Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quantity vs quality

I wanted to use up my surplus of wholewheat flour so it was yet another batch of 40% wholewheat again. Being an environmentally conscious person, I have always felt guilty about using all that energy to bake the breads in my large oven. So it was always down to squeezing maximum capacity with minimal preheating of the stone. As a result, my breads have never been baked to its optimum.

I was usually the person consuming the bulk of the bread so the aesthetics of the bread was secondary to me. However, ever since I baked the breads in my friend's place, I have been doing a rethink. There is absolutely no doubt about the joy one gets when a beautiful loaf comes out of the oven. So life is short, why not do the best that is possible.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baking session at friend's place

For the past week, I had been rehearsing for a bake at a friend's house. It was a first time for me to bake bread in an oven other than my own. Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive because I will be working with unfamiliar equipment.

I brought along 5 loaves for the dinner as backup just in case the bake did not work out. The bread that I chose to demo was a 40% wholewheat bread. After the first loaf came out of the oven, I was able to breathe a little easier. It was a very enjoyable afternoon spent among friends. We were treated to a splendid spread prepared by the host. 

For the bake, I prepared enough dough to let my friends do some hands on practice. The breads from their efforts were outstanding. While the loaves were proofing, I showed them the method for mixing. This dough was brought home by one of my friends. 

The following day, I got an email from my friend showing the results of her bake in her own oven. I have to say it was outstanding for a first time effort. The pictures speak for themselves.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Rehearsal time

I have been invited to a baking session at a friend's house. This will be the first time that I am baking in another kitchen so needless to say, I am hoping that the bake will turn out well. My friend has a preference for whole-wheat bread. It was time to do a little practice before the show. For the next couple of weeks, I will probably be doing a lot of whole-wheat breads to refresh my memory. 

I decided to do another fruit and nut bread again since the last bake was so delicious. However, this time round, I used a 50% Atta as the base. The fruit and nut portion consisted of Walnuts, Pumpkin seeds and 2 types of raisins. The 1.5% spice mix was the same used in the last bake. Hydration was at 72% with 3% olive oil.