Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins

Happy Baking Ya'll!

Banana’s Foster Coffee Crumb Cake Muffin

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Coffee Crumb Bake Muffin

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As I was reviewing this weeks assigned baking recipe, I was also planning my vacation to New Orleans; Funny how sometimes Kismet happens to effect my creative culinary juices…

The brilliant concept Rose has in this recipe is to create Large Texas Size Muffins by using a large 6 count muffin tin and slicing cored apples 1/8th inch thick.  The idea was to mix some of the crumb topping into the batter in the muffin liner, and then gently press the apple slice into the batter, covering the apple completely.  Then adding more of the crumb topping..

…Like I said, Brilliant.

Please see the recipe for specific details:

 

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Well, as I pondered my trip to New Orleans, I made lunch reservations at John Besh’s Restaurant August and also for another day, I made dinner reservations at Restaurant R’evolution .

I tried to also fit in one of Donald Link’s restaurants LINK Restaurant Groupspecifically  Peche for his dessert selection on his Dessert Menu, but couldn’t find a reservation on Open Table that would accommodate my schedule.   This was such an extreme disappointment as I really wanted to experience his Blueberry Pistachio Tart with Lemon Curd Blueberry Compote served with the recommended Bruit Champaign.

In my journey to discover the diversity of New Orleans [NOLA] cuisine, I fell in love with Boudin Sausage from the moment I understood Link’s take on the local favorite, of which he published in his cook book Real Cajun as My Boudin.

When I understood his parings of flavor, it literally touched my culinary soul, hugged it and stayed there a while, like a life-long friend’s embrace that

finally understood my culinary viewpoint.

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I know I digress profusely, but bear with me here as it will all make sense in just a bit as how a savory sausage in ANY way lead me to my inspiration based on Rose’s recipe at the moment I engaged with her brilliance.

I found myself, now, in a bit of a melancholy spirit as this moment took me back to my culinary school days as I had selected New Orleans for many of my research projects and specifically the recipes from John Besh from his cook book My New Orleans

JOHN BESH Cookbook COVER.place slideshow

I have SO longed to taste his handmade potato gnocchi made with fresh blue crab and black truffle since I first laid eyes on the recipe and then I actually saw him cook this dish on his cooking show on PBS.

Yes, I have of course this episode saved on TIVO as Save until I delete!

So, based on my melancholy state,  I was personally influenced quite strongly to bake a little New Orleans into this weeks recipe.

During our working finals, as chef’s one of our deliverables was to serve table side service Banana’s Foster to the guest at the Culinary Schools Restaurant. 

Being rather dramatic myself, I loved the opportunity to flambe live in front of a crowd.

So I began processing Rose’s recipe for Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins in my chef’s brain and I came up with the idea to make 3 muffins specifically as Rose has listed in her recipe but for the remaining three jumbo muffins, I would replace the tart apples with Banana’s Foster

So for three of the muffins, I used the following ingredients based loosely on the recipe from Brennan’s Restaurant who created this dish we all know today which can be found on the New Orleans Official Guide

Bananas Foster
(Serves 4)

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 bananas, cut in half, lengthwise, then halved
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place [ on a plate and cool before adding to muffin batter ]

Scaling the recipe to accommodate my desired quantity and replacing the brown sugar with Muscovado sugar and using spice rum for added flavor as well as a tequila based coffee liquor, I created my version of

Bananas Foster Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins

The Muffins will be served with a side of:

vanilla ice cream

which works well for both the apple and the banana

I so love to create…..

So we begin by weighing the Walnuts and a specific type of flavorful brown sugar

So we begin by weighing the Walnuts and a specific type of flavorful brown sugar

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So we process the nuts and mixture named so far for the crumb to a specified texture

Crumb topping has been reserved and the mixture is set in the refrigerator to allow the melted butter cool to form the crumb

Crumb topping has been reserved and the mixture is set in the refrigerator to allow the melted butter cool to form the crumb

The bananas were not the texture I wanted so I let them set over night in two brown paper bags to ripen

The bananas were not the texture I wanted so I let them set over night in two brown paper bags to ripen

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Just where I wanted them

I placed on of the large cupcake liners to give me a gauge as to what would fit in each muffin after cooking in the Carmel sauce

I placed on of the large cupcake liners to give me a gauge as to what would fit in each muffin after cooking in the Carmel sauce

The butter, specific type of brown sugar and spices were added to the cast iron skillet

The butter, specific type of brown sugar and spices were added to the cast iron skillet

The delicate bananas were added to the pan using a fish spatula

The delicate bananas were added to the pan using a fish spatula

Liquors and rum added to the mix

Liquors and rum added to the mix

The mixture was slowly brought to a nice boil to create the Rum Carmel Sauce

The mixture was slowly brought to a nice boil to create the Rum Carmel Sauce

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Delicious

Delicious

Mise en Place

Mise en Place

Sour Cream and Superfine Sugar measured

Sour Cream and Superfine Sugar measured

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Apples sliced per recipe

Apples sliced per recipe

Butter and Sour Cream added to the flour mixture

Butter and Sour Cream added to the flour mixture

Batter is incorporated

Batter is incorporated

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Batter is spooned into the liners using an ice cream scoop

Batter is spooned into the liners using an ice cream scoop

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Topped with crumb mixture and incorporated

Apples are added

Apples are added

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Bananas Foster added

Bananas Foster added

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Crumb added evenly

Crumb added evenly

Baked for specified time however I had to add 5 more minutes

Baked for specified time however I had to add 5 more minutes

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Cooled

Cooled

 

 

Happy Baking Ya'll!

Happy Baking Ya’ll!

So I had another taste tasters and the muffins were a hit

First we tried Rose’s Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins

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Next we tried the Bananas Foster Coffee Crumb Cake Muffin

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Black and Blueberry Crisp

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Silky, Smooth, Tart and Bittersweet Blueberry Heaven

As Gooseberries are out of season, other summer fruits were reviewed as a substitute for Rose’s Gooseberry Crisp from her most recent baking book, The Baking Bible

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Rose gave us several options and as I already had blueberries in the refrigerator and all of the other ingredients at hand, I only had to purchase the blackberries….. such the good life for me…..

I began by researching the seasonality of the Gooseberry in my zone and find that after the temperature reaches 85 degrees F, the season diminishes and is over quickly.  For me and my zone, this would mean around April. So I have marked my calendar for a March do-over with Gooseberries as the recipe states.

Sugar, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice is added to the berries

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Over a medium low flame, the berries are brought to a slow boil

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Next the berries are separated from the juices created

Next the berries are separated from the juices created

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Cornstarch is added to the berries and stirred in gently until the starch disappears

The juice is then reduced carefully back in the saucepan until thickened

More cornstarch is added to the berry mixture just before adding the pipping hot juices to the berries, activating the cornstarch as a thickener

The mixture is gently blended and transferred to the baking dish

The mixture is gently blended and transferred to the baking dish

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The crumb topping is made as a mixture of Muscovado Sugar, granulated sugar oats, seasoning, flour butter and vanilla

As I pondered this topping at 4:30 AM when I was making it, I believe when I market this to my clients, I will add almond extract as well as toasted almond slivers to the topping

The topping is applied in small clumps and sprinkled over the berry mixture

The crisp is baked for 20 – 25 minutes at the oven temperature and rack level indicated in the recipe.  I checked my crisp at 20 minutes through the oven window and saw that the fruit was bubbling at a nice rate but not fully, so I watched it for the next 5 minutes to ensure fully activation of the thickening agent as well as the desired browning of the topping itself

 

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Rose recommends topping the crisp with ice cream for service

I chose to use Talenti Royal Raspberry as a pairing

I chose to use Talenti Royal Raspberry as a pairing

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Happy Baking Ya’ll!

Cree’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

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I was fortunate enough to have a client request Birthday cupcakes this week.  When the request was for Red Velvet from a client from Chicago, I knew I had to bring the South, flavor and elegance…So I turned to Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cookbooks for assistance..I pulled out my collection of Rose’s baking books and decided on Rose’s Heavenly Cakes..After further review of my client’s request and my need for a challenge, I decided to take Rose’s Red Velvet Cake recipe and turn it into cupcakes…The frosting was such a wonderful adventure as a pastry chef, baker and as a deliverable to my client’s consultation of her desires for her “BIRTHDAY” order…

So I began by reviewing and editing to exceed my client’s request.

First we weighed the butter

First we weighed the butter

The buttermilk

The egg whites

Buttermilk

Buttermilk

and welcomed the STAR of our show

and welcomed the STAR of our show

such an impressionistic experience as we bake....maybe that's why I love it

such an impressionistic experience as we bake….maybe that’s why I love it so much

The batter was such a brilliant experience to create

The batter was such a brilliant experience to create

With a number 30 ice cream scoop, which is 1 oz, the prepared cupcake liners were filled

With a number 30 ice cream scoop, which is 1 oz, the prepared cupcake liners were filled

Baked until a paring knife inserted into the middle of the cupcakes cake out clean and the cupcakes bounced back when touching in the center

Baked until a paring knife inserted into the middle of the cupcakes come out clean and the cupcakes bounced back when touching in the center

Out of the oven to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the cupcake pan

Out of the oven to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the cupcake pan

After cooling, the delightful frosting is created

After cooling, the delightful frosting is created – I saw a Greek Cream Cheese mixed with Greek Yogurt that intrigued me and I thought what a wonderful depth of flavor this would create, so I chose that.  Rose highly recommended the Green and Black’s white chocolate with Vanilla.  I was so pleased when the frosting showed specs of the vanilla bean that I jumped for joy in my kitchen – TRUE STORY

The white chocolate was measured

The white chocolate was measured

I find that chocolate melts best, no matter the kind, if it is first cut into a dice cut; my technique is to first cut in one direction and then the other to achieve a small dice cut for melting

I find that chocolate melts best, no matter the kind, if it is first cut into a dice cut; my technique is to first cut in one direction and then the other to achieve a small dice cut for melting

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While Rose list a few options for melting the chocolate, I always opt for the microwave version as I can control the heat and end product

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My client requested walnuts to top the cupcakes, and Rose has taught us that the skins are quite bitter and undesirable in a high quality pastry

My client requested walnuts to top the cupcakes, and Rose has taught us that the skins are quite bitter and undesirable in a high quality pastry

In learning from Rose, I have found that the walnut skins can be very bitter and impair the quality and taste of the dessert outcome, competing with the other delicate flavors and textures.  By thoroughly removing the walnut skins, you reduce the negative quality in taste and enhance the flavors allowing them to support and compliment your dessert. Likewise, by toasting the walnuts, you are bringing the earthly, nutty quality to the dessert adding a refined, dimension of flavor.

