17 February 2011

GUEST BLOG: Baking hot

By guest blogger CAROLYN DICKSON

The lovely Rob was showing us all how to make bread on the second of the advanced breadmaking sessions Cracking Good Food ran at Chorlton High School, this one on the evening of Tuesday 1 February. It was a busy session as we were making Brioche and Rugbrød (Danish Rye Bread), and also learning about the fundamentals of how to make Sour Bread.

Rob had prepared the yeast in advanced for Sour Bread as it can take up to three to seven days for the yeast to ferment. We also learned how yeast actually makes bread rise: active yeast will foam and bubble as it ferments the sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Some recipes refer to this as proofing the yeast as it "proves" (tests) the viability of the yeast before the other ingredients are added. When using a Sour Dough starter, flour and water are added instead of sugar; this is referred to as proofing the sponge.

For the Brioche, we activated the yeast by adding it to warm water with sugar, and for the Rye, we dissolved molasses and butter in some warm water and again stirred in the yeast until there was a good ‘head’ of active yeast on the surface.

Once the dough is kneaded until it is smooth, it is left to rise, sometimes until it has doubled in size. Some bread dough are knocked back after one rising and left to rise again. A longer rising time gives a better flavour, but the yeast can fail to raise the bread in the final stages if it is left for too long initially. The dough is then shaped into loaves, left to rise until it is the correct size, then baked.

Great results were produced as you can see by the photo above, and I can still smell the bread: very moreish indeed. We of course sampled the bread we baked afterwards with cup of tea and we were all chuffed at ourselves for producing three amazing breads in only three hours...

More photographs from the two Advanced Breadmaking sessions we ran can be seen on our Facebook page - just click here to view the album.

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