Bread Making at Cape Grace Hotel

Chef Paul Hartmann, owner of Woodstock Bakery, recently spent the night at Cape Grace – not in one of our beautiful bedrooms, but hard at work in the kitchen! He was here to present a master class and work with our bakers Lisolethu and Sivuyile to develop their skills in artisanal bread-making. Head of Pastry, Lorraine Meaney, reports back…

Why did you collaborate with Chef Paul Hartmann?
Paul is well known in the Cape Town chef community and is has been instrumental in transforming the bakeries of the city’s top hotels.

What was the goal of having Chef Paul come in?
Our ultimate aim was to offer a better culinary experience to our guest and up skill the pastry team to become experienced bread makers.

What did you learn from Chef Paul?
The art of what goes into making artisanal-style breads such as using pre ferments(mother dough), allowing longer fermentation periods, managing the cycle of baking bread which is far more complex than one would perceive. Our recently adopted rye mother dough needs to be fed daily and adds a sour flavour character to our rye bread in addition to its fermentation properties. We are all now yeast psychologists in the making!

What are the challenges of working with the new dough’s and pre ferment?

  • The bakery needs to be organised and plan 1 day ahead at all times to ensure a consistent product.
  • You have to feed the mother dough daily or it will become to sour. If you start from scratch it will take 5 days to produce another.
  • Follow the formula but it is also about learning the art and becoming an experienced baker.
  • Flours differ in moisture content so you need to have knowledge of the raw ingredients and there potential and that only comes with practice.

Did anyone pick up any clever tricks?
There are lots but shaping loaves correctly is a question of ‘hand feel’. The bakers learnt some new bread shapes and slashing techniques which produce those lovely blooms or petals on the crusts.

Any new products coming out of the kitchen yet?
We now have a 100% rye sourdough, a variety of rolls, Cape seed loaf, Campagne, Cornbread and traditional Mosbolletjie. We also make a Pasteis de Nate (Portuguese custard tart) which is very popular. In Bascule we are serving plain and Kalamata olive baguette sticks and Ciabatta as an option on our sandwich menu. In the coming months we will be introducing a lot more so watch this space.

Blog post interview by Jane Broughton

Be Sociable, Share!

    Leave A Comment

    For Anti-Spam reasons, please provide the correct answer below: