Posted 3rd Oct 2014
It's Craft Bakers' Week (29th Sept to 5th Oct) and to celebrate we visited Dunn's Bakery in London for an insiders look at the running of a busy bakery
In the run up to Craft Bakers' Week we visited Dunn's Bakery in London where we experienced a behind the scenes look at what it's like to work in a busy bakery that has been making delicious treats since 1820. We witnessed the early morning starts, the dedication to the craft and the passion of each baker hand-preparing the cakes and bread, some since 4am that morning.
Greeted by a sea of happy faces as we walked in, knowledgeable shop supervisor, Sandra, greeted us to show off the range of creative bakes made on a daily basis, including impressive celebration cakes for weddings and birthdays.
Having recently expanded to offer outside catering, the bakers who prepare the takeaway foods do so in great spirits, carefully making the sandwiches, vol-au-vents, savoury bites, sausage rolls and platters of rolls, cakes and pastries that have grown to be so popular. Adding another notch to the company's belt, they hand-bake and craft the platters on the premises, right above the bakery, keeping everything fresh and ready to eat, something that Dunn's prides itself on.
Producing a wide selection of bread and cakes, Dunn's only use flour from GR Wright & Sons, a fifth generation family of millers who have been milling in the area since 1867. In turn, the Wright family use wheat from E & K Benton's, a fourth generation family farmers, all in support of local companies to ensure that as few 'food miles' are used as possible, in this case it is only 44 miles.
Master Chocolatier, Peter, who trained in Germany before perfecting his craft at Dunn's Bakery for more than 26 years, was also on hand to offer his expertise in the art of baking and among other things showed us the delicious cheesecakes, sponges and gateau's he had pre-prepared. However, having been at the bakery since 6am making the fresh cream delights that would grace the counters that day, Peter told us that he makes cakes to the needs of the bakery and no day has a strict plan, sometimes working a week in advance.
During our visit Peter showed us how to create the perfect florentine, it was a simple process that we later found out was the tip of the iceberg when it came to his talents.
Firstly a combination of almonds, cream, sugar, honey and glazed cherries are pre-baked in silicon paper for 10 minutes. After they are baked, Peter cleans them, removing the silicon paper and placing them on a clean baking tray.
Peter then adds the first layer of chocolate to the bottom of the freshly baked florentine, using a spatula to get an even amount of chocolate onto the base.
Once the first layer of chocolate has set, a second layer is carefully applied. This second layer is then indented to give a waved effect.
The first layer of chocolate acts as a buffer so that the base is purely chocolate. The chocolate process takes between 20 and 30 minutes in total.
The florentines are then left, allowing the chocolate to set. Once the chocolate is set they can be served fresh or sold.
By Lauren Morton