It’s been five years in the baking – no bun intended. And now, the legends behind The Bread Social bakery have realised their dream to open a bread school, starting with a series of Sourdough Bread Making Workshops at The Farm in Byron Bay.
Byron Bay and Tweed locals would be familiar with The Bread Social for their hand sized Portuguese Tarts, delicious Sourdough bread range and those Wagyu Pies. But you might not know about The Bread Social’s philosophy as a bakery with a social conscience – hence the name. The three lads behind the business – Sam, Paul and Tom – who met while working at the famed Bourke Street Bakery in Sydney, decided to open a bakery in Byron Bay with a commitment to giving back to social causes and the local community. I have to say they do this with great authenticity, employing locals and creating jobs for disenfranchised youth as well as generously supporting many local causes when the call goes out. Now, through their bread school, the bakers are sharing their baking passion with the community through teaching.
I was lucky enough to be invited to join The Bread Social’s first sourdough bread making workshop at The Farm recently. Held in the old farmhouse overlooking the kitchen garden, Three Blue Ducks restaurant and farming pastures, the space was set up with specially designed tables by local carpenter Pepe Munir dressed with goodie bags and baking tools for the 3 hour session.
The workshop began with a welcoming coffee and introductions. The format was totally hands-on and designed for participants to learn the skills to make sourdough bread in a home oven.
Taking little samples of The Bread Social’s own sourdough starter we began mixing with water, flour and then salt to make our own dough. Learning the techniques for hand mixing, shaping, (rest & repeating) and finally baking. I found it surprising that you really don’t need to mix and knead the dough too much. We watched earlier shaped loaves baked in the workshop oven and took home a shaped loaf ready for our own baking. I baked mine in our standard home oven the following day and it was pretty good – a bit dense in the middle because I overworked the dough – but it looked the goods!
We also learned how to ‘feed’ the starter and were given jars of The Bread Social starter to take home and nurture. A big responsibility! Mine is still alive two weeks later…stay tuned!
The workshop ended with drinks and a lovely grazing board featuring local produce and sourdough bread of course. We also tasted the warm loaves baked during the workshop spread with loads of the good stuff – Pepe Saya cultured butter. Atkins dieters need not apply!
Overall, The Bread Social’s Sourdough Bread Making Workshop is a three hour, hands on workshop where you will learn Sourdough 101. When you get home, you can then start experimenting with other flours and smaller and larger loaves. You also get a cook goodie bag to take away – and who doesn’t like a goodie bag?
The million-dollar question – will I keep up making sourdough at home? Well, as long as I can keep my starter alive, I’ll do my best! But with a bit of insurance knowing that I can nip into The Farm seven days to get my baked fresh daily sourdough and maybe a tart or pie as well. Even if you don’t intend to keep up sourdough bread making at home post workshop – it’s a great insight into bread making and a fun experience. It’s great to do with a friend or maybe even as a group. For details on future sourdough bread making workshops with The Bread Social at The Farm at Byron Bay click HERE
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