Unlike the rest of us who were struggling post our 12th standard to decide what is it that we exactly want to pursue, Chef Gerwin D’Souza had it all figured out. As a child when he saw his cousin sister bake, he was intrigued and this pushed him towards his first attempt at baking when he was just10. Ask him how his experience was and he says, “It was the most fascinating thing that I had done at that age. Moreover, the fact that I got it right in the first go, inclined me towards baking even more.”
Taking his second baking class at the Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre last week, Gerwin seemed extremely enthusiastic and well-prepared. While in conversation with one of the regulars at the workshop, Vinita Saxena told us that the workshop this time was so much more interactive and informative than the last one that she was actually looking forward for the next class already.” Gerwin taught the participants making four different types of breads starting with ciabatta, the bread from Italy, focaccia, a bread that bears an uncanny resemblance to a pizza bread, baguette which is the staple bread of France and the healthiest of them all, the multi-grain bread.
Just at 24, Gerwin specialises in baking breads and lip-smacking desserts. Even though he was showered with a hailstorm of questions, he answered all of them patiently and every answer more informative than the previous one. He gave intricate details about the procedures involved and also delighted the participants at the workshop by giving them easier ways to bake the breads at home. Some of the suggestions included using a cardboard box at home to help knead the dough bread before proving it. With an affable personality and a good sense of humour that complimented it, Gerwin easily impressed all the ladies at the workshop. Every participant was given the four breads that he made to taste along with a goody bag with two of the breads.
Tips to help you bake better
l Use a small steel bowl filled with ice and place it in the microwave while the bread is baking to allow the steam to give the bread a shine.
l Always remember not to over knead your bread. Setting a timer to regulate the kneading time will help.
l Over proving your bread will only flatten it and take away from its original structure.
Refined flour 1 kg, salt 20 gms, sugar 100 gms, yeast 30 gms, butter 100 gms, olive oil 50 ml, water 600 ml (approx), gluten 20 gms, bread improver 20 gms
l Preheat the oven at 250 degrees.
l Mix all the ingredients together to form smooth soft dough.
l With oiled hands, roll small portions of dough and place on a greased baking tray.
l Make dimples on the dough and put toppings and finish with grated cheese.
l Prove focaccias for approximately one hour and then bake at 250 degrees for 8-10 minuted or till you get a nice golden brown colour.
l Brush with olive oil as soon as the focaccias are out of the oven.
Refined flour 1 kg, salt 20 gms, sugar 25 gms, yeast 25 gms, water 750 ml (approx), gluten 40 gms, bread improver 10 gms
l Preheat the oven to 230 degrees.
l Mix all the ingredients together to form a loose dough.
l Place the dough in a greased rectangular container and press down till completely flat.
l Let it prove till it doubles in volume for about an hour and then fold from all sides and press down again. Repeat this folding again after an hour of resting.
l Now dust some flour on your work table and invert the Ciabatta container to drop the dough onto the table. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well .
l Now with a big knife cut the dough into suitable pieces. Carefully pick up the cut loaves and place onto a flour dusted baking tray and immediately bake in the oven at 230 degrees for 15 minutes at first, then reduce temperature at 200 degrees and continue baking for another 15 minutes.