Adv. Artisan Breads Class + Sesame Crackers

I apologize for my absence. What was I saying in a previous post? Something about that once school started back up I would be consumed by making coffee at work and spending long hours baking my heart out in class. By the time I get home from my 12-13 hour day, I approx. 2 hours to screw my head back on straight, feed myself, and prep for the following day of class before heading to bed and starting all over again. 

The past week has taken a toll on my body and mind. 5a.m. shifts at Starbucks leads to drinking somewhere around 6-8 shots of espresso combined with 2-3 cups of coffee (just when I was beginning to cut back to 1 cup of coffee per day). 

By the time my shift is over, I walk back to my apartment, change into chef whites, and walk back to campus to my adv. artisan bread lab. The amazing part is, no matter how drained or energetic I felt at work in the a.m., I'm always wide awake when it's time to start scaling ingredients for mixing a new bread dough. Why is this? Must be something about being in a kitchen that fills my body with positive energy (or maybe that's all the espresso?) and makes me move faster than I ever thought I could when I woke up. 

Anyway, breads class has been highly stressful and confusing. However, as the days move forward, I've found ways to cope with the stress and be less confused, which leads me with admitting that this class (minus it's moments) is kind of nice. 

After 4 days of being surrounded by sourdough and whole grains, I'm happy to say that I'm finally starting to understand the world of bread and the life of yeast. The other day I opened up a container of a starter that I made the previous day (consisting of only flour and water), and it was bubbling and moving on it's own (it's alive!) There's something about that, I guess only a baker can get excited about.  

On another note, here's a formula for sesame crackers that I made in class:

Sesame Crackers 
Recipe from: JWU Baking and Pastry Formulas 
Yield: 1 lb. 6 oz. of cracker dough

11 oz. bread flour (all-purpose can be substituted) 
1 oz. granulated sugar
.2 oz. salt
2 oz. butter
2.5 oz. sesame seeds
5 oz. milk 


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper. 

Sift together flour, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix with a paddle attachment until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the sesame seeds and mix until throughly incorporated. Add the milk and mix until the dough comes together. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. 

Lightly flour the surface of the table and roll the dough to 1/8" thick. Dock the rolled dough using a dough dockers or poke the entire surface of the dough with a fork. Lightly egg wash the dough. Cut into shapes using a pastry wheel or shaped cutter. Place crackers on parchment-lined sheet pan. 

Bake for 15-18 minutes until the edges of the crackers turn golden.

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© A Little Baker
Maira Gall