Rose gives us guides to the temperature, timing, etc… in her baking books, however, I have developed a technique that for me works every time in removing the skins.

Immediately after you toast the walnuts and directly from the oven, place the nuts in a glass container with a lid and as if you were shaking a cocktail, shake for 60 seconds, to aid in the removal of the bitter skins

Immediately after you toast the walnuts and directly from the oven, place the nuts in a glass container with a lid and as if you were shaking a cocktail, shake for 60 seconds, to aid in the removal of the bitter skins.  As you can see, a majority of the skins have been removed

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However, being a perfectionist, I take it a step further and gently remove the nuts from the jar onto a kitchen terry cloth tea towel – non-terry cloth tea towels do not pull the skins as well, I find…. and then rub the nuts again to remove as much of the outer skins as you possibly can

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It’s amazing at the amount of skins that still need to be removed

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Nuts are chopped and reserved for decoration

Nuts are chopped and reserved for decoration

Next the cream cheese, butter and creme fraiche are added to the food processor for blending and incorporation

Next the cream cheese, butter and creme fraiche are added to the food processor for blending and incorporation

The melted white chocolate is added

The melted white chocolate is added

and the frosting is prepared for piping

and the frosting is prepared for piping

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The cupcakes are then decorated per plan

The cupcakes are then decorated per plan

Happy Baking!

Happy Baking!

 

BABKA

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I’ve wanted to bake this recipe for BABKA since the first night I sat down with Rose Levy Beranbaum’s latest Baking Book:

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While she list several options for filling the BABKA, an Almond Filling, an Apricot and Cream Cheese Schmear Filling, I am always partial to bittersweet chocolate, so I choose the Chocolate Almond Schmear Filling option.

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as 25 Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week I did NOT cheat and I followed the recipe as written.

We first began with a dough starter or a sponge.

Mise en Place for the dough starter

Mise en place for the dough starter

There was quite the controversy over the volume measurement of the King Arthur’s Baker’s Special nonfat dry milk vs. other brands; most Alpha Bakers stated that they used Carnation dry milk – as did I.  This type of clarification is one of the things I so enjoy in working with the other Alpha Bakers during the baking of recipes from The Baking Bible; we support each other fearlessly and offer advise as we are able.  Thank you Alpha Bakers!

The nonfat dry milk and flour were weighted for volume measurements and the water was added per the temperature range indicated in the recipe

The nonfat dry milk and flour were weighted for volume measurements and the water was added per the temperature range indicated in the recipe

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After the sponge was made, we covered it to allow the gasses from the yeast to begin to bloom, while making the flour blanket

Mise en place for the flour blanket

Mise en place for the flour blanket

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After the flour blanket had rested to ferment for 24 hours, the other ingredients were added using the dough hook attachment to create our first rise. The dough is measured to gauge when it reaches the doubling phase

After the flour blanket had rested to ferment for 24 hours, the other ingredients were added using the dough hook attachment to create our first rise. The dough is measured to gauge when it reaches the doubling phase

The glass measure is marked to indicate when the dough will reach the first rise, doubling in size

The glass measure is marked to indicate when the dough will reach the first rise, doubling in size

First rise complete. The dough is then deflated and allowed to rise again refrigerated for another 24 hour period; or up to it...

First rise complete. The dough is then deflated and allowed to rise again refrigerated for another 24 hour period; or up to it…

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Butter was cut into 28 cubes and placed in the wrapper on a thin plate on top of a 400 degree oven; Again, everyone joined in the conversation as to various methods for bringing butter to room temperature at fast rates

Butter was cut into 28 cubes and placed in the wrapper on a thin plate on top of a 400 degree oven; Again, everyone joined in the conversation as to various methods for bringing butter to room temperature at fast rates

Nancy takes advantage of her stone counter tops as items placed on the counter will find equilibrium temperature with the stones temperature.  Per Nancy, “… butter gets soft quickly without needing to add heat and risk melting. ”  Please visit Nancy’s blog at: Bread&Cake&More

Both Vicki Granny and Hanaa The Baker prefer the microwave method.  Per Hanna, “… I always use the ‘power level’ feature of my microwave. I used it just this past weekend to bring frozen butter to room temp. It takes a few minutes and patience but it works great. I start with 90 second at power level 1 or 10 (it means 10% power). And then I turn the stick of butter to a different side and repeat.

Please visit Vicki Granny’s blog at: Heavenly Cake Walk

and please visit Hanaa’s food blog at: Hanaa’s Kitchen

Peggy, who lives in Singapore, doesn’t have any problem bringing butter to room temperature as the climate is so hot, …” I usually don’t have this problem since butter soften less than 5 minutes on my counter top…and melts if i leave it longer. But even so, I always cut my butter into cubes so it soften faster..(cos I always do the fridge to the mixing bowl right away). Sometimes if I can’t even wait 1 minute, then I will use microwave, but microwave 2-3 seconds interval.”

Please visit Peggy Peg’s food blog at: diary of Faithy, the baker

See, isn’t the support for each other amazing!

Again, Thank you Alpha Bakers!

Mise en place for the Chocolate Almond Schmear Filling

Mise en place for the Chocolate Almond Schmear Filling

The filling called for cake crumbs; another discussion… I decided on Double Chocolate Cup Cakes for this portion as I didn’t have time to bake a cake for crumbs and well, why not?

I am bringing the egg to room temperature by using one of Rose’s recommendations; I place the cold egg in HOT water for about 5 minutes and it’s ready by the time my mise en place is collected.

The cupcakes and chocolate were measured for volume

The cupcakes and chocolate were measured for volume

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Let’s don’t mention the “Missing Cup Cake”  As Anne Burrell always says, “Quality Control….”HE HE

Bittersweet Chocolate chopped, Cup cake is crumbled and Almond Paste is measured

Bittersweet Chocolate chopped, Cup cake is crumbled and Almond Paste is measured

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Chocolate is melted, and all remaining ingredients, except the chocolate are added and processed until a smooth consistency is reached.

Chocolate is melted, and all remaining ingredients, except the chocolate are added and processed until a smooth consistency is reached.

After cooling, the chocolate is added and mixed well. At this stage, I would love to take these ingredients further and create a chocolate pudding using these ingredients as a base....but I digress...

After cooling, the chocolate is added and mixed well. At this stage, I would love to take these ingredients further and create a chocolate pudding using these ingredients as a base….but I digress…

All of my Classic American Bundt Pans seemed too small for this recipe so I looked and found my Mother's ceramic Classic American Bundt Pan that I've actually never used before. What a delight, her memory lives on though Rose, the Alpha Bakers any my good fortune...

All of my Classic American Bundt Pans seemed too small for this recipe so I looked and found my Mother’s ceramic Classic American Bundt Pan that I’ve actually never used before. What a delight, her memory lives on though Rose, the Alpha Bakers any my good fortune…

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The Chocolate filling was supposed to sit at room temperature for an hour and the dough was to come out of refrigeration for at lease 30 minutes in order to become malleable. So I cut the time for the chocolate filling and placed it covered in the refrigerator while allowing the dough to warm on the counter

The Chocolate filling was supposed to sit at room temperature for an hour and the dough was to come out of refrigeration for at lease 30 minutes in order to become malleable. So I cut the time for the chocolate filling and placed it covered in the refrigerator while allowing the dough to warm on the counter

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The dough was rolled but I had chosen to use a pastry cloth instead of the counter. I was worried that the large mass of dough would stick to the counter, even if floured and I thought the pastry cloth was safer; the cloth however didn't allow the full measurements indicated in the recipe; I will explain my solution below

The dough was rolled but I had chosen to use a pastry cloth instead of the counter. I was worried that the large mass of dough would stick to the counter, even if floured and I thought the pastry cloth was safer; the cloth however didn’t allow the full measurements indicated in the recipe; I will explain my solution below

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Using a cleaned and sanitized fuller for support, we rolled the dough from the top using the ruler to pull up the dough and then a pastry brush to remove any flour during each roll

Using a cleaned and sanitized ruler for support, we rolled the dough from the top using the ruler to pull up the dough and then a pastry brush to remove any flour during each roll

The continuation of the rolling process using the ruler

The continuation of the rolling process using the ruler

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Almost finished...

