Instructables

Fractal almond bread in memory of Benoit Mandelbrot

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Benoit Mandelbrot passed away a few days ago. He has been for a long time one of my personal heroes. Rereading his wikipedia entry I've read something that I haven't noticed before:

The English pronunciation of the name "Mandelbrot", which is a German and Yiddish word meaning "almond bread",


So why not make some almond bread in the shape of a fractal?

Although I would love to make the loafs in the shape of a Mandebrot set I choose the weakling way and went for a more easy first order Sierpinski carpet.

 
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Step 1: Ingredients and the quest for Almond Flour

The recipe is pretty simple:

1 kilo of flour. (about 2.2 lbs) split 3 ways
300 g (2/3 lbs) of almond flour 
3 Tablespoons of sugar
500 ml (a pint) of water
150 ml (5oz) milk
Instant yeast
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
almonds for decoration
2 doses of amaretto liqueur 

if you want a glaze:

5 tablespoons of confectioners sugar
2 doses of amaretto liqueur

If you don't have almond flour, as I didn't I just ground some myself with a coffee grinder.

I had to work in batches and left some batches a little coarser or chunky so I could have a better end texture on the bread.

Also a word of advice: If you can, have different grinders for coffee and spices. I've ruined some very good coffee once.

Step 2: Biga and Soaker

I do bread in a two stage method. First stage is done in two parts.

The biga which is what Italians call what French call liquid yeast. And a soaker which is just flour and water left alone so the gluten can stretch better.

The Biga:

One third of the flour goes with the yeast and the same weight in water (about 300g or 2/3 of a pound)  Leave that in a large bowl and wait for it to grow

The Soaker:

Another third of the flour and the rest of the water goes together. Mix them well with fork


Leave them both alone to rest in a warm place for about 2 hours at least
seanohagan3 years ago
This inspired me to bake something for the 1-year anniversary of Mandelbrot's death. Take a look at the "Mandelbrot Set" almond bread at this Flickr set. This is my first time baking almond bread, so it looks a bit plain, but it was pretty tasty!
mandelbrot3.JPG
frac (author)  seanohagan3 years ago
Wow! impressive!
Minifig6664 years ago
I know what I'm making at the weekend, these look delicious!
Watch out for those almonds though, they give off gamma!
ChrysN4 years ago
Clever and looks tasty too.
frac (author)  ChrysN4 years ago
they were wonderful toasted and spread with butter..
canida4 years ago
Looks like an excellent recipe, and you have some great pics!

RIP Mandelbrot.
Now Jonathan Coulton has to change the lyrics in "Mandelbrot Set" :(


Great instructable! RIP Benoit Mandelbrot