Hands up who loves Baker & Cook? If you follow our blog, you will know that we are HUGE Baker & Cook fans. We were thrilled to be invited to learn how to have our own little slice of Baker & Cook at home at Brettschneider’s Baking and Cooking School.
About Dean Brettschneider
We were lucky enough to be invited to the Basic Breadmaking Class that was conducted by Dean Brettschnider himself, the man behind Baker & Cook. Dean is passionate about bread and his enthusiasm for baking is infectious. He demonstrates the basic techniques for making great bread with a natural ease and charm, his instruction is more of a flowing conversation, allowing plenty of opportunity for those taking the class to ask questions. He is generous with his knowledge and time, floating around the class to help with any mishaps and making sure that everyone is mastering the basics.
About Brettschneider’s Baking and Cooking School
Located in Bukit Timah right behind the Baker & Cook flagship store in Singapore, Brettschneider has created a space that is flooded with lovely natural light. Like all things Baker & Cook, everything in the school is of the highest quality. The equipment, the ovens, the beautiful stone workbenches. It’s a bright, airy space which is a pleasure to be in as well as work in!
The Beginning of the Class
On arrival, we were offered coffee and some of the delicious pastries Baker & Cook are famous for! We were given a run down of the day and then it was aprons on and straight into it. At our benches, we found all the ingredients weighed and ready to go, which made the process easier for the students and also, allowed us all to get straight to the fun bit, making the dough!
The Art of Producing Quality Dough
If you have never made bread before, then fear not. Dean demonstrates the technique used to make the dough in a really easy and accessible way, which means that even beginners will find themselves kneading dough like a pro in no time at all. We made 2 doughs on the day, one a plain white dough and the other, an olive oil dough to turn into Focaccia. We made the dough by hand, and it’s great fun to get your hands dirty and feel the dough coming to life.
Lunch is Served
After a few hours of kneading, it’s time to take a load off and enjoy an AMAZING lunch spread put on by the Baker & Cook team. Helen Burge designs the lunch menu, she is the talented author behind After Dinner Mints for Breakfast . Quiche, pizza’s, spectacular salads, paired with excellent red and white New Zealand wines, is just what you need after a morning in the kitchen. All dietary requirements were accommodated, meaning everyone finished lunch happy and satisfied!
Turning Dough into Bread
The feet have had a well deserved rest, now it’s time to put the finishing touches on our dough that has been resting. Dean uses the word “knock back”, which means to give the dough one final knead before it’s ready to be baked. I was not familiar with fougasse, so it was really interesting to see how simple it was to turn dough into a creative piece of bread. It was as simple as taking a scraper and using it to cut holes in a piece of flattened out dough. That went into the oven, and we were straight back to our next job which was rolling the remaining dough into a loaf.
Lastly, and what I was most looking forward to was the focaccia. I make pizza all the time at home, but I’ve never attempted focaccia. After seeing how easy it was i’ll definitely be doing it again at home. Dean demonstrated how to create the holes in the focaccia, he then added the toppings, then it was our turn. There is a real technique to getting the holes right, and with a little guidance ours turned out pretty well.
Our fougasse before it was baked to a crusty delicious bread
Both of our focaccia’s before we smothered them with olive oil straight out of the oven. To die for!!
Baking the Bread
All our breads were in the oven and everyone was eager to see how their’s would turn out. If I was at home and attempted to make bread myself, I would have popped it into an ordinary oven on 180°C, but Dean gave us a few secret tips of how to bake it so it comes out shinny and crunchy just like you’ve bought from the bakery.
What an amazing effort by everyone in the class, but i’m sure you can tell which one is Dean’s loaf!!
It was so rewarding to be taking home our very own bread we made.
Whilst waiting for our bredas to bake it was time for afternoon tea. We were completely spoilt by two delicious cakes from Baker & Cook, I of course had to try both; carrot cake and almond and orange cake. I can’t resist anything from that store!! They were very generous in offering tea and coffee throughout the day, so I felt energized after my second boost of coffee and a little sugar hit!
Before going my only thought was, wow 10am-4pm, it’s going to be a longgggg day, but not once did I notice the time. Dean and his team did such a good job at keeping the class moving along at a steady pace. You never felt weary or even bored, you were constantly busy either watching and listening to Dean’s demonstration’s, and then emulating his amazing work yourself.
The team made a real effort in making everyone feel comfortable and absolutely capable, Dean managed everyone’s expetations really well. He kept saying, our bread’s should not have turned out as incredibly perfect as his did because we have not been doing this since we were 16 like him, which was right! He made us all feel like super stars for accomplishing what we did in a day’s work!
We had an absolute ball, a glass of wine or two at lunch took the nerves away from the anticipation of the “great reveal”, whose bread turned out an whose didn’t!!! HAHA it wasn’t like that at all, everyone in the class went home with beautiful looking bread and I can say ours tasted delicious.
We would definitely recommend Basic Break Making class or any of the other classes as a great group activity for corporate team building, hen’s day, baby shower, entertaining family and friend’s whilst in Singapore, go with a friend for a day out or just a chance for some “me” time.
One huge plus about the location of the school is, you car park all day for free. This is a MASSIVE bonus in Singapore. So if you drive, it’s easy to park, otherwise it’s a walk away from Bukit Timah Road which services plenty of buses.
Brettschneider’s Baking & Cooking School offer’s a range of classes for all level’s of baker’s and chef’s, have a look on their website for a full list of classes and book yours now. http://www.bakingandcookingschool.com/
I hope you manage some time to make a booking and enjoy the fabulous new baking and cooking school as much as we did.
E & J x