Baking Class: Bread
This weekend I finally had the baking class I was waiting for for such a long time 😉 It was a birthday gift from my boyfriend and it was about baking bread! I have made several breads in my life, but honestly I never found them as good as I hoped them to be… Cakes, cupcakes, cookies I can master. Well, mostly. Or often. But bread, never. Don’t get me wrong, they always baked evenly and tasted ok, but I always felt that something was missing. That I would just lack the right technique or experience to bake really good bread! One of the main issues I had with baking bread was a slightly soft bottom and not enough air in my bread to make it light and fluffy. Instead I always felt that my breads were quite compact, still tasty though!
So this weekend finally I would learn everything about the art of baking bread. I went to a local bakery where they would teach me together with 6 other people to make perfect “Special Breads” as was the name of the course (for people in and around Zürich, here you can register for this and other courses). I can highly recommend joining such a course: not too many people, a real baker explaining everything and we even got all the recipes and the breads with us to take home. I seriously came home with 3 sacks full of bread and buns! My whole freezer is loaded and I gave some away, too 😉 We actually didn’t bake all of the bread completely through. About half of them we stopped at half the baking time so we could freeze them and finish baking them whenever we want at home! (I found that a great idea 🙂) This baking class was so much fun and I can’t wait to get started baking my own bread now, but wait… I am afraid I will have to wait until the freezer is empty again 😛
Well here are the types of bread we made that day:
- Farmer’s Bread: made with regular flour and rye flour
- Bread with grains: made with sun flower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame, flaxseeds
- Zopf: I actually didn’t know it, but Wikipedia says that it is originally Swiss!
- Yogurtbread: the name says it all. Made with Yogurt
- Tessinerbread: this one I actually knew to be Swiss, every “Canton” (or state) seems to have their own typical bread
- Spelt bread: you guessed that one right, made with spelt
- Nutbread: using different nuts like almonds and hazelnuts
- Dried Fruit bread: a yeast dough with nuts and dried fruits, we used pineapple, cranberries and raisins!
- Spiced Bread: made with regular flour and rye flour and spiced up by using coriander and cumin
We baked the whole day through, which was a really great experience for me. We even got lunch (panini) and coffee there. Just great to have lunch and coffee with people who are also fascinated by food and baking as I am 🙂 I really have to thank my boyfriend for this amazing birthday present!!! And I am actually already looking for some other baking courses I could take in the future… making pralines, patisserie, basic bread, cupcakes, cake pops, macrons … oooh there is actually a lot out there if you look hard enough 😉 And actually next weekend there is a chocolate fair here in Zürich, for all who are living close and are interested 😉 I will definitely drop by and maybe tell you more about it next week 😀 (can you tell that I get more and more excited to learn as much as possible about food?)
For those who now expected me to write down all the recipes, I have to disappoint… I will eventually bake all of these breads again at home, to see how they turn out in a non-professional oven and maybe adapt some of them to my liking 😉 I will than of course report about that and provide you with the individual recipes 😀 But I can already let you know that I have learned tons of new information about bread baking and I can’t hold them back any loner and have to share with you the 3 most important things I have learned about baking bread that day. They were actually really exciting as I have always done those things wrong, and I know many have… So take a look 😉
So here is my Top 3:
- When you let your yeast dough rise for the first time, never ever cover it with a wet towel! It will eventually evaporate and therefore produce cold air which is a no-go for your yeast as it needs is nice and warm! Always cover it with clingfilm 🙂 This will keep your dough wet and prevent it from drying out.
- When baking your bread on a baking tray (and not in a baking tin) always pre-heat your baking tray as well. Bread needs a lot of heat from underneath and if you use a cold tray it will take too much time to heat up. (I guess that was my fault all the time and therefore I ended up with soft bread bottoms…)
- Bread needs moisture in the beginning to develop a crisp crust. I kinda new that, but in practice this not always worked out for me (I think of my beloved porcelain dish which kind of exploded in the oven when I poured in cold water… so never do that please 😛). The best thing to do is, together with your baking tray for the bread use another one right underneath which you will also pre-heat. Once the bread comes into the oven, empty a small cup of water in the baking tray underneath. As it will be hot, the water will evaporate immediately. As an alternative you could use a spray bottle. The important thing is, that in the end of the baking time the water vapor should leave the oven to ensure a crisp bread. So about half of the baking time open the oven for a few minutes to allow the vapor to vanish, or clamp a wooden spoon in the opening of your oven.