When an expert Master Baker offers a hands-on artisan bread workshop, bakers should seize the incredible opportunity. That is exactly what happened at Empire Bakery Equipment when Didier Rosada offered his Exploring Bread Trends workshop at Empire’s test baking facility. In a matter of weeks, the class was fully booked with bakers from around the country eager to learn from such an accomplished baker like Didier.
For those who may not know who Didier Rosada is, he is one of the Top 10 bakers and teachers in the United States. He has shared his knowledge to fellow bakers all over the country from the San Francisco Baking Institute to King Arthur Flour in Vermont. On top of that, Didier trained the USA Baking Team in 1996 and led them to a first-place finish in the bread category at Coupe du Monde de Boulangerie in Paris. His most recent teaching venture was a 3-Day artisan bread course which explored functional breads and sweet breads that students of the class could adopt into their own bakery menus.
Day 1 started with introductions as each baker went around the room and shared where they were from and the bakery they owned or worked. “It was really cool to see how many different bakers we had in attendance from a variety of places throughout the U.S.,” said John McDowell, Bakery Technician at Empire. “We had everyone from big wholesale bakeries to smaller farmers market bakers.” Each day of the workshop started with a slideshow presentation that explained, in detail, the processes and formulas for each bread they would be baking that day, and why that particular type of bread is currently very popular in bakeries.
A main area of focus was on functional breads. Didier defines functional breads as breads that benefits some function of the body and prevent or reduce the risk of diseases. These breads provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition, and with the current bakery trends targeting healthy alternatives, this was a valuable lesson being taught. The functional breads that Didier demonstrated with his bakers during the workshop were Millet Bread, Pear Buckwheat, Oatmeal Date Bread, Flax Seed Bread, Crown of the Great Valley, Teff Miche and Sourdough Rye Bread.
Once the presentation was finished, it was off to the test kitchen. Empire’s 1,200 square foot state-of-the-art test baking facility gave the attendees plenty of space to get their hands dirty. Didier stressed the importance of good equipment when baking and pointed out some of the test bakeries equipment they would be using such as the IRIS Stationary Bowl Mixer, MiniTube Stone Hearth Deck Oven, LFM-D Modular Electric Deck Oven and FOX Single Rack Oven. Not only did bakers learn the best artisan bread practices from Didier, but they also learned how Empire’s line of bakery equipment can help automate their production to save time and labor cost.
Attendees of the workshop were put to work diving and shaping doughs, loading their breads into the deck oven using Empire’s EASY Oven Loader, and made artisan works of art scoring their loaves. Workshop attendees were thrilled with the learning experience Didier and Empire provided them. “Everyone at every level can learn a lot from Didier,” said Amy Scherber of Amy’s Breads. “I learned a ton and would come back for another,” stated Derek DeGeer of Hootenanny Bread.
The third day put the healthy breads aside to make room for the guilty pleasures of the bread world. Didier taught all about enriched doughs and how to make Sweet Focaccia, Corona Dulce, Colomba di Pascua and Hawaiian Sweet Bread. The bakers learned how the egg, sugar and fats in enriched doughs can negatively affect the final product and the proper precautions that need to be taken.
Day 3 ended like all previous days, with a tasting of their final baked products. As the attendees sampled their culinary masterpieces, group photos were taken and networking was in full effect. “The cool thing about this class is that it also served as a networking opportunity for these bakers to share stories, tips and tricks with one another,” says McDowell. Between the networking, great bread and being able to learn from a Master Baker like Didier, the class was a huge success for all who attended and the consensus was, “We can’t wait for the next one!”