Every Tuesday morning for the last month, eight refugee women have been joining the team at e5 on a unique bread making course.
The Just Bread program, funded by The Refugee Council, was created to support the therapeutic needs of refugee women, whilst enabling them to learn new baking skills and ultimately paving the way to regular employment in this country. Together with weekly bread making classes here at the bakery, participants also receive on-going employment support, English classes and other training opportunities to ensure they have a real chance of finding employment and building a future for themselves in the UK.
Following the success of the first group based at a bakery in South London, when we were approached to be involved in working with the second round of trainees we were immediately keen. The eight women hail from several countries from North Africa to the Middle East and their eclectic knowledge of cuisines and baking proved an inspiring starting point.
We began with a general introduction to sourdough and the chemical processes involved in turning three basic ingredients into a loaf of bread. The group quickly got involved in baking their first Hackney Wild loaf, then moved on to experiment with other European breads such as ciabatta and bagels.
Over the following few weeks the classes naturally evolved into sharing and exchanging recipes and methods from traditional forms of bread making. Blending the sourdough processes they’ve learned with flavours and techniques familiar to the women involved.
So far, this experimentation has included Turcoman and Tibetan flatbreads made using a buckwheat and a buttermilk starter; and with the help of chef Ruth Quinlan the group have also been experimenting with creating some savoury salads and dips to complement the flatbreads.
We’re very excited to see what happens as we continue; and the next step looks to see the women selling their fusion sourdough flatbreads together with tasty sides as part of our usual lunch service. Keep an eye out in May not only for these delicious flat bread offerings but also the opening of our new arch.
We’re happy to let you in a secret…the 3rd arch is not only home to the e5 Mill but also our brand spanking new wood fired pizza oven! So we’re also excited to confirm that some of the trainees will be working with e5, providing wood-fired flatbreads and toppings at Secret Cinema’s production this summer.