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.
To save time during the holidays, or any time of year, prepare yeast dough ahead of time and freeze into dough balls for rolls to bake later. The trick is using a dough with extra yeast because slow freezing can damage yeast.
According to Fleischmann’s Yeast, it is best to use dough recipes developed for freezing. These recipes are high in yeast and sugar and low in salt. It is recommended to use bread flour to help maintain bread structure. After preparing and kneading the dough, shape into rolls or flatten into a disk and wrap airtight. The dough can be frozen up to four weeks. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature or slowly in the refrigerator. Once thawed, shape, let rise, and bake as directed.
These two large words can be scary to read. But the common word for these words is yeast, a sugar-eating fungus.
Yeast is a single-celled fungi used to leaven bread. To grow, yeast digests its favorite food, sugar, in its various forms, granulated or brown sugar (sucrose); honey, molasses, maple syrup, fruit (fructose and glucose); and maltose in flour. As the yeast digests the sugar, it ferments to produce carbon dioxide (gas) and ethyl alcohol. The gas is trapped in the stretchy dough network and expands. The ethyl alcohol gives flavor and aroma to the bread.
Raw sugar is a trendy sweetener found in many specialty food stores. Examples include Demerara and turbinado sugar. They have a light molasses flavor and a larger crystal size. Can they be used in place of traditional granulated sugar in baked goods?
For wetter batters, such as cake batter, the moisture in the recipe can help dissolve the raw sugar to produce a good cake texture. For a dryer batter or dough, such as muffins, cookies and shortbread, the finished texture is poor. The low amount of moisture will not completely dissolve the large sugar crystals.
To use raw sugar in baked goods, grind the sugar until fine and powdery before adding to batters. This will help the sugar dissolve and improve results.
I’ve always said baking bread is therapy for me. Now there’s some science to back that up. The study from New Zealand followed 658 young people in a 13 day study.
Some outcomes of the study showed that baking helps them focus on small tasks that are similar to meditation. This led to more enthusiasm and higher flourishing days. This just reinforces the idea that creativity is a positive experience for better well-being.
So enjoy that good feeling of taking freshly baked bread out of the oven!