The students followed the best ratio in preparing the German Stollen of 80% dried fruit and 50% fats (or butter). They divvied up their dough to bake 250-gram loaves within 30 minutes. The warm loaves are then brushed generously with butter, added with thick coatings of granulated sugar, and finished with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, once cooled!
Doughy Art of Breadmaking
Pastry students grasped savvy breadmaking techniques, such as preparing Panes De Pretzel (pretzel rolls) in a hot baking soda bath, to build that well-loved pretzel flavour and chewy interior!
More recipes covered included the Poolish Baguette, Black Sugar Sweet Potato & Longan Boule Bread, Pretzel, Pain Rustique, Pain d’Epices and Pain Rustique de Gruyère!
We caught up with Chef Steven (CS) to hear more about his artistic inspirations and his journey to date. (Also watch the video embedded at the top of the story for more highlights!)
SHATEC: How did your passion for baking start?
CS: I have been cooking with my mum since childhood. I enjoyed spending time with my mum in the kitchen, helping her prepare the ingredients and cook for my family. Over time, this enjoyment of cooking has evolved into a passion.
SHATEC: On one of your championship-winning breads, the Black Sugar Sweet Potato & Longan, are the words in Chinese: “初衷” (Chūzhōng). What do they mean to you?
CS: Four years ago, when I decided to compete in Bake-A-Star, I set out to win the championship at all costs. I fused the mood of preparing for competition into my creations.
初衷 served to remind me not to give up easily and to remember why I started this journey. The source of inspiration for incorporating sweet potato is my grandma. She is a Teochew who loves her sweet potatoes. When I was young, she liked to cook sweet potato porridge with other Teochew dishes for us.
The longan tree in my grandparents' house inspired the use of longan. Every Lunar New Year, the tree would be full of fruit, and our whole family would gather under the tree to enjoy them. Since I entered the baking industry, I rarely had the opportunity to return for a get-together with my grandparents.
SHATEC: What inspired you to build your career in the F&B sector?
CS: What inspired me to push further in this line was my participation in baking competitions. Competing can help you improve your skills by pushing you to learn new techniques, experiment with different methods, and receive feedback from judges or mentors. You can also develop the skills and knowledge you need to advance your career.
Competitions bring together judges, mentors, and other participants from worldwide, making an excellent opportunity to expand your professional network and connect with like-minded peers or professionals.
SHATEC: What are your favourite flavour combinations?
CS: I like the combination of matcha and white chocolate in my pastries. Tea is a versatile beverage that can be blended with many different flavours to create a unique and enjoyable taste. My preference would b be matcha and Tieguanyin.
SHATEC: Who are the pastry chefs you admire most?
CS: Chef Wu Pao Chun is the one I admire the most. He is a Taiwanese master baker who won the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, also known as the "Bakery World Cup" in Paris in 2010. His passion and attitude for the breadmaking craft are well-respected. After winning the world championship, he continues his research by learning from bakers all over the world.
-End of interview-
★ We thank Chef Steven for taking the time to return to SHATEC to train our future pastry chefs! ★