Queensland-based Barcaldine Bakery owner, Aaron Skinn will be training at the San Francisco Baking Institute in July after winning the National Baking Industry Association International Scholarship.
Mr Skinn will spend three weeks participating in a beginners and advanced artisan bread course as well as work experience at the institute’s bakery. He hopes to use the knowledge to improve his store as well as engage with his local community.
“We’ve got an outback bakery, so stuff like the block bread and thick slices of coconut and apple slices will never die. (But) just adding a couple more lines of the artisan bread to what we’ve got and passing it to my apprentices (would be beneficial),” Mr Skinn told AustralianBaking Business
Mr Skinn is also planning a community course for a few weeks in the coming summer that will allow up to 10 people to come into the bakery and learn more about the trade.
“It raises the profile of the bakery inside the community. That’s what I’m looking for, ways to help out the community and get our name out there more,” he said.
“This is of course a really good advertisement for Barcalidene Bakery and the Barcaldine community and hopefully might bring more people this way.”
Earning the scholarship involved writing a technical paper on issues affecting the bakery as well as developing a new product from scratch.
Mr Skinn also had to give a presentation and discuss the current state of training in Australia and the loss of skills through a reliance on instant doughs and frozen products.
“My main point was there a lot of bakeries that I talk to that say, ‘I’ve got a Woolies baker or a generic supermarket baker and he’s no good to me because he can’t do all this stuff’.
“I was putting forward the idea, instead of turning these people down, maybe we should bring them in and teach them and do that instead of saying there’s no skills. Be part of the solution to the shortage,” he said.
The 28-year-old baker made a light rye fruited sourdough with green tea infusion to win the scholarship.
“I made that from scratch and (worked on the dough) for the first couple of weeks before I even started making the product,” he said.
“Green tea gives it a really nice flavour. Soak the fruit in it and it gives it that green tea (taste) through the loaf.”