18 December 2009

Painted Bread

A few weeks back, when I was catching up on Susan's Yeastspotting, I saw something amazing. A couple of loaves with an intricate pattern on top. What is this? How can you get such fine detail? And wow, can I do that too? So very quickly I followed the link so kindly provided.

I've been dying to bake and finally today the opportunity came up. There's still over half a boule left from my sourdough experiments in the freezer, but tonight we're having our first family Christmas get-together and Lundulph and I were put in charge of the starters.

So I thought easiest is dips with freshly baked bread and some royal pickle.

I made a double batch of the Bertinet white bread and also got to try out my newly purchased banneton. That's an open basket from the local gardening centre, I think it's made of seaweed or husks from sweetcorn or something. I also had the benefit of spending some time watching dough shaping videos on youtube, so felt very professional.

The breads proofed nicely and baked well, but I should not have had the temperature so high as for normal bread, as they went dark golden fairly quickly and I ended up turning the heat down substantially to stop them from burning. Must remember that next time I intend to paint bread.

Chef Tess says she uses barley for the paint. I didn't have that and getting the concentrate would require some time, which I didn't feel I had, so instead, I improvised by using food colourings. I had one yolk which I stirred and then divided into three equal parts. One part was left au naturel, the second one had about half a tea spoon of green food colouring and the third one had about half a tea spoon of red food colouring. The colours came out very nice and bright. But when baking them, the pure egg yolk bubbled up a lot, I guess I need to whisk it more thoroughly to incorporate any trace of white that may have been left on it.

I also discovered that I don't have a single small paint brush in the house and haven't had for many years. So, what to do? What to do? I used chop sticks to stir in the paints, maybe I could use them? A bit more difficult to control, but would be a bit more precise than finger painting...


To my surprise it worked, but I must get hold of a few brushes before next time. This is definitely something I'd like to develop further. Oh, yes, and come up with a design beforehand, rather than just make it up on the spot. Besides, I have blue and yellow colours in the larder, waiting to be tried out.

Many thanks to Chef Tess for posting the technique and to Susan for including the link in her blog.

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