The 2019 National Festival of Breads is in the books! It was a great event with eight great contestants, many fun and educational speakers, and much more.
This year, there were two divisions, one for home bakers and one for food bloggers. The home baker division winner was RaChelle Hubsmith with her Chai Ube Rosette Rolls. The food blogger division winner was Merry Graham with her Blackberry Ginger Speculaas Danish Wreath.
There are several types of yeast to use when making a tasty yeast bread. One that is available to professional bakers is a special strain of yeast that requires less water to do its job. Some yeast bread recipes are high in sugar, low in moisture, and can take longer to rise. The sugar will trap the water which makes it unavailable for the yeast to use.
A special strain of instant yeast, called “osmotolerant,” can help. Osmosis is the phenomenon that helps move water through the cell walls of yeast. In a rich sweet dough, the yeast competes for protein, starch, and sugar to get any water it can. Osmotolerant yeast resists this competition to get to the water and help dough to rise. When compared to active dry yeast, these doughs will use less osmotolerant yeast to get good results.
Source: Understanding Baking, 3rd edition, Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees
How ingredients are mixed together can make or break a successful outcome when baking. Directions are given to combine certain ingredients and should be followed. For example, in making a layer cake, there are two methods, the creaming and reverse-creaming techniques.
The creaming method starts by beating the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. The sugar crystals beat little air pockets into the fat. Then the wet and dry ingredients are added in a dry-wet-dry-wet-dry pattern to reduce gluten development and make a tender cake. During baking the air pockets made during creaming, leaven or lift the cake to give a light airy structure. The top typically has a slight dome.
The reverse-creaming method starts by mixing butter with all of the dry ingredients. The butter fat coats the flour particles making the flour waterproof. The liquid is added but only some flour proteins will get hydrated. This limits gluten development and increases tenderness. Without incorporating air, the cake will be a bit shorter, have a flatter top and will be quite tender. This is better for fancy, multiple layer cakes.
Do you teach baking in a classroom or community program? You may be eligible to WIN $1,000!
Each year the Home Baking Association awards outstanding educators in classrooms and communities who engage individuals, families and communities with the many educational benefits baking provides for personal, family or professional development.
Professionals or adult and youth leaders and volunteers who teach baking skills in classrooms, libraries, public or private organizations, community youth programs, families, and youth teaching peers or younger ages are all eligible.
Save the date! The 2019 National Festival of Breads will be held on June 8, 2019 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan, KS.
This year, the contest will feature two categories. One is designated for food bloggers who are actively blog about wheat foods and yeast bread. The second category is for home bakers. A new feature this year will be LIVE judging! Come watch the judging process, hear the comments from judges, and find out who wins!
Artisan, or hearth, breads have some characteristics that make them unique. Here are some tips to evaluate these breads.
Aspect—Feel the weight, it should be appropriate for its size. Are the cuts on top open to allow expansion? Scoring will dictate the interior structure and visual appearance. The color should be golden, and darkly burnished is not always best.
Crumb Structure—Baguettes will have some marble-sized holes along with smaller holes. The cell walls will look translucent.
Flavor—This is a combination of the crust flavor and interior flavor. One should not overpower the other.
Balance—Sour flavor notes from fermentation should balance with malty notes. Browning from Maillard reactions should be balanced with interior flavors and added ingredients.
Texture—This varies by bread type and is the contrast of the crust and interior. It may be chewy, tender, tender, crispy, moist or dry.
The Home Baking Association is looking for a winner! It could be you! Each year, they award an “Educator of the Year Award.” So do you teach baking in the classroom or community? You could win $1,000!
Submit a baking lesson or baking community service program or adult or teen leader skill training. Baking community service program may include “Bake for Family Fun” month, Bake and Take Day, bake sales or community service baking programs.
Add more gluten or knead the dough more. Sprouted wheat flour has a little less available gluten, so it may take more kneading to develop a good dough. Another option is to add 1-2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten per cup of flour.
Shorter fermentation time will give depth of flavor. For traditional long fermented dough, time is needed to develop flavor. Sprouted flour will reduce this time to achieve good volume.
Measure sprouted flour cup for cup.
Store sprouted flour in a cool, dry, dark, airtight container and use within 12 months. Freeze it to add another six months of storage.
Need new ideas to teach cooking and baking to kids? Kids book author, Deanna Cook, has some fun cookbooks that can help!
The cookbooks are targeted to various age groups. They have leader planning tips, promotional materials, lesson plans, easy and fun recipes, gift tags, stickers, bake sale signs, and many other fun ideas.