Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baking & Pastry Skills Development: Lean and Enriched Doughs!

Cookies and Pound Cake are fun, but it's time to rise above that level of baking (insert Yeast joke here!). Sorry, but I couldn't think of anything funny about baking.  This stuff is serious business!  There is no fix all with a pinch of this or an addition of that, it's pretty much one-way or the highway.

Artisanal baking requires a lot more technique and skill than I ever imagined. Here, master bread baker Chef Aaron Brown is giving instruction on how to create a 4-strand star braid of challah.

By the way, Challah is pronounced Holla.  Like Hola-back-now, or Holla-at-ya-boy, or I-ain't-no-Hollaback Girl as poetically put by Mrs. Gwen Stefani.

Enough pop culture, let's get back to the bread. From left to right: Soft Rolls (Epi, Cloverleaf, Parker House, Knot Rolls), Multigrain Bread, Classic French Baguette, Sunflower Seed Bread, and Ciabatta.

Ciabatta happens to be a very unique bread that derives its wonderful taste from a Poolish, or a pre-fermented wet starter consisting of one part flour and one part water with the addition of yeast. Let that baby ferment for about 15 hours and then throw it in to your new dough the next day. This is a quick way to add tremendous flavor without having a 150 year old starter. This is artisanal breadmaking after all.

All of the creations where on full display, and no one's eyes light up more than mine when I see this stuff.  I am pretty sure that baguette ended up in my jersey pocket for the afternoon bike ride. Next on the prodcution schedule, Brioche!


Anonymous said...

You do know that bread is my weakness, yum yum!

vcouvrey said...

you'd fit in perfectly over here in france with a baguette under your arm riding your bike!
so glad you got instruction from Chef Brown...he's the best!
maybe you could send over some angel food cake my way when you get to that???