Friday, July 9, 2010

Week of the bread

The chef taught us not one.. not two.. but three different bread/pastry doughs! It was fun making all of them during the back-to-back practical as well - a lot of work but it was all worth the effort at the end. 

First we have the bun dough, which is the base for common products like the hot cross bun and doughnuts. It contains quite a fair bit of milk in comparison to the amount of flour (about [1 part milk : 2 part flour] respectively). Below are the products made by chef with the bun dough:

Hot cross bun

Photo by Ky Ha

Devonshire Splits

Photo by Ky Ha


Photo by Ky Ha

Chelsea buns

Photo by Ky Ha

It was the first time hearing the names of some of these even though I might have eaten them before, such as Devonshire splits and Chelsea buns. Devonshire splits is actually a bun with a slit filled with jam and cream, and Chelsea buns are like cinnamon rolls but with raisins, mix peels and almond cream.

Out of all the four buns, I like Chelsea bun the most - raisins and mix peels go well together and it reduces the richness of the bun making it great for breakfast or as a snack during the day.

Next we have the pâte à brioche (brioche dough) and pâte levée feuilletée (laminated yeast dough). The brioche dough will be turned into different types of brioches, and the laminated yeast dough into croissants, pain au chocolat and different types of danishes.

The brioche dough is a very rich dough containing a lot of eggs and butter (and sometimes it is referred to as the eggy-bread dough). The amount of eggs and butter combined is more than the flour needed in the recipe - this results in a dense, flavourful and fragrant bread when baked. 

Chef showed us quite a variety of product we can make from the brioche dough like brioche à tête, nantasie, croquelin and walnut loaf. 

Lastly is the laminated yeast dough which very similar to the puff pastry dough, just that the laminated one has yeast in it. The process of making it is the same - make the initial dough, fold in the dry butter and start doing the turns/fold. However, for this dough, we only did 3 +1 turns since there is yeast in it. 

This is used for making those delicious croissants and pain au chocolat that you see in the a lot of bakeries. There is no egg in the dough which gives the result of a flaky texture to the product. In addition to the flakiness of the product the yeast and butter incorporated in the dough provides lift that makes the croissant or any of its baked goods a very light body.

During the practical, we had to make all 3 types of dough and make a few variety of products from them. It was a tight schedule to get all three doughs made, let them proof, shape them, proof again and bake them. However, everyone was able to finish in time and ahead of the schedule as well, which the chef was very please (since practical was scheduled to end at 9pm). 

Yes.. there was a lot of bread made and if we combine all our products together, we could have opened up a store to sell them. Gave some to the cleaners and my friends.. but there are still quite a bit left. Well, I guess they will be breakfast for my bro and I for the next few days!

Week 2 has ended. Produced a lot of bread and danish. Practiced rolling croissants and shaping dough. Possibly lost another 2 pounds.


  1. Sounds like fun. The bread recipes in Basic were some of my favs. Wish I were in London- I'd take some off your hands!

  2. I must have been french (or a fly in a bakery) in my previous life, coz I actually could eat each and every single pastry in your post for the rest of my life! I'm really not B.S-ing! Every picture that I looked at, I thought, 'NO WAY!' (like 'no way' another pastry I love!).

    BAH! Matthew, why do you do this to me!