Last summer, I blogged about trying a King Arthur Flour recipe that uses Vermont cheese powder. Since I had no intention of driving to Vermont to buy the cheese powder, I decided to try the cheese packet in Kraft’s macaroni and cheese.
It worked beautifully. Even Molly from King Arthur said that using this powder from the macaroni and cheese box was certainly a clever substitute. This was the blog I posted back in July https://sotsil.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/king-arthur-says/. King Arthur said to make burger buns, but I was in a playful mood so I twisted them and came out with these.
The July blog had larger photos. These were cropped just to show you how they came out.
Two weeks ago, I wanted to do a more ambitious shape. I was a little nervous, but earlier in the day, I had played the motions in my mind over and over again to make sure I wouldn’t end up with a dough fiasco.
Pardon the vulgar expression but I managed to come up with an “artsy fartsy” shape that almost made me want NOT to slice the bread. I wanted to throw cement over it so I could preserve it and hang it in my kitchen. Who cares about a Cordon Bleu diploma when you’ve got the proof right there sticking out from the wall?
Using the same King Arthur Flour recipe ( http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/cheese-burger-buns-recipe), I made a “boule” then took out a piece of dough to create two braids. I laid them over the ball in crisscross fashion.
This is how it came out:
If you’re into shaping bread and have created nice shapes that you endlessly stare at, do you sometimes think of turning them into pieces of sculpture? Crazy thought, but since yeast breads are a tricky (and moody) lot, it would be nice to preserve those shapes that remain intact from start to finish, without collapsing or exploding in the oven.
I get this funny feeling that shaping bread is like playing golf. You get good days and bad days. Just when you think you’ve got it down pat, the dough either gets runny or feels like rock.
Sorry, can’t help it, but here’s one more shot:
Peter Reinhart has written books on bread (Crust & Crumb, Bread Baker’s Apprentice and others) and devotes pages to shaping bread with step by step instructions. I have his Bread Baker’s Apprentice and flip through the photos for inspiration.
When it comes to shaping bread, there’s no end to your creativity. When you get tired of shaping, you can venture into creating two-tone or three-tone breads, another fun activity that puts my concentration on overdrive hours before baking. From comments on The Fresh Loaf, I learned that artificial coloring is still the failsafe method; Shiao-Ping, a talented and much admired “fresh loafer” said that natural coloring (e.g. beets for purple color) changes during the baking process. She said that natural beet color makes the dough look nice and purple before baking, but you end up with a dark brown color after baking, possibly due to oxidation.
If you browse online, you’ll be surprised at how many new products there are to delight the bread shaper or coloring artist in you!