Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ornate Crown Loaf Tutorial

Welcome to tutorial Tuesday here on Chef Tessbakeresse. I do a lot of basic tutorials for beginning cooks, but today we are going a little more advanced for those bakers out there who want to learn a new loaf. This is called an Ornate Crown Loaf. It has twirls and flowers and fancy additions. We will start with a one pound piece of dough made from my bare bones recipe for whole wheat bread. This will make two of these crown loaves.

My Bare Bones Recipe for whole wheat bread

2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 cup cool water (not cold, but cool to the touch)

6 cups whole wheat bread flour (spankin' fresh! with no hint of bitterness)

2 tsp salt

2 1/4 cup lukewarm water

2 T honey

1/4 cup oil

Directions:Dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl make a well in the mixture. Dissolve the honey in the 2 1/4 cup water and add the oil of your choice. Pour the liquid and the yeast mixture into the well of flour. Stirring from the center, first combine the ingredients to make a smooth batter, then fold in the remaining flour from the sides of the bowl, mixing them together into a soft dough. Soft dough is the key!! Since the whole grain flour takes a while to absorb water, wait 10 minutes--then evaluate the dough. Add water or flour if more is required, but do this slowly as it will probably take less flour than you think. If you want really good bread--best keeping quality, flavor, and rise--knead the dough about 600 strokes without adding any more flour. The dough should remain soft and should become elastic and smooth. Rest whenever you want, but aim for 600 strokes. This is about 6 minutes on medium speed in a Kitchen-Aid mixer. This may seem like an amazing and outrageous requirement, but after many hundreds of loaves, I'm convinced that thorough kneading makes the critical difference. As you continue to work the dough, toward the end of the kneading, it will become lustrous, utterly supple and elastic. It should actually be white if you look closely, with brown bran flecks clearly visible against pale gluten. Form the dough into a ball and put in an un-greased crock. Spray LIGHTLY with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to ferment. At about 80 degrees, this will take 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Wet your finger and poke it into the dough (called the ripe test). If your finger goes in without very much resistance and the hole remains when your finger is removed, the dough is ready to be punched down. For best results, do not wait until it sighs and collapses when poked. Gently press out the accumulated gas. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured table and keeping the smooth surface, carefully unbroken, deflate the dough by pressing it with wet or floury hand from one side to another. Cut it in half and form each part gently into a round ball, still preserving the smooth surface on the outside.

Pat out the circle until it is about one 12 inches and a circle, on a lightly floured surface.

Break a hole right in the middle of the dough.

Gather the dough and pinch to form a continuous wreath. This will give your crown a good structure.

Flip over so the pinched seam is on the bottom of the loaf.

Cut eight wedges into the dough from the outside in, but not cutting through the center of the crown. Like this...

Cut a second section of dough directly next to the wedge. This strip will be pulled out form the loaf, and formed into a crown "jewel".
Stretch out the think piece.

Roll it slightly until it's about six inches long.

Twist onto the top of the loaf like this:

Repeat with each of the sections until the loaf is finished.

For the detailed flowers and leaves I used the Edible Decorative Bread dough (inert dough for flowers on bread) .

There is a new flower on this loaf I haven't shown here before. It starts with a small amount of the dough, rolled out like this and cut on each side like a feather.
The "feather" is rolled tightly.

Pinch dough in the center of the flower. This makes two flowers rather quickly.

It can be left like a paint brush. I prefer to fan out the petals (see last picture).

Place leaves and flowers on the loaf as desired for decoration. Spray heavily with water and allow loaf to raise about 30 minutes on a parchment lined bake sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 45-50 minutes.
For added detail to the loaf you can use my technique for painted breads.

Whatever you do...have fun. Make it a piece of art.
There you go.


Mama Peck said...

This is beautiful, Tess! Can hardly wait to try it. :)

Anonymous said...

Tess, your work is amazing. I enjoyed your class while you were here in Salt Lake City, Utah. I truely enjoyed your expertice in the sculptured flowers class. Your "bread art" is fantastic.

Bergamot said...

Wow this is just amazing. Wish I can bake something so beautiful

Diet Consultant said...

Wow! This looks so beautiful. Too beautiful to eat! I'd love to give this a try when I have mastered the art of baking. But for now, I have to be content with bookmarking this post. :)

SimplySandi said...

This is gorgeous.