Almost finished…

The top and bottom ends are pinched to form a seal, then flattened out. The seal is placed up in the bundt pan; well at least that was the plan

The top and bottom ends are pinched to form a seal, then flattened out. The seal is placed up in the bundt pan; well at least that was the plan

While carefully picking up the rolled dough and placing it in the prepared bundt pan, it was VERY clear that the roll was not long enough to fill the ring; My quick thinking solution was to lift the ring vertically and hold it with one hand while pressing into the roll with the other which stretched and elongated the rolled dough to fit the entire span of the ring. Rose had indicated that the dough would overlap by about two inches; I did not have this problem. The dough then was pressed down to form an even layer; My dough was about 2 full inches from the top of the prepared bundt pan

While carefully picking up the rolled dough and placing it in the prepared bundt pan, it was VERY clear that the roll was not long enough to fill the ring; My quick thinking solution was to lift the ring vertically and hold it with one hand while pressing into the roll with the other which stretched and elongated the rolled dough to fit the entire span of the ring. Rose had indicated that the dough would overlap by about two inches; I did not have this problem. The dough then was pressed down to form an even layer; My dough was about 2 full inches from the top of the prepared bundt pan

The dough was placed in a warming environment for the final rise

The dough was placed in a warming environment for the final rise

Unveiled, the dough has risen to the top of the bundt pan as per the recipe instructions

Unveiled, the dough has risen to the top of the bundt pan as per the recipe instructions

In order to facilitate a nice, golden brown crust, 1/2 cup of ice cubes were tossed into a prepared pan sitting on the base of the oven, to produce steam during the first 15 minutes of baking.  The bread was baked for 15 minutes then turned to ensure even baking and covered with aluminum foil to prevent over browning.  The bread was then left to bake for another 15 minutes; it wasn’t quite ready so I left it in the oven for an additional 10 minutes  until the desired internal temperature was achieved.

The HOUSE SMELLED SO WONDERFUL as the bread baked away.  I love the fact that I am a baker and an Alpha Baker!

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Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica

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Brava Rose!

This delicate deep dish pizza pie harnesses the boldness of the sopressata sausage spice layered in a light, rich Italian cheese custard encased in a slightly sweetened, herb embellished pastry which is firm, moist and so comforting to your heart and your soul with each and every bite…..  Tony Bridges

I just had my first piece of Rose’s Pizza Rustica from her new baking book,

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and I loved it from each morsel to each crumb that I didn’t let go unnoticed.

Needless to say, I love this recipe.

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week I did slightly cheat and added chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained of oil and placed in with the layers of sausage but….other than that I stayed true to the recipe.  

We first began with the incredible pastry dough of which Rose entitles “Pasta Frolla”. 

With a correction to roll the dough 1/8th of an inch from the published amount, I was so engaged with excitement to making this Italian recipe.

We first begin with the Pasta Frolla

Mise en place for the pastry

Mise en place for the pastry

Flour is measured

Flour is measured

then a portion of that measurement is reserved

then a portion of that measurement is reserved

The cold, cubed butter is added to the flour and dry mixture ingredients

The cold, cubed butter is added to the flour and dry mixture ingredients

Eggs and liquid is added to form the dough

Eggs and liquid are added to form the dough

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The lattice top dough is reserved

The lattice top dough is reserved

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The remaining dough is shaped in a disk for the pastry base

The remaining dough is shaped in a disk for the pastry base

The dough is chilled for at minimum 45 minutes or overnight.  I opted for overnight which caused issues in bringing the dough to a malleable state for rolling the next day.  If possible, I would recommend making the entire pie in the same setting in the future.

Filling mise en place

Filling mise en place

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

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sliced mozzarella

sliced mozzarella

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The addition of chopped sun dried tomatoes in proportion to the sopressata

The addition of chopped sun dried tomatoes in proportion to the sopressata

As the sun dried tomatoes were purchased in oil, I didn't want the oil factor to mar the end product, but to only enrich the flavor. I choose then to drain through cheese cloth the additional ingredient.

As the sun dried tomatoes were purchased in oil, I didn’t want the oil factor to mar the end product, but to only enrich the flavor. I choose then to drain them; I would recommend using cheese cloth for this process.

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Next the pastry was rolled and measured and placed in the prepared spring form pan

Next the pastry was rolled and measured and placed in the prepared spring form pan

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Edges were cut and scraps were placed with the reserved dough for the lattice top

Edges were cut and scraps were placed with the reserved dough for the lattice top

The pie was filled with part of the custard mixture and topped with half of the sliced mozzarella

The pie was filled with part of the custard mixture and topped with half of the sliced mozzarella

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Sausage and then tomatoes were added

Sausage and then tomatoes were added

DSC02422We then repeat this process for the second layer

 

The top pastry crust is rolled and measured

The top pastry crust is rolled and measured

Lattice work assembled

Lattice work assembled

Then neatly tucked in

Then neatly tucked in and the edges cut

Egg glaze applied

Egg glaze applied

Baked for the specified time per the recipe then the foil ring applied to avoid the over browning of the edges of the lattice work

Baked for the specified time per the recipe then the foil ring applied to avoid the over browning of the edges of the lattice work

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The pie is left to cool on the prepared cooling rack for 2 hours

The pie is left to cool on the prepared cooling rack for 2 hours

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The spring form ring is lifted and removed

The spring form ring is lifted and removed

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The refrigerated pie was cut for service

The refrigerated pie was cut for service

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Warmed @ 350 degrees F for 15 minutes on the baking stone lined wit aluminum for easy removal

Warmed @ 350 degrees F for 15 minutes on the baking stone lined with aluminum for easy removal

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Chioma’s Birthday Cake 2016: White Vanilla Cake laced with Strawberry Juice / Puree burst with White Chocolate Custard Buttercream Rosettes adorned with White Sugar Pearls and a whole lotta LOVE

Presentation

Presentation

Arial View Before Presentation

Arial View Before Presentation

Second "Personal" Cake for the Birthday Girl to take home - Arial View

Second “Personal” Cake for the Birthday Girl to take home – Arial View

Personal Cake unadorned

Personal Cake unadorned

It all started when I mentioned to my client that I was making this amazing White Christmas Peppermint Cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book,

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

The buttercream was the vehicle for my excitement actually.  Rose has created such an amazing buttercream that stands so far above all other buttercream recipes that came before it that it should have it’s own Pastry Pedestal; well at least in my and my client’s opinions.

So my client and I agreed to meet over the weekend as I was making the White Christmas Peppermint Cake that night and it would have reached it’s peak and past it before the following Monday morning when we would see each other again.  So we missed the weekend appointment meeting and I have a commitment to myself and my baking business that NO CLIENT will ever taste any of my products that I am not 200 % satisfied with the quality of each and every product.  So after discussion, I informed my client that the cake itself had passed the point for service, however, the buttercream is available for tasting…

The next day I brought in the buttercream and my client was ecstatic about using this buttercream for a birthday cake that we had been discussing for the last couple of three months as a birthday cake for our mutual friend Chioma.

After a final consultation, the idea for the star cake in this post was blossoming.  It was a mixture of concepts recipes and ideas both from Rose, me and a few ideas and techniques of which I wanted to challenge myself to achieve and thus this cake recipe and the 25 page reference manual I created as a guide to process was born.

The reference manual is filled with:

  • notes and ideas
  • reference sub-notes and ideas
  • shopping list with check off marks for what I had on hand and to record what I needed to purchase with volume amounts
  • temperature ranges and temperature goals per step
  • calculations for each individual cake in volume, weight and grams as well as
  • calculations for the combined cakes and other recipe items with the same metrics
  • a final design sketched vision board
  • tutorial pictures of the ‘how to’s” to reference as well as
  • personal drawings and concepts in my head that I needed to visualize on paper first……

Well I haven’t updated all my notes from my actual baking to pipping experience, so the reference manual my very well exceed 35 pages when complete.

Oh well, the life of an artist, pastry chef-perfectionist…..

So what I envisioned as the finished product was a two 9-inch vanilla white cakes cut into layers with Raspberry Simple Syrup painted on each layer with holes poked into each layer and filled with Strawberry Juice / Puree` staged in symmetrical designs so that when the cake is cut, veins of striking red would fill the striking white cake for effect, then covered in White Custard Chocolate Buttercream, pipped in the rosette design with white sugar pearls adorned to the inside of each rose.

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For the second 6-inch cake, I did not want to produce an identical mirror image of the first cake as this was a special cake for Chioma to take home with her for her own private celebrations.  Therefore I kept the concept of the rosettes to marry the two designs but left the top clean and pipped three simple rosettes, each adorned with the white sugar peals. For dramatic effect, I recommended that we use my darling, innocent angel to top the cake, however my client preferred to leave the cake clean with only the three rosettes as we agreed this would be a more elegant presentation.  So with client collaboration, the cakes were delivered.

NOW, how we got there was COMPLETELY a different experience; one of which I will always cherish as this was a prime example of not only client consultation and mutual agreement of the final outcome but it gave my inner pastry artist a chance to shine, experiment, challenge myself and produce a spectacular product for such a special and important event in both my client’s life but also the guest but most importantly for Chioma.

The moment of celebration as the Birthday Girl takes a picture of her birthday cake

The moment of celebration as the Birthday Girl takes a picture of her birthday cake

What would I change now in retrospect?

In addition to the strawberry juice / puree` filled holes, I will cover the top of each cake layer with a light coating of the juice / puree`to enhance the flavor profile and elevate it from a hit of complimentary background flavor to a bit more complex flavor profile in marrying with all of the other combined flavor profiles so that all flavors are in perfect balance.

I will also be using, which my client did not want for this cake, the Ombre` effect in which each level of rosettes from the bottom moving to the top graduate in color from the darkest to the lightest.

An example of the Ombre`effect has no limit to the colors the client may request:

Ombree Effect (2)

The above cake was designed by the food blog “Cake Style” which may be found on You Tube.

