A lot of bread and little time

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Yowza!  This past Friday marked exactly 4 weeks of gettin' schooled in the art of bread baking.  I am absolutely amazed at how much information I have absorbed and processed in what amounts to approximately 130 hours of mostly hands-on learning over this past month.  The first 3 weeks were nothing but versions of the baguette, so much so that I now find myself silently judging baguettes when I see them in stores and bakeries, secretly knowing what went wrong during what step of the process to produce a less than aesthetically pleasing loaf.  These are the things the average customer would just glaze over.  I admit it - I've become a bread snob.  When one inspects a loaf of bread for scoring, crumb, weight for its size etc... it's safe to say one has crossed to the other side of snobbery.

Once our baguette quota was filled (at least for now...), the dial was turned to 11 and we were thrown to the wolves.  This past week, we quickly went from knowing and predicting each step of the day to running around like a pack of overstuffed, headless chickens on fast forward in the likes of Robot Chicken.  Thank God for our incredibly patient instructor, Frank for actually knowing what the hell was going on, as we, in the trenches, were relatively blind.  So, one month down, one to go for breads and this is where it gets fun.  With the foundation set, we are ready to step foot into new ingredients and techniques, a veritable bread wonderland.  Without actually tracking down my daily and weekly agenda, I will try my best to recap what we have made beyond the baguette:

-Sourdough (this is in and of itself an entirely different beast than commercially yeasted breads.  I'll just say we created many different types of sourdough, from very mild to very sour and have become privy to the bevy of techniques resulting in any product which would make its appearance on the mild to sour scale.)
-Whole Wheat
-Egg Bread (a non-kosher 'cousin' to Challah)
-Portuguese Sweet Bread
-Pan Bread

I guarantee there are more breads that we have made beyond this list, but for the average bread nosher, 10 different varieties of the 'same' recipe would essentially seem like me naming 10 different varieties of apples.  Interesting to some folks indeed, but I will save the foodie geek-outs for the peeps in class.  Trust me, you'll thank me for this.

After a long week and very busy and very good weekend, it's high time for me to enjoy a green Thai curry with baby squash, broccolini, Japanese eggplant and multicolored carrots which is simmering on the stovetop.  I bid you adieu and will leave you with some evidence of my blood, sweat and tears.


The day of non-stop sourdough awesomeness.  Each score/loaf shape denotes a different type of sourdough preparation and percentage.

Egg Bread.  ABSOLUTELY delicious, by far my favorite ultra-processed dough (in the likes of sugar and butter).  May I add that EVERY time I see these phallic loaves, my mind runs wild with liberties.  The humor which runs rampant in the baking lab makes every single day of 5:15 alarms worth it.  Here we have a 3 strand braid and a 6 strand braid.  Can I get a 'holla!'?!  Not 'Challah'...

Pan Bread.  Yeeeeeuuup.  Not much to say 'bout this one.  It's a loaf...of bread...baked in a pan.

No more pics of the week really.  It's amazing how busy we've been.  At the end of the day, I haven't had much time to remember to grab the camera and snap a pic or two.  This upcoming week, I shall remedy this situation stat!  I will leave you with the worst/best knock-off of Popeye's bicep I've seen in a while.


drfugawe said...

Thanks Rach, love the update - damn! wish I was there!

Bill said...

Nice . . . Very nice . . .

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