The Fresh Loaf

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Baking like mad during Spring Break

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chouette22's picture
chouette22

Baking like mad during Spring Break

 

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a long time since my last post, but I have not stopped baking. It comes and goes in waves for me, sometimes I do more and sometimes less, but I always make bread. And I look into TFL daily!

Last week I was on spring break and my son was home with me because his university’s break corresponded to mine this year. I used the opportunity to the fullest to bake for him as he is a very athletic 19-year old who can pack away tons of carbs very easily and he adores my breads (unlike my daughter who can live without them quite easily). I had several doughs going on at different stages for 10 days – my kitchen felt like a laboratory at times (especially because I also made yogurt and some cheese). A few of these breads were given away as gifts.

Here’s what I made:
1. Three different types of baguettes: the 36 hour one from Txfarmer and two recipes from the excellent German bread site Pötzblog: the Bouabsa one (which is somewhat different from the formulas I found on TFL) and a formula by Jean-Pierre Cohier (France’s best baguette in 1995 and 2006). They all had excellent taste and I was semi-happy with the shapes, but am still hoping to achieve a more open crumb. Baguettes are a challenge, for sure!

2. I bought the Tartine book already some 8 months ago and these are finally my first attempts: a white and whole-wheat boule (crumb is of the ww one). Wonderful breads.

3. Txfarmer’s sourdough croissants. I had wanted to give these a try for the longest time and finally did it. I followed her detailed instructions pretty much to the letter, paying attention to all of her advice and had no problems with the recipe (thanks Txfarmer!). I used bread flour like she recommended and the rolling of the dough went very well. I thought that all of my weight training came in handy in this effort! :) They were devoured by my kids!

4. Two yeasted sweet breads filled with frangipane – absolutely delicious. I had to make these for a special event and they disappeared very quickly. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.
I also made Chapatis for one of our dinners.

5. Second round of Tartine breads: one with with prunes and roasted hazelnuts, another one with caramelized onions and bacon pieces, and the third with olives. They were all really good.

6. Hamelman’s Whole-wheat multi-grain in two shapes and the Potato Focaccia from the Tartine book.


7. As I said above, my daughter doesn’t like bread all that much so I made 40 of these meat pies for her school lunches.

8. Last but not least, a batch of French Macarons: the pink ones have a raspberry jam filling and the orange ones a mango and passionfruit infused ganache (my favorite).  

It was fun to be so immersed in dough and batters for an entire week. 

Comments

grind's picture
grind

I'd call it a spring bake!

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi chouette,

First of all: Outstanding baking! I'm really impressed by your chops in the kitchen; not only did you bake a lot, everything you made looks absolutely delicious as well... baguettes, breads, pastries, meat pies... YUM! I think you've comfortably and by some margin beat the previous record for "Most extensive baking in a single blog post", chouette. It's certainly not the easiest of breads and pastries you've assembled either; croissants and macarons take a lot of skill and practice to get right. Yours look wonderful, chouette. I love the look of the frangipane-filled braids as well! How did you go about shaping them?

chouette22's picture
chouette22

This means a lot coming from you! I keep looking for your posts, but there was a bit of a drought lately. :) However, I am sure that you are still keeping at it, somebody with your mad skills doesn't abandon the kitchen. I always love your breads, especially if they are followed by some super-fancy French pastries, like all of your wonderful apple tartes and the Paris-Brest comes to mind too. And that pig's head left quite an impression as well! :) Not shocking to me though at all as I grew up on a farm in Switzerland and all the meat we ate then came from our own animals. I have seen and tasted it all.

Posting is another thing - that's how it goes for me too.

The frangipane breads were very easy: just two strands for each one, twist them around each other and then bring the ends together into a circle. Once risen, those ends sort of disappear a bit.

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Yes, I'll be the first to admit that there's been a bit of a draught lately... ;o) But I'm very happy to hear that someone still remembers the blog!

After relocating to a new city and a new job two years ago, my bread baking took a dip as I spent quite some time figuring out how to steam the oven in my new apartment. Previously I had great success with the "pouring boiling water into a heated skillet" technique, but this don't work with my new oven anymore. I think it's much more efficient at venting any steam out of the baking chamber, so all my breads came out with dull crusts that turned spongy and soft after cooling. After spending time pursuing other interests and hobbies, I first tried baking under cover (a cast iron pan placed upside-down onto a pizza stone) a few weeks ago. After a few initial trial and errors, I'm now quite pleased with the crust, and I'm back at bread baking at least once or twice a week. I'll breathe some life into the blog during Easter (promise!!), as it's something I've missed doing as well.

In the meantime, I've been very draw inspiration from the many fantastic bakers posting here at TFL. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement, chouette! Great hearing from you and thanks again for the inspiration!

evonlim's picture
evonlim

baking with love!! nice spring bake :)

evon

chouette22's picture
chouette22

I find your breads very inspiring! You have come to baking quite recently, if I remember well, and your breads are so creative!

varda's picture
varda

Stunning.   Wonderful baking and amazing that you can leave it for awhile and then come back and produce all that.   Wow!  -Varda

chouette22's picture
chouette22

I never leave it completely, just do a bit less of it. And then the bug bites me again and I go into overdrive.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Great to see you posting again. Your production is amazing, and everything looks fantastic.