Cake Style

I highly recommend that you check out her food blog and I intend to review her other tutorials as well. Her directions are very clear, precise and informative.

I was very honored that the next day following the birthday party event, that each and every person at the party came to me personally and told me how much they enjoyed the cake.  I received a 96 % hug ratio from all of the guest too!

Here are some of the comments that they shared:

Karen: ” OMG! Tony, that was the absolute BEST cake I have ever had in my entire life!  Thank you”

Jennifer: “Your cake was amazing! The icing was light and airy. I was SO afraid when I saw the cake that the icing was going to be heavy and cloyingly sweet but it wasn’t; it was light as a feather.  The cake itself was so moist. You need to put this on your rotation.”

Lynn: ” Great job on your cake.  It was SO tall that I was worried it would not fit on my dessert plate, but it fit perfectly. The eatable pearls really set off the design”

Melissa: The cake was SO beautiful! When the servers brought out the cake, we were all amazed with the size of the cake itself and also how pretty it was.  Your icing was wonderful. I hate that standard cloyingly sweet buttercream you get when you order a birthday cake, but I simply couldn’t stop eating your buttercream.  And I loved the hint of berries. I had to taste each bite and ponder if it was Raspberries or Strawberries that I was tasting or was it both?  Personally, I could have gone with at least 50 % more of the berry flavor, but outstanding job Tony!”

And from the Birthday Girl herself:

Chioma: TONY! How Grand, Elegant and Sophisticated my cake was! My cakes could easily be transformed into a Wedding Cake if you added a larger bottom layer.  While the cake was so moist, the buttercream was unique and unexpected.  It was delicate and not heavy but very well balanced.  I have never seen one of your desserts completely finished as we have had the tastings with individual portions already prepared for us.  I am quite impressed!  Great job and Thank you so much for my birthday cake.

 

 

 

 

Mine and Rose’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

MAIN

This week, the Alpha Bakers baking assignment was My Chocolate Chip Cookies from:

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week I did slightly cheat and added a teaspoon of walnut oil to the batter but other than that I stayed true to the recipe.  

~

Ok, we all know that cookies can’t talk to us, but my cookies were simply screaming at me when I set them on the cooling rack. I heard them saying to me,

” Now you know you should have soaked some dried cherries or cranberries in your favorite Raspberry Liquor and added them to me…..”

So I have made a note to add this addition to my next batch.

I must say that I really loved this recipe.  I learned a lot and crafted some new techniques ( not necessarily in the recipe steps, but techniques that I applied ).

First, Rose has a wonderful technique for getting the skins off of walnuts.  The concept is a culinary masterpiece in my opinion as the skins, if left on, impart a bitter quality which will effect the taste and outcome of the baked product.

Here’s my technique:

Save your old Pasta Sauce Jars

Save your old Pasta Sauce Jars

Place your HOT out of the oven walnuts in the jar and put on the lid

Place your HOT out of the oven walnuts in the jar and put on the lid

Shake vigorously, yes even over your head, for exactly 1 minute.  Then tilt the opened jar and allow the walnuts to fall out onto a clean, terry cloth tea towel.  Be extra careful not to shake the jar as all of the skins have fallen to the bottom of the glass jar.

discarded bitter walnut skins

discarded bitter walnut skins

Then gently rub the walnuts between your palms and set the cleaned walnuts in a different area of the tea towel. Continue until all walnuts have been rubbed and final skins separated.

Then gently rub the walnuts between your palms and set the cleaned walnuts in a different area of the tea towel. Continue until all walnuts have been rubbed and final skins separated.

The proof in the technique is here....if you look closely, only a few skins actually remained on the walnuts after shaking in the jar

The proof in the technique is here….if you look closely, only a few skins actually remained on the walnuts after shaking in the jar

And VOILA, you have roasted, De-skinned walnuts in about 2 minutes from the time you opened your oven

And VOILA, you have roasted, De-skinned walnuts in about 2 minutes from the time you opened your oven

My second technique was making the clarified beurre noir.

First we take room temperature butter. Rose list the temperature range in the recipe

First we take room temperature butter. Rose list the temperature range in the recipe

Next we apply extremely low heat. Our goal here is only to melt the butter

Next we apply extremely low heat. Our goal here is only to melt the butter

Milk solids are separating nicely

Milk solids are separating nicely

Per the recipe instructions, we skim off the foam

Per the recipe instructions, we skim off the foam

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Here's my additional technique. I find that to clarify butter, it is so much easier at the lower temperature to remove the foam by creating a point on a few paper towels. By applying the paper towel tip directly onto the foam, the foam dances to it and the removal of the foam is much easier

Here’s my additional technique. I find that to clarify butter, it is so much easier at the lower temperature to remove the foam by creating a point on a few paper towels. By applying the paper towel tip directly onto the foam, the foam dances to it and the removal of the foam is much easier

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Well, it works for me

Next we want to increase the heat just to low and now you really need to watch the butter. Please also be very careful as the increased heat will cause the HOT LIQUID, butter to pop out of the sauce pan

Next we want to increase the heat just to low and now you really need to watch the butter. Please also be very careful as the increased heat will cause the HOT LIQUID, butter to pop out of the sauce pan

The increased heat is causing the foam to separate into pools which is to our benefit as it makes it much easier now to remove the remaining foam

The increased heat is causing the foam to separate into pools which is to our benefit as it makes it much easier now to remove the remaining foam

Again, we use the paper towel technique in order to collect the foam and remove eventually 90 % of it while still in the sauce pan

Again, we use the paper towel technique in order to collect the foam and remove eventually 90 % of it while still in the sauce pan

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Per the recipe instructions, we had already set up a measure covered with a strainer which has cheese cloth lined to collect the remaining milk solids.

Per the recipe instructions, we had already set up a measure covered with a strainer which has cheese cloth lined to collect the remaining milk solids.

What is so important here is to rely totally on your sense of smell.  The MOMENT you begin to smell a nutty flavor, you have clarified beurre noir.

Press the liquid through the cheese cloth and the strainer with a silicone spatula

Press the liquid through the cheese cloth and the strainer with a silicone spatula

As you can see, only a very small amount of foam was transferred from the sauce pan

As you can see, only a very small amount of foam was transferred from the sauce pan

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The final use of my paper towel technique will help to remove the remaining foam

The final use of my paper towel technique will help to remove the remaining foam

And here fellow Alpha Bakers, I give you Clarified Beurre Noir, or as I like to call it "CBN"

And here fellow Alpha Bakers, I give you Clarified Beurre Noir, or as I like to call it “CBN”

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I was delighted to find Muscovado sugar at The Fresh Market; no one else has it in my area; The recipe calls for light Muscovado sugar but I was so excited to find this I took a chance and used it. My cookies do appear a bit darker in color than the pictures from other Alpha Bakers, but my excitement got the best of me

I was delighted to find Muscovado sugar at The Fresh Market; no one else has it in my area; The recipe calls for light Muscovado sugar but I was so excited to find this I took a chance and used it. My cookies do appear a bit darker in color than the pictures from other Alpha Bakers, but my excitement got the best of me

Mise en Place

Mise en Place

I found a sale on McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract so I just had to show off my two bottles here

Other Mise en Place

Other Mise en Place

Rose gave us a variation for Melt in your Mouth Chocolate Chips, so that got MY attention; I used the fine chocolate I had in my chocolate pantry - YES, I have a chocolate pantry

Rose gave us a variation for Melt in your Mouth Chocolate Chips, so that got MY attention; I used the fine chocolate I had in my chocolate pantry – YES, I have a chocolate pantry

Kristina Taylor,  gave us a technique she uses to grate the fine chocolate and I quote her, “Pro tip: if you use a micro plane grater, you get double chocolate cookies. “
Worked like a charm! Thanks Krista!

Worked like a charm! Thanks Krista!

You can visit Krista at her blog, http://eatsndrinks.ca/

Here's where I got creative and added Walnut Oil - if you look at the measuring spoon, this was Rose's that I purchased from her and Woody's over flow sale!

Here’s where I got creative and added Walnut Oil – if you look at the measuring spoon, this was Rose’s that I purchased from her and Woody’s over flow sale!

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Dough was mixed

Dough was mixed

Equally divided into two logs

Equally divided into two logs

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rolled and refrigerated with an option to bake in 30 minutes, 12 hours or overnight - my overnight turned into three days but such is the life

rolled and refrigerated with an option to bake in 30 minutes, 12 hours or overnight – my overnight turned into three days but such is the life

I found another technique along the way. I did not find the rolling into a ball step was functional for this dough filled with both walnuts and chocolate chips, so I measure each cookie dough by breaking off of the log to the recipe instructions measurement and forming a vertical log shaping it with my fingers

I found another technique along the way. I did not find the rolling into a ball step was functional for this dough filled with both walnuts and chocolate chips, so I measure each cookie dough by breaking off of the log to the recipe instructions measurement and forming a vertical log shaping it with my fingers

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Vertical dough mass

Vertical dough mass

I then used a measuring cup to flatten out my vertical dough

I then used a measuring cup to flatten out my vertical dough

and VOILA, uniform cookies

and VOILA, uniform cookies

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I found baking the cookies on the second batch 30 seconds less than the highest time Rose listed helped retain moisture

I found baking the cookies on the second batch 30 seconds less than the highest time Rose listed helped retain moisture

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Happy Baking Ya’ll!

