Monday, January 24, 2011


 braided loaf before egg wash & seeds

 braided loaf after baking

 olive bread, herbed focaccia, epi baguette (behind)

 potato bread with a subtle hint of rosemary

sourdough, with a few "accompagnements"

We now turn to transforming yeast, water, flour and salt into delicious bread. Unlike with people, the best bread is agitated bread. This develops the protein (gluten) that gives it structure. You don't have to stop at these three ingredients, of course. We made olive bread, herbed focaccia with olive oil, potato-rosemary bread and a seeded braided bread.

Braiding bread is interesting. You create four 12" tubes of dough, then start braiding at the middle, chanting the mantra, "Four over three! Two over three! One under two!". This corresponds to the order of the tubes facing you, and repeats until there's nothing left to braid. Then, you flip the loaf (which now looks like a deranged octopus) and finish with the other side.

We also made braided dinner rolls. Same kind of thing, starting with a tube of dough. It's formed into a shape like a "6". The top of the "6" then goes through the hole, the hole's loop gets twisted and the top of the "6" gets threaded back through the remaining hole. These would have been interesting to see, but somehow we forgot them in the refrigerator and never baked them. They're now frozen, awaiting some better use in the future.

Since my home oven is dead, I brought some sourdough that I'd been working on, proofed and baked it at school. Only three people asked for a taste, strangely enough.

That's it for bread in this class. Now we move on to laminated dough, used for making croissants and danishes when it's yeasted and puff pastry when it's not.

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