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.
“Find Your Fun” and have some fun with food! A new contest for county fairs and the State Fair has been developed by the Kansas Wheat Commission to bring out your creativity with bread sculptures.
The Kansas Wheat Commission recommends having a county contest to send the winner on to the State Fair. But, individuals may still enter their item in the “Open Class” Bread Sculpture contest at the State Fair.
Judges will consider creativity, originality, imagination, attention to detail, design, color, and instructions.
Durum wheat has long been used for making pasta because of its yellow color and high protein content for a firm ‘bite.’ It is also used to make couscous and a few Mediterranean breads. But research, conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service, now offers a new soft durum wheat called “Soft Svevo.”
Soft Svevo was created with classical breeding methods by introducing two genes from soft bread wheat into Italian durum Svevo wheat. This new variety has flour quality similar to soft bread wheat. It is appealing for making pizza crust, baguettes, pan breads, and other breads.
Traditional durum wheat is very hard and difficult to mill into flour. This new variety can save 75 percent energy and 15 percent water during milling.
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.
What is Autolyse (AUTO-lees)? When making homemade bread, a simple pause in preparing the dough can transform the final product. Autolyse is simply mixing some of the flour, liquid, and usually the yeast. Mix until combined, then let the wet sticky dough rest at least 20-60 minutes.
This rest, or autolyze, allows the weak, disorganized gluten matrix to break down and straighten. Once the remaining ingredients are added and kneading resumes, the gluten matrix will organize and strengthen in a shorter amount of time. This can be very beneficial when mixing dough in a mixer as the strong mechanical action can quickly overmix the dough. This technique is also beneficial for rustic breads that have more water and allows the dough to rise vertically, rather than spread horizontally.