BBA Challenge #39: Vienna Bread

And so I plug along, nearing the end of the bread baking alphabet in the BBA Challenge. V is for Vienna, the source of the next bread on the roster. This is a simple enriched dough, (i.e., enhanced with egg and butter to provide fat and tenderness to the bread).  And these loaves are indeed puffy and pillowy, rather than the crusty and chewy breads we’ve seen lately.  It would seem appropriate–if you consider that the croissant can be traced to Vienna (a fact acknowledged in the French word for croissants and other such morning pastries, viennoiserie)–that Peter Reinhart’s rendition of this bread would be a tender, faintly sweet creation.

I did make some modifications–a long time ago I obtained some diastatic barley malt powder–it’s supposed to help the loaves achieve a burnished color in the oven by adding additional sugars that caramelize the crust as it bakes, as explained here–but due to my delinquency in pursuing the BBA Challenge it expired. (It is probably still good, and I believe is somewhere in the bottom of the freezer, but I’m afraid to look).    Nor did I “prepare the oven for hearth baking” this time around. (I know, there was a lot of yammering on my part back here where I swore up and down that I was a convert to this method, and I still am.  But when I saw eggs and butter as ingredients, I figured we were not really in peasant bread territory and I bailed on replicating a peasant hearth in my oven this time around.  And sometimes I get lazy, let’s face it). Perhaps both of these modifications, together, or each on their own, would have changed the character of this bread, from something fit for an effete courtier at the palace of the Hapsburgs to something more to the liking of a lonely goatherd, high on a hill somewhere near Salzburg.* But I probably won’t find out, as I’ll definitely retreat back into the sourdough camp once this bread making challenge is done. I could, however, could see myself using this recipe to replenish my stash of homemade hamburger buns. (Have you made homemade hamburger buns? Even someone like me who is not a burger fan craves these–and I’ll say more about that in the next post).

*And for the record, I’m not actually a Sound of Music obsessive, but I’m trying to run with an Austrian theme here, so work with me please. Also, I had to sing that song in music class long ago and I think it sort of scarred me, and no, I don’t yodel.

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8 thoughts on “BBA Challenge #39: Vienna Bread

  1. Nice- The bread looks wonderful- I don’t think I did the whole hearth baking thing for this one, though I did not skip out on the water in the pan at the bottom. Just wondering why you didn’t make the Dutch Crunch? In my opinion, it was what gave this bread that little push over the edge.

    Also- I was also pretty hooked on sourdough by the time the challenge ended, glad to see so are you.

    • Yes, I probably would have liked it with the Dutch Crunch. I didn’t have rice flour on hand, and while I of course could have used one of the many other flours I have, that was enough to just make me skip it. And I think there was a vague part of me that thought I was avoiding extra sugar. (Though, if that was really a driving force I suppose I shouldn’t have made a cake the next day).

  2. First, those look gorgeous and delicious! Second, by sheer coincidence, I’ve had The Lonely Goatherd song in my head all morning. How odd. Third, I agree re: sourdough! I was afraid of it before the BBA challenge, but I’m a convert now. Reminds me I should baby that starter in my fridge a bit…

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