The chocolate letters, banquet bars and ginger nuts can’t be dragged on this time. Bakers work overtime to get all the shoes filled with the delicious things Sint wants to give. It is also very busy at the bread and pastry course at Summa College in Eindhoven.
“The students have already made more than a thousand hand-sprayed chocolate letters and they are just working on a gingerbread bread down here,” says Mark Wils. He is a bread and pastry teacher at the MBO institution.
In December, various departments of the school order all kinds of goodies to give as gifts, which are made by the students in the bakery. “We also have an order for 2,000 Christmas stollen, which we will start when Sinterklaas has left.
“You have to be a fan of Sinterklaas, otherwise you will have a hard time as a baker in December.”
The ovens are on and the bakery smells all the way to December. The air is permeated with the scent of gingerbread and almond. “It’s nice to learn how to make these kinds of seasonal products. Everyone has their own blend of spices to prepare the perfect ginger nut,” says student Jesse. “I’ve already made countless of them.”
According to Max, you also have to be a bit of a Sinterklaas fan to want to start in the bakery trade. “Otherwise you will have a very hard time in December,” he says. Fellow student Puck thinks making chocolate letters is the most fun thing to do.
Before the letters are sprayed by hand, the chocolate must first have the perfect thickness and be at exactly the right temperature. Teacher Jeroen Kemps endlessly scoops the chocolate on the stone worktop to achieve that. “It has to be exactly 28 degrees,” he explains to the students. With a dashing gesture, he conjures up a beautiful capital S from the creamy chocolate.
“I feel like a baker now.”
Student Medde has clearly made fewer kilometers with the piping bag. “I don’t like it,” she says when she sees her own S lying next to Jeroen’s. The second one she makes looks almost as beautiful as the teacher’s. “It is very difficult to make small circles at the same time because the chocolate comes out of the piping bag quite quickly.”
Zoë is busy putting gingerbread bread on a layer of gingerbread in a teaching bakery further down the building. “Then it gets the real Sinterklaas taste,” explains student Max. “I like to make very special products because you can’t make gingerbread bread all year round. I feel like a baker now,” says Zoë with a laugh.