The Bread Doctor

artisan bakery in Torrington, Wyoming
September 11, 2013

Lessons Learned

Well, the crumb bun is a very subtle cinnamon roll with soft layers and baked crumbs on top and bottom.  It was delicious and not very sweet …more savory.  This is definitely geared to be eaten with some favorite hot drink.  The Panettone that I had for breakfast was fabulous….lightly studded with candied citrus peel and a light bread…like a version of brioche.  I made individual ones that looked like this.  It is about 5 inches high.  When I talked to my teacher this morning about all of the sweet breads not being very sweet she said, “Did I mention that I am European?”  The concept is much better for bakeries not to be producing such overwhelmingly sweet breads.  It leaves the patron feeling like it is healthier and you could maybe take one home and not feel like you were not sinning.  I feel a change coming on.

Other great lessons learned today:
1) My roommate found out that when the mower acted like it was “out of oil” or the “engine seized up” when he was mowing the 8″ grass, it was really out of gas.
2) The housemates learned that when you leave the freezer door open, ice melts.  This is now liquid water which runs into the bottom of the ice dispenser and causes the crank that dispenses the ice to freeze up in a glacial ice flow.  This liquid water also runs down the back of the fridge and freezes up the drain for the defroster.  This then causes the water to continue to run into the bottom of the freezer and not drain into the drain pan…eventually resulting in water on the floor.  It has no other choice when the bottom of the freezer is solid ice and water keeps running down every defrost cycle.  I heard…” we might have left the freezer door open.”
3) I learned that “Rye is King” in a bakery and when the rye is ready it gets all the attention…no waiting at all.  We made some great Rye Sourdough today and it turns out to be Marda’s favorite bread.  Rye is also uses to make the glue for book binding and wallpaper paste.  I can now tell you why having worked with rye some the last two weeks.

4)It turns out that pastry cream and lemon curd can be made quite successfully in the microwave.  This technique was developed by my teacher who implies that she is now considered a heretic by the pastry community because she is not laboring over a stove top.  She knows that many bakeries do not have open flame burners and she wanted to create a method that did not have a learning curve.  The fillings were delicious and from scratch ingredients.  So let the naysayers have their pie and eat it too.
5) Cracked Whole Wheat bread can be made with a good pull to the loaf and great for toast and sandwiches.  The bread has a butter split on top as a technique for getting the loaf to rise up and not out…better for the toaster.  This smelled just like my mother’s homemade bread.

6)   I also learned that I can follow a formula exactly and the bread did not turn out great. Some days are like that.  Marda is doing some research tonight to figure it out because she is stumped.  Up until now, pretty much everything has turned out amazing.  We spent two days on a sesame semolina Italian bread that is amazing for sandwiches, but it did not rise well in the oven.  I think that there is something wrong with the fermentation or the amount of starch in the recipe.  I will await the verdict tomorrow.  The loaves sure were pretty.
7) I learned to pound out butter, beurrage, for croissants, which we begin tomorrow.  My teacher had already threatened that she is the “Croissant Nazi”…well then as one Nazi to another….that should be great.
8)  I learned again today to be grateful for nice people.  a)Scott Moyer, who came down from Washington last night to help his son figure out the lawn mower-refrigerator-ping pong table in the family room causing too much fun and dings in the wall dilemma.   b) My family, for supporting me travelling to Bend to pursue the beginnings of a dream.  c) My medical partners, for always smiling every time Ezdan comes up with a new idea.  d) My friends, the Sauter family, who have made many efforts to make this time in Bend pleasant.  (Happy Birthday! to Derek today…he is 21 and I love being around him.)  e) My fabulous wife, Lisa, who listens to too many details about baking.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! tomorrow to Grace, who is 19, and my mother, Nada Fluckiger, who is 80.