White Christmas Peppermint Cake

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This weeks baking recipe was Rose’s White Christmas Peppermint Cake

Currently the cake is in the refrigerator allowing the additional Peppermint Simple Syrup to absorb internally per layer to help keep the cake moist and rich.  Tomorrow I will cut the cake and have more pictures and more to tell you about the taste, texture, etc…

 

This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week I did slightly cheat and added a peppermint simple syrup that I devised based on Rose’s Simple Syrup recipe from the Cake Bible but other than that I did  follow the recipe verbatim. When I get to the simple syrup section below, I will explain my devised recipe.

 

For the batter, we started with egg whites at room temperature

For the batter, we started with egg whites at room temperature

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Mise en Place

Flour was weighed

Flour was weighed

Superfine Sugar was measured

Superfine Sugar was measured

I prepared my cake pans with butter flavored shorting, parchment rounds, flour and butter spray and moistened cake strips

Batter was made

In a separate bowl, we added the egg whites, extracts and a portion of the milk; we added the flour, butter and the remaining milk in stages

In a separate bowl, we added the egg whites, extracts and a portion of the milk; we added the flour, butter

...and the remaining milk in stages

…and the remaining milk in stages

batter was divided between the two cake pans evenly

batter was divided between the two cake pans evenly

Cakes were cooled in the baking pans for 10 minutes then inverted to cool completely

Cakes were cooled in the baking pans for 10 minutes then inverted to cool completely

The double boiler station was set up

The double boiler station was set up

Mise en Place for the White Chocolate Custard Base

Mise en Place for the White Chocolate Custard Base

I was so impressed with the quality of Scharffen Berger Chocolates from previous recipes, however when I researched online, it doesn't appear that they sell a white chocolate baking bar. I then used my reliable Ghirardelli White Chocolate Chocolate as I could not find the quantity needed in Green and Black Chocolates

I was so impressed with the quality of Scharffen Berger Chocolates from previous recipes, however when I researched online, it doesn’t appear that they sell a white chocolate baking bar. I then used my reliable Ghirardelli White Chocolate Chocolate as I could not find the quantity needed in Green and Black Chocolates locally.

Room temperature butter melt in the prepared double boiler heated with heat that only produces simmering bubbles

Room temperature butter melt in the prepared double boiler heated with heat that only produces simmering bubbles

Chocolate and butter melted and combined

Chocolate and butter melted and combined

Room temperature eggs are whisked into the chocolate and butter mixture

Room temperature eggs are whisked into the chocolate and butter mixture

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Reached max temperature of 160 degrees F

Salted ice bath prepared to cool the mixture to between 60 and 70 degrees F

Salted ice bath prepared to cool the mixture to between 60 and 70 degrees F

The mixture was cooled while covered tightly and stirred about every 10 minutes until reaching the desired temperature per recipe

The mixture was cooled while covered tightly and stirred about every 10 minutes until reaching the desired temperature per recipe. I did get side tracked and did NOT add the vanilla that was to be added after cooling.  I simply placed the mixture in the refrigerator and went to bed at this point. Ironically, I LOVED the buttercream without the addition of vanilla! Imagine that!

Room temperature butter was measured for the buttercream, which was added to the custard base

Room temperature butter was measured for the buttercream, which was added to the custard base

 

I was a bit taken back as the recipe stated that the custard base would make 34 oz; as you can see, per measure, the white chocolate custard base only produced 23.3 oz and the buttercream called for 28 oz, so I went with what was made and moved on

I was a bit taken back as the recipe stated that the custard base would make 34 oz; as you can see, per measure, the white chocolate custard base only produced 23.3 oz and the buttercream called for 28 oz, so I went with what was made and moved on

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For the peppermint simple syrup, I brought out Rose's The Cake Bible and used her recipe with my variation. Normally, you would add the extract or liquor after the simple syrup cools to room temperature, but I only wanted a "hint" of mint flavoring so, my theory was to add 1/16 teaspoon to the room temperature water before the sugar addition; this was the essence of peppermint would linger but not be a predominant flavor as the goal was to add moisture and not to change the integrity of the dessert. I also used superfine sugar as at this point I was a bit impatient

For the peppermint simple syrup, I brought out Rose’s The Cake Bible and used her recipe with my variation. Normally, you would add the extract or liquor after the simple syrup cools to room temperature, but I only wanted a “hint” of mint flavoring so, my theory was to add 1/16 teaspoon to the room temperature water before the sugar addition and before adding heat; this way, some of the extract would evaporate on its own leaving the essence of peppermint, lingering but not be a predominant flavor.   My goal here was to add moisture to the cake and not to change the integrity of the desserts flavor profile. I also used superfine sugar as at this point I was a bit impatient.

The cakes were cut in half horizontally and the peppermint simple syrup was brushed on each layer; then the buttercream was added per layer, then the peppermint bits were added per layer

First layer with syrup, buttercream and peppermint bits

First layer with syrup, buttercream and peppermint bits

Second Layer

Second Layer

Third layer

Third layer

The top of the cake was assembled and the final decorating can now begin

The top of the cake was assembled and the final decorating can now begin

The cake was frosted and the vertical frosting lines were added to match the picture in Rose's recipe

The cake was frosted and the vertical frosting lines were added to match the picture in Rose’s recipe

and VOILA! The cake is finished

and VOILA! The cake is finished

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Happy Baking Ya’ll!

Cranberry Christmas Bread

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DSC01948Hello Everyone,

I only have 20 minutes to post so this will be short and sweet.  If I have time to delete and re-post during the holidays, I will. If not, here you go!

This week we were baking from Rose’s newest baking book the Cranberry Christmas Bread

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

When I went to my pantry, I had two packages of dried cherries but NO cranberries to be had; so this turned into “Cherry Christmas Bread” for me

After a 3 day fermentation time for the BIGA and 9 hours to make the bread from roasting walnuts to taking the loaf from the oven and letting it cool…. here we go

BIGA prepared and ready to ferment for 3 days

BIGA prepared and ready to ferment for 3 days

Rising time start to finish

Rising time start to finish

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I cut the water by half and added 1/8 cup orange liquor

For the soaking liquid for the dried fruit, I cut the water by half and added 1/8 cup orange liquor

Added 1/8 cup of raspberry liquor

Added 1/8 cup of raspberry liquor

Loaf at final stage of rising for 1 hour covered with sprayed plastic wrap

Loaf at final stage of rising for 1 hour covered with sprayed plastic wrap

I served this with Apricot Lekvar and it was a splendid breakfast.  The rest is frozen for Christmas with Friends

 

HAPPY BAKING YA’LL!

Best Practice: Separating Egg Yolks and Whites

Sometimes I forget how much information I have trapped in my head, culinary-wise…..

I was reading a friends experience in the kitchen in which a recipe of eggs had to be tossed because the yolks broke into the whites, causing the entire egg portion of the recipe to be discarded.

While reading this, my bakers heart broke into a bakers dozen and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to begin a BEST PRACTICES Series starting with yolk and white egg separation.

First we will need three bowls, a scale, the eggs for the recipe and at least two small containers for storage

First we will need an egg separator, four bowls of equal weight, a scale that measures in ounces, the COLD eggs for the recipe and at least two small containers for storage along with freezer tape and a permanent marker

 

It is much easier to separate refrigerated eggs than eggs at room temperature.  If the recipe calls for room temperature eggs, simply cover with plastic wrap and wait until the desired temperature is reached.

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I empty the eggs onto the counter, making sure they don’t roll to their demise on to the floor.

I then use the bowl closest to me to place the egg separator and to crack each egg into the separator.

Rose Levy Beranbaum recommends tapping the egg on a few paper towels placed on the counter for:

A) easy clean up and

B) she finds that the eggs break cleaner.

( I can’t recall where I read this, in one of her baking books, her blog or somewhere else, but I do recall it was from Rose.)

The main technique here is to use four bowls:

  1. The bowl in the far background is used to calibrate or tare the weight.  Turn the scale on and place the empty bowl on the scale.  Select the Tare feature to reset the weight to zero.  Place your first bowl containing the egg yolk or whites onto the scale and remove the empty bowl.  Repeat for either the yolks and the whites.
  2. The bowl pictured with the egg separator is used as a “cracking station” and each egg is separated there AWAY from the clean egg yolks and egg whites in the remaining two bowls
  3. The third bowl is for the yolks
  4. The forth bowl is for the whites

The Example Recipe calls for:

YOLKS 2.6 oz

WHITES 5.3 oz

using 4 large eggs, plus one additional egg white

After separating four eggs, I only had .51 oz. I find it is better to lean on the "heavy" side rather than the lighter weight, so....

After separating the eggs, I only had .51 oz. I find it is better to lean on the “heavy” side rather than the lighter weight, so….

I cracked another egg and added until the scale tipped above my goal; you can always remove the whites to reach your desired recipe goal

I cracked another egg and added until the scale tipped above my goal; you can always remove the whites to reach your desired recipe goal

same with the yolks

same with the yolks

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I then pour any excess yolk / white into it's own freezer container using the same tare technique and I weigh the egg product, date it and store it away for another use

I then pour any excess yolk / white into it’s own freezer container using the same tare technique and I weigh the egg product, date it and store it away for another use

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I then keep my “Martha Stewart inventory” of egg products by date on my freezer door

I sure hope that you have found this technique to be helpful! 

Please let me know if you have any baking questions at:

OneCrumbAtAThyme@comcast.net

 

 Please copy and paste my email address above to your email – can’t get the email address to link this evening …..

 

HAPPY BAKING YA’LL!

