SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – For the millions of us stuck in our homes, it seems like suddenly everybody’s breaking and baking bread.
Tonight on Dine and Dish – Home Edition – we introduce you to a Bay Area baker whose dream of a bakery shop was crushed by the pandemic, but is finding ways to share her love of bread, one loaf at a time.
Baking is in her blood.
“I’ve been making bread since I was seven or eight,” Michelle Hernandez said.
But like so many who’ve shuttered their businesses and their dreams, Michelle Hernandez is surviving by selling bread and pastries through grocery stores.
Trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Michelle is dropping off her finished baked goods called Le Dix Sept at this San Francisco neighborhood market where flour and yeast are also in high demand.
“What an amazing alchemy,” Michelle said.
Bread dough is on the rise, COVID-19 quarantines are turning more of us into bakers.
Whether it’s to relieve the stress of isolation or just a way to feed the family.
“It’s great we need that comfort right now. Something I have a passion for, I love bringing sweet things, comforting things that people can share,” Michelle said.
So Michelle is offering some tips on bread making to those of us stuck at home.
From this cute french brioche loaf (“it looks like a teddy bear!”) to savory italian focaccia, and sourdough – the San Francisco favorite is skyrocketing in popularity.
“Be really kind to yourself, set yourself up for success if this is your first time baking bread. Choose something that’s forgiving, choose something like a milk bread or maybe a pizza, I started when I was younger with pizza dough,” Michelle said.
Making bread means working with friendly microorganisms like the type you find in sour-dough starter and yeast, a comforting panacea for the scary pandemic.
Michelle is sharing her easy tips for baking bread with us:
- Bake Your Own & Buy Local
- It’s great to bake your own bread! And if you can, support your local bread baker like Le Dix-Sept via local shops like Douglas Market & Cafe, Ritual Coffee and Harmonic Brewing. This is our livelihood and our passion.
- Set Your Intention & Have Fun.
- This is a learning process. I have a lab notebook for all my recipes. For me, no recipe for me is ever final, you can always keep learning and changing as you go. I have been baking bread since I was maybe 7-8 years old. I didn’t have access to all the information that we do now so it was all trial and error. My family endured a lot of poorly baked loaves and a lot of pizza when I was a kid. But I love the process more than the final outcome and have fun with it.
- Set Yourself Up For Success
- Start with something more forgiving like pizza dough, milk bread or soda bread which requires no yeast
- Mise en Place
- Before you start, set up your Mise en Place (everything in its place). Make sure you have all the ingredients you need for the entire project (enough flour for for the starter + your bread loaf)
- Give Yourself Time
- If you want to try sourdough and want to make a starter, give yourself 8-10 days and know that for many of those days you will be feeding it twice a day to establish it
- Pro Tip: Scald the milk in the recipe
- If you create a loaf that requires milk, scald the milk — heat the milk up just until small bubbles start to appear. This denatures the proteins and gives it better hydration and a fluffier product.
- Utilize Your Starter Discard!
- Use the starter discard in baked goods for added depth of flavor and to Leven your goods. Don’t waste it because you will be removing a lot of the starter each time you feed it
- Be Gentle With Yourself
- Bread baking is an art and that art requires practice and time. Be gentle with yourself. And don’t throw out the bread if you don’t like the visual results, you can make toast, croutons, bread salad.