All posts tagged: Bread

The Kaiser of all rolls and the Austrian bakers’ victory

Just like the rest of central Europe, in Austria there’s a long tradition of home baking that has been influenced by Bohemian, Swiss, Italian, Czech and of course German bread and pastries. But a shared passion for dainty rolled buns dates way back to the lavish 18th century empires. The fine Austrian baking and patisserie productions have been a source of pride for rofessional bakers but things weren’t always easy for them. The Kaiser in question. Once upon a time in the 19th century, the baker’s guild of Austria faced severe obstacles when the prices of bread were fixed by the state, after much negotiation and soft power politics, the guild manged to convince the Kaiser Franz Joseph I to abolish fix prices and let the free market self-regulate, after granting the petition, the gild named the popular semmeln or bread rolls after him and the Kaiser rolls rose to fame. Franz Joseph Emperor of Austria and was also responsible for taking the Habsburg Monarchy to a whole new level of power and after the …

5 Lessons from a failed bake

We’ve all been there, when we open the oven to find a horrible raw-burnt-and utterly inedible piece of failed dough. Our hearts sink and if you’re a beginner this might be enough to put you off from trying again in a long time and if you’re an experienced baker this can seriously make you question your abilities. After a disastrous fail MrD gave me a tight hug and said: It’s ok Pinky, it’ll keep you humble, you’ll get it right, I still believe in your bread. >Tough love at its best!< #1 Rule to succeed: in order to improve you have to fail and fail fast. Lesson #1 The autopsy. Don’t throw the monster away! understand exactly what went wrong, either make real or mental notes: is it dry? Too wet? Too dense? Did you get the flavour right? Too salty? Partially burnt? This will be important to find out the causes behind this result. Sometimes simple things such as forgetting the yeast or killing it with too hot water can ruin the whole loaf. …

Let’s Got to a Bakery

By Naomi Buchheimer 1956 The evolution of bread production has had roughly four major stages: First the invention itself of roughly coarse grains soaked in water and cooked on open fires over hot rocks. The eventual discovery of fermentation and improvement of grinding techniques allowed bakers to produce softer and palatable breads. Then came the widespread consumption of bread and consequent economic and social organization of the process. Specialized equipment and installations required the work of skilled personnel. And this remained pretty much the same from ancient times until right before the industrial revolution. The addition to all sorts of machinery allowed to increase the production of baked goods both sweet and savoury. But the biggest change yet to occur came during the 1950s when the need to feed large populations saw the perfect answer in the industrial mass production of food including bread. Convenience of price, size, quantity and flavour not always came hand in hand with quality in terms of nutritional value. One can also say that a post-industrialization contra revolution in baking …

I love grass bread… and chances are you do too!

Rågbröd or rye bread as we might know it is a beloved Scandinavian staple. With a rich and dense crumb and a deep, strong flavour, rye bread is often something we buy but seldom bake. Rye is actually a grass unlike wheat that is a grain Although it can be a tricky flour to work with, you just need a few tricks to make it work and in no time it’ll become one of your regular bakes. First of all, rye flour is weird to knead because it contains very little gluten proteins and gluten is what makes dough elastic when activated by water and friction. So you often find that it is mixed with wheat flour to compensate for that, also to give it a lighter texture and a softer crumb. Using a little extra yeast or pre-soaking the flour are good things to consider. I picked some good advice on how to pre-prepare the rye flour from a great scandi book. You can swap cranberries for prunes, if you prefer a crunchy texture …

Soft & pongy burger baps

Is there anything more glorious than a hot and tasty patty in a warm buttery bap? Ok that might sound a bit kinky, but it’s true. Homemade burgers will always be better than bought ones, veggie or meaty they’ll be fresh, delicious and up to your high standards! So why settling for some average packed baps when you can have the most amazing buns to complement your masterpiece? This recipe makes 10 big baps but it’s entire up to you to make smaller or bigger ones, also play with the flavours, add oregano, caraway seeds or even chili paste. I usually glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds, try assorted seeds of your choice, the possibilities are endless. I never add sugar to any savoury bread but I always make an exception for these, it feels wrong until you try it and then is *aaaall fine*. To make these beauties you will need: 500g flour 1 tbsp sugar 25g vegetable shortening 10g salt 200ml tepid milk 100ml tepid water 5g dried yeast For the glaze: 1 egg …

Sandwich. A global History

Bee Wilson Reaktion Books Edible Series   This little book is part of the series that includes titles that explore the history of foods such as soup, cake, wine, cheese, pie, sauces, etc. you will be able to read it in one go with a nice cup of coffee.   The size of the book speaks for its depth, it doesn’t mean to be an encyclopaedic study but just an entertaining and well documented history of the humble sandwich. Some of the aspects that the author explores are how this food came to be and why did it root so deep and fast across social classes, cultures and proved its resilience through time and still stands strong as the default and most beloved on the go meal. Its convenience, reliability, endless possibilities of filling and portability are just some of its best features. A sandwich however also testifies the shifts and changes of our dietary habits, routines and ways in which we have had to cope with the demands of our modern life. A sandwich says the author necessarily carries …

The microbakery business model: nerd style. Part 2

The special of the week is…  When I first started running my microbakery I decided to take quite paused steps to scale up and diversify my range of products…. And I really mean really *paused* steps. So much so that the only product I started with was a 16th C. loaf from colonial Mexico, more specifically a bread profusely mentioned in the ordinances for the baker’s gild in the Province of Puebla. I chose to deliver exclusively to two different universities in order to make both deliveries and promoting much more efficient. But only after two weeks I was swarmed with orders from only one of them and soon decided to increase the days of deliveries by eliminating one of the other university. By the end of the first month I was faced with the possibility of either refocusing my marketing strategy to increment sales or focus all my attention in the one with the best revenue and constant growth of customer base. I went for the latter. The savoury loaves that came after the colonial …