The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Homework Bakes

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PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Homework Bakes

Yes, baking instructors have homework, too.  And both of this week's bakes are geared to upcoming classes that I will teach at the Culinary Center of Kansas City.

The bread pictured in the lead photo is the first pass at a variation on Clayton's Chopped Apple Bread.  A bit of background: one of the classes that I teach is a Breakfast Breads class.  The current version, coming up again this next weekend, features sourdough English Muffins and Kolaches.  It's a popular class (there's a waiting list for next Saturday) but we wanted to add some variety.  Consequently, there will be a Breakfast Breads II class next Spring which will feature a scone and a further evolution of this apple bread.  I left the ingredients alone for this version because I wanted to try a different fermentation regime.  Since that worked out as hoped for, I can tweak ingredients next time around to add a bit of this to the dough and a bit of that to the filling and eventually wind up with something that (thanks to my darling wife) will be called Apple Fritter Bread.  I think it will be a hit because of its convenience, flavor and novelty.  And yes, it is supposed to look knobby and rough.

The other bake this weekend was a batch of stollen.  The stollen, and a Bavarian Braid, are the featured breads in a holiday breads class coming up in three weeks.  Baking students are a surprisingly hungry bunch, so it pays to have something for them to munch on in class.  While it would have been better to bake these a week previously, that just wasn't in the cards what with my wife having had knee surgery two days previously and me having a roaring cold.  Happily, both of us are feeling much better this weekend.  

Here are the stollen, just out of the oven and brushed with melted butter:

And here they are, cooled, sugared, wrapped in foil, bagged, and settling in for three weeks of "maturing":

Actually, one of them is staying home and will get more than three weeks of quality time.

My previous class resulted in an interesting bread.  The class itself was on Pain a L'Ancienne and and a Pain de Compagne.  Postal Grunt was there to steal some ideas for a class that he will offer through the County Extension office.  The class itself was well attended and, as is typical, the students went home with dough to be baked in their own ovens.  This time, so did the instructor.  Since I had a number of other things clamoring for my attention, I slung the dough into the garage refrigerator and promptly forgot about it until three days later.  Figuring that other people do the same thing intentionally, I pulled out the two doughs, kneaded them together with some additional flour to make a manageable but still very soft dough, shaped them, fermented them, and baked them off.  That was some of the best tasting bread I have made recently!  That long, cold fermentation gave plenty of time for the enzymes to work their magic on the starches and the new flour gave the yeast an additional food source.  The oven spring was only moderate, even though the dough wasn't over-proofed, but crust color and crumb structure were both good.  For a yeasted bread, it was delicious.  Still not as complex as a sourdough but very, very good.

Other than that, the freezer has been my "oven" recently, since I need to work down the backlog there.  It's not a bad thing, since I got to enjoy the second loaf of Hamelman's Potato Bread with Roasted Onions this last week.  It just means that I have to resort to homework to have some fun in the kitchen.  Which sounds really sad, somehow.

Paul

Comments

golgi70's picture
golgi70

We just did our first 2 bakes of stollen as well.  Problem here is that its so good with age but so hard to not eat fresh as it smells so amazing.  And to be quite honest it tastes good from day 1 all the way to day 40.  Fortunately we bake about 40 at a time.  

I do a lot of that work @ home thing too.  It's depressingly glorious and always worth it.  

Nice Bakes

Josh

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

What a great phrase, Josh.  Your writing skills are keeping pace with your baking skills.

Stollen certainly does taste good on the first day but I find that I enjoy it more after the flavors have a chance to meld, which takes some time.  Somehow the whole exceeds the sum of the parts.  Unlike you, I probably won't bake more than half a dozen at a time.

If we have this much fun with it, is it work, really?

Paul

golgi70's picture
golgi70

 But there are some times where it is certainly work.  And other times where I'm shocked I get paid to do it.  Like stollen.  It's so fun to to make.  At first with all the fruit and nuts you don't even think the dough will come together.  Then a while later you get to make the fun shape.  A bit more labor but I find it lots of fun.  And I'm sure some would pay for the smell of baking stollen in a bottle.  We get paid to create it. 

We should trade stollens by mail.  Would be interesting to taste other variations  

Josh

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

The apple bread is a craggy one but there must be some deliciousness in there somewhere.   Love  the e stollen and now have to try and get the amazing list of ingredients somewhere - haven't seen them in the store yet.  They look very good.  Karin also says why Wait?  Eat them an and just make another batch!

Well done and

Happy Baking

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

So many breads, so little time.  The Complete Book of Breads was my very first bread book and I still love the enormous variety of breads that Mr. Clayton managed to squeeze between the covers.  Even though everything uses volume measurements, the breads are just too good to leave alone.

The Chopped Apple Bread (which maybe should be called Apple Chopped Bread) is indeed delicious.  Just one of many that keeps me coming back for more.

And, see, with the Chopped Apple Bread on hand, I really don't need to cut into the stollen just yet.  One sweet bread at a time is plenty, since I generally hew more toward whole grain breads.  No argument, though, about stollen being good on the day it is baked.

Thanks dab.

Paul

Mebake's picture
Mebake

This rustic apple loaf looks yummy, and so does the stollen, Paul!

So long as you keep baking going, thats what matters. I'd imagine your students will find this apple loaf of yours and the classes to be worthwhile.

wishing you the best of luck,

-Khalid