 

Sugar Rose Brioche

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This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week did slightly cheat and added 1/8 teaspoon Mace to the cinnamon-sugar mixture but other than that I did  follow the recipe verbatim. One other thing…I did not read the recipe close enough and only made one batch of the recipe not the double amount listed.  By the time I realized this omission, the dough was on 1.5 day rise

I laugh when I make brioche now because I do it so well….I only say that because when we made brioche in culinary school it did not excite me. I recall actually saying to myself, ….

“All that butter and not a slight major difference in taste”

That is until I used Rose’s base recipe for brioche

Rose uses a SPONGE or dough starter, and I always use her optional [1 hour room temperature rise then a 24 hour cold rise in the refrigerator] method to develop the pungently, sweet taste from the sponge development.  In school, we were always rushed and I honestly do not recall that the recipe we were told to use took advantage of a dough starter;

Such a Pity as …

THAT was supposed to be my

Culinary Baking EDUCATION.

I have said time and time again, that the bake-a-long is far superior to the culinary baking education I received in that the details that Rose celebrates in each of her recipes would never be found in a culinary baking class because there is simply not enough time given per subject to focus on those important details.  These details of Rose’s recipes consistently make the end product far superior to the fast and volume based industry product.

Enough of my rant…..

Here’s what we did….

Classic Brioche Dough Starter SPONGE Mise en Place

Classic Brioche Dough Starter SPONGE Mise en Place

We mixed the ingredients either by hand or using the stand mixer to incorporate air.

Gold Metal Bread Flour measured by oz

Gold Metal Bread Flour measured by oz

Water at mid level of recipe range in temperature so the yeast is happy

Water at mid level of recipe range in temperature so the yeast is happy

Sponge is covered while the flour blanket is prepared

Mise en Place for the dough

Mise en Place for the dough / flour blanket

Flour blanket is sprinkled over the sponge and covered tightly and placed in the warming environment for an hour; then off for the cold refrigerator rise for up to 24 hours

Flour blanket is sprinkled over the sponge and covered tightly and placed in the warming environment for an hour; then off for the cold refrigerator rise for up to 24 hours

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Sponge is peaking out from the blanket after the cold rise

Sponge is peaking out from the blanket after the cold rise

Continuation of the dough Mise en Place

Continuation of the dough Mise en Place

Softened butter is added tablespoon at a time until incorporated; I choose to scrape down the inside of the bowl after each addition in order to guarantee full incorporation

Softened butter is added one tablespoon at a time until incorporated; I choose to scrape down the inside of the bowl after each addition in order to guarantee full incorporation

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Dough is then transferred to the oiled proofing vessel and measured by volume, then marked to show when the dough has doubled in size

Dough is then transferred to the oiled proofing vessel and measured by volume, then marked to show when the dough has doubled in size

Dough has reached it's goal

Dough has reached it’s goal

Dough is then chilled for an hour so that the butter will solidify then deflated - the scent is utterly amazing

Dough is then chilled for an hour so that the butter will solidify then deflated – the scent is utterly amazing

The dough is then returned to the refrigerator for another hour

Dough is rolled into a rectangle and then a business tri-fold is preformed

Dough is rolled into a rectangle and then a business tri-fold is preformed twice

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The dough is then shaped into a circle and covered loosely with plastic wrap; I choose to use two pieces of plastic wrap to secure the dough; Notice how the dough rises again in the refrigerator after two days

The dough is then shaped into a circle and covered loosely with plastic wrap; I choose to use two pieces of plastic wrap to secure the dough; Notice how the dough rises again in the refrigerator after two days

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Now our Sugar Rose Brioche begins…..

A room temperature egg and fine sea salt are combined then left to strain

A room temperature egg and fine sea salt are combined then left to strain

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 As I was only using half of the mixture, I still measured the egg mixture so that I would only use half for the next step

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Half the superfine sugar was measured and here is where I added the Mace to the Cinnamon

Half the superfine sugar was measured and here is where I added the Mace to the Cinnamon

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Oven preheated and the dough was taken out of the cold environment as the baking pan was prepared per the recipe instructions

Oven preheated and the dough was taken out of the cold environment as the baking pan was prepared per the recipe instructions

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Dough was rolled into a circle by half

Dough was rolled into a circle by half

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Egg was was lightly brushed on the dough circle and the Cinnamon, Sugar and Mace were sifted onto the egg washed area

Egg was was lightly brushed on the dough circle and the Cinnamon, Sugar and Mace were sifted onto the egg washed area

A clean kitchen ruler was used to gently roll the fluffy dough onto itself; I used the back of the covered rolling pin as a support as I dusted the excess flour off of the underside so the flour wold not mar the spice mixture

A clean kitchen ruler was used to gently roll the fluffy dough onto itself; I used the back of the covered rolling pin as a support as I dusted the excess flour off of the underside so the flour would not mar the spice mixture

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With a fresh, dry pastry brush, the flour was wiped away with each turn

With a fresh, dry pastry brush, the flour was wiped away with each turn

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The dough log was then pinched at either end and at the center seam to keep the dough together for our next step

The dough log was then pinched at either end and at the center seam to keep the dough together for our next step

Dough log is then cut in half along the seem with a very sharp chef knife, the formed into an X and then gently braided

Dough log is then cut in half along the seem with a very sharp chef knife, the formed into an X and then gently braided keeping the spice mixture on the top level at all turns and braids

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The bottom of the prepared spring form pan was eased under the center of the braided dough

The bottom of the prepared spring form pan was eased under the center of the braided dough

The braided dough was then coiled around itself

The braided dough was then coiled around itself

The sides of the pan were put back in place with the wet cake strips and covered with a butter sprayed piece of plastic placed loosely over the pan. The pan was then placed in a warming environment until doubled

The sides of the pan were put back in place with the wet cake strips and covered with a butter sprayed piece of plastic placed loosely over the pan. The pan was then placed in a warming environment until doubled

doubled

doubled

Oven to bake before turn and foil covering

Oven to bake before turn and foil covering

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Perfect Temp!

Perfect Temp!

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White Chocolate Club Med Bread

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This week our assigned recipe was the

White Chocolate Club Med Bread

The loaf’s STRUCTURE was quite hardy and firm.

The TEXTURE was dense with wispy, sweet holes created by the white chocolate bits added to the internal dough layer …

But the OVERALL TASTE was truly outstanding.  

_______________________________

“Like all of Rose’s breads, you cut a little sliver and your taste buds rejoice and dance in your mouth. 

You have a full piece of bread and your entire mouth is doing the slow motion limbo of full-on appreciation”

                    ~ Tony Bridges

_____________________________________

THANK YOU ROSE for such another excellent recipe that is outstanding to say the least!

This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week did NOT cheat and I did  follow the recipe verbatim.

I have to admit, while this was MOST DEFINITELY WORTH it, the recipe instructions were a bit challenging to follow.  We first referenced a different recipe for the dough portion and we used the Cinnamon Raisin Bread recipe also in the BAKING BIBLE .  However, we substituted the raisins for white chocolate and did not make the cinnamon swirl.

After reading the two recipes 4 times trying to understand the flow of my work, it eventually made sense.

Rose converted the infamous Club Med Bread which is given to each guest after their stay at Club Med into this recipe.  Rose’s recipe, while much more complex, offers I’m certain a better end product.

As this recipe is more complicated that most, I would have preferred that a full recipe be published without reference to any other recipe, making it less complicated for the home baker to follow.  I would have also liked to see more hands on pictures on the process through out as the instructions would have, in my opinion, benefited by visual demonstrations.  Especially the instructions for separating the dough into two parts which was the true definition and heart of the recipe, again in my opinion.

But once I’ve journeys through the recipe, I now find it to be a comfortable friend of which I can now visit and re-visit again, now armed with the experience.

~

We begin with the Dough Starter Mise en Place

We begin with the Dough Starter Mise en Place

I like to use water temperature that is always in the mid range of Rose's recipes

I like to use water temperature that is always in the mid range of Rose’s recipes

Dough Starter is mixed with the whisk attachment and covered while the flour blanket is being made

Dough Starter is mixed with the whisk attachment and covered while the flour blanket is being made

Beginning Mise en Place for the flour blanket

Beginning Mise en Place for the flour blanket

While Rose gives options for the fermentation stage, I always opt for hour in a warm environment then the cold refrigeration method for up to 24 hours. In my opinion, this offers such a much more depth of flavor in the end product

While Rose gives options for the fermentation stage, I always opt for hour in a warm environment then the cold refrigeration method for up to 24 hours. In my opinion, this offers such a much more depth of flavor in the end product

The final stages of the dough are mixed in the m=bowl then we transferred the dough to the "warming environment" which for me was an oiled trusted and true large anchor measuring bowl with a tight fitting lid

The final stages of the dough are mixed in the stand mixer bowl and we then transferred the dough to the “warming environment” which for me was an oiled trusted and true large anchor measuring bowl with a tight fitting lid

Isn't he pretty?

Isn’t he pretty?

The dough was placed on a lightly flour dusted pastry mat and then we pressed down gently to form a rectangle

The dough was placed on a lightly flour dusted pastry mat and then we pressed down gently to form a rectangle

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The first business letter turn was administered

The first business letter turn was administered

flattened gently into a new rectangle, then a second business letter form was administered

flattened gently into a new rectangle, then a second business letter form was administered

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While the dough was placed back in refrigeration for a second cold rise for an hour, I used my time wisely and created my Mise en Place for my meals that I will be cooking through the week

While the dough was placed back in refrigeration for a second cold rise for an hour, I used my time wisely and created my Mise en Place for my meals that I will be cooking through the week

I was a bit annoyed when selecting my white chocolate section; don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Ghirardelli, but last week I was introduced to Scharffen Berger chocate bars for baking and I so hoped I would be able to experience their white chocolate; SOLD OUT - so I went with my fold favorite thus far

I was a bit annoyed when selecting my white chocolate section; don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my Ghirardelli, but last week I was introduced to Scharffen Berger chocolate bars for baking and I so hoped I would be able to experience their white chocolate; SOLD OUT – so I went with my ole  favorite thus far…

Ghirardelli

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There was some discussion among the Alpha Bakers as to the size cut of the chocolate; Rose gives two options for the size, but the correct size or dice would control everything in this recipe... so this is my dice decision

There was some discussion among the Alpha Bakers as to the size cut of the chocolate; Rose gives two options for the size, but the correct size or dice would control everything in this recipe… so this is my dice decision

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After the hour cold rise...

