Bread Making Course Results, Day 2
We've had our second and final breadmaking class at the nearby college (see the first class here). Just like last time, we made four different doughs. Just like last time, they were all bread flour, or all-purpose flour breads. Not my kind of bread, but a fun day out nevertheless.
My biggest question prior to arrival was, "how is she going to teach us the sourdough?" Sourdough needs to be prepared. How would that fit into our chef's philosophy of production kitchen, straight dough methods?
In a nutshell: Chef Stephanie came prepared. She had elaborated her mother starter all week long, and brought in a huge tub of it for us all to take some. We each took 2 cups, and there was still lots left over.
Today we all paired off and afterward split the booty. While I put together the ingredients for the Sourdough bread, my wife made up the dough for the Lavender Brioche. Later in the day, she made up the Honey-Oat Bread (only, she used organic molasses instead of honey), and I mixed the Ciabatta dough. Incidentally, that Ciabatta also used a starter (chef called it a sponge), and there was a giant tub of that, too, for all of us to dip into to use.
Just like the last time, I post the recipes here for those who are curious. I probably won't be using these recipes again myself, unless I am going to try making them with whole grains.
This was not exactly a wild yeast sourdough. Chef has been keeping this starter alive since last summer, feeding it weekly or replenishing it as she uses it, but it was originated from commercially obtained active dry yeast. Nothing wrong with that. I'm just saying.
We used 2 cups of her Starter in our Main Dough. The curious thing about this bread is that, in addition to the starter, it calls for vinegar and baking soda. This dough didn't seem to want to rise at all in the proofer. But once it went into the oven, the spring was substantial. Too much, in fact. Chef warned us that this would happen, due to the baking soda.
The loaf on the left was brushed with an eggwhite wash; the loaf on the right was brushed with water -- both prior to baking. You can see where the wash ends, and how much it rose, from the bottom of the tray. Like it wanted to lift off like a rocket.
This is a very enriched dough. As Chef Stephanie put it, "not the healthiest loaf, but you will die happy. This is decadent."
The lavender is infused in the milk ahead of time (again, Chef came prepared, and we all used her lavender-infused milk). The lavender gets sifted out. It just imparts a mild flavour and scent to the milk, most of which is lost, frankly, when you go to eat it. But the idea of infusing the fluid that hydrates your bread (be it water or milk or juice) with herbs really got our imaginations going. What if we infused it with cinnamon? Cardomon? Ginger? What other taste could we "infuse" into our bread via the hydration? Clearly, there is an infinite room for experimentation here. But again, just how much do you actually taste in the final product?
We ate a couple of the brioche buns that we put on the fluted tins, and felt that despite all the enrichment, it still needed something. "Surely not more butter," I said. "There is a ton of butter in it already." Luckily, my wife had brought some trail mix with her, and she tossed that in some of the dough. The raisins and nuts complemented this nicely. She was already thinking of using this dough for an Easter loaf.
|Lavender gets sifted out|
|I think we had a double batch of the brioche for some reason|
Honey Oat Bread (but made with Molasses)
|We had this for lunch when we got home. Meh.|
|This is the big tub of sponge that Chef brought in for us all to share.|
We were supposed to make smaller ciabatta, even smaller than the ones I made. They probably should have been called ciabattini, or ciabatta rolls. This dough is tricky to work with, it is so gooey. But mine rose a bit during the proofing stage, and it had some nice oven spring.
I had the distinct sense that I didn't "own" these breads, though, because I had not made the Starter myself.
This was the haul we had when we laid it out on the kitchen table when we got home:
While this was a fun class to take, I can't say that I really learned all that much about bread making in it. We received 8 total recipes, and we now know ways to mix by hand and machine; we know a couple of basic shapes for bread; and we know the feel of several different doughs. No one can expect more from 10 hours of class time. I got no more, and no less, out of this class than I expected. Well, I guess I expected more teaching on how to shape loaves, and we didn't get that. But I am not disappointed.
|The Proofer. This machine sees a lot of use, with 25 students waiting on doughs to rise.|
|Our corner of the kitchen, right in front of the two convection ovens.|
Right now I'm just a little sleepy, and hope to have a short nap. Postprandial Bread Narcolepsy, no doubt.
By the way, I don't get this crashing feeling when I eat whole grains.
Notes to Myself
- Temperatures given in the recipes are for CONVECTION ovens; for other ovens, the temperature needs to be 20-25 degrees HIGHER than what the recipe says.
- The Sourdough bread contains vinegar to boost the acidity, not for the yeast, but for the baking soda to work.
- Notes on brioche: when scalding milk, before you put the milk in the pot, first fill it with water and simply rinse the pot. This will help prevent your milk from being a messy pot cleanup.
If you are going to make an Easter loaf with brioche dough, add your raisins right at the very end of mixing the dough.
The Brioche dough is made not with bread flour, but with all-purpose flour; you could even use cake flour in the recipe (up to about 1/2 the quantity of flour). Here, what makes it rise so well is not so much the gluten strands trapping the yeast gases, but the emulsifying of the eggs and other fat in the recipe.