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.