Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SFBI - Whole Grains Workshop - Day 2

What a day again! In incredibly hot weather (and the lab isn't air-conditioned) we baked millet bread, corn bread, 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal pan bread and flax seeds bread. I particularly adored the millet bread. Very easy to make and extremely tasty and light. Didier said that it is a good bread to bake for a restaurant as it can be sliced and put in a bread basket where it adds a beautiful touch of yellow offsetting the brown of other breads' crusts.

I will make it at home when I get back and post the recipe then. Meanwhile, speaking of Didier, our instructor, if I had to sum up his advice to us in two words, I would just say: "More water!". Whenever he passes by a mixer and checks the consistency of the dough, those are the only two words he utters, to the point that we now look at each other when he comes by and almost mouth them with him.
Of course it has been very hot these past two days and the whole grain flours we are using are pretty thirsty to begin with but still I have a feeling that "more water" is Didier's mantra and when I see him add one or two cups full of water to a dough that looks perfectly hydrated to me and when I see the dough absorb the water and become all the better for it, I tell myself that I have much to learn - which is why I am at SFBI this week. :-)
Anyway Steve B. requested more info on the shaping of the pear buckwheat bread and since the corn bread we made today got shaped in exactly the same way as the pear buckwheat (at least right to the point when it was ready to get into the oven), I took a few pictures along the way. I hope they will be descriptive enough. If you still have questions, please let me know. 
Like the corn bread, the pear buckwheat bread is pre-shaped into a tight ball, then it rests 20 to 25 minutes (longer of course if the room temperature is cold). It then gets flattened into a disk.

One side of the disk is folded over like this:
Align Center
Then the other side gets folded. It is essential that the two folds overlap and that a triangle be formed.

Then the two sides are gathered at the bottom:

And, lastly, the bottom part is folded over:
The only thing left to do at that point is to flip the bread over and tuck in the sides to make it puff up a bit in the middle:
After proofing and right before baking, the loaf can be shaped either into the pear buckwheat bread:
or into the corn bread:


  1. Formidable! I am really considering going for a class, can't wait for your next post!


  2. Go for it, Jeremy! You'll love it. Not only is the level of professionalism top notch but you also get to meet a wide variety of people with very different personal histories sharing the same passion and that's a lot of fun.

  3. MC, thanks for the detailed description, with photos, of shaping the pear-shaped loaf. I was curious about the shaping method because I couldn't envision how one could create a tight surface tension with such a shape. Presumably, it is the final tucking in of the sides that provides this surface tension.

  4. Sorry the weather has not been cooperating for you but what a great class anyway. So lucky to have Didier for your instructor!

  5. Amazing information and great blog. Thanks for sharing!



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