Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beginning a New Semester & Artisan Bread

Different Flours, Class Day 1

Another semester has begun.  And a new series of courses starts.  One of the classes I've been most excited about (although really I'm excited about almost all my classes) is Artisan Bread, taught by Chef Jeff.

Chef with the couche and peel 

I was unexpectedly bitten by the yeast bug last semester with Laminated Doughs and Pastries (I always thought I was more of a cakes and desserts person, up until that point).  And while croissants and viennoiserie still are most interesting to me, I'm still very intrigued by Artisan Bread and am very excited to learn everything I can in class.

Straight-method Baguettes, Class Day 1

Baguettes are the absolute backbone of our class.  We make them every single class.  Both our midterm and finals involve them. We'll try various methods and make many, many mistakes along the way.....  

This is one of the hardest parts.... the "stippling" 

See, the only real way of learning baguettes (and really, artisan bread) is by doing and practicing.  Mistakes are good, if you can learn from them.  I've already made many many mistakes, but each time I do, I now know what not to do in the future.

Scaling the proper temperature water

Baguettes may look simple, but that doesn't mean they're easy.   No fussy ingredients involved, just flour, salt, yeast and water; however, their are still many other factors involved.   Is the dough mixed properly? How is it treated during the proofing process.  Is it shaped correctly?  Are the stipples the right angle, depth, placement, and number?  Is it baked properly? And more..... Whew!  Lots to have running through your head during class..... 

Nice baguettes waiting in the couche

Even though I've only had class twice, I've still learned tremendous amounts and my class has produced some tremendous product! 

We've made straight baguettes.....

And wonderful Basil Garlic Rustic Rolls

And overnight Baguettes

And Seeded Epis (side note: I use to LOVE selling these at Dakota Harvest.... they're just neat) 

And Biga Baguettes (baguettes made with an Italian-style preferment)

And Lemon Poppyseed Quick Bread

I've got tons more pictures up on Flickr as well.  I'm so excited to see what other exciting (and incredibly delicious) things we'll be making!  Stay tuned for more exciting bread posts. 


  1. oh! i love this!!! :) and the new layout is LOVELY! :) all those carbs... my butt is bigger just thinking about all the happy tastebud activity!!!

  2. I love bread - this looks like the post delicious course to do...