The big thing to crow about here is the recently renovated PANARY website. Get along to www.panary.co.uk , and have a bit of a click around, and see if you agree that I am now entirely modernised.
New course this year (2010 programme) is Sponges & Pre-ferments. While this course really should be thought of as an advanced course, it remains open to anybody to attend without any pre-requisites, as is the PANARY way. The pitch of the course is to give such an in-depth view of sponges and ferments of all types that we cross the national boundaries, examining and making from the Continent alongside Britain. This is an all-yeast course, no sourdough in our family of sponges. The first course in May got off to a steady start, and the course programme seemed to suit very well. Next opportunities are July 13-14, and October 23-24.
A minor programming change this year is that all wood-fired oven workshops are now a one-day event. (Apart from those odd occasions when participants on any course actually request the use of the masonry oven). The oven day is an exciting one that involves cooking a range of hearth based foods as well as hearth breads.
On the oven sales front there have been recently some exciting sales of large ovens. A large Panyol oven has been built on Tresco, Scilly Isles, to be used in the Island Hotel there. A Model 120 went to a dashing Restaurant/Bar called Lunya in Liverpool’s L1 district. Another unusual sale has occurred to a film company called Wall to Wall Films, and this one really is a “watch this space” situation. The big 220 model oven will be used by the film as it features a family of bakers as they take their craft on an experimental living journey through Victorian times, Edwardian baking, and again, baking between the wars. Watch out for it later in the year with its title of High Street Dreams.
On a scientific note, I have been co-opted onto a committee of scientists who are from the Elm Farm Organic Research Station near Newbury. In its ninth year now is their project for genetic diversity, whereby a fascinating cross population of wheat is being bred as stock for agriculture, aiming for the new populations to be much more resilient in the face of adversity. Two typical examples of future adversity are climate change and the expected reduction of chemicals used by farmers. My role on the committee is mainly about being one of the testing bakers. Lately PANARY has been swamped by mysterious brown flour bags with minimum writing on them, as the blind testing goes on from four different farm sites.
Best wishes for all your various baking pursuits. Perhaps I shall hear from you by means of the comments box on the new website. No graffiti please….