The power of bread and dealing with post carnage trauma.
I have been on a baking frenzy. :)
I guess that's the beauty of making several batches of poolish and biga acida at the same time. It was either bake or lose the preferments. So bake it was.
In addition to preferment breads I also did two 1.5lb loaves of Lexia Raisin and Macadamia bread from a slightly modified formula. No lexia raisins and no macadamias. Oops.
But I did manage to get a full cup of dried figs in there with a hand full of golden raisins and a cup full of toasted walnuts. I have to say that is a very tasty mixture. The flavors seemt to balance well.
With these two loaves I did them in 9X5X3" pans and they proofed beautifuly after sitting overnight in the fridge. That wasn't part of the original formula but due to the ovens being busy with pizza's I couldn't manage to get them in - so into the fridge they went. The next day when I had time to fit them in the oven I had taken them out of the fridge about an hour and half beforehand - and then they proofed a tad longer - they were huge in the pans when I finally popped them into the oven. But they baked just fine... well except one slight thing I noticed...
The oven was very hot when I popped them in because it was at pizza temp. and so the outside browned very dark - not burnt - but very dark - not like I've ever seen it before. It wasn't carbonized - but it did a shade past where I would normally put a good crust for a 'European' style crust (even though this is a sweet bread).
I am wondering if there wasn't more carmelization of the sugars than I am used to seeing?
Did the figs and the raisins effect it at all?
Hmm - food for thought. At any rate - I went through one complete loaf myself about 30 minutes after they had cooled.
Too tasty that loaf.
One of the other batches that I did was Anadama bread - but again modified - one of the sous chef's misplaced my corn meal soaker and so I had to use the mixed grain soaker that I had started the day before. This one has buckwheat, oats, quinoa and flax seed in it. I have tended to avoid using oats for other than decorative toppings because I find the flavor to be a bit too earthy/chalky... as well in a soaker they tend to almost disentegrate. But as I had no corn meal soaker I had no choice but to use this. Though dough wouldn't wait as I had already retarded it overnight in the fridge - where even then it still rose a bit.
Ok so anyhow - I managed to use a fine cornmeal to top them - and they came out brilliantly. The color and shape are stunning. I wacked them onto some cooling racks and placed them on the table nearest the counter in the restaurant. We had a steady flow of customers all day long and right before 5 o'clock a table of six came in. Two kids etc. - they seem to have come back from hiking as they were dripping with sweat and had walking sticks. The start of the hot and rainy season in Hong Kong. The father I guess it was - too one look at the bread and grabbed a loaf and just mauled it. I mean he tore into it with a vegance. I was SHOCKED!!! I was somewhat horrified! AAAAGGGHHH!!!!!
My babies had been left out on the table and some wild and ravenous hiker had come by and mauled them! Or at least one of them. LOL! :)
I am supposed to be baking these for sale and of course - that means people can eat them any way they choose. But somehow it was heartbreaking to see my wonderful bread torn apart like that. LOL! I think I've been traumatized!
No butter, no olive oil... nothing... just carnage. :)
I jumped up as fast as I could and offered to cut the loaf for him - bread knife in hand. Though I must admit I don't know whether I was going to cut the loaf or defend it to the death! :)
So now I only have one Anadama loaf left in the breadcase. Perhaps he/she too is traumatized. I mean being so close and all to the carnage. Poor thing.
Of course they bought it along with meals for 6 and drinks - so I can't complain really. But from now on I think I'll run a cordon of razor wire around my loaves while they're cooling. :)
I guess that's testament to power of bread - especially freshly baked Anadama bread from the oven.
Never, ever underestimate it.