After a year, I’ve gone back to Pastry school!!!! Alana was supposed to join me, but sadly adulting and work got in the way :(. I signed up for Introduction to Breads after experiencing the joy of kneading dough last year. As usual, it was a wonderful time, and Chef Marco was a gem, both for his baking expertise and strong opinions.
This was a bread basics course, so we learned a lot about the fundamentals of bread baking. We started off with making hard bread rolls.
The elusive “single knot” technique
- 450 g bread flour (13.5% gluten)
- 9 g salt
- 18 g fresh yeast
- 10 (whole) milk powder
- 6 g sugar
- 20 g butter
- 300 mL water
- Form a flour fountain and mix together all of the ingredients, placing the yeast and water inside the fountain.
- Knead the dough until the gluten is properly developed.
- Form a ‘boule’ and place on a floured surface. Dust flour on top of the dough and cover with saran wrap to ferment until it has doubled in size (~1 hour).
- Split the dough into 12 even portions, and form into balls. Set aside and cover, and allow to sit (bench rest) for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Rework each ball of dough, and design as desired.
- Proof the buns until doubled in size (25 C for ~ 1 hour)
- Bake at 400F with steam for 18 – 20 minutes. Ideally, bake on a perforated pan.
- Be sure to use bread flour. After all, “all purpose flour is a no purpose flour.” (Chef Marco)
- Fresh yeast is much better than dry yeast and allows spontaneous fermentation. It lasts for about 1 month. If you need to use dry yeast, use traditional dry yeast and half the amount (as it is 2x as strong as fresh yeast).
- Milk powder helps to enrich the flavour and colour of the dough. Whole milk powder has a short shelf life.
- If you add milk to the dough, it shortens the gluten strands and leads to a softer texture.
- No salt leads to a short and crumbly texture.
- Kneading time varies with flour. Canadian flour has more gluten than American flour, as it has to be more robust to withstand the harsher temperatures.
- The dough gets very sticky as you work it, but do NOT add more flour. Dough is meant to be sticky! As Chef Marco says, “if you hate the stickiness on your fingers, try gardening.”
The flour fountain!
The first boule
Portioning out the dough
Beautifully formed bread rolls!
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