David

chouette22's picture
chouette22

I should really try and post more often as I get so inspired by everyone else's baking too. I just put your recent fig and walnut sourdough onto my to-bake list! Binge baking - that's a great way to call my last week!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

of spring break baking!  It all looks so delicious.  Very nice baking all the way around!  I'm guessing your lucky kids have never had it so good bake wise - at least for one whole week.

Happy baking.

chouette22's picture
chouette22

Yes, my kids certainly didn't complain! I always enjoy your posts too, by the way, your breads with all those seeds are so creative. And then there is the apprentice! :)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

is the faster learner, more creative and good looking part of our baking duo but, her German is a getting a little rusty adn I too have to use google translate now a days as a result :-)  She and I thank you for the compliment!

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

I did a double take when I saw what looked like parsley growing out of dirt, then realized they were meat pies! This is probably because I have been planting too much lately (and still not finished).

Keep up the good work!

Dave

chouette22's picture
chouette22

You must be living in a warmer climate than I do if you have been planting this much already. All of that is still quite in the future for me here.

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

But all my plants are indoors, so far (except garlic and shallots), and in a week, all peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant seeds get planted inside. And in another week, all the cold weather stuff I have in here, goes outside. As I said, I am not finished!

This is all the stuff I cook in the summer, when I don't really want to fire up my ovens.

Dave

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Beautiful breads and pastries.  I do hope you had help with the dishes!

Our 19 daughter brought her boyfriend home for her spring break so I was in the kitchen a lot too.  My daughter LOVES the breads I bake.  Had her list of what she wanted and wanted to be home to have a slice as soon as a loaf came out of the oven....I know, I know....one is supposed to let bread sit for an hour before being sliced....We break that rule a lot here.  Nothing beats the smile on a child's face when they bite into a slice of hot bread.

My 16 year old son is the one who holds back!!!  Intent on developing a '6 pack' he watches what he eats.  Prefers to eat pizza and Chiplotes and root beer floats.....

I have admired Potzblog's breads on Wild Yeast too but the site has no translation 'adjustment'.  Do you drag the formulas into google translate?

I had no help with dishes....  but I didn't push it either since my daughter did most of the meals for herself and the bf....Baking bread I love....cooking I deplore so the trade off works fine for me.

Thanks for the lovely post.  I am not only impressed by all you baked but also by the fact that you got photos of it all too AND you posted them!!!

Take Care,

Janet

chouette22's picture
chouette22

for your generous comment! The dishes - true, there are always SO many of those when one produces a lot in the kitchen, and no, I had no help with them either. 

So the roles with our kids are reversed, but they have the same ages. My daughter, also 16 years old, doesn't care about bread but adores croissants, cakes, macarons and such. My son, 19 y. old like  your daughter, is the one who loves all kinds of breads but can easily say no to sweets. And both of them love to say no to dishes! :) The same goes for hot bread in my house too when my husband and son are around! 

Pötzblog: I am a native German and French speaker and thus don't need the translation. It would be wonderful though if he installed that feature as his blog is immensely rich. Really one of the best I have seen in any language. 

Posting is hard, yes, that's why I manage just a couple per year. :)

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

 

You are lucky to be a native speaker because, as you stated, he produces some remarkable looking breads.  Perhaps I should learn how to put google translate into action....

 

P.S.

Just thought I would let you know....

I just wrote the above reply and decided to go over to Wild Yeast to give g. translate another try and, much to my surprise, I didn't have to do a thing.  I scrolled down to one of his postings and clicked onto his site and in about 2 seconds a top bar appeared titled 'google translate'.  English was already in the box so all I had to do was click on it and voila - there it was....not a perfect translation but good enough :-)  Wonders never cease!

 

chouette22's picture
chouette22

is amazing, I know. I thought you might be using a browser where it does not show up. So now, if you want to follow yet another bread blog, this is a good one! :) I certainly follow too many, but cannot help it.

There is no way one can explain to "non-bread people" how much satisfaction and pleasure we can get from just reading about bread, isn't it?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Several in my family think I am crazy......but that comes from a man who has more computer and computer like devices than I can name and who spends almost all of his free time on one of them and a son who sits in front of 2 large computer screens while having headphones on so he can use his ipad at the same time.  To me that is not only crazy but scary!!!!  My daughter 'gets' it :-)  

PeterS's picture
PeterS

Wow. Those are fantastic baked goods! Du is der meister. ;-)

chouette22's picture
chouette22

für das Kompliment, Peter!

tchism's picture
tchism

Just outstanding results! Really impressive! I've been meaning to buy the Tartine book for some time. Looks like it would be worth the purchase.