By now we know the drill: look up the recipe, translate the ounce weights to grams for better accuracy and get all our ingredients set up for the Mis en Place. So let’s get this show going.
Wait!! Before we get going, there’s the overnight soak we need to attend to. So our coarse (palenta style) cornmeal gets a bath of buttermilk and left on the counter until next day. Straight forward to not need photos, right? Good, cause I didn’t get any.
So one full sleep later…
The ubiquitous Mis en Place. Althought there are a fair number of ingredients here, the process is really simple.
WAIT!! Hold on, we’re already ahead of ourselves. A step we did before getting all the ingredients ready and measured was to cook up our bacon, about 15-20 at 375ºF on a parchment covered baking sheet. Book says use two, but there was plenty of spare space on one sheet. I even used 10 ounces of bacon to not leave one lonely slice in the package (and get in deep doodoo for it too)
We’re now on recipe number eight, out of 43 as we work through the entire list of recipes. As already noted in a previous post, I skipped Challah and Ciabatta as I’d already made both of them before.
So here we are at the next one: Cinnamon Buns. OF DEATH!! Ok, that last bit I added myself, simply because, well, I’ll explain at the end although you may well guess before then.
As always, we’ll begin with the Mise en Place where we make certain ahead of time we have all the ingredients we’ll need measured and ready to use.
Oh, before we go on, a little clarification. One reason that’s often given to persuade people to use a scale over measuring everything in volumes (cups, teaspoons, etc.) is that if you use a good scale, it will have a “tare” function which basically just brings the scale readout back to zero. So if you started at zero, added a bowl, you’d tare back to zero then add, say, 174 grams of sugar, then you could tare again (go back to zero) and add 36 grams of water into the same bowl.
I went out and bought the “special” ingredients needed for this Casatiello, an Italian “cousin” of the eggy French brioche and the fifth recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. The 200 gram of Calabrese salami and the 250 gram chunk of Provolone cheese cost $12. Yipes, I thought, this had better be damn good bread.
Just as a test I had a few crackers with the cheese and salami, you know, just to make sure this was a good combo. Good thing we only had a couple crackers left or there would have been nothing remaining of the salami and cheese for the bread. Also gave a test cracker to my other half. Turns out spicy deli meats are not a favourite at all; now I know the salami’s all mine. Muahahaha! And so is the bread. OK, I cut the recipe in half then: one loaf should be plenty for lil ol’ me. Darn, now I’ll have all this spare salami and cheese. What ever shall I do?
I immediately put “Crackers” on the shopping list.
Sometimes you think you’re doing the right thing but it turns out you’re not.
This was one of those times.
Although, in reality, it’s a small problem and nothing that can’t be resolved by EATING THE EVIDENCE. Still, it would have been nice to get it a little closer to “right”. Woe is me. Let me tell you what happened…
I decided to give bread #4 inThe Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge a go yesterday and of course (since you already know what the post title is) it was Brioche. There are three variations of it to choose from and I went with Rich Man’s version. This one has a whole whopping pound of butter in it, vs the Middle Class and Poor Man’s versions with a half and a quarter pound of butter, respectively.
So let’s follow along the process.
As you can see, the ingredient list isn’t exactly strange. Except that we’re not using just a little bit of that butter, we’re using the WHOLE thing. The recipe indicates that, in baker’s percentage, this loaf is 87.7% butter in the end. In case you’re thinking that means it’s 3% other things, allow me to explain in a little more detail.
Recipe number two in theThe Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge series is “Artos: Greek Celebration Bread“. In the preamble, Peter Reinhart tells how this is a holiday and festival bread that covers multiple variations.
The basic recipe is easily turned into “Christpsomos”, a Christmas loaf, by the simple additions of raisins, cranberries and walnuts or into “Lambropsomo”, an Easter loaf, by adding raisins, dried apricots and almond slivers, braiding and nestling red-dyed hard-boiled eggs. There are numerous local and not-so-local variations on this basic spiced bread.
I went with the christopsomos version since I did happen to have raising and cranberries, although I passed on the walnuts since we’re not big fans here.
So here we go, the step-by-step evolution of my first Artos bread…