Sunday, February 21, 2010

Breads Class and a Sweet Failure

Well, week one of Breads class flew by! I have to say that breadmaking continues to be a mystery to me. Oh, I understand about feeding the yeast and allowing gluten strands to develop and such. BUT - I still don't have a feel for when the dough is kneaded sufficiently, when the loaf is ready to come out of the proof box, or even when I should pull the bread from the oven. It doesn't help that the chef for the class is a man of few words. He seems to enjoy a quiet environment (makes sense, since bread bakers typically work early in the morning, when everyone else is sleeping) and singing, humming, and whistling are forbidden. Hmmph.

Above is a pic of the polenta bread we made this week. It is made with a sponge that contains cooked corn mush and rosemary. It's a very soft bread with a crunchy outer crust. The pic below shows Jewish Rye (without carraway seeds because they are gross), fougasse with sun-dried tomato and black olives, and a couple loaves of ciabatta. The fougasse and the ciabatta are very sticky doughs to work with.
Finally, below is a pic of my macaroon failure from earlier today. I don't know exactly why the same recipe worked when made in class and failed miserably at home. I have some theories though - either the oven temp was wrong, the almond meal was different, or making the cookies bigger messes them up. Anyway, I flavored these with orange extract (and tried to color them orange but you can hardly tell) and sandwiched nutella between them. They were delicious, even if the tops are cracked instead of smooth, there is no "foot", and they were a little dry in texture instead of chewy.


Emily said...

I also heard that it might be Fluffy's fault.

Eileen said...

All problems with macaroons and other such egg white reliant products can be blamed on humidity. Was it damp when you made them at home? Love, Alton B.