We bakers are always looking for creative ways to extract lots of flavor from grains. For me, the search for flavor took me to my local supermarket.
There's not much to a lean dough in terms of ingredients, is there? Just some water, some flour, some salt and (if I'm not making sourdough) some instant yeast. Bread always appealed to me because you could make an excellent loaf by virtue of your baking skills, rather than the quality of ingredients you can afford. Sure, the $6 flour may be a bit better than the store brand stuff. However, at the end of the day, I know that if I give my bread plenty of time to develop flavor and handle the dough firmly but respectfully, I can produce a loaf better than someone who uses the fancy flour, but skimps on fermentation time or abuses the dough. Musicians often say that a good player can make bad equipment sound good, but a bad player can't make good equipment sound good. I guess the same is true of bread.
I had just begun to contemplate this when an old friend called out to me.
"Hey there. It's me, Shaq. I'm only 2 for $1"
"Shaq? Is that you?" I saw him in the distance: Arizona shaq-Fu Grape Punch.
"You know exactly what to do."
I did. It was all so obvious. How had I not put it together before now? If good bread can be made with poor quality ingredients, then GREAT bread can be made with only the most disgusting ingredients! Time to make a mockery of the art of baking!
I came home with two bottles of the punch. I took a few sips from one. I almost vomited. It was sugary and tasted like watered down grape and pear juice. The ingredient list confirmed my suspicions. It was watered down grape and pear juice with a lot of sugar. Fantastic.
Here's the recipe I used:
350 g All-purpose flour
350 g Shaq-Fu Grape Punch
1 g yeast
Since the punch is so sugary, I only gave it a few hours at room temperature (at which point it was already very bubbly) and refrigerated it overnight.
The next day, I added the following:
85 grams All-purpose flour
3 grams yeast
I let this ferment for about 2-3 hours, stretching and folding occasionally.
I then preshaped it into a ball, tightened it after 20 minutes and put it in a proofing basket to rise for an hour, after which I stuck it in the fridge again. To be honest, I think it overproofed (due to the large amount of sugar in the punch). This caused the final loaf to be a bit flat (the inside doesn't seem dense. The loaf itself is just a but wider than it is tall).
I then preheated my oven with my baking surface and steaming apparatus.
I scored the loaf (to look like a basketball) and sprayed it with a little bit of water to delay crust formation.
I baked at 450 F for 10 minutes before removing the tray of hot water from the oven and letting the bread bake for another 20 minutes. I then glazed the loaf with a cornstarch mixture. It smells surprisingly good. The smell reminds me of a rosemary and grape focaccia I once made (though that had real grapes in it). I think Shaq would be proud of this loaf.
Well, I hope this little post has encouraged you to be disgusting like me and make bread out of strange liquids.