After the hour cold rise…

Our beautiful dough was rolled into size measurements per the recipe instructions

Our beautiful dough was rolled into size measurements per the recipe instructions

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This is the one portion of the recipe where I believe a visual explains the intent

This is the one portion of the recipe where I believe a visual explains the intent

The cut portion of the dough was covered and refrigerated while the main body of dough will get the chocolate incorporated through out; this portion will be the laminate around the chocolate filled dough, thus protecting the prize and star ingredient while baking

The cut portion of the dough was covered and refrigerated while the main body of dough will get the chocolate incorporated through out; this portion will be the outer dough covering placed around the chocolate filled dough, thus protecting the prize and star ingredient while baking

The internal dough then is rolled to measure per recipe and the chocolate is evenly distributed

The internal dough then is rolled to measure per recipe and the chocolate is evenly distributed

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The chocolate dough was then rolled into a log formation and covered for 20 minutes with plastic wrap to set

The chocolate dough was then rolled into a log formation and covered for 20 minutes with plastic wrap to set

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The chocolate dough was then rolled again to measure per recipe

The chocolate dough was then rolled again to measure per recipe

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The laminate covering dough was retrieved from refrigeration

The outer covering dough was retrieved from refrigeration

The outer dough was spritzed with water and the chocolate log dough was placed at the bottom to be rolled up

The outer dough was spritzed with water and the chocolate log dough was placed at the bottom to be rolled up

Enclosed loaf, pinched tightly on the underside, not shown

Enclosed loaf, pinched tightly on the underside, not shown

Dough was placed in the baking pan and covered loosely with sprayed plastic wrap and placed in a warm environment for the FINAL rise

Dough was placed in the baking pan and covered loosely with sprayed plastic wrap and placed in a warm environment for the FINAL rise

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Dough risen and placed in the oven on my baking stone with ice cubes underneath to create the steaming environment which will create the crust on top of the loaf

Dough risen and placed in the oven on my baking stone with ice cubes underneath to create the steaming environment which will create the crust on top of the loaf

2015-10-19 02.30.15

This HORRIBLE stain on my baking stone was from our Sour Cherry Pie; I can’t get the stain to go away; any advise would most definitely be appreciated

Loaf has reached temperature, taken out of the pan and sit on a rack to cool for at least 2 hours

Loaf has reached temperature, taken out of the pan and sit on a rack to cool for at least 2 hours

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My loaf got crushed as I was taking it out of the pan - The Life Of a Baker

My loaf got crushed as I was taking it out of the pan – The Life Of a Baker

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Banana Feather Loaf

2015-10-13 17.30.54

I actually prefer baking in glass in stead of metal for this recipe as I found the entire loaf was soft with no hard crust. For my personal taste, the soft exterior more than complimented the rich, billowing texture of the internal loaf.

Therefore, I highly recommend glass for this recipe

Foot notes:

Banana Feather Loaf is baked and cooling – not happy with the loaf shape; I was so worried that the loaf would burn on top, so I covered the loaf with foil, turned down the heat immediately from 475 to 375 for 20 minutes, then down to 350 – internal temperature was about right at 181 almost 190; uncovered and baked for 8 more minutes and increased the temperature to 400 degrees

 

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2015-10-13 06.42.43 2015-10-13 06.42.54 2015-10-13 06.43.05 2015-10-13 06.43.13 2015-10-13 06.43.24

So here’s what happened…..

This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s bread book:

The Bread Bible Picture

HOW IT WORKS:

Each month we as Alpha Bread Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s Bread baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week did NOT cheat and I did   follow the recipe verbatim.

WE FIRST MAKE THE SPONGE:

 

Mise en Place

Mise en Place

Water should be between 70 degrees and 90 degrees; I always shoot for around the low 80's for a happy medium temperature

Water should be between 70 degrees and 90 degrees; I always shoot for around the low 80’s for a happy medium temperature

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With the whisk beater, we mix all of the Mise en Place ingredients by measure per recipe

With the whisk beater, we mix all of the Mise en Place ingredients by measure per recipe

The sponge then sits in an ideal external environment per Rose's recommendations for an hour covered. Notice the rubber band I've added so to create a supportive internal environment

The sponge then sits in an ideal external environment per Rose’s recommendations for an hour covered. Notice the rubber band I’ve added so to create a supportive internal environment

Mise en Place for the flour blanket

Mise en Place for the flour blanket

I love to see the yeast before mixing with a whisk

I love to see the yeast before mixing with a whisk

Our sponge is now ready for the flour blanket covering

Our sponge is now ready for the flour blanket covering

Sponge covered with flour blanket

Sponge covered with flour blanket

While Rose gave us options for this rise, I choose to cover tightly again as before, and let the mixture rise in an ideal environment which in my home is next to the oven preheated to 400 degrees F for an hour. I then allowed the fermentation to occur for up to 24 hours in an refrigerated environment

While Rose gave us options for this rise, I choose to cover tightly again as before, and let the mixture rise in an ideal environment which in my home is next to the oven preheated to 400 degrees F for an hour. I then allowed the fermentation to occur for up to 24 hours in an refrigerated environment

Meanwhile, the butter was brought to room temperature and the banana was taken out of the paper bag

Meanwhile, the butter was brought to room temperature and the banana was taken out of the paper bag

The banana was the exact measurement I needed - YAY

The banana was the exact measurement I needed – YAY

The mushed banana was added to the flour blanket with the room temperature butter

The mushed banana was added to the flour blanket with the room temperature butter

Then mixed with the dough hook per Rose's recipe instructions

Then mixed with the dough hook per Rose’s recipe instructions

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Dough covered and awaiting the next rise; Salt ready to be added afterwards

Dough covered and awaiting the next rise; Salt ready to be added afterwards

2015-10-12 22.06.15

Dough was then transferred to an oiled bowl with a tight lid for the next rise; the dough was measured to gauge the doubling effect for this stage

Dough was then transferred to an oiled bowl with a tight lid for the next rise; the dough was measured to gauge the doubling effect for this stage

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Dough rose slightly above the goal here but not by much - QUESTION FOR ALPHA BAKERS, is this perhaps the OVERPROOFING that was referenced on the Facebook dialogue? Please advise

Dough rose slightly above the goal here but not by much – QUESTION FOR ALPHA BREAD BAKERS, is this perhaps the OVER PROOFING that was referenced on the Facebook dialogue? Please advise

Per recipe instructions, the dough was then shaped and set in the prepared baking pan for the final rise before baking

Per recipe instructions, the dough was then shaped and set in the prepared baking pan for the final rise before baking

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For the final rise, I covered the loaf with a cake carrying dome

For the final rise, I covered the loaf with a cake carrying dome

And we have our loaf risen before baking - AGAIN ALPHA BREAD BAKERS, does this look OVER PROOFED? Please advise

And we have our loaf risen before baking – AGAIN ALPHA BREAD BAKERS, does this look OVER PROOFED? Please advise

2015-10-13 05.56.55There was much discussion on our Facebook page about the top of the loaf burning; Many decreased the oven temperature immediately after adding the ice for steaming; I followed suit but I think NEXT TIME I will allow the loaf to bake UNCOVERED for at least the first 5 minutes to promote a full oven spring environment;

RECOMMENDATIONS?

Loaf baking on a Baking Stone lined with foil, then the loaf pan covered with foil

Loaf baking on a Baking Stone lined with foil, then the loaf pan covered with foil

Butter was melted to brush on top of the warm loaf

Butter was melted to brush on top of the warm loaf

2015-10-13 06.12.56

AND there we have it.... my sad little sunken loaf :(

AND there we have it…. my sad little sunken loaf 🙁

I must say that I SO appreciate Vicki Granny recommending that I make this loaf…

You can visit her page at :

Heavenly Cake Walk

Please drop by for a visit!

I was extremely delighted with the taste and texture of the loaf….somehow it just disappeared in 1.5 days… IT IS SO ADDICTIVE you just cut one more little sliver and then your back for another one before you know it!

ROSE, thank you again for such a wonderful, delightful, scrumptious, and delicious loaf!

NOW, all you ALPHA BREAD BAKERS, please share your expertise, and ROSE TOO, so the next time I bake this wonderful bread, it will not be so sad looking….

HAPPY BAKING YALL!

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

 

 

 

 

 

Mud Turtle Pie

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I added bourbon to the Egg Yolk Carmel and let me tell you, it is such a wonderful addition!

2015-10-03 00.20.18

I am floored by the delicate balance of flavors. I used the Dark Chocolate Ganache option and added 2.5 Tablespoons of Maker’s Mark Bourbon along with the vanilla which is just enough alcohol to leave a hint of flavor dimensions. I also paired Talenti Southern Butter Pecan Gelato and it is truly a match made in food heaven. Thank you Rose Levy Beranbaum for such a wonderful recipe!

This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week did cheat and I did  not follow the recipe verbatim. However, I added bourbon to the pure vanilla extract portion of the recipe and I LOVE IT!

First we begin with Rose’s Perfectly Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust, of which I adore.  After you make this a few times, it kind of feels like home each time you smell the mixture of the flour, butter and the cream cheese.  The cider vinegar is what gives the special and unique flavor of home to me.

I’m not a name brand person per se, but there are some brands that I have come to rely on for their quality and superior taste. 

Land-O-Lakes butter and Land-O-Lakes heavy cream meet those quality marks for me.  So when I saw a new Land-O-Lakes butter product that I haven’t yet tried, I actually experienced what I call

“Bakers Lust” in the Walmart Dairy Isle….

Just look at it!

2015-09-28 06.57.01

We first weighted our our butter. I used what was left of the European Style butter on the right and added regular Land-O-Lakes on the left; Notice the color difference as the ES butter is deeper and richer in flavor

We first weighted our our butter. I used what was left of the unsalted European Style butter on the right and added regular unsalted Land-O-Lakes on the left; Notice the color difference as the European Style butter is deeper and richer in flavor

 

Butter was then cut into individual cubes and placed in a plastic bag and placed in freezer

Butter was then cut into individual cubes and placed in a plastic bag and placed in freezer

Mise en place for the dry ingredients which were measured per recipe, sifted and placed in a plastic bag inside the bowl I will mix the dough in also placed in the freezer

Mise en place for the dry ingredients which were measured per recipe, sifted and placed in a plastic bag inside the bowl I will mix the dough in also placed in the freezer

After the butter and flour mixture has frozen for the allotted amount of time, the cream cheese was measured, then cut into cubes

After the butter and flour mixture has frozen for the allotted amount of time, the cream cheese was measured

then cut into cubes

then cut into cubes

Dough Mise en place at this stage

Dough Mise en place at this stage

With a plastic glove, the cream cheese is rubbed between your fingers with the flour mixture until...

With a plastic glove, the cream cheese is rubbed between your fingers with the flour mixture until…

you reach a fine meal texture

you reach a fine meal texture

2015-09-28 22.05.48

The mixture is transferred back into he plastic bag and the frozen, cubed butter is a added

The mixture is transferred back into he plastic bag and the frozen, cubed butter is a added

All of the air is released from the bag

All of the air is released from the bag

With a frozen rolling pin, the butter is rolled into thin sheets much like the concept of dough lamination for puff pastry

With a frozen rolling pin, the butter is rolled into thin sheets much like the concept of dough lamination for puff pastry

Continue until thin sheets of dough have been created - front and back of the dough

Continue until thin sheets of dough have been created – front and back of the dough

2015-09-28 22.13.04

The packet is then frozen for the specified amount of time to ensure any warming of the flour and butter through friction have been eliminated

The packet is then frozen for the specified amount of time to ensure any warming of the flour and butter through friction have been eliminated

The liquid ingredients were then added to form the dough structure

The liquid ingredients were then added to form the dough structure

A disc is formed and refrigerated for the specified amount of time before rolling. Notice the beautiful streaks of butter

A disc is formed and refrigerated for the specified amount of time before rolling. Notice the beautiful streaks of butter

Per Rose’s recipe, the dough is chilled per the allotted amount of time

Almost there

Almost there

Dough is rolled to at least 13 circular inches

Dough is rolled to at least 13 circular inches

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I find that my chef stainless steel bowl measures 13 inches and I use this as a guide to know I have the desired circumference

I find that my chef stainless steel bowl measures 13 inches and I use this as a guide to know I have the desired circumference

Dough is then cut to measure

Dough is then cut to measure

And the dough is now ready to be put back in the freezer to bring back to the correct temperature

And the dough is now ready to be put back in the freezer to bring back to the correct temperature

I crimped the dough edges

I crimped the dough edges

Then quadruple wrapped the dough and placed in refrigeration to set

Then quadruple wrapped the dough and placed in refrigeration to set

Next the pie shell was baked per recipe instructions

Next the pie shell was baked per recipe instructions

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As the Dark Chocolate Ganache needed to cool for a few hours, I made this next before the filling

As the Dark Chocolate Ganache needed to cool for a few hours, I made this next before the filling.  Here is my mise en place

Chocolate was cut into fine pieces by hand with my 10 inch chef knife

Chocolate was cut into fine pieces by hand with my 10 inch chef knife

Cream was brought to temperature as small bubbles had just began to surface at the edges of the sauce pan

Cream was brought to temperature as small bubbles had just began to surface at the edges of the sauce pan

Warm heavy cream was poured over the chocolate, allowed to set then stirred to incorporate fully

Warm heavy cream was poured over the chocolate, allowed to set then stirred to incorporate fully; then covered for a few hours to begin the first set

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Roasted pecans were measured for the fillling

Roasted pecans were measured for the filling

Filling ingredients were added to simmer until the goal temperature was reached

Filling ingredients were added to simmer until the goal temperature was reached

Filling was strained

Filling was strained

Flavorings added

Flavorings added

Pie shell prepared with pecans

Pie shell prepared with pecans

Filling added then baked for the final time to set the filling

Filling added then baked for the final time to set the filling

Cooked filling cooled for the allotted amount of time

Cooked filling cooled for the allotted amount of time

Cooled ganache was added and spread per recipe instructions

Cooled ganache was added and spread per recipe instructions

2015-10-02 00.24.20

After the pie finished the final ganache set over night under the cake dome, VOILA

After the pie finished the final ganache set over night under the cake dome, VOILA

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2015-10-02 00.26.05 2015-10-02 00.26.33 2015-10-02 00.26.47 2015-10-02 00.26.59

2015-10-02 20.43.47 2015-10-02 20.43.55 2015-10-02 20.44.14 2015-10-02 20.44.23

Next I decided to top off this delicious pie with Talenti Southern Pecan Gelato

Next I decided to top off this delicious pie with Talenti Southern Pecan Gelato

2015-10-03 00.20.08 2015-10-03 00.20.182015-10-03 00.21.02 2015-10-03 00.21.092015-10-03 00.21.35 2015-10-03 00.21.41

PEPPARKAKORS

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2015-09-13 15.59.02

Rose and Woody’s sweet and savory cookie PEPPARKAKORS  profoundly represents my personal vision for my baking business “One Crumb At A Thyme”.  Our daily goal is to produce a series of desserts which:

Define the marriage of sweet and savory in desserts form by creating the union of unique flavor combinations that promise to:

Excite your pallet, intrigue your mind, uniquely satisfy your taste buds while nourishing your soul’s deepest desire taste-wise in each and every unique bite.

This recipe meets my criteria for success for me and my business.  Therefore, effective immediately, I will be adding this recipe ( with my personal additions ) as an option in my product line.

PEPPARKARORS is a cousin to my Speculoos Chocolate Bar; similarities will be discussed in full in the summary below.

 

This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

 

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

 

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week did cheat and I did  not follow the recipe verbatim. However, I added a unique blend of ingredients complimenting the vision for my product line.

Let the baking begin:

Mise en Place

Mise en Place

First, we measured the flour and spices

First, we measured the flour and spices

Next, we measured per recipe a cardboard cylinder to hold the dough during the freezing process

Next, we measured per recipe a cardboard cylinder to hold the dough during the freezing process

The length of the cylinder was also measured so that it could be divided into fourths

The length of the cylinder was also measured so that it could be divided into fourths

A serrated knife was used to cut the cylinder

A serrated knife was used to cut the cylinder

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The recipe called for Light Molasses, however I only had dark; Therefor, my adjustment was to divide the difference between the dark molasses on hand and to fill the void with golden syrup

The recipe called for Light Molasses, however I only had dark; Therefore, my adjustment was to divide the difference between the dark molasses on hand and to fill the void with golden syrup

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Butter, sugar, molasses and syrup were blended until fully incorporated

Butter, sugar, molasses and syrup were blended until fully incorporated

Our flour mixture was added

Our flour mixture was added

And mixed until the desired texture was reached

And mixed until the desired texture was reached

The dough was then formed into a 5 x 4 rectangle

The dough was then formed into a 5 x 4 rectangle

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And refrigerated, loosely wrapped in plastic wrap until the desired temperature of the dough was reached

And refrigerated, loosely wrapped in plastic wrap until the desired temperature of the dough was reached

The dough was divided into fourths, wrapped in plastic wrap and molded into each of the four molds we made earlier.

The dough was then frozen until the desired temperature was reached

The dough was then frozen until the desired temperature was reached

The sheet pans were prepared per instruction and I added a step by placing the sheet pans along with my marble pastry board in the freezer so that the dough would maintain its cold temperature during cutting

The sheet pans were prepared per instruction and I added a step by placing the sheet pans along with my marble pastry board in the freezer so that the dough would maintain its cold temperature during cutting

The dough was cut into cookies per the recipe instruction.

The dough was cut into cookies per the recipe instruction.

I found that from one roll, there was only half the amount of dough for one cookie. I baked it anyway to experiment on the difference in texture compared to the 1/8th inch standard cookie and MY MY MY was it ever so tasty.

Note to self to experiment further….

15 to 17 cookies were placed per cookie sheet. Demerara Sugar and gold leaf were added to the cookie before baking. I found it best with cookie dough to return the prepared sheet pan to the freezer for 10 minutes prior to baking

15 to 17 cookies were placed per cookie sheet. Demerara Sugar and gold leaf were added to the cookie before baking. I found it best with cookie dough to return the prepared sheet pan to the freezer for 10 minutes prior to baking

Cookies were rotated half way through cooking to ensure even baking

Cookies were rotated half way through cooking to ensure even baking

Two cