This is a section devoted to some of my special interests apart from the usual recipes, tools and techniques. In most cases, they concern a specific type of bread, such as rolls or sourdough. The format is like a blog, as I will be making entries as I work through each topic over time. I’ve identified seven topics that are sufficiently diverse and interesting to merit their own discussion:
Brioches — The marvelous French enriched bread. There are many different kinds of brioches, from simple “everyman” brioches to the rich, cake-like brioches fit for Marie “Let them eat cake” Antoinette. (She was probably talking about brioche, by the way.) If your waistline can stand the expansion, follow along as we take a look at several different brioches and their cousins.
Cinnamon Buns are not only good in their own right, but they can serve as a good introduction to making sweet and enriched rolls and allies pastries, such as Danish.
French Baguettes — The quintessential bread of France, the one everyone wants to learn to make. It can be a simple thing or the subject of a scientific research project. We’ll examine several different recipes and ways of making a baguette.
Hydration– Ever wonder why your bread didn’t turn out quite right? The answer might be something as simple as the wrong proportion of liquid to flour. We’ll look at a range of hydrations and let you see how they look, handle and bake.
Kaiser Rolls– Okay, I admit it, this is a personal crusade. I’ve been enamoured of these crisp-crusted, soft-crumbed delights for a long time, but have never really taken the time to learn how to bake them properly. If you want to learn more about the classic New York-area “buttered hard roll,” take a look here.
Pizza– Is pizza really everyone’s favorite food? Certainly, college all-night study or Presidential work sessions couldn’t function without it. But then again, neither could Wall Street trading rooms. We’ll take a look at the classic Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOM) pizza and figure a way to bake a pizza at home that comes pretty close to the real thing.
Rolls– Apart from Kaiser rolls, above, there are literally hundreds of different recipes and shapes for rolls. We’ll take a look at some of them, from lean Italian rolls, Mexican Bollitos and French rolls, to Parker House rolls, Butterflake rolls, Italian Rosettes and petite Brioches. We might even come up with a great hamburger roll — who knows?
Sourdough — It seems everyone wants to make great sourdough bread like they had in San Francisco 15 years ago. Or so it seems. There are many different opinions about how to go about making sourdough. We’ll take a look at some of them and try to get past the terminology and cant and give you a solid foundation in sourdough and a recipe you can use, understand and work with.
So that’s the plan. Or rather, those are the plans. It’ll take time to get going and they’ll develop over time, just like bread dough fermenting. So drop in from time to time and see what’s new.