Lesser developments in brioche
I fiddled with a yeasted oatmeal sandwich loaf for a zine I'm making. Working with yeast after sourdough is nuts. Amazing to see how quickly doughs boogie, and the difference in bread textures!
Here's my explanation for why I chose one loaf ... it's just my husband me in this household. Try as I can, he eventually defaults to store-bought bread (uggghh). Unfortunately, we live at least 20 miles away from the closest serious bakery like Bread Furst (had slices of their bread in the basket that was served to us last night and the waiter was so very helpful to give us the name). So one loaf is the most that can reasonably be eaten up by us before it goes moldy. I can always scale up using my fractional calculator if needs be.
Here are the results of my frenzied bake sale baking this weekend:
High-hydration focaccia: 3 loaves (sold by the half-loaf)
50% Whole Wheat: 4 loaves
Shokupan de Mie: 6 loaves
B&H Challah: 4 loaves
Classic Sourdough Hearth: 4 loaves
Dinner Rolls: 6 1/2 dozen
All total, 30 items raised about $250 for our school's PTO. I used about 20 lbs of bread flour.
Everything turned out fantastically (except the dinner rolls, which were too few to the pan). The only issue I had was one of capacity: fridge, pans, mixer... Having to make multiple batches separately nearly did me in. I started early Wednesday and finished late Friday. 3 days of baking on my feet (plus trying to work simultaneously) had me exhausted by the weekend.
Definitely one loaf- to your point about the formula relating to the thing being made- this is empowering newer bakers to learn how to read the blueprint. And it's so easy to scale up. I am also personally biased to making one loaf, so I can repeat and learn from each bake!
Just last week I baked a sourdough version of your Shokupain (so good!) For one loaf I use 100g of 100% starter. Since I am too lazy to write out the recipe I just use the Substack app, and do the math on the fly. I am always worried I will forget to divide something. Maybe the book could have the recipe in a table with 2 columns filled in for 1 and 2 loafs and some space left for the baker to use for their own notes or custom sizes?
When I read your question I realized I have never once in my life made a single loaf. (Excluding zucchini bread.) I never have enough room in the freezer but I have neighbors who are always happy to eat my experiments. But I get what you're saying about seeing the formula better in a single. I'll do the math.
Living in Madrid for a stretch, and taking a four-session "intensive bread course" on Sunday afternoons. Yesterday we did variations on sourdough, including a rye with a beer-infused poolish, a multigrain rustic boule and nice baguette-style bread with a garlic/parsley rub.
After 8 weeks neglecting my sourdough starter in the fridge, I revved it up with a series of refreshes and then made a simple Dutch oven loaf ... came out great. It reminded me that I need to make sure my starter is sufficiently active if I want good results.
If it's just a matter of doubling to get two loaves, then I'd definitely vote for one loaf. You should have seen me struggling the other day trying to scale a two-loaf recipe to one that wasn't in metric!
I chose multiple loaves because I want the most accurate proportions possible for scaling up or down in case percentages are not on offer in the published recipes. 😉
Always easier to scale a recipe up than down.
I would prefer a one loaf recipe. I can easily double or halve the amounts as needed. I prefer to make one loaf at a time. I don’t always have room in the freezer for a second loaf.
I definitely prefer recipes scaled for one loaf. For whatever reason, I find that I make fewer mistakes when doubling than when halving. Plus, even though two loaves is not much more work, you can get into situations where equipment becomes limiting (only having one loaf pan, one dutch oven, one proofing basket, etc).
As for baking this weekend, I have a sourdough loaf (the most recent Breaducation testing recipe) cold proofing in the fridge, waiting to be baked and turned into stuffing for a Friendsgiving next weekend!
I prefer one loaf recipes generally, especially for my first crack at something- mistakes from trying a new/unfamiliar recipe resulting in two bad loaves make me sad.
It's also pretty easy to scale to two if needed (I realize it should also be just as easy to halve, but my brain doesn't immediately go there for whatever reason.)
Did neapolitan(-ish) pizzas yesterday w/ 75% 00 and 25% whole-grain einkorn. Tried out Modernist Bread's starch slurry technique for adhering spices/etc. to the cornicione - it works but timing is a lot different than it is with bagels for example!
I haven’t been following the brioche journey closely, but did you try cooling upside down like a panettone? Sounds like you might have it sorted tho.
Tara Jensen’s Rye, Spelt and Anise for homemade “almost” pastrami which was delicious and perfect for the sandwiches and homemade dill pickles on the side. Today I bake a 100% hydration loaf that’s almost ready using a Carolina Ground blend called Appalacian Dirty Blond “that produces a lovely loaf at 100% hydration (and/or a 48hour final ferment)” according to the website. Fingers crossed I did it right! But I couldn’t pass up a flour with that name and that potential... :)