Regional Shapes

Regional Shapes

Originally uploaded by madbaker66

We wrapped up the Artisan II course on Friday by spending some time creating decorative bread shapes. Each shape represents a regional variety that is made in a specific French town. For example, you’d find Pain d’Aix in Aix.

The bread is a basic country bread with white and whole wheat flour, which tastes pretty good but seemed bland after the olive bread we baked in the morning!

Let’s see if I can pick out the shapes from the picture. Starting at the top left corner and moving clockwise we have:

– Fleur
– Fendu
– Tordu
– Tabatiere
– Auvergnat
– Another Auvergnat with a smaller cap (how did two get in there?!)
– Vivarais
– Charleston (a little lumpy)

In the middle is a Corrone Bordelais (my favorite) and the Pain d’Aix, which looks kind of like a bowtie after some red wine. After white wine it looks like a moustache. Trust me on that.

Ciabatta!

Ciabatta!

Originally uploaded by madbaker66

Wow! I now know what a wet dough really is. The verb we used to describe the dough as we were dividing the dough was ‘swimming.’ And it was.

The loaves in the pictures were massive, yet light as a feather. 10 inches square yet only weighed 600 grams.

Another neat technique I learned — you need to dry these out in the oven a bit before unloading to drive out all the steam. Makes for a much crispier crust.

Artisan 2, Day 3. Time for new flours

Multigrain Sourdoughs

Originally uploaded by madbaker66

Yesterday was the same flour, with different levains. Today was different flours with the same levain (for the most part.) It was a very challenging day since the doughs were especially tricky to work with.

On the left is sourdough rye. Rye is a very delicate, pasty dough that moves really fast so you can’t be too far away from it. But with the addition of sourdough starter it makes for an incredibly delicious loaf which is worth the effort!

In the middle is a sourdough multigrain loaf. This time we roasted the seeds prior to incorporating in the dough and the end result was even better than the yeasted loaf we made in Artisan 1. This is without a doubt the best loaf I’ve ever tasted.

On the right was a whole wheat sourdough. While it was fairly easy to work with I have to admit that the flavour was a little plain. We’ve made better loaves than this during the week.

Finally, the batard at the back is a 100% whole wheat sourdough made with pumpernickel starter. Now this is a complex loaf. It’s a real pig to work with — the fragile dough makes shaping very difficult without tearing the dough. But what flavour! It’s complex, wheaty, with a strong rye overtone. This is a bread which I’d be proud to offer in my bakery once I practice the handling and shaping some more.

ONE QUICK NOTE: I’ve made a habit of offering my loaves to the folks that work at my hotel. I found out tonight that I’ve got quite a reputation! Everyone knows my room number because the cleaning staff have remarked about how the room smells very strongly of bread every morning. I’m so used to the smell that I hardly notice any more…

Big Boule, Big Flavour

Big Boule, Big Flavour

Originally uploaded by madbaker66

Here’s another example of what we do with leftover dough. This is a ‘white’ sourdough loaf that has been baked an extra long time. It may look burnt but it’s not at all. The smell is a deep, rich caramel and the taste is exquisite.

The end result is an entirely different loaf than a basic sourdough — much more complex flavour. I really like it!