Everyday is a school day: A different technique for bread.


In my day job I travel around freelancing in other chef’s kitchens. Many view this as a kop out and that I do it because I can’t hack it any more. The truth is a very different bunch of reasons; the flexibility, the money and the exposure to new a different techniques & ideas (whilst getting paid, unlike doing a stage).

Recently I’ve come across a technique which has answered an age old question for me. My current client bakes their own bread, even for their sandwiches at lunch time. Every day we make a minimum of three sandwich loaves, plus rolls for the restaurant in the evening. It was the proving and cooking techniques that peaked my interested. I’ve since then used their method and applied it to some of my own bread recipes to share, with you the reader.

All the recipes below have been tested in a Rational oven, in a professional kitchen.

bread

Loaves which have just been shaped, and are now waiting to prove.

Basic Bread recipe

First up is the basic bread recipe, the dough for the loaves weighs 1.3kg and rolls weigh 75g each.

  • 3kg Strong flour
  • 150g Unsalted butter
  • 38g Salt
  • 85g Fresh yeast
  • 1650ml Water

Combine all the ingredients except the water, on a slow speed. Slowly dribble in the water until a dough is formed. Increase the machine speed to a medium pace & knead for 5mins. Remove the dough from the bowl & shape by hand, place in tins. Prove until doubled in size. Steam for 16min at 100°c, then without opening the door, change the cooking method to 50/50 roast & steam at 215°c for a further 25mins.

For the rolls, we’ve been rolling them in the morning, and placing them in the fridge to retard proving. At the start of service in the evening we use the same cooking method but without the initial prove. Straight from the fridge into the oven: Steam for 6min at 100°c, then without opening the door, change the cooking method to 50/50 roast & steam at 215°c for a further 12mins.

The next recipe is a sourdough, which requires a ferment I’ve mentioned in a previous post.

Sourdough

  • 1kg Starter ferment
  • 250ml Warm water
  • 15g Fresh yeast
  • 1.5kg White OR flour
  • 30g Sea salt

Combine the yeast & the warm water, and dissolve. Mix together the salt, ferment & the flour. On a low machine speed with a dough hook, gradually incorporate the water. Increase the machine speed to a medium pace and knead for 5mins. Remove the dough from the bowl & shape by hand. You’ll require 2 x 1/1 gastronome baking sheets. Prove until doubled in size. Steam for 16min at 100°c, then without opening the door, change the cooking method to 50/50 roast & steam at 215°c for a further 25mins.

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