Whole grains and food porn

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Contrary to popular belief, I have not fallen off the edge of a giant dough mixer, into the behemoth bowl and suffocated in it's glutinous web.  I am in fact alive and well, albeit incredibly busy with school, work and adventures whenever I can fit a few of them in.  This past week and weekend are of no exception.

This past Friday marked 3 weeks of SFBI and it's hard to believe I've only been in school for this short span of time.  To be quite honest, it feels more like 2 months!  The first 3 weeks of class have consisted of baguettes, baguettes and baguettes.  As I'd mentioned in a previous post, we've spent so much time on this particular bread shape as it is the hardest shape to master.  If only we could have cryogenically frozen our first batch to compare them to what we have been producing over this past week (ok, I suppose the walk in freezer would have been sufficient...) .  The progress would be undeniable.  The class as a whole has settled into it's own rhythm and has become a baguette baking machine.  Last week,  each of us had an 'individual day' during which we were solely responsible for mixing, fermenting, shaping and baking 2 separate batches of dough which amounted to approximately 30 loaves a person.  Give or take a few mistake loaves, we must have ended up with around 400-425 separate loaves produced strictly on our individual days.  This should give you a pretty clear idea of how much 'practice makes perfect' is repeatedly applied here as well as how lackluster our comments had become after seeing essentially the same baguette day after day.  Our once enthusiastic critiques of 'great, crunchy crust and creamy, buttery crumb' had become 'yeah.....that's a baguette...' and more often than not, members of the class begrudgingly tasting another piece of bread with blank expressions and no comments whatsoever.

Just when our taste buds had been acclimated to yet another version of the straight white baguette dough, whole grains came to the rescue!  Whole wheat, rye and multigrain never sounded so sweet.  It was at once a lullaby and a sonnet to our ears.  Scaling and mixing with different flours and additives had set the class buzzing once again, speculating just what would happen during each step of the baking process.  The end result was a critique session which I dare say rivaled the first of bread tasting.  We tasted our whole wheat and rye loaves and the grand finale was the whole grain.  Consisting of wheat, whole wheat and rye flours peppered with flax, sunflower, sesame seeds and oats had every single of one of us weak at the knees.  Each time someone's back was turned, more of this whole grain goodness had disappeared heralding a breath of fresh air into the collective baguette machine.  So, what I have for you in pictorial evidence is anything but a plain, white baguette.  Instead, allow me to present you with the trio of whole grain breads...

The only dough I cared enough to take a picture of before it hit the 450 degree oven was the rye.  It's rather difficult to make a lump of unbaked dough look exciting.  No amount of editing will save a brown, lumpy mass.  As much of a lump of dough the rye was, I could not resist snapping a pic of the raw loaves.  Every time I looked at these on my proofing board, they reminded me of alien cocoons.  Add a little flour and scoring and JFC, this had me wondering if this armadillo looking lump would ever be edible.

Before and after...





Next up, the whole wheat and multigrain...



The trifecta of gluten-y, fresh baked goodness.  I will admit I was not clever enough to put my loaves in a cute little bag, but was certainly clever enough to take a picture of a classmate's loaves...



So what does a baking student do after a full week of thinking about food?  Look at more food!

This past Saturday, I got my tush onto the muni line and up to the Ferry Building to hit what is affectionately called the 'Rich People's Farmer's Market'.  Once I walked from the muni stop, up Market Street and closer to the Ferry Building, I could see tents and tents of vendors selling fresh, organic produce and the like.  This was no ordinary farmer's market with tomatoes, corn and pumpkins.  This farmer's market had produce I had never even seen!  I was ecstatic, running around, snapping pics with my camera like a giggly school girl.  Who knew exponential varieties of colorful produce would have such an effect on me?!  Along with the produce filled tent perimeter, the inner workings of the building presented us with some magical and tasty gifts indeed.  Allow me to take you on a pic by pic tour...

"Baccalone" - a vendor with the catch phrase "Tasty Salted Pig Parts"



"Cowgirl Creamery"




"Miette"- we tried Chocolate Lavender, Hazelnut and Rose Geranium Parisian macarons.




Taking a moment to indulge in a super geeky touristy pic of the bridge and Treasure Island



More produce than you can shake a stick at!










All in all, it was a fantastic Saturday at the market.  I already have plans to visit again for the ever-elusive canneles which were sold out by the time we had arrived.  Turns out the bakery who's name eludes me only bakes 12 of them.  This limited number may very well be limited to the Saturday market.  Each cannele is baked in individual molds which my classmate Linh tells me run upwards of $20 per mold.  Next Saturday at the market, must arrive early and in line for the canneles!

2 comments:

Dave said...

That cheese selection is causing funny things to happen in my nether regions.

Anonymous said...

I found your site via...wild yeast...
thanks for the great pic and writing...
i wish i was there...
cheers...thanks for letting me share...
Judd

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