Dianne's Creative Table

I am inspired by light, all things natural, reusing previously loved items, and bargains!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Covered in Flour

I know this is not a table, but it's all about something we PUT on the table, so I thought I would sneak it in to Susan's Tablescape Thursday.
As an annual fund raiser, one of our local private schools offers a wide selection of evening classes during the winter months.  They ask parents and community folks with special skills to share those skills with those us willing to pay a fee to learn.  One of the classes that I took was offered by a local artisan bakery and we made  baguettes with poolish.
This is a poolish.  It's like a starter made with flour water and yeast, which grows for 8-12 hours and then gets mixed into the dough.

Our poor batch of dough for 10 people looks pitiful in this large mixer that makes daily bread for many of restaurants and grocery stores all around Middle Tennessee.  
Wheeled tubs were used to hold all the ingredients and to let the dough rise.  
The loaves are formed and they are placed on these sheets to rise.  
Since we were making baguettes we formed slightly elongated loaves.  After they spent about 30 minutes rising, we shaped them into long baguettes and then used a linen French cloth called a couche for the second rising.  

The formed loaves are laid on the couche and then it's pulled up to form a little tunnel for the loaf to rise.  These are never washed because the build up of flour keeps the dough from sticking.  Each loaf is turned out of the couche onto the wooden paddle seam side up, then flipped over, seam side down onto the floured canvas on the loader.  
Here's our loaves on the cool piece of equipment they use to load the ovens.  This loader could be raised and lower to suit the oven.

The head baker, Kevin, is showing us how to score the top of the loaves. 
The canvas covered shelf is pushed into the oven, the canvas continues to roll around the bottom of the loader and the loaves were deposited onto the stone shelves.  The canvas rolled around the loader and continued until it was all backed out of the oven ready to load again. 
Here's a look inside one of the nine oven doors.  After the bread was loaded, the baker would push a button and steam would fill the oven.  
The newest baker on their team is using a peel to remove six loaves at time from the oven and place them on the racks. 

Look at the beautiful cuts on the top of the loaves.  This was from the baker that had only worked there four days!  The bottom loaf is cut so we could see the texture of sourdough compared to regular bread. 

Corn meal is used to keep the dough from sticking to the sheets used for the rise of the free form loaves. 

Focaccia rising! 

Notice all the flour on the floor! 

Flour was several inches deep.  
I don't think this drain will be very useful if there is a need for it! 

Thank you Provence for a fun evening, and thanks to the hostess of Seasonal Sundays


  1. Now this would be a reason to be in TN...
    Besides being with friends....
    I adore bread, you know!
    How absolutely wonderful!

  2. That would be a great class to take! Loved all your pictures!

  3. My hubby and me would love to take classes on how to make French bagette, wow! I adore bread and home made one is the best, I love baking bread and so does my hubs.
    Thanks for sharing this great post.

  4. I would love to take that class! I just made bread yesterday. Go to "Rustico Cooking" and they show you how to make different kinds of bread. Not hard!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings My Friend,

  5. Thanks for the tour...wish I lived nearby!

  6. This looks like such fun and I can only imagine how wonderful it must have smelled in there! What a great idea for fundraising...so much better than buying those awful tubs of cookie dough!

  7. Thank you so much for the wonderful tour -- I love to bake bread, but holy mackerel -- I can't imagine doing it on this scale.


    About the estate sale stuff: I am very picky at this point in my life. I often wish I had a booth or something so I could buy more, look at it for a little while then sell it. I only buy what I can use, or sometimes I see something I think someone I know might like.


  8. That looks like fun! DH does most of the yeast baking here, I am not so patient!

    What a great idea for a fund raiser!