Monday, February 9, 2015

Bread Class

I took another class at Homestead Heritage a few weeks ago. This time I decided to take the traditional bread baking class. I've always struggled with making yeast breads so I wanted some extra help to build up my confidence.

As usual, the ladies were very well organized and had the entire day planned out without too much spare time. The morning was much harder than the afternoon because we mixed up all the dough and did all the kneading by hand. We had a nice break for lunch at the Homestead Cafe. Then the afternoon was spent waiting for things to rise and bake.

The most interesting thing I learned was about "proofing" the dough. This is a small step at the very beginning when mixing in the yeast that assures you the yeast is active and going to rise. After you mix the warm water and yeast you simply wait about 5 minutes and the mixture starts bubbling a little like a volcano. If it doesn't bubble then you know to start over with fresh yeast.

Another interesting technique we learned was about making "window panes". One way to tell when you've kneaded the dough enough is to take a small ball of dough and stretch it out into a small square. If the dough holds together enough to stretch out thinly enough to create a window pane effect in the middle without tearing, then you've kneaded enough to create gluten strands which holds the bread together.

I came home with two loaves of wholewheat bread, a dozen wholewheat tortillas, a dozen cinnamon rolls, and a dozen dinner rolls. I put most of it in the freezer when I got home because we couldn't eat all that bread at once.

I'm beginning to practice making bread at home and so far have had fairly good success in making loaves and tortillas. I'm cheating a little because I'm using my KitchenAid stand mixer to do the kneading.

The classroom was organized and ready for us.

Here is the warm water and yeast mixture.

Proofing occurs after about five minutes when the mixture becomes active.

We added half the flour and then whisked by hand 200 strokes.

The remainder of the flour was added and mixed with a wooden spoon.

We kneaded the dough by hand about 20 minutes.

The dough was left to rise three different times.

Two baked wholewheat loaves

The tortilla dough didn't have yeast, but the balls were left to sit awhile.

We rolled out each ball with a rolling pin into a 8" circle.

We browned each tortilla lightly on a griddle.

We left the tortillas on a rack to cool.

This is one of the recipes from the cookbook we were given in class.

We cut the cinnamon rolls with a long piece of sewing thread.

The cinnamon rolls were left to rise again before baking.

We learned to make "knot" dinner rolls.

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