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Perfecting the sausage roll

Perfecting the sausage roll

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Perfecting the sausage roll

UCOL student baker Alice Bretherton has less than a week to produce two perfect sausage rolls, one peerless date and walnut loaf and four matchless white knot bread rolls.

Alice is in a national competition to find New Zealand’s top trainee baker. The Weston Milling Trainee of the Year competition assists trainees to further develop their baking skills, and pursue baking careers. Entrants compete to achieve the perfect product.

Alice is in the competition with the support of UCOL and her employer Pioneer New World where she works in the bakery from 6am until 2.30pm. After work she puts in another 3-4 hours at UCOL with her mentor, chef lecturer, Nigel Sadler, creating and perfecting her entries.

They have been following this routine for a month, leading up to 1 July when Alice’s two sausage rolls, four bread rolls and one date and walnut loaf must be couriered to Wellington. Ten entries will be selected for the final - a live bake-off in Christchurch.

Alice and Nigel are cagey about details but prepared to share some secrets for making the “perfect” date and walnut loaf. “We spent many hours experimenting with recipes. Some were too spicy, some too dry,” says Alice. In the end she combined the best of each to make her own recipe. “Believe me, this is no ordinary date loaf!” says Nigel. Ingredients include fresh dates soaked in tea, fresh South Island walnuts (imported ones are too bitter) and walnut oil.

“Time is flavour” for the bread rolls so they involve a three day process. The sausage rolls (pork and venison flavoured with cranberries) also take three days. “The pastry must be rested between each turn and rolled out six times. The rolls are rested overnight and baked on the third day,” Alice says.

Already a high achieving UCOL student, Alice won a $2000 scholarship from Southern Hospitality Limited last year, one of only 25 awarded to students from throughout New Zealand. She has completed Level 3 certificates in Baking and Pastry and in Professional Cookery and intends to use her scholarship money to complete the level 4 certificate in Professional Cookery this year.


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