Three Months in Europe

Hayley Kellett, 2018 Trade (Baking)

I started my BBM Youth Support scholarship in October 2019 in the bright city of Belgium. I planned a three month experiences through Europe to the United Kingdom where I completed a month placement in Dunn’s Bakery.

 

Puratos, Belgium

My first stop was in Puratos, Belgium. Puratos is a worldwide company dedicated to help 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 fellow scholars Hayley Waterhouse and Samantha Trotter. During this time we discussed important information, relevant to the baking industry, such as new trends and customer demand.

We were also able to taste new products and ingredients, while it was explained how to successfully promote a new line or dismiss a product without disrupting the workflow. On the third day we headed to St Vith to visit the centre for bread flavour, where we discovered the sourdough library, which I found very interesting. Puratos had over 120 sourdough starters stored in a library. Over the past 7 years they have been gathering different flavours of sourdough from all around the world. The sourdough library was the highlight of  Puratos  for me, as I work very closely with sourdoughs in my workplace and feel I gained a better understanding of the meaning and characteristics behind a loaf of sourdough.

Each sourdough has a story which is shown in every bite. After witnessing 80 year old sourdough aging in the sourdough library in Belgium, I’m now inspired to create my own sourdough, so that one day I can pass it down through my own family and maybe make it to the sourdough library.

 

Callebaut, Belgium 

Callebaut is a world renowned chocolate company, producing over 1,000 tonnes of chocolate each day. We visited the factory and learnt how cocoa beans turns into a block of chocolate that we buy on the shelf at the supermarket. There are several stages including, extraction, grinding and sieving. We discussed the importance of cocoa bean farms and how the demands for the beans are increasing and the farmers productivity is decreasing due to the lack of interest in younger generations and unfair prices for beans. At this rate, it will 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. By providing a better education and improved hygiene to farmers and the community to guarantee healthier cocoa farming as a viable option for the next generation of growers, including young women.

 

Paris

For the next chapter in my scholarship I travelled to Paris, hopeful to find a work placement in 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 decision to complete a croissant class. The croissant class took place in a bakery for a group of 8 people, over 3 hours we watched a demonstration on how to lam croissants and the correct way to bake and store to get the best result each time.

 

Dunn’s Bakery, London 

In December I completed a month long work placement at Dunn’s Bakery in Crouch End, just outside of London. During my placement I had the opportunity to work in four different departments in the Bakery. Dunn’s bakery first opened in 1920’s and is now managed by the fifth generation of Dunn’s.

In my first week at Dunn’s I started in the bread department where I felt most comfortable as I make bread back home in Mildura. My shift started at 3am and finished at 11am.  During this week I made a wide range of doughs including; white dough, sourdough, ciabatta, bagels and croissants. I was given the chance to learn how to make bagels, better my croissant techniques and gain a few new flavours combinations which I plan to explore when I get home. After bread, I went into the pastry department where they make cakes, sausage rolls, pasties, quiches, doughnut, and Christmas minced pies – a lot of minced pies! I learnt how to make doughnuts step by step, from dough-making, to frying and decorating.  I was also shown different types of sausage rolls and pasties and learnt how to make florentines. Not to mention, I made many minced pies including; wholemeal, vegan, puff and short crust.

Working in the fresh cream department was exciting as I made a lot of products I had never made before including; fruit fans, tiramisu, pecan tart and banana toffee tart. The products were very delicate and time consuming but they look and taste great!

The final week I worked upstairs in the birthday cake department, which was the busiest department of the four. However, there was only one cake decorator working in this department! I started using fondants to make some woodland animals for a cupcake order, then masking cakes and covering them with fondants, then I learnt how to pipe boards around the cakes and write messages in just one week. I made a Minnie Mouse cake and R2D2 cake out of fondants, making these cakes was challenging but I really enjoyed it as I was something I haven’t got much experience in. I’m now 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 some many talented bakers/pastry chefs/cake decorators and gained so many skills that I’m excited to start using now I’m home. The experience 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 gave me an amazing pathway for my future.

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