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Bakers rise to the challenge

By Louise Errington

Apprentice bakers Chris Field and Deborah Trebilcock prepare for the Apprentice Excellence in Baking competition with CDU Bakery Facilitator Robert Schwerdt (centre) Apprentice bakers Chris Field and Deborah Trebilcock prepare for the Apprentice Excellence in Baking competition with CDU Bakery Facilitator Robert Schwerdt (centre)

Apprentice bakers from throughout the Northern Territory baked off in a bread-making competition at Charles Darwin University’s Palmerston campus recently.

Budding bakers kneaded silky dough, carefully proofed yeast and waited patiently for their golden loaves, French sticks and fruit buns to rise as they vied for the title of Apprentice Excellence in Baking winner.

CDU Bakery Facilitator and Baking Association of Australia NT Administrator Robert Schwerdt said the event presented a fantastic opportunity for apprentice bakers to demonstrate their skill levels, pride in their work and dedication to their trade.

“Regional baking events such as this prepare our apprentices for bigger national and international competitions, where Territory bakers are very competitive,” Mr Schwerdt said.

Rustic and artisan breads, commonly found on trendy café-style menus, were the focus of this year’s competition.

Aside from a final product that tastes and smells delicious, judges looked for impressive working practices, organisational skills, technique, and presentation.

Ben’s Bakehouse Apprentice Baker Chris Field was announced the winner, awarded $250, and secured a place in the national titles.

Palmerston campus also hosted the NT Baking Show, which brought professional bakers from throughout the NT to put their best products on show for the opportunity to be crowned the Bakery of the Year.

“There’s plenty of friendly rivalry, with entrants coming from as far as Nhulunbuy and Alice Springs to compete,” Mr Schwerdt said.

“Pies, pastries, breads and cakes will be judged on all the elements of a good bake, including symmetry, shape, crumb structure, aroma, volume and texture.”

Brumby’s Palmerston took out the title of Most Successful Trades Exhibitor, while Rachel Dickson of Ben and Sam’s Bakehouse Palmerston was awarded Most Successful Student Exhibitor.

The two events were held in partnership with the Baking Association of Australia.