...at the Baking Education Center in Norwich, Vermont.
Carrot Walnut Bread Brown Rice Bread Vollkornbrot
an all-rye bread for which we used this gorgeous starter:
(Jeff has had his rye starter for more than 26 years and during all this time, it has been fed twice a day, seven days a week. I wasn't kidding when I said he was passionate about bread-making!)Miche Oatmeal Bread
..etc., as well as crackers and lavash (which I forgot to photograph) and Jeff gave us innumerable tips along the way such as:
- How to check whether or not one has forgotten to put in the yeast (you take a little bit of your dough and you drop it in water. If it rises to the surface, the yeast is there)
- How to calculate the friction factor for your mixer (click here for the answer)
- What value should you give to the friction factor when you plan to do an autolyse (click here to find out)
- How to determine if a preferment is ready or not (all preferments should dome and be about ready to collapse. If they are concave, then next time lower the water temperature, shorten the fermentation time, if possible, and/or use less yeast)
- Never do an autolyse with a rye or a challah-type dough (rye dough wants to ferment quickly so the dough doesn’t over-acidify, hence an autolyse is unwarranted. And challah, an enriched and sweetened dough, wouldn’t benefit—it’s pretty highly mixed intentionally, so considerations about the carotenoids don’t apply)
- How do you know when fresh yeast is really fresh (it should be crumbly and break open just as a fresh mushroom)
- It is better to fold a weak dough (whole grain doughs are weak by definition) on the bench than inside a container (it gives it more strength), etc.
Lori made lovely roasted butternut and onion loaves and rolls...
...and Bill contributed a scrumptious almond-cherry Celtic bread...
As for me, I baked a pear-cardamom-ginger bread... However writing down the formula was a different proposition and I am mortified to say that this time, the bread came out awful. We didn't get to taste it at the Baking Center: since it was leavened with natural starter with no added yeast, it rose slowly and was baked last. Consequently it was still too hot to cut open when class ended and each of us just took a warm loaf home. I don't know what Jeff and the other students did with their loaves (I suspect they will be too kind to say) but I know mine went straight into the trashcan. It literally reeked of cardamom (a spice I normally love). When I make this bread at home, I use just one pinch but there, silly me, I went for 1%. I should have realized that it was way way too much but I didn't stop to think. What I like is that Jeff didn't say: are you sure you are not going over with the percentage of ground cardamom? He didn't even raise an eyebrow. He let me go on with the formula as I had written it and I am grateful that he did because now I know better than to eyeball percentages for assertive ingredients such as spices. What I should have done is throw 5 pinches of cardamom in a bowl (since one pinch is fine for 5 times less dough), weigh the result, and then calculate the percentage. Believe me, next time I will. That bread is one of our favorites. I was planning to give it to the Man to take to the office when I got home and was very disappointed to have to throw it away (so was he, poor guy). However I liked the way my miche Pointe-à-Callière came out. Small comfort, I know, but better than nothing...