Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Sin Dawg
Dave’s Killer Bread

As any regular reader will know by now, I love to bake. I’m not a big fan of cakes — or as Chef Faure said during a pastry course, “Gateaus. I’m sick of gateaus” :-). I prefer puff pastries, croissants, tarts, mille feuilles, breads, etc. They’re just so much more interesting to make — and I love eating them, as opposed to cake which if I never ate cake again I wouldn’t much miss it.

So I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of breads, especially rye breads and other whole grains trying to get the texture I want with sufficient gluten to hold together. I tried a variety of techniques and they all pretty much failed except for those where I used a substantial amount of white flour. That gave me the gluten but diluted the flavour somewhat. Probably not much for most people, but enough for me.

So I began hunting around the internet and came upon Dave’s Killer Bread or more accurately a couple of videos of Dave baking up some of his killer bread.

Now some of you might think “killer bread”? Sounds pretentious. But I’ll tell you, it’s not. It’s damn fine bread. And two of the recipes I tried, his whole wheat bread and his Sin Dawgs (see pic), are unbelievable! The man has a touch with bread recipes that’s well worth exploring. Since I came upon Dave’s two recipe videos and their associated recipes I’ve gone and purchased vital wheat gluten. I’ve used it to make a Red Fife loaf of bread which was unbelievably good. Realizing I’ve never had a loaf of red fife show such structure before I then tried it with a rye recipe I’ve been experimenting with and it was great (sorry, forgot to take pictures — I’m especially good at not taking pictures). Ironically, I realized it was missing something and added in some of my white flour based sourdough starter and a couple of hundred grams of white flour to lighten the loaf. That made the loaf out of this world in my opinion. And thanks for the insight that got me over a huge hump in terms of great rye bread is the use of vital wheat gluten. Some purists might balk at this, but my goal is to make breads that are light and tasty. If I want a brick of cement, well, I can just use the whole grains and hope for the best. But then no-one will eat them, and I much prefer to see friends and family happily chewing my bread :-).

I must also say that Dave’s Sin Dawgs are one of the best freakin’ things I’ve ever tried. And weirdly enough, you don’t feel horrible after you eat a piece, especially when you read the recipe and see how much sugar is in it. You eat a 1 – 1.5cm slice and feel great and satisfied with no desire to hork down additional slices. Usually when I eat a cinnamon bun I love the taste but it’s just too cloying after a few bites and after eating it I just don’t feel that good. Not so with the Sin Dawgs. I felt fine and everyone commented on how awesome the pastry was. The funny thing is that it’s not that attractive a pastry but when you taste it, woah.

One thing I did notice using Red Fife for the Sin Dawgs is that the dough is much tougher than what Dave shows in the video. I’m thinking that the Red Fife just produces a tougher dough, although once baked it comes out fine. I do wish the recipe Dave Dahl provided had weights instead of just measurements in cups, tablespoons, etc. as that way I’d know if I’d just measured wrong. I’m sure weight-for-weight Red Fife may well be denser than regular, modern whole wheat. I’ll obviously have to experiment.

So a big thanks to Dave for putting up the recipes and videos. It’s offered me up a new way of looking at making pastries and breads that will lead to more experimentation. And yummy experimentation it will be.

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November 2012
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