Sunday, January 26, 2014

Brasserie Bread - Bakery Tour

Back in December last year, a couple of us food bloggers were invited down to the Brasserie Bread Bakery & Artisan Baking Studio in South Melbourne for a studio session hosted by the very lovely Sarah Han (Brasserie Bread blogger and WeekendNotes writer).

We discussed and shared thoughts about food blogging over coffee before we were introduced to Chef Gaulthier who then led us on a tour around the Brasserie Bread bakery.

Chef Gaulthier shared their plans for 2014; he mentioned that Brasserie Bread will be closing the cafe until February so some renovations can take place. They will reopen as a baking studio school and focus on breaducation. 

There will be new classes introduced; hehe I heard "lamination" and "gluten free". ;) The word lamination got me really excited! One of my baking resolution this year is to learn how to make good croissaints. Can't wait - hopefully they'll announce soon! 

The huge-arse oven!! I think about double my height. Say what?!! :O
As mentioned, Chef Gaulthier showed us around the bakery, sharing how its facilities works, then going on to explain briefly the bread making process in his sexy French accent.

It was an eye opener for me... Oh what, I'm not talking about Chef G!! Tsk tsk. What are you thinking? ;P

And this is him going, "Stop taking pictures of me, I tell ya!!!" Heh, I'm just kidding! Chef G is super friendly and funny; he is just very expressive, and gets all enthusiastic when talking about bread and bread making. You can tell he loves his bread!

Anyways, I was meant to say earlier that it was an eye opener for me to see bread being made in bulk, all the big machinery and to understand the process behind a bakery.

The smell of freshly baked bread was too amazing, and Chef G also thought us on how we can hear the crust singing as soon as they're out of the oven. If your crust turn out right as they should, put your ear close to the bread and you’ll hear this lovely, soft crackling.

And I was amazed to take a peek at this huge tub of 19-year-old, bubbly sourdough starter that they transported all the way from Sydney when they opened up the Melbourne branch in 2012, and continued to keep it "alive" since then.

See I told you Chef G is very expressive! :P
Chef G very kindly prepared some of these starter on a bowl so we can test how it taste like - sour and yeasty, duh! ;P

I am so inspired to start my own, but given that it needs to be "fed" with water and flour daily and I won't be around for over a month, I thought I'd give it a go later in the year. And when I do, I will endeavour to keep my "starter baby" well-fed!

These guys just chilling, and stretching as you would at work. xD Teehee, why oh why am I being very cheeky today?

But on a more serious note, it is no easy job for these breadmakers. That's a few kilos of dough they're working on there! And these guys shape ALL the bread by hand. *salute*

And to be very honest with you, the entire tour felt like a torture to me. Why, you ask?

THERE WAS

BREAD

AND PASTRIES

EVERY.FREAKING.WHERE!!!

For someone who loves both bread and pastries, I could barely contain myself. I seriously was thisss close to picking at them with my bare hands! I wanted to pop a dinner roll into my mouth. But I went *breathe in, breathe out*... come on, self-control girl!

I blame the fragrant smell. I blame how good these Artisan bread look. Thankfully though Sarah was a smart cookie, she knew we'd all be hungry right after the tour, so when we were done, she presented us with this. YAY!!! Now I get bread!! :P

There was a variety of bread, cheese, jam, smoked salmon, prosciutto and as you can spot in the picture, the amazing Pepe Saya's cultured butter and creme fraiche. All of us food bloggers, dug right in with a hungry tummy. Om nom nom.

Good peanut butter and jam, on a slice of sour cherry bread - so good!
And whilst we were eating, we could see some of the students from the Artisan baking getting absolutely hands on in class.

They were learning all the techniques of kneading, shaping and baking from Chef or should I now say, Teacher G.

There was a lot of loud dough slapping, imagine how sore their hands would be the next day. Then imagine the bread makers doing these on a daily basis!! That's why they say, you pay for what you get.

As if we were not fed enough, Sarah then brought out a tray of sweet treats for us! I was already so full but I couldn't help myself.

At least I controlled myself and had only one of each - clockwise from top: the most amazing orange and hazelnut flourless cake (seriously SO SO MOIST and delish), raspberry & pistachio friand, almond croissant, and flourless chocolate cake.

After we finished eating, it was time for us to bid goodbye. Sarah so kindly packed us all some bread, my favourite Pepe Saya's cultured butter and creme fraiche, and a pack of organic flour all the way from sunny QLD into a goodie bag to take home. :)

Amongst the bread that we were given were a huge loaf of sourdough, another big loaf of rye, and some brioche buns.

I also very kindly shared some of the bread with The Boyfriend and he immediately ate some sourdough with olive oil and vinegar going, "Hmmm, this is good bread." He knows his stuff, huh? And of course I wouldn't bring home bad bread for you, babe. ;)

I also found myself having a very gourmet brekkie at work that week; smoked salmon and creme fraiche on sourdough bread. My colleagues were looking on very enviously. :P

And this was what The Boyfriend and I had for dinner the next night - very delicious cheeseburgers using the brioche buns, and of course with a good spread of Pepe Saya's butter.

Melted a slice of tasty cheese over the beef patty, topped with a fried egg - so simple yet to tantalizingly tasty! Yummo!

Good buns seriously make a world of difference! Now, I'm keen to learn how to make brioche buns - so I can make good hamburgers like this again. Hopefully they'll announce soon. :)

Brasserie Bread on Urbanspoon
I reckon you should head down to their artisan baking studio one of these Saturdays to taste and buy their freshly baked breads. The brioche buns and sour cherry loaf are my fav's! ;)

And if you too are keen to learn artisan breadmaking, check out their baking classes calendar.

Lastly, thank you Sarah, Chef G and the rest of the crew at Brasserie Bread for the generous spread of food, and for having me! :)

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