Whether you’re a rookie in the kitchen or a bona fide chef, there’s always room to improve – or at least have some fun with food and friends. Here, we put the latest cooking classes to the test.
Time, place and cost:
Held at Brettschneider’s Baking & Cooking School (1 Greendale Avenue), this class runs from 10am to 4pm and costs $245 per person. It includes lunch, a glass of wine and coffee or tea.
Fresh pizzas, calzones, focaccia, stromboli and grissini.
Being a huge fan of Baker & Cook and its artisan breads, I was eager to learn even a snippet about how to bake some of those myself. I’ve always admired other people’s efforts at baking bread: the last time I attempted anything of the sort, it turned out more like a sponge cake – an epic failure.
Who better to teach me than global baker Dean Brettschneider himself? Our first creation was a basic pizza dough; I’d always wondered how to achieve a thin base with authentic air bubbles, and he showed me how to do just that. The secret to success is in the kneading and the timing – kneading it the correct way to avoid “tearing” the dough, and leaving it to rest at the correct temperature for the right amount of time, covered so that it doesn’t form a layer of “skin”.
We left the pizza dough to rest, attending to it intermittently while we made the next item, calzone. This required a similar method but used more oil. After a break for a yummy lunch (the pizza we’d made earlier!), we went on to try our hands at making focaccia, one of my absolute favourites. Taking perfectly formed dough balls, we covered them in olive oil and flattened them a little, poking holes randomly with our fingers.
We then added tasty Baker & Cook dips over the top, as well as baby tomatoes, onions and rosemary, before sprinkling them with water – a trick to make the bread brown in an uneven fashion. After baking, we drizzled them with garlic infused oil and ate them – they were a winner! Then we rolled out some leftover dough, cut it into thin strips and coated them with parmesan, sesame seeds and thyme to make crunchy grissini, which I was very proud of. The final item on the agenda was dessert: an apple and raisin stromboli (a type of turnover) with a sprinkle of sugar.
It was amazing to have Dean share his tips with us in person, something you just don’t get from following a recipe. An award-winning author of 12 cookbooks, a presenter and a judge for cooking shows, Dean is the founder of the successful artisan bakeries Baker & Cook and Plank Sourdough Pizza in Singapore.
The class was super-fun and our pizza lunch was amazing, if I say so myself! Washing it down with a lovely sauvignon blanc, we had a giggle over our accomplishments. I must admit that I went back with sore arms from all the kneading, but I’d love to do one of the other courses they offer – there are so many!
– Jacqui Young
Grab your apron…
Brettschneider’s Baking & Cooking School is running this class again on 10 June. The school offers practically every type of baking class, from classic cakes to New York deli baking, plus classes for kids, too. The cooking classes are also popular; with themes including salads, pastas, Middle Eastern cooking and dim sum, there’s something for everyone.
6463 5508 | bakingandcookingschool.com
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