LeQuan, with her mom, Chan, for a day of bread baking fun!
However, I will confess, the timing was not good. I had them on one Sunday and the following Saturday was teaching my Taste Tripping Bread Making 101 Class. So, I am a little overwhelmed with bread making at the moment, and though I have made several loaves since, have no desire to spend another day deep in the yeasty pillows of dough until, oh, next winter! All that considered, both days were wildly gratifying for completely different reasons. With Chan and LeQuan the day started with a dignified cup of tea. Look at that pre-bread making perkiness!
And while they sipped with pinky curled, I started the sour dough boule. This was made in the Thermomix and an example of what can be done further down the road as they hone their bread making techniques. The sour dough was on Chan’s list, so we got one proofing and many more to go!
The Sourdough Boule
I will take you through each bread we made this day, in a series, not in the way the day happened. For example, this dough took 3 to 4 hours to rise, then 30 minutes to bake, then time to rest before we sliced into it. But, I will show you each bread in its own “series”. This is the Sourdough Boule Series. Love these boules!
Gold Forest Grains Flours
These beautiful fragrant local flours can be purchased at the City Market or at many other locations listed here. This was my perk for the day. I know how to make bread, but hadn’t worked with Dan’s flour before and was very eager to do so. The aroma wafting out of each bag took me back to my grandmother’s hay loft many years ago: warm healthy grains.
The lightest is Dan’s pasta and pastry flour. I enjoyed it as a whole wheat loaf flour. It was far too course for any pastry or pasta, in my opinion. The darkest flour is the rye. No one ever makes 100% rye bread. Actually, 100% whole wheat bread is exceptionally rare when made artisanally, as well. But, I did both, this day, just for the fun of it. I wanted to taste and test.
Here are the three flours made into bread using 100% of each flour. The one below is made with the pastry pasta flour. It was fragrant, moist and very tasty. You can see the one below, made with the 100% whole wheat flour was made in a smaller loaf pan as it was a heavier and much more dense dough. The bread was also heavier, more most and a little more dense. It was deeply fragrant and flavourful. Both were exceptional with the major difference being the resulting weight of the dough: the whole wheat didn’t rise as high and was a heavier dough. It was also more moist. However, both were clearly made with freshly ground flour, the darker having a fuller body flavourwise.
The rye bread was very dense, but sliced thin, as it always is, had a gorgeous flavour and I wondered why more 100% ryes are not made. It was cut when still warm (above) so the crumb is still a little gummy. The bread was expected to be very dense, so I rolled small rolls. Each rose, but did not double. I was happy with the result, but certainly wouldn’t use it in a sandwich. This rye would be an appetizer kind of bread. I look forward to mixing up the flours and adding them with some white. I know there is some local white (a yellowish flour that Tree Stone uses) from Camrose I want to get my hands on for some of the mixing things up. However, I am one that does enjoy freshly ground, dense and moist whole wheat bread. Love it. We did some (below, later) braided and that is one way I really enjoy it. I will never be without Dan’s flour again!
Learning How To Work the Dough
(Yes, it is all in the tongue, LeQuan!)
I always use the French method for working my dough, now. After attending Richard Bertinet’s Cookery School in Bath and a Bread Making Atelier at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, I will never go back. The dough is so superior, and there is no flour flying around the kitchen. I will not (again) go over this method. You can find the details in the Richard Bertinet post here, but I will say, one has to simply let go, and “believe” for it to happen. The dough seems far too sticky and the urge to add more flour is great if you have been a bread maker the British way.
At this point, each of us had made one batch of white bread. Next, we each made a double batch exactly the same with one of Dan’s flours. After that, we made a double batch of white. When all the dough was made, the first had already proofed and was ready to shape. The rest of the day was spent shaping, resting and baking the doughs. The recipe used was the same for all doughs, and is at the bottom. The only one different was the Seed and Nut loaf where an indiscriminate amount of seeds and nuts were added to the dough and worked into it and then rolled in them: totally arbitrary. The Swiss Roll is a completely different recipe and is also below.
The Epi Series
The Cinnamon Bun Series
The Fogasse Series
The Seed and Nut Series
The Whole Wheat Flour Braid Series
The Rye Series
Swiss Roll Series
Preparing the dough and making this much bread was not very much work, really. The problem was only having two ovens with all this bread to bake. We were a little over our head, time wise, but the gals arrived at 10 and we were finished everything by 4:30 with our lunch break. That even includes clean up!
Would I do it again? Sure! I believe it is critical to pass the tradition of bread making on to the younger generation. There is nothing like it. But, not for a while. I need a bread baking break!
Basic Bread Recipe
- 500 grams flour
- 10 grams of salt
- 10 grams of yeast
- 350 grams of water
- I find weighing the flour most accurate, and with the Thermomix, scale it into the bowl; without it, weigh the flour into a large basin bowl
- Scale in the salt, and mix it thoroughly into the flour
- Scale in the dry yeast granules, or the same weight in wet yeast; mix it into the flour thoroughly.
- Weigh the water, or scale it into the TM bowl
- At this point, without a Thermomix, follow #6 to 8; with a Thermomix, #Â 9 through 11
- Mix the water into the flour thoroughly; this will be a highly saturated dough (do not add more flour)
- Pour the mixture onto the counter and using a plastic scraper, gather all of the flour into the dough and form a ball; it will be sticky
- Start to throw the dough onto the counter in a circular motion, using both hands to gather it in, and then throw it out onto the counter, pulling it back in a circular motion; it will stick at first, but after about 15 minutes (the first time you make this), the gluten with be worked enough to stop sticking, and you will then make a ball with the dough and sit it in a warm place to proof until doubled in size (This is how I learned to make this bread. It is difficult to understand how to work dough by reading; the technique of working dough has been passed from an experienced hand to a young and eager hand through the ages.)
- With all ingredients in the TM bowl, mix together at speed three for 20 to 30 seconds
- Then set the time for 4 minutes, and the speed to K (knead); stay near the machine as it may vibrate during the kneading process
- Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and forma ball; place in a warm place, covered, to proof until doubled in size
- Once doubled in size, carefully follow the instructions within the slide show below to make either bread or buns
- Let rise for 45 minutes and bake at 500 F for 12 minutes
Swiss Stick Recipe from Betty’s Cookery School:
- 200g strong white flour (we used all purpose for lack of any other at the time)
- 3g sea salt
- 10g fresh yeast (we used dry)
- 130ml tepid water
- 5m extra virgin olive oil
- 100g rice flour for dusting and rolling (I was out, so we used all purpose white)
- optional: 50g olives, sun dried tomatoes, etc. for stuffing (we used as many as we thought we needed as we sprinkles them over the dough: definitely more than 50g)
- Mix flour and salt together in bowl
- Dissolve yeast in water (we did not do this)
- Add the yeast mixture and oil to the flour mixture (we added all three to the flour mixture at once)
- Mix the ingredients together and knead (we used the Thermomix) “Betty” notes that this dough is much softer than a standard bread dough
- Proof in a warm area in a lightly floured bowl until doubled in size and springs back slowly when touched (30-60 minutes, depending upon the room temperature)
- Gently release dough from the bowl and stretch into a rectangle (about 25 cm long); roll in rice flour and twist randomly to form the shape (we sprinkled the olives on at the rectangle stage, folded the dough over them in thirds, and then twisted to form the shape)
- Place onto a line baking sheet and dust with rice flour (we used all purpose); proof again until doubled in size (same time as earlier)
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400ºC for 25 minutes until golden brown and crusty