The $10,000 grant awarded to Kyle Tainsh gave him the opportunity to travel half way around the world to attend a two week San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI) course in formulation and functionality of ingredients. This was followed by two weeks working on a wood fired oven in a San Francisco bakery. What Kyle experienced and learned in San Francisco was very different from his bakery training and experience in New Zealand, and may now change the course of his baking career.
Kyle had the chance to meet and learn from the very highly regarded Michel Suas, head of the SFBI, while he was there. He was shown the theory and technical aspects of their decidedly French style of artisan baking, where wild yeast levains are used to make everything from sourdough to ciabatta and Danish pastries. After being trained in a very English style of baking in New Zealand, learning about the long history and different methods behind French baking was an eye-opener for the young Kiwi.
After years of working with the MDD (Mechanical Dough Development) process, Kyle found himself learning the technical and theoretical aspects of bulk fermentation. He developed a thorough understanding of their shelf life and flavour profiles, as well as the benefits of using ingredients that are free of additives. He visited a number of bakeries in San Francisco and was able to observe the sourdough process carried through from start to finish by some of most skilled artisan bakers in the world. He says it was inspiring to see 120 year old artisan bakeries in operation.
Kyle’s fascination with the life cycle of wild yeast starters, sparked by his time at the Institute, had a profound influence on his baking philosophy and is the basis for his conviction that bakery products have a significant role to play in food nutrition. He sees the future of bread in its past, as the demand for artisan products increases globally.
His current role at Goodman Fielder as a Product Development Technologist gives him the opportunity to develop new products for the baked goods market. Projects in the test bakery have to adhere to a brief which includes investigating new ingredients, costing, regulatory guidelines and plant trials. Bread is still Kyle’s favourite bakery item but his overarching interest lies with being innovative and proactive in the way food is delivered to the table in New Zealand.
“We have the ability to improve nutrition in New Zealand and nutritious food should win out over other options,” he says. “There needs to be education about nutrition behind this, but the main thing is that food should taste good and be appealing. As the largest bread manufacturer in New Zealand it is on us to ensure we get good food out there. Goodman Fielder is very good at getting behind that idea. Research and development is what allows this to happen.”
Kyle’s bakery career began with a nightshift job at a large wholesale and contract bakery while he was still at school. What started out as a way to get pocket money became an increasingly enjoyable process for Kyle. He says the variety of the job kept him there, as well as the never-ending opportunities to learn. This goes for his current role and baking in general. “The wide range of products keeps me keen.”