Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bread baking, a shameless product plug, and pastry eating

Today, I learned how to make French baguettes from my friend, Chef H., at a local church.  They have a nice commercial kitchen that we've borrowed before for a Stone Soup dinner.  Mr. S. and I got our hands dirty and learned that baguettes are not as intimidating as we'd previously thought.

 He'd pre-made the pate fermentee for us.  :)  Here it is, with some AP flour.
After mixing and proofing
 Proofing again, after shaping
 The loaf on the right was ours, and the one on the left was cut into an epi (or wheat sheath).  Very pretty!
 Some of the finished loaves (all very rustic looking--plus they smelled great).
 The epi loaf
Our loaf---hooray!  This tasted good.  The crust was a little thicker and chewier than I anticipated, though.
I found a great apron on Facebook that was created by a friend of a friend (who'd been tagged as its model).  A few Facebook messages later, I purchased the last one, and I couldn't be happier with it.  It kept me flourless, is truly one-size-fits-all, and has 2 handy pockets in the front.  He and his business partner may be selling more of these soon, so look out.  =)  Thanks to Patrick and Jessica!
 "What Would Julia Child Do?" 
After baking bread and eating lunch (fast food...don't ask) we went thrifting and came across a Cuban bakery.
They have only four items here despite billing itself as a bakery: guava, coconut, and guava/cream cheese pastries (top to bottom, and fresh today!) and pan cubano (in the background of the last pic).  We bought a coconut pastry, guava/cream cheese pastry, and a loaf of bread.  The coconut pastry was flaky and sweet---perfect, really.  The guava/cream cheese pastry was slightly burnt and we decided that we don't like the taste of guava much.  :\  The bread is extremely light (in weight and taste) and is fairly nondescript; I don't think we'll be getting it again.  Certainly unique though. 
Coming up someday on The Hungry Panda...:
-Marshmallow making (wish me luck)
-Croissant throwdown (Mr. S. & Alton Brown vs. me and Peter Reinhart)
-Playing with my brand new $2.99 Vietnamese coffee press
-Valentine's Day desserts!


  1. It was great meeting you guys in class today. It was great fun wasn't it? Your bread looks great. In the picture you look like a triumphant warrior! :)

  2. Ha Ha Ha! I believe Julia Child would do EXACTLY what you did! Your bread looks amazing!

  3. My favorite is the epi bread. It sounds like you had a lot of fun :-Þ

  4. oh yummm!! I love the look of these loaves!


Fire away.