Broodbroeders Workshop

To learn or not to learn

Since i started to make my own weekly Sourdoughbread last month i learned a lot of things on the internet, by doing and by reading some books by good bakers with a lot of experience.
Like “De Superette” book by Sarah Lemke, “Tartine” by Chad Robertson and many more.
And since i tasted the sourdough bread of Bakery “De korst” in Kessel Lo, i was immediately addicted to sourdough bread! Mmmmmm.........

So when i saw the opportunity to follow a sourdough bread making workshop at "De Broodbroeders", i applied for it. This Atelier has been build up by Johan and Steven and they seem to experiment with sourdough from Mechelen. I visited this Atelier the week before and i have not seen one of those brothers yet. The workshops are really quickly fully booked, so i had some chance to get one more spot. I was told that Johan would lead the workshop next Sunday where i applied for.

So Yesterday was the day of the workshop and i was really looking forward to it of course.
I had some loafs at home who where really successful so far, so i though it can only get better.
We had a fine group with people who were really interested in bread making too as much as i am. Some even gave it as birthday gift to their best friend. That’s a nice gesture i think :)

The day started as i expected and i arrived 15 minutes before the course started, Anne was going to lead the workshop, not Johan as she said to me earlier? 
We immediately got into it and there were some preparations done by Anne herself. She works there for 2 years now at the Broodbroeders. The flours were already in a big plastic box and a lump of Baker’s yeast? I immediately was thinking “i thought we were going to work with Sourdough?
Yes we are she said, but for making sure the bread rises as it should, we always add baker’s yeast along with the soudough. Cause when you use pure sourdough, the bread depends on the surrounding temperature of the room to rise well. Ok, but home i don’t use additional yeast.
We were about to bake a pure Wheat bread with an additional lump of yeast.......

So, by then i already had 2 disappointments >> No-one of the Broodbroeders to see at the workshop and they use additional yeast. I wanted to learn the real thing, you know?

We all got into working in teams and added the remaining ingredients, i added the salt (which had to be in it immediately). In fact i read everywhere that you have to wait for adding the salt, so the gluten in the flour and water can do the work. Salt prevents that somehow. But we don’t have time for waiting Anne said and we had to add it straight away. 
The next step was adding the water by someone else and Anne also said they use just water from the tap, since it does not matter what water you use??
Are you serious about this i thought? Water gives as much flavour as flour. Tap water contains Chlorine that is a treatment to make water safe to drink.
This method is used to kill certain bacteria and other microbes in tap water as Chlorine is highly toxic!
It may seem fine for bread making, but has a huge influence on the taste and your health. But i understand that bottled water may get expensive in a bread shop.........Rolling eyes.
That was Disappointment nr 3.

Ok, let’s move on to the next steps......
The leaven has been made the day before with one of their starters, i suspect the wheat starter.
200 gr of leaven was added as well, so that was fun to do.

>> Don’t be confused about the different words they use everywhere. It took a while since we realised that they did not use the Starter at the broodbroeders, but Desem....which means sourdough in english. They call it desem, which is in fact (Voordeeg) in dutch and leaven or levain in english workshops. She told us afterwards that they prepared it the day before....Ah ok, we finally got it. Pheww.....Luckely i use leaven too and knew what she was talking about. But many people did not.

Now it was time to mix it by hands and we did. The dough was heavy and sticky. We did the first Autolyse, however with the salt in it. And then Anne started to explain everything about the bread making process. There was lots to talk about and for me i got to know some more about it.
We were not told about the times of the folding, so once in a while she said we had to fold it and we did. Sometimes we stood there for a long time listening to Anne, that at some point i just grabbed a chair, since my back really started to hurt. There were not enough chairs for 10 people. Maybe just 5.
So, disappointment nr 4.

Though there were some good things, like Anne is really lovely and you can ask her anything. She knows most about it. So i got to learn more about the different kind of flours and the folding techniques. 

Then finally we had our final shape and had to cut the breads before they went into the oven.
She gave us a razor and we had to cut it like this. Some people cut into their hands, because they are not used that a razor has more sharp sides. My goodness.....No bloodbath fortunately, but it’s very risky. I wished at that point i would have brought my Lame with handle from the Weekendbakery.

Then we had a nice break eating some boule made in the shop with sourdough and drinking tea or coffee. This was a nice moment where we could chat and find out more about each other. 

The day went by and we were waiting for our loaves to be baked. The course went from 13u till 17u, but the breads were so hot to touch, since they came straight from the wood oven and i didn’t know how to bring them home, as i did not have a bag or towel with me. Se there was that problem.....Then Anne told us we could get a brown bag at the front of the store and put our bread in there. Ok, great.....Luckely.
We also got a Goodie bag with 2 different kinds of flour of 2 kg and we could choose 1 of their Sourdough starters to bring at home and keep it alive. The starters were very hungry and are not fed on regular times. The good thing about that is that we were allowed to feed them about 2 hours before we could choose 1. And we learned the different smells and tastes from all the starters.
I think they had about 5 starters.

And now you wonder which starter i have chosen?
Well, i chose Rye...since i already have my wheat starter “Woodwell” and “Sally” with white stone ground mill flour from San Francisco.
This will be my 3th one. I feed my starters on a daily base not in large volumes and they are doing really well. I might write something about it in a different post :-)

And then at the end of the workshop, do you know what i found out? That they do have a razor /Lame with handle from the weekendbakery laying around! If we would have known that before with the cutting of the breads ay.......less blood would have spilled.

The result of the bread :  

The small one we did not make ourselves, we were only allowed to cut it. 
It was a grain bread with millet and poppy seeds i think. 

The big one i made was great to see and the crust was crispy. However i think i did not slice it deep enough as it has no oven spring. The inside of the big bread was not as i expected it to be.
I came home in the evening and the smell of freshly baked bread in the car was so making me hungry, that i decided to eat bread in the evening with baked eggs :D
Though the bread fell like a brick on our stomachs and was too heavy to eat. I wonder what went wrong? I never have that with my own breads. Did we not fold enough? is it because of the additional baker’s yeast? I really do not know.

Fingerprint stayed in there. Too heavy to eat :(

Ok, so what do i think about the workshop itself?


* It was a great afternoon with people with the same microbe >> Sourdough bread wanna be bakers.
* Anne is very friendly and has a good knowledge of the system and flours.
* Learning to fold and having a great afternoon was great.
* Goodie Bag with 2 types of flour (4 kg in total), 2 sheets of paper with recipes and some instructions + a 4 to 5 year old Sourdough starter with me. Don’t know the exact age.


* They use no bottled water.
* Adding salt before the autolyse is not ideal.
* Additional baker’s yeast with the sourdough is not what i expected.
* Haven’t seen any of the Broodbroeders at all. Disappointed about that......
I wanted to learn more about the persons behind the bakery.
* Not enough chairs for everyone to sit and standing a lot is not always ideal. My back really hurts today. ouch :(
* To my feel you get not the full experience and came home with a big bread i can not eat.
* Could have been organised better by the Broodbroeders themselves  (But Anne really did do her best).  She was exhausted at the end.
* Was not prepared to bring a hot Bread with me, as there was nothing foreseen to put it in. Burned my hands several times though......

* The course i find too expensive >>> 85 euro for 4 hours!
I expected a bit more for this if i’m honest.

I think i will continue learning it by myself. There is actually a whole library called Youtube and why not use it? Costs nothing and you learn a lot. There is of course a lot of crap around, but i’m sure there are many good clips by searching the right words like “Tartine Bread”, "Sourdough bread”, “How to make Leaven” etc.....

In pictures

Throwing and stretching and folding. You see Anne on the right.

Proofing baskets (Bannetons)

Proofing, Top right is mine.

Grain bread with Millet and Poppy Seeds (small)

I got the EAR :-)

Crispy however......

Throw away bread :(

Goodie Bag.

2 x 2 kg flour : 560 + Whole wheat flour.

Some tips and links to search for.

We had to write down the desem (leaven) recipe by ourselves.