Friday, April 30, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
In my opinion, the signature of a baker or bakery, is how the cuts on a loaf of bread open up. So much goes into making a perfect loaf of bread, but the skills and knowledge can be easily defined by just a quick glance of a loaf. This goes back to the farmer and the wheat that a baker selects to use for each product. At our bakery we use about 10 different types of flour to get desired performance for different breads that we bake.
Without getting too technical, you can tell that a baker has picked out the right wheat for the bread. From here you go to tell if they have mixed and shaped the dough right. Next the most telling signs are that the baker has proofed the bread just right. When the cuts of the bread don’t “open up” this is normally because the baker has over proofed and over mixed the bread. When the cuts open up and start “tearing” this means the dough was not yet ready for the oven or the wheat selected was too strong. But when you have done everything right, the right wheat, the right mixing times and proofed for the exact amount of time, the cuts should open up with a “high ear” (ear is the term for the cuts on a loaf of bread) and not tear. It is such a great feeling when you open the window of the oven and see the cuts opening up as you have planned. You can see at the grocery stores that have “Artisan Bread” (this is a whole other topic of discussion) and how the cuts do not have ears at all, makes for a truly sad looking loaf.
So much goes into baking the perfect loaf, but at first glance you will be able to distinguish what should be a very thoughtful loaf of bread.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
We will not be at any markets this weekend due to bags and labels on order to meet new healthcare codes. Clint is down south cooking for a Charity gala and signing VBC up for Austin farmers markets. Spread the good news to your friends down south! See you all next weekend!
photo: AMWZ photography www.amwzphotography.com
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Yesterday my son and I drove out to Dublin, Texas to meet one of the great Texas Artisan Dairyman and Cheese Maker at Veldhuizen Cheese. I was on a journey to find fresh milk to use in my croissants and brioche this weekend and what I found was a great Texas family. I set down and spoke with four generations of Dairymen, the entire Veldhuizen family, for more than 3 hours. They told me stories of how and why they got started in cheese making. I was so intrigued, because it was inline of how I got started baking bread. Stuart told me that about 8 years ago when the dairy market got hit, he was flat broke with 7 children. He knew that he had to do something that would add value to his true passion of the dairy and that would help the farm survive. This is how his cheese making career got started. He told me that he had no money to pay his feed bill or let alone by the cheese molds to make his cheeses. So he went to making the molds out of stuff on the farm, PVC pipes, etc. I was blown away at this man’s unwavering determination and dedication to his family and vocation. What came out of this is some of the greatest dairy products and cheese in the state.
The Fresh milk that I picked up yesterday was milked only hours before I was leaving. It is like no other milk that you get anywhere….Milk really has flavor…and man does this milk have flavor. You can taste the green grass that his herd feeds on all day in the rolling pastures of Dublin. I can’t wait to bring those flavors out in my brioche and croissants. I will also be using the eggs from the free range chickens that they have rooming the flower beds and pastures on the farm. I brought some cheese home and hope to be implementing some cheese for next week’s markets.
See you all on Saturday..
Friday, April 2, 2010
Chestnut Square Farmers Market, McKinney 8-12
Four Seasons Farmers Market, Garland 8-12