Jun 13, 2010

Lionel Poilâne

It's strange that I haven't talked about Poilâne (Poi-lahn) at all! Along side Peter Reinhart, Lionel Poilâne is my other baking role model. 

Lionel Poilâne, if you don't already know, was one of the most famous bakers. He inherited a small Parisian bakery in the Latin Quarter and changed it into a baking empire that centered around simplicity. Lionel actually didn't want to bake. He just wanted to live a normal life, but his father forced him to bake bread at his shop. 

Jun 8, 2010

Butter Crisis

In this grand game we play of baking, the greatest battle ever is between butter and shortening. Butter is natural and just darn good, but shortening is easier to cook with and better suited for baking. With every baker you will find that there isn't a happy medium between butter and shortening; bakers tend to chose a side. My local bakery uses no shortening claiming that shortening is just bad for you. Really? Let's take a look at the two.

Jun 4, 2010

Bread Shapes

The shapes that bread has acquired over the years are as fascinating as--- well.... I don't know, but they're darn fascinating! Each shape is a testament to history and innovation of each culture and I would like to share some *basic* shapes with you. Later I plan on doing seperate posts to show you how to do each of them. Please keep in mind that these are the basic and common shapes.

Boule (Boo-l)

France really shaped the way we view bread, so most of our terms and names for bread come from French. Boule in French simply means ball. The boule shape is clasic French. In fact, before the French annexed the baguette shape, the boule shape was actually the most common shape for bread. It is not as popular as it once was because boule slices are not the same size, but they are great for being tosted and buttered.

Authors@Google: Peter Reinhart

I have to apologize for not updating in f-o-r-e-v-e-r! School and constant illness has gotten to me, and it wasn't fun. Just as a side not, I'm pulling A's! It's taken everything and more to keep focused, so the first thing to go was baking. It's summer now and I'm through being sick, so I'm back to baking and blogging. Although I'm not baking today, I want to show you guys a great lecture that Peter Reinhart did at the Google headquarters.

First before you watch it, I just want to tell you guys about Peter Reinhart and what he means to me. As an amateur baker I didn't know diddlysquat! I had no one to turn to to learn and discuss bread, really baking in general! I taught myself some tricks and techniques from simple recipes, but I wanted more. I did know about Peter and his many accomplishments and I always wanted his book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I waited practically forever for it until one Christmas. At that time my dad's hours were cut back extremely, so getting everything I wanted was picture. I didn't get a whole lot, but my prized possession was The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I really consider it a holy scripture (in a non sacrilegious way) because it has everything a baker needs to know and more to make artisan bread that is fit for the baking gods. That book really revolutionized the way I bake and it has formed my style of baking. Really, what makes the book and Mr. Reinhart so great is how they bridge together the world between amateurs and masters. I hope you will learn from Mr. Reinhart the way I have!