November 5 2017 Sourdough 103 Sole Baking Workshop

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Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Sole Baking Workshop

The most satisfying way to bake is to bake directly on the hearth of the oven - known as baking on the sole. Today, of course, our home ovens are all gas or electric convection ovens, with racks, and no thermal mass. The best most people can manage is to use flat aluminium baking trays - which isn't really baking on the sole.

Baking without a bread tin is a bit more involved than simply removing the tin and throwing the dough on a hot stone. We will learn how to prepare dough correctly to stand on up its own when it is 'set' in a hot oven. We will learn how to shape dough so that it gets maximum oven spring. We will learn how perfect baking conditions for hearth breads can be achieved in any baking device.


This workshop will show you how to cheaply, simply and effectively turn your convection oven into one that can bake two or more loaves directly on the sole any time you like. The modifications we make actually create a very useful addition for regular home baking and roasting also, as they increase the thermal mass of the oven. Cooking with thermal mass is a very different thing to cooking with convective heat. You will learn why this is so at the workshop.

Sole Baking

This workshop explores a number of other ways to bake on the sole, including some practical demonstrations of home made Dutch ovens, as well as how to bake on a BBQ, and how to fire and operate a woodfired oven effectively and efficiently.

We will also be showing and using a prototype 'rocket' oven. Rocket ovens have become very popular in recent years, as they are theoretically more efficient and cleaner than regular woodfired ovens. We will discuss the principles of fire science, which is a fascinating and quite limitless subject in itself. We will construct a basic rocket burner for making cups of tea, so you can see how the principles of fire science work.

Participants don't need to be expert bakers, though it is very handy to have already done one of our 101 or 102 workshops, or to have worked through the same content, which is also in the downloadable notes from this website.

You will be learning to use a baker's peel, and how to correctly pre heat and monitor whatever type of baking device you choose.

We will have lots of fresh and ripe dough to bake, and there will be plenty of bread to take home to friends and family.

There is a free printed copy of Warwick Quinton's latest mini guide, 'Sole Baking for Simple Folk', which summarises and expands on some of the content covered at the workshop.

We will have freshly milled Wholegrain Milling flour available for sale for $17.50 per 5 kilo bag (various varieties), as well as 'Papa', Warwick's legendary 27 year old sourdough desem starter, for the special price of $20. We have printed copies of another popular and extremely useful little booklet, the Sourdough Fermentation Mini Guide, for $10 each. 

Details and Itinerary

How to find us: The workshop is held on our own property, in the foothills of the Watagan Mountains in the lower Hunter Valley. On the Friday before the workshop, each member of the group will receive an email, with precise directions to Mooladhara, as well as exactly what to bring, and any other last minute information which may be necessary. In a general sense, we are approximately 15 minutes from Cessnock, and 5 minutes from Ellalong Village.

Date: Sunday November 5th, 2017

Arrive: About 8.45am. Basic refreshments are available, but you may want to pick up some espresso on the way. Ellalong General Store has the basics and is about 5 minutes from our place.

Gypsy Bakery

What to Bring: As the property is five minutes away from the nearest village, it's adviseable to bring a packed lunch - though the local shop does some takeaway. Also bring an apron, possibly a notebook and pen; and cash if you wish to purchase Sourdough Starter, fresh flour or Mini Guides. Your camera or smartphone will be useful for pictures throughout the day. 

Start: 9am

Finish: About 5 pm.

Location: Mooladhara, near Ellalong, NSW

For more information, ring 

0409 480 750.


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