Saturday, April 21, 2012

Basketful of Bread

This is my share of bakes from the 2-day bread baking class I took recently. It's the first official baking course I've taken. Being the only one in the class who's not doing the entire 3-month program (so I would not graduate with a certificate like the rest will), I think I'm taking it much easier than my fellow classmates.. Still, it's tiring. 9am - 5pm on both days, we were kneading, measuring, cleaning, moulding, baking..

It was very good learning though. I've tried couple of breads before, namely using the 65C TangZhong method preferred by asian bakers as it yields a soft texture and slightly sweet flavor (more about that in another post, hopefully..) versus the crusty exterior, chewy interior more signature of european breads. There are alot of recipes, information, step-by-step video guides on the internet but I guess the advantage of being in a classroom is really in learning or fine-tuning techniques, getting tips from the chefs and asking as many questions as you can to tap on their expertise. It's also a quick way of learning many different things in a short time frame, I would probably take months to try out the various bread recipes in the class if it was based on my own effort. Ta Da! All these in just 14 hours!

My favourite of the above - the multi grain


350g Bread Flour
150g Multi Grain Flour
12.5g Yeast
5g Bread Improver
7.5g Salt
275ml Water (Can add more if dough is too dry but should be around 50-55% of flour volume)
67ml oil

Mix all ingredients except salt and oil in a mixing bowl, set up the dough hook and start from low speed, graduating to medium speed once the ingredients come together. Add salt and oil when the gluten has developed and the dough pulls away from side of the mixing bowl.

Knead till the dough is elastic and reached windowpane stage. Round the dough up and proof under cover until double in size (ard 45 min but really depends on the temperature of the room).

Place some flour onto counter and dough on top. Punch the dough down to deflate the air. Shape as desired. Gently wipe dough with a wet cloth and roll dough onto multi-grains/oats/nuts (or any other toppings) to coat. Make some cuts onto top of bread to allow steam to be released during baking.

Proof again for around 45 min (proof is done when a finger pressed lightly onto the dough leaves an indentation behind without bouncing back).

Place onto baking tray and bake at pre-heated oven at 190C for 10 min, reduce temp to 175C and bake for another 15 to 20 min.  Bread will sound hollow when tapped. Cool completely before cutting.

For Rye bread, substitute Multi-grain for Rye flour. Ratio of bread flour to rye/multi grain flour can be adjusted to change the texture of bread. Above uses 70-30% ratio. a 50-50% ratio would yield loaves with a heavier texture.

Rye loaf:
(For loaves, no need to make cuts on the bread)
Other shapes taught to us:

The other breads we learned were Foccacia, Ciabatta, Baguette, Soft Rolls and Pizza. All were pretty yummy, especially the soft rolls that were really soft, with butter and milk but way too sinful. The foccacia was everyone's favourite, savory and very fragrant, doused with a good measure of olive oil and filled with plenty of herbed potato.

More about Foccacia in another post!

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