August 29, 2010 in Foods
It’s a bit hazy, but the story goes something like this:
We recently starting watching an anime called Yakitate: Japan. Long story short, it’s bread-making made epic. Needless to say, I became inspired to bake bread. I had wanted to make a braided bread, and spent a good deal of time mulling over the details. Ultimately, I decided that it should have 4 different types of bread all weaved into a magnificent work of delicious. I’m a fan of cooking with constraints, for the sole purpose of seeing just how creative I can get. Thus, I decided that these 4 types of bread should each have their own distinct color. I settled on the four standards, red, yellow, green, and blue. The main coloring agents, respectively, ended up being paprika, carrot juice, parsley juice, and a mix of blue corn flour and puréed raisins. Thus, the adventure begins…
I used the basics for the breads themselves. Lukewarm water, yeast, sugar, salt, and flour. I added a fair amount of gluten powder to the blue bread, since it was mostly blue corn flour to begin with, and it needed to have some stretch to it in order to knead it and let it rise. The red bread got bacon, tomatoes (peeled and seeded), some mustard powder and some cayenne pepper. The green bread got some basil, and the yellow bread got a blend of sharp cheddar and jalapeno peppers. Each one got mixed up, and on with the proofing!
Once the first proofing has been completed, it’s on to the kneading. The blue one took the most, as there wasn’t a whole lot of flour, and it needed quite the beating to get stretchy.
Once all have been kneaded into balls, back in the bowls, and on with the 2nd proofing.
While they were proofing, I made a glaze. Using sugar and water to make a simple syrup, I added red miso to the mix. It turned out to be very tasty.
After the 2nd proofing, it was time to start rolling everything out. I took each dough and split it into 2, saving some of each one (except the green) for the accessories. Then, I took each portion and started to roll/mold it into a long cord of dough.
Once all of them were done in this fashion, I laid them all out on a cookie sheet.
And thus begins the weaving! I found some instructions online for an 8-cord braid, and I thought that that would be the funnest way to go.
After taking the remnants and forming them into a face and some claws, it was ready to bake… almost…
Before baking, it was time to glaze. Not only did I use the miso glaze, I purchased some Hawaiian black sea salt, and some red sea salt, and sprinkle a bit of both over the whole lot.
Now it was time to bake. I had no idea how long it needed, so I hit a minimum of 30 minutes and just kept on checking on it every 5 minutes or so after that. It took around 45-50 minutes. And the result?
Ok, ok. It doesn’t look exactly like a dragon. It looks more like a cross between a bear and a turtle. But you know what, I don’t care. It still breathes fire, and it still looks awesome. But then came the moment of truth. What of the colors, and the flavors?!?!
The colors turned out perfect! Each bread tasted exactly like what went into it, and it was oh so delicious. I was very proud of myself, especially considering this was one of my first major baking projects. I consider it a success.