Happy New Year! A lot has happened since my last post not least making around 80 panettone and stollen for Christmas! Also, I now have a full time job so baking is going to take a bit of a back seat. We shall still sell bread and cheese at Bassingbourn market every second Saturday in March, June, September and December and hold classes but slightly fewer than last year. Dates are:
Feb 15 (full)
We will also be at Barkway market 10 May provided it dries up soon. More details can be found under courses but please email or call if there is anything special you would like to learn.
We made Panettone and Stollen last Christmas and very popular and tasty it was too but I thought we could make it look and taste better. Research revealed a huge variety of recipes, some involving feeding a starter every two hours, including through the night! Other recipes took 24 hours or more. Being a pragmatist and knowing most people don’t have this amount of time to devote I pooled the recipes and baked a trial batch.
They turned out OK and rose well but did not have the necessary open, light structure. A second batch came out very well, nice colour, very open texture and the smaller ones had a nice rise and dome. The larger ones were a little flat but I think that was because the dough was very wet.
So, another batch planned for later this week and photos will be posted as well as the recipe!
LH loaf: 1st batch; RH loaf: 2nd batch with good colour and texture
Requests for more evening demonstrations and classes, particularly Christmas breads so we have added more dates for both (see Courses). We will cover Panettone and Stollen as well as how to make candied peel for use in Christmas puddings and cake as well as breads. The difference in flavour between home made and shop bought is immense and, apart form the sugar, it is very low cost since you use the peel from any citrus fruit having eaten the flesh!
Airing cupboard. Many bread recipes suggest placing the dough to prove in an airing cupboard or other warm place. This is not strictly necessary. The speed at which dough rises is a function of several variables including the amount of yeast, the temperature of the flour and water, the air temperature and time. It is also affected by the concentration of salt, sugar and alcohol (see below). Dough will rise overnight in the fridge if there is sufficient yeast and overnight in a warm room with very little yeast. So, no need to block the airing cupboard with rising loaves, simply work out the most convenient rise time and adjust the other variables accordingly. Generally, the longer the rise/prove, the more flavour is developed.
Teatotal yeast. I make a lot of breads with dried fruit: love buns, caraway and raisin knot rolls, Stollen and Panettone at Christmas and malted granary. These sweet doughs take longer to rise because of the sugar content and, if you decide to add alcohol to your recipes, maybe by soaking dried fruit in brandy, the same thing will happen. The reason is that yeast does not work so well when the concentration of sugar, salt or alcohol is higher than optimum. It’s all to do with osmosis and , if you are interested in the science: www.theartisan.net/The_Artisan_Yeast_Treatise_Section_One.htm or, for a simpler explanation: www.joepastry.com/category/baking-basics/ingredient-basics/yeast/a-yeast-primer/
My solution is to increase by 50% the weight of yeast in a recipe with additional sugar, fruit or alcohol.
Our Panettone went down a storm, partly thanks to the home made candied peel which I can thoroughly recommend. The bread was not as full of air as shop bought but was delicious lightly toasted with a little butter. Stollen sold so well we didn’t have any for ourselves. Gearing up for our first course of the year, most likely early Feb.: ‘Bagels, buns and more’ which will feature much more plaiting, swirling and stuffing to create some great bread for entertaining and meals in one.
Lots of people at Bassingbourn market last Saturday and lots of interest in gift vouchers for our bread making courses, especially for husbands! Our January course is almost sold out: bagels, buns and more. We shall be teaching techniques for making delicious buns and other goodies from basic doughs: Chelsea buns, apple, marzipan and raisin swirls plus pesto savouries.
Last opportunity to see and taste our Christmas cheese selection and Panettone and Stollen at Sandon Farmers market this Saturday in the school: SG9 0QS.