Fun at the Fair
County Fair 2012! The prospect of a few blue ribbons is all the excuse I need to take a day off work and spend it baking instead. Actually, I'd be happy to ditch work and bake bread with no excuse at all but that might worry people…
I managed to put together six different breads from four different doughs this year.
To cover the "French Bread" and "Herb Bread" classes I made a very simple crusty batard and a rosemary and olive oil bread. Both were straight doughs with an overnight bulk ferment in the refrigerator for scheduling purposes.
For the "Sourdough" class I made, well, sourdough. This one was pretty basic with 5% whole wheat and 5% rye. I used the same dough with sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds to enter as an "Other Bread".
I made a 65% whole wheat sourdough for the "Whole Wheat" class then threw some walnuts into the other half of the same dough and called it a "Specialty Bread".
And the judges went for... the 3 seed sourdough, giving it Best of Show Bread honors. Sweet! The other breads earned three first place ribbons and two second places.
The lesson I learned this year was simple: looks matter. The quality of all the breads was more or less the same and some of the breads were even made from the same dough, but it was the fanciest loaf that got the top prize and the ugly loaves (the plain sourdough was really not much to look at) dropped to second place.
This isn't the best photo, but the one on the right was the winner, the one one the left... not so much.
These are random photos of early versions of some of the breads since I couldn't cut into the one's that actually went to the fair. I think the final versions actually turned out a little better.
I'm already looking forward to next year. Bring on the rodeo and kettle corn! And support your local county fair!