Transformers Loaves Are More Than Meets the Eye
It’s time to transform some innocuous flour and water into a bread that’s more than meets the eye.
Normal Fougassee looks like this:
You have to admit those are some handsome loaves of pull-apart bread. Leaves and trees and stalks of wheat can look upon those loaves and think yes, those humans have done justice to my form. If, of course, they’re sentient plants that aren’t offended by the thought of humans grinding up their babies to make our food. We’re pretty vicious where seeds are concerned. Actually, the less you think about what sentient plants would do to us the better. That’s why, when I decided to make some Fougasse, instead of taunting the plant kingdom I made mine as an homage to our future robot overlords. You can too.
Transformers Pull-Apart Bread
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
4 cups bread flour
2 tbsp dried Herbes de Provence
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp kosher salt, divided
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Start by dissolving the yeast in the warm water. Add a tablespoon of sugar to help wake the yeast from it’s slumber, then give it 10-15 minutes to bloom into a healthy colony.
While you’re waiting for the yeast to reboot from it’s dried downtime, mince up half a dozen garlic cloves and mix them with the Herbes de Provence. Toss in half a tablespoon of kosher salt. Think of the flour like an organic metal skeleton and the herb mix as the Energon that brings your loaves to life.
Once the yeast is ready, add the herb mix and three tablespoons of olive oil. Give it all a good stir so it’s well blended, then mix in the bread flour, one cup at a time, until you achieve a dough.
If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and let it knead dutifully away for 6-8 minutes. If not, knead the dough by hand for around 10 minutes. Either way, once you’re done, cover it up with a towel and let it rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Now it’s time for the fun part. Punch your loaf down and divide it into two roughly equal halves. Spread out a sheet of waxed paper and roll your dough into a rectangle.
I can’t stress this highly enough. You really need to roll your dough on waxed paper. That way you can transfer it to a cookie sheet or baking stone with all its dignity intact. You want sharp, precise, mechanical lines. If you try to cut your dough and then pick it up, you’ll end up with a stretched out horror that looks like Picasso’s version of a Decepticon.
In addition to waxed paper, you also want a short, sharp knife. I used my bird’s beak paring knife, also known as a Tourne knife. When cutting these lines, you want to slice neatly and precisely all the way through the dough then flip the knife over and use the dull edge to gently wiggle inside the cut so the two sides are parallel but no longer touching.
I modeled mine on these Transformers logos.
Your Decepticon starts off looking like a dreidel. Cut away the crown, then add the interior slashes to make the face. Other than the eyes and crown, the whole thing is only 10 lines.
The Autobot, on the other hand, starts off looking like a lunchbox. Once you’ve carved the handle at the top, add diagonal lines for the forehead creases, a couple strokes for the nose, then eye sockets followed by cheekbone action leading all the way down to the mouth.
Once you’re done, very carefully lift the edges of your waxed paper and put the faces on baking sheets. Paint the top of each robot with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle on some more kosher salt. Now set the faces aside and let them rise for another hour.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Bake the robots for 14-18 minutes, or until they’re a dark, golden brown. When they come out, they should have transformed from fragile white specimens into these hearty brown conquerors of hunger.