One of the coolest things I did during my recent trip to Manila is to take a baking workshop. I knew I wanted to try my hands on making Pinoy breads and my preference was one with hands-on approach. I googled and found Heny Sison Culinary School. I checked their May schedule and saw Commercial Breadmaking Workshop for 6 hours. Perfect! I reserved a slot online, got the confirmation email and paid through the bank.
Armed with my ball pen and apron, I went to their studio on the day of the workshop. The class is from 8am to 3pm with one hour break. I arrived before 7:30am and was surprised to see that there are quite a few participants who came before me. I waited for the class to start while chatting with other students beside me. Surprise, surprise – the class size grew to thirty-three! Wow! Soon came the chef instructor – Chef Vicki Villanueva (from the famous Bizu) – who apologized for the number of the participants. She said she usually controls the enrollment but did not get to do so for this session. And because of the class size, we’ll have to extend for 2 hours. I grinned to myself. It was actually better for me since my next schedule for that day was dinner with a friend and I was initially worrying what I’ll do with my spare time.
We started with introductions. Maybe half were from Manila and nearby provinces but the some of the other participants came from really far places. There’s one from Leyte. One participant was from Cagayan De Oro. There’s one from Australia. Another is from Austria. Two are from the US. Most of us were domestic goddesses with little experience in baking bread. Majority of the participants plans to start their own bakeshops. Honestly, I’m a little jealous – I really want to have my own bakeshop, too!
Since many participants were beginners, Chef Vicki explained some basics of bread making. She explained the 12 steps of bread making, the importance of controlling fermentation and how to troubleshoot. She patiently answered our newbie questions while sharing funny anecdotes about her experiences. Then she called us to her table – demo time!
We were told we will try out several recipes: Ensaymada, Pandesal, Spanish Bread, Dinner Roll, White Loaf Bread, Burger Bun, Hotdog Bun and Kopi Roti. Chef Vicki will prepare the dough for all except Pandesal but we get to help out throughout the process. For Pandesal, each one has his/her own set of ingredients and we need to do all the 12 steps… and we need to do kneading by hand!
My shoulders hurt a lot after kneading. And for those who were hoping to use their kitchen-aides, the advice of Chef Vicki is to avoid doing so. It’ll ruin the machine. Oh well… I guess I’ll just have to practice. And finally, here’s my Pandesal!
The workshop was totally fun and informative. Chef Vicki is very passionate about her craft and an excellent teacher. I can’t wait to bake some of these goodies at home. 🙂