We are located in a very pretty part of Palmerstown Village, on the N4 and just off the M50. Travel time is 15 minutes from the airport , from Leixlip and also from the city centre. We can facilitate up to 24 people and we will provide a glass of champagne on arrival.
A hands-on baking experience is a great alternative to the usual girls get-together and a great start to the evening. Baking is entertaining, therapeutic and enjoyable. The group will have great fun mixing, making, shaping and baking. The girls can choose a theme to suit the occasion and we have lots of ideas - from bridal cupcakes to sweetmince pies with lashings of fresh cream.
To make the occasion memorable we will present the bride to be a gift voucher for one of our courses - or it can be raffled on the evening.
Email: email@example.com. Telephone: 01-8451214.
History in the Baking #01 - Waterford Blaa
History: Who were the Huguenots?
The impact of the Protestant Reformation was felt throughout Europe in the early 16th Century. Its great protagonists were Martin Luther in Germany and Jean Calvin in France. Calvinism penetrated all ranks of French society, especially the nobility and the literate craftsmen in the towns. The origin of the word Huguenot is obscure, but it was the name given to the Protestants in France by their enemies. Gradually the Catholic king eroded the privileges the Huguenots had enjoyed. Their pastors were banished and from about1685 many of them began to emigrate from France to other European countries. It is estimated that about 200,000 Huguenots left France at the time.
In Ireland in the meantime the Cromwellian army in 1650 had expelled many of the rich Catholic merchants who were based in Waterford since the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion. Ironically many of these Catholic merchants were forced to flee to France and also Spain. Later in 1690 William of Orange defeated the Catholic James II at the Battle of the Boyne and this left the Protestant population in the ascendance in particular in Waterford where the new Protestant merchant class grew rich from trade with the New World.
About 10000 of the Huguenots who left France chose to emigrate to Ireland, and in particular to the towns, presumably because they felt safer in a protestant town. Among their numbers were many tradesmen and it must be assumed that some were bakers who either established their own bakeries or sought work in the Irish bakeries.
The Blaa: What is it?
The blaa is a soft, white, floury bread roll, similar to a Bap or Hamburger Bun. It is highly popular, especially in Waterford City and County. They are also made in Kilkenny and Clonmel – both originally Norman walled towns. The original Blaa may have been oval in shape but today it is usually made in a round shape. Because of the huge demand for these products and in an effort to increase production many Waterford bakers place the round dough pieces close to each other on the baking tray. During fermentation the round dough pieces expand and batch together so they bake out in a square, rather than a round shape. Prior to baking the trays of rolls are dusted liberally with white flour. The dusting flour does not take on colour in the oven and remains white.
Blaa: Correct spelling
There is often some confusion as to the correct spelling and it is sometimes mis-spelt as “Bla” or “ Blah”
The word “Blaa” is thought to have derived from:
(a) “Blanc”, the French word for white.
This theory has been disputed on the basis that white flour did not exist at that time. This is not factually correct. At that time in France, milling was at an advanced stage and the sifting of whole meal flour through silk cloths (known as bolting) was not uncommon. Silk was introduced to Europe during the 13th. Century. Admittedly this was a slow and expensive process but it could explain how the dusting flour, at least, was white. Also, in Ireland at that time yeast bread (the yeast was derived from a barm) was made with a mixture of cereals, including oats, rye, barley, wheat – what ever was available - and this would have resulted in bread with a dark crumb. Some 200 years earlier in the 14th.century, the London Bakers Guild split into two groups - the Brown-Bakers' Guild and the White-Bakers' Guild. The Brown-Bakers were bakers of a dense, dark but nutritious high fibre bread, while the White-Bakers were bakers of the less nutritious but lighter and more flavoursome white bread. It is worth noting that baking was a recognized craft in Ireland at that time and the Dublin Bakers Guild had been established in 1483. It is likely that a guild or union of bakers existed in Waterford.
Another possible origin of the word Blaa is:
(b) “Blé” the French word for wheat.
Today the French the word “blé” is used in a general sense meaning corn but to a French baker it specifically means wheat. In the same way the Germans use the work “korn” as a general term for grain, to the baker it usually means wheat. Some of the Huguenots who settled in Waterford were tradesmen bakers and would have used mainly wheat flour to make bread, so it is feasible that the local population, speaking English and Gaelic at that time, might have bastardized the word blé to blaa.
Types of Blaa:
There are a number of possible shapes including: oval; round and round batched (square). Occasionally crusty rolls are sold as Blaas.
The Authentic Blaa:
The true authentic Blaa should be made from naturally fermented dough and the rounded dough pieces should be given a prolonged proof prior to baking. This traditional method gives the Blaa its distinctive flavour. A Blaa should definitely not contain any of the following: preservative, flour bleach or treatment agents, reducing agents, emulsifiers, enzymes (except those naturally occurring in flour) or crumb softeners. Some bakers have succumbed to making their blaas using modern high speed no time systems. This means there is no natural dough fermentation. These modern production systems result in the Blaa lacking the original flavour that made it famous.
The gourmet Blaa:
Originally they were eaten at breakfast time and also later during the day – very similar to how the French eat their baguettes. They may be eaten with a wide variety of fillings but are simply delicious with just creamery butter, or perhaps with a sprinkle of olive oil and parmesan shavings. More recently the breakfast Blaa – containing a fried egg, bacon and sausage, has gained popularity with breakfast roll man.
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New TV Show for Foodies
The Baking Academy of Ireland has been asked to inform our students and web viewers about an exciting ne TV programme - see below.
Are you passionate about cooking great food?
Do you have a friend or partner who shares your enthusiasm for entertaining and cooking up a storm in the kitchen?
Boundless Productions, the production company behind The Apprentice, is on the hunt for the best amateur cooking couples from Ireland.
If selected, each amateur cooking team will be asked to showcase their cooking and entertaining skills in front of some of the country’s top professional chefs.
We are looking for REAL homemade food, cooked by REAL people with REAL passion.
Whether you’re siblings, work colleagues, life-long friends or romantically involved we’re looking for couples who share a history and the ability to serve up some exceptional food.
If you think you and your cooking partner has what it takes to represent your region in the UK and Ireland’s ultimate cooking test we’d love to hear from you.
CONTACT: Zinia on +44 (0) 207 861 8052 or at email@example.com
(It would be great if you could include the following in your response email).
• Please confirm your names, ages, occupations, area you're from and contact numbers.
• What does food / cooking mean to you? What is your team’s cooking style?
• How long have you known each other, please describe your relationship and what’s the dynamic like between you in the kitchen?
• What unique qualities make your cooking team stand out from the others?
• Describe your hobbies and interests aside from cooking (both individual and shared)