The weekend boulangerie

The weekend boulangerie will feature more detailed posts that explore the world of yeast – wether natural or shop-bought. I hope you’ll love these discoveries as much as I do.
I will update this post right here as we go along, adding links to the articles I write every week (or so).

I had planned to write a little intro to this new feature along with the first article about croissants (still in the making – both the articles and the croissants! fingers crossed for next weekend). But turns out it already counts over two thousands words, so I thought I’d explain myself here.

A few days ago, I thought of starting a rye flour. You know being in Sweden and all. I usually like to keep a 100% hydration starter, but with the rye flour, it got very thick. So I did some research. In the process, I’ve found that it’s ok to have a thicker rye starter. And I’ve also found two friends whom I had lost touch with. They now have a wonderful blog, called the Weekend Bakery, and of course I had to fall in love with the concept, thinking that the weekend boulangerie would make a great feature given that, you know, I had told you I wanted to bake a loaf of bread every week.

Yes, here are very few things more magical that turning flour, water and salt into something as beautiful as bread. It’s a subject I’ve always found fascinating, and yet, I’ve never really had time or training to explore it the way I like to explore thing. Analysing, understanding, and finding processes.

Yes, I have made bread before, but somehow it almost always felt rushed. Even though, you’ve most likely heard me half-joke about that time when I was working with Ben Spalding, and how it felt like I was making bread all day, and saving only a couple of hours before service for my pastry mise-en-place.
It might have been a few of years ago, but I remember everything. How I always started by feeding our massive starter that I kept underneath my bench. I then made the poolish for both a rosemary ciabatta and an orange marmelade ciabatta (my absolute favourite). And from then all the rest followed: red wine bread rolls topped with crunchy demerara sugar that everyone raved about, chestnut flatbreads, malt loaves and seeded little breads. By three pm I had an army of buns and rolls and loaves ready (when the red wine dough didn’t choose to be temperamental). And for the weekends, my regiment was increased with a good two hundred of apple cider English muffins. Even the bread baskets were made out of bread.
And this is what I love about Ben, how he makes pushes people, for the best.
Although I still think to this day that restaurant kitchens certainly aren’t the best environment to produce amazing breads, they do make for an exciting ride.

But now that I have more time, I do truly want to understand boulangerie: from the simplest breads to more complex viennoiseries. This week I’ve focused on croissants. Making batch after batch, modifying my recipe, adjusting hydration levels and flour protein percentages, field-noting, and breakfasting. In fact, I have two more batches in the fridge right now, waiting to be laminated tomorrow.

In the meantime, please meet my latest starter: Surdeg, he was only thirty-two hour old when this picture was taken. Since then, he’s developed a beautiful yeasty sour aroma, and I’m terribly excited to make some bread with it.
You can also follow our real-time progress on twitter and instagram. If you wish to explore boulangerie too, please join us on this adventure.

All my love, Fanny (& Surdeg).