Baking Method, With The Australian Baking Team

Baking Method, With The Australian Baking Team

Mixing, moulding, proving and baking are the essential steps for every baker. The Australian Baking Team provides tips to Australian Baking Business on how to improve the baking process.

The Southern Cross Baking Group (SCBG) has spent the past few years developing a team of bakers to represent Australia at the highest international level. Last year they sent three bakers to compete at the Louis Lesaffre Cup and placed third against the most well trained and funded teams in the world.

As a result of their Louis Lesaffre Cup campaign, SCBG was able to conduct six classes in Queensland and Victoria between June and December 2011.

The current team is made up of Scott Megee, Brett Noy, Shayne Greenman and Will McPhail.

“The team members and coaches were able to pass on significant information in the areas of fermentation control, flour choice, French decorative breads, Viennese pastry, fillings, lamination, and much more,” Brett said.

“We were also able to have student contact time during our many practice sessions at Hamilton Tafe in New South Wales, where we were able to pass on our experiences and learning to new bakery apprentices.”

According to SCBG’s Will McPhail, bakers are taught to the least of industry standards and encouraged to push bread through as quickly as possible.

This produces a bread that is extremely bland and uninteresting to the palette with reduced shelf life. A slower production with greater control will produce bread that is much more consistent and of higher value to the people who eat our food,” Will explained.

Joining the team requires dedication, commitment, and a standard of trade skills and integrity that, thanks to our now pitiful apprenticeship system, is rarely seen in this country,” he said.

Since there is no certificate/qualification that meets basic trade standard available to Australian bakers and pastry chefs, membership on the team does not require any formal qualification.”

The team recently met in Melbourne for a development and planning meeting. The SCBG will be sending bakers to Germany in September to compete at iba, the world’s largest dedicated bakery exhibition.

“It is very important to us that this process not only continues, but, also continues to develop and expand, so that we can continue building a strong foundation of skill, leadership, and mentoring in Australian baking,” Brett said.

“This will not be a short process, it will take a significant commitment of time, money, and resources but is necessary if we are to keep pace with the rest of the world.”

Baking Tips

by Will McPhail, Southern Cross Baking Group


Bakers should always use window tests to check the development of the doughs.

Different doughs and dough systems require different levels of dough development. Generally speaking, the longer the fermentation time and number of folds in a dough, the less intensive the mixing process. Not only does the longer fermentation time provide more flavour development but so too does the reduced mixing time by decreasing the level of oxidation

Intensive mixing of doughs leads to over oxidation and an unnaturally industrial bright white crumb. Bright white is the colour of bland flavour.

Keep your finishing dough temperatures consistent and low enough to control the fermentation process. Generally 21-24°C will allow for good control during the bulk fermentation period depending on dough formulation and type.


Pre-shaping, followed by an appropriate amount of rest time, is an important step that should not be overlooked.

A baker needs to know if a dough piece requires strength to be added to a particular piece or taken out of it. Careful moulding will accommodate that. Intensive degassing and moulding needs to be avoided at all times.


Once a tub of dough is tipped onto the bench it should be gently evened out to allow for adequate and appropriately sized dough pieces.

There is a smooth side and a rough side. Use the smooth side as the external side of the dough piece. Do not hack and mould dough wildly and blindly.

Cut the dough piece as close to the required weight as you can.


Proving temperatures need to be no more than a warm room: 26-28°C is a good ballpark. Humidity should be just enough to keep the surface of the dough from drying out.

If the surface of the dough piece is wet or sticky, the humidity of the prover is too high, leading to tough leathery crusts.


Stone floors are great if you have them. They increase the baking capacity of an oven by eliminating the need for trays and improve the oven spring of the bread. Breads will have appealing rounded bums instead of the flattening out associated with baking on cold trays.

Stone floors hold their heat and increase the thermal mass of the oven so settings will most likely need to be adjusted.

Loading from a peel can be a little difficult at first but only requires practice. A light dusting of rice flour or semolina will allow the bread to slide off the peal. Stone floors require cleaning every day and require a good sweep out with a solid broom. A damp towel on the end of a wooden pole can also be used and spun around on the stone floor. Alternatively, for small-scale production, a sheet of silicone paper can be used instead of dusting flour.

Once the bread is loaded on the peel, the peel needs to be taken out with a swift and controlled motion.


Australian Baking Team member shayne Greenman is also a member of the Artisan Baking Team that competed at sigep in Rimini, Italy, earlier this year. The team placed third and shayne’s artistic breadpiece was named the best in the competition.

A patisserie instructor at William Angliss Institute, shayne’s bread showpiece achieved the highest score ever awarded in this category since the competition began. The entry was judged only three points away from a perfect score.

competitor’s had to showcase the musical history and culture of their country for their display theme, and shayne chose Waltzing Matilda.

“It’s one of the top 10 most recorded and recognised ballads in the world,” he said.

“Everyone recognises it and it’s our unofficial national anthem. Every verse was showcased in the display and even the ghost in the billabong was included.”

Parts of shayne’s display now reside in the culinary Museum in Ravini and the Australian consoluate in Italy.

s pretty exciting,” shayne said.

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