. The sourdough library was the highlight of the Puratos inspirations days for me, as I work very closing with sourdoughs within my workplace and feel I gained a better understanding of the characteristics of a loaf of sourdough.
Each sourdough has a story which is shown with every bite. After I witnessed an 80-year-old sourdough aging in the sourdough library in Belgium, I’m now inspired to crate my own sourdough , where one day I can pass it down through my own family and maybe make it to the sourdough library in Belgium.
After Puratos we continued our learning to Callebaut. Callebaut is a world known chocolate company, producing over 1,000 tonnes of chocolate each day. On the visit we went through the factory learning how a cocoa bean turns into a block of chocolate that we buy on the self at the supermarket, with several stages including extracted, grinded and sieved. Callebaut discussed the importance of the cocoa bean farms, how the demand for the beans is increasing and the farmers’ productivity is decreasing due to the lack of interest in the young generation and unfair prices for beans. At this rate, it will one day become impossible to indulge in a creamy milk chocolate. To safeguard the future of cocoa, Callebaut supports the farmers in programs like Cocoa Horizons Foundation to help them earn a better income for farming the cocoa beans, and providing a better education and hygiene to farmers and the community to guarantee a healthier cocoa farming is a viable option also for the next generation of growers, including young women.
The next chapter of my scholarship started as I travelled to Paris, hopefully to find a workplace in a local bakeries. After two weeks of exploring the amazing city of Paris and eating too many croissants, I was unable to gain a placement so I decided to complete a croissant class. The croissant class took place in a bakery where a group of eight people within three hours watched a demonstration on the correct way of baking and storing a croissant to get the best result each time.
In December I completed a month in workplace at Dunn’s Bakery in London. During my placement I had the opportunity to work within four different departments in the Bakery. Dunn’s Bakery first opened in 1920’s and is now under management of the fifth generation of Dunn’s.
My first week at Dunn’s I started in the bread department where I felt most comfortable as I was making bread back home in Mildura, starting my shift at 3am and finishing at 11am. During this week I was making a wide range of doughs including white dough, sourdoughs, ciabatta, bagels and croissants. I was given the chance to learn how to make bagels, better my croissant techniques and gain a few new flavour combinations which I would like to explore when I get home. After bread, I went into the pastry department where they would make cakes, sausage rolls, pasties, quiches, doughnut, and Christmas fruit-mince pies, a lot of mince pies! I learned how to make doughnuts from making the dough, to frying and decorating. I was shown different types of sausage rolls and pasties, learnt how to make florentines and made many minced pies including; wholemeal, vegan, puff and short crust ones.
Working in the fresh cream department was exciting as I made a lot of products I never made before including fruit fans, tiramisu, pecan tart and banana toffee tart. The products made were very delicate and time consuming but looked great and tasted great too.
The final week I worked upstairs in the birthday cake department, which was the busiest department out of the four, but there was only one cake decorator working in this department. I started using fondant to make some woodland animals for a cupcake order then started masking cakes and covering them with fondant, then learnt how to pipe boards around the cakes and writing messages on top within the week. I got to make a Minnie Mouse cake and an R2D2 cake out of fondant too. Making these cakes was challenging but I really enjoy it as it was something I haven’t got much experience in. I’m confident in my cake making skills and can’t wait to make cakes for friends and family and possibly make a career out of cake making. After spending a month working at Dunn’s bakery, I met so many talented bakers/pastry chefs and cake decorators and gained so many skills and products which I’m excited to start using when I get home.
The experiences of being on the other side of the world and meeting people who have years of knowledge and understanding in the baking industry was amazing and has given me more opportunity as young baker and for the future.