2016 Resolution: Shape It Up
Happy New Year!! I hope your holidays were full of joy, laughter, peace and love.
It's the new year and like many people, I have made resolutions. My biggest resolution is to shape up in 2016 but I don't mean by going to a gym. No. I'm going to experiment with new shaping techniques for yeast breads and rolls. And I am going to share those experiments with you. Are you ready to start? Then let's go!
Last week, I showed you a beautiful loaf that I made in honor of the Christmas holiday - Cinnamon Star Loaf. This gorgeous bread features an intricate design of stripes and chevrons of cinnamon against a sweet dough which are made by cutting and twisting strips of dough layered with a simple cinnamon sugar and egg filling. Must be hard to do; right? Wrong! Don't let the appearance of this bread scare you off. Really, if you can use a rolling pin and a knife, you can achieve this lovely effect.
The dough for this bread comes together easily and is a joy to work with. After the first rise, the dough is divided into four equal pieces. Roll out the first piece of dough into a 10 inch circle. (My dough is not a circle, as you can see, because I wanted to shape the loaf like the Christmas star.) Move the rolled piece to a piece of parchment paper and spread it with 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar filling. Repeat this process with the second and third pieces of dough, layering them on the first piece. The fourth piece of dough is rolled out and tops the stack.
Now for the magic. Set a 3 to 4 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter lightly on the center of the stack. The cutter is simply there as guide for you to keep the center of the loaf intact. Using a bench knife or other sharp knife, make 16 (yes, 16!) cuts in the dough stack from the cookie cutter out to the edge. You want to make your cuts as equal as possible. I made mine by starting with four cuts along the north, east, south and west lines creating four quadrants. Then, make four more cuts dividing each of the four quadrants in half. You should now have 8 sections. Cut each of those sections in half again and you will end up with 16 cuts and 16 sections.
Starting at the bottom, take the two strips on either side of the south line and twist them away from each other, making a motion like you are opening a book. Twist those same two strips away from each other a second time then pinch the ends of the strips together. Repeat this process with the next two strips and continue, two by two, until you have the eight arms of your star.
That's it. That wasn't so hard, was it? It is actually harder to describe the process than it is to do it. Bake your bread according to KAF's recipe and pull a very impressive (and tasty!) loaf from the oven.
So, stay tuned. My plan is to feature a bread shaping technique every 4 to 6 weeks or so throughout 2016. Have a great and delicious day!!