This past weekend was double fun, actually. First, I had Friday off. Second, I had been asked to provide some bread for a fundraiser bake sale, so I spent Friday and Saturday baking. It was a very welcome break from a long baking hiatus while working down the backlog of breads in the freezer. I don't believe I have had the opportunity to produce this quantity or variety of breads at home previously.
First up was a pair of gluten-free loaves from a recipe of my own. This particular iteration featured buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, quinoa flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. Psyllium husk was used as the binder, rather than gums. It seems to have offer better keeping qualities than gums since the bread stays flexible and moist for upwards of a week instead of going all crumbly and dry in a day or two. Here it is, crummy lighting and all:
The next bread on Friday's bake schedule was Sweet Vanilla Challah from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible. As written, the recipe says it yields two loaves. Knowing how large those loaves are, I decided to divide the dough into three loaves instead. And I made a double batch so that I could shape three as turbans and three as 4-strand braids. As expected, the loaves were eye-catching for both the shaping and the coloring. The headline photo for this post shows all six bagged and ready to go. Here are some close-ups:
Later in the day, after running some errands, I also baked the Whole Wheat Multigrain from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread. I doubled this recipe and divided it into 6 loaves, instead of the stated 4 loaves. This bread includes a hot soaker with the baker's choice of grains; I used Bob's Red Mill 7-Grain Cereal and millet seeds. It also utilizes a liquid levain and bakers yeast for leavening. I managed to get a good oven spring and a bold bake. The photo looks lighter than the bread did to the naked eye.
Before going to bed Friday evening, I built the biga for Portugese Sweet Bread, working from Mark Sinclair's (mcs) recipe.
Saturday morning I mixed the ripe biga with the rest of the final dough ingredients. For the PSB, I chose to shape it as rolls, instead of as loaves. I scaled them at about 65g each, which yielded 4 dozen rolls. Once baked and cooled, I packaged them in half-dozen blocks per bag. A friend who bought a package told me that the taste was what he remembered from his childhood growing up in Connecticut.
The last bread was a focaccia, which is another recipe of mine. I scaled it up to fill two half-sheet pans. This bread features herb-infused olive oil. In this case, I used garlic powder, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and black pepper in the oil. One pan was also studded with some kalamata olives, just for variety. Each focaccia was quartered and the quarters were individually bagged for the sale.
All told, I loaded two medium-size boxes with the bread to take to the sale. Since I didn't know how familiar people might be with some of the breads, I also typed up labels with the names and ingredients for each bread, thinking that might help answer some questions. Later in the morning, I happened past the tables where the baked goods were displayed and noticed that pale and sweet was moving a lot faster than dark and hearty. The people running the sale were pleased to have the bread and, as far as I've heard, so were the buyers.
I suspect, though, that I was happier than any of them since I was the one who got to make it all.