Friday, July 30, 2010

Baking Day: Part One

Since I am taking a Professional baking course right now, I have convinced myself I need to practice what I learn.  But fitting baking into your schedule is pretty difficult.  Especially when you would rather hold down the couch with the latest good read.  But I extracted myself from the couch today with the intent of making 3 different recipes.  I thought this would not take all day.  I thought wrong!

On the list for the day:
Weekly Batch of French Bread (seeking perfection, starting at zero)
Batch of Zuchinni Carrot Nut Bread
Batch of Banana Ginger Chocolate Chip muffins

So, I got started on the French bread first thing this morning.  This is a formula that calls for the sponge method of bread making.  Basically this is a process whereby, you make prepare a small amount of the flour and water necessary for the bread with the yeast required and let that ferment together for a period of time before making the rest of the dough.  (For those of you who were paying attention to the last post, this sponge process is pre-12 step program)  The sponge gives the French bread a ton more flavor than a traditional formula - it is basically yeasty goodness with butter on top!

Once the sponge was put together and had fermented for it's required time, I got started on adding the rest of the ingredients.  Then I got all excited because this was to be my stand mixer's innagural dough mix (it was a big day for the mixer!).  My excitement soon melted away when I discovered my stand mixer does not have the power (insert poor Robin Williams impression of Scottie from Star Trek here) to knead dough properly.  Basically, what happened was a whole lot of shaking and very little combining.  So, I got a crash course in hand kneading.  Thankfully, I had the benefit of watching a guy from my class on Sunday do this very thing because our dough was too big for the mixer at class.  Sadly, this also means that I had no idea what my hands were supposed to be feeling. 

Somehow, I made it through all this unscathed (not so sure about the dough) and got to the benching process.  Then the waiting game began.  Once both my lumps of dough were ready, I formed them into rather pretty French loaves and waited for them to rise. After a quick water wash and some cuts, they spent time in the oven and came out beautiful.

We cut into one and had some with dinner and Drew declared that they "taste like French bread."  Success! 
Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of the results, but there are pictures of the other recipes in the future posts about my baking day.

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