Intl Breads 1: Cheese and Onion and New York Rye

We're the first class to take this brand new course, one our instructor said she spent 8 months developing! She originally wanted to call it Art of Breads 2 as she wouldn't be able to cover things like flatbreads (e.g. naan) or griddle breads (e.g. English muffins) in such a short course. Anyway, after outlining the rules and her expectations, we started on the rye bread by making a slurry and dumping all the other ingredients in (rye flour, a bit of yogurt, caraway, etc.) One thing that has always irritated me about Chef V is that she insists we measure our water using the graduated plastic cups by volume, rather than weighing it. 1 mL of water weighs exactly 1 g! By definition!! When she's not looking, I'm going to continue to weigh my water.

New York RyeI thought that perhaps my water measurement was wrong, as our dough didn't clean up or gather into a ball after the prescribed 6 minutes on the hook. My partner and I were ready to start over again, but Chef thought that my water was a bit too warm and that we would be able to compensate during kneading and proofing. While waiting for the ball of dough to rise, we started on the next one.

Cheese and Onion LoafFor the cheese-onion loaf, we sweated some chopped onions in butter to soften them up. There was certainly a range of (poor) knife skills on display. This loaf was enriched with milk, cheddar cheese, mustard powder and black pepper. We let this loaf proof right in our mixer bowls which we greased with a bit of oil. When it was ready, we used the dough divider to make 36 portions, rounded them up and put them in a tall cake tin to make a pull-apart loaf. An eggwash and sprinkle of more onions and cheese completed the loaf.

I like how Chef is very efficient and demanding to ensure we don't waste any time. She does her demo first and lets her bread rise, then we do ours. When we're finished, her bread has completed the first rise and we watch her shape her loaf, then we follow suit. We also interleave the steps in making the two breads.

The rye bread turned out very dense, with a tight crumb. Chef suspected the school had changed the bread flour on her. I think we could have just used more yeast or lowered the proportion of rye flour. I sliced mine up and froze them; maybe they'll be good dunked in soup or for croutons. The cheese and onion loaf was a real winner though, tender and full of flavour, something I'd probably make again.


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