Monday, November 23, 2009

Bread Favorites

Every day at the end of our class, we sit down and have an evaluation of all the day's products. It's usually pretty fun and it's nice to see what everyone made, how it turned out, and taste it, too! We evaluate the shape, size, weight, length, color, crust, garnish, crumb on the interior, volume, smell, and taste. Then we'll usually make suggestions on how we can make the bread better for the next day.

Here's a shot of the Day of the Dead Bread we made on Day 1 or 2. It's enriched with lots of butter! And it also has some orange blossom water and citrus zest added. It smells delicious when it's mixing! We shaped it into a round, then rolled out three strands and draped them over the round to make them look like bones. Then we rolled a small piece and stuck it in the middle. After these are baked, they are dipped in clarified butter and then in vanilla sugar. SO GOOD!
CHALLAH! HOLLA!!! I don't care much for the taste of this dough enriched with eggs and oil, but the braiding part is fun. This is an example of a 4-strand. For our practical next week, we have to do one 4-strand loaf and two 6-strand loaves. Braiding is easy for me, but once it's done, you pretty much have no control over how the bread will move when it's baked. Hopefully you've done it right (not stretched the strands too much, left them too loose, or floured them too much) and will end up with a great looking loaf!
These corn rolls are another delicious bread that we make! The liquid we use instead of water is a mixture of milk and cornmeal. We also throw in some corn niblets too, so it's a super tasty roll!
Focaccia - a lot of fun can be had with this dough. It's reeeeeaaaallly oily, easy to shape, and you can put any toppings you want on it! We do a basic rendition with onions, rosemary, olive oil and salt.
Sourdough - I love how much fun you can have with the scoring patterns on top. The score is like the mark of the baker. You can differentiate your product ("this is mine!") and make different designs for each bread. The scoring is necessary, because once the loaf goes in the oven, the first thing that happens is a little bit of expansion called "oven spring". The yeast dies and lets out one last bit of carbon dioxide and alcohol, pushing the bread up and out. The air needs somewhere to escape, and if the bread isn't scored, the air will escape at the weakest point (the seam, on the bottom).
Ciabatta - This dough is so wet and sticky and tricky to work with. It requires a very gentle hand. Getting it out of the mixer is a chore enough! After it has fermented for a good hour or so, we dump it on a well-floured table and stretch it out in a big square. After it rests for about 15 minutes, we then cut it into smaller squares. Each piece is gently stretched out and placed on a couche ("koosh" - a linen cloth that helps looser breads keep their shape while proofing) to proof before going in the oven. No kneading happens, which is really weird. When it's cut open, there is a lovely open crumb (aka lots of holes in the bread) and a light texture. The crust is soft and this bread makes great sandwiches.

Today my partner and I made Semolina bread and I forgot to take a picture! And we also made a type of flat bread called Kalyra. It has a very minimal amount of yeast in it and is shaped like a cog and drizzled with salted honey! It was really tasty.

Tomorrow is le Grand Buffet (yet again) and we are in charge of making a GRAND presentation of bread. We're been working on a few pieces made with decoration dough. It has no yeast and gets dried in the oven. Our theme is.... "THANKSGIVING" (surprise surprise!) and I can't wait to show you what our class came up with for decorations. Should be good!

Turning in early tonight, I'm exhausted and there's a lot to do in the coming days! I can't wait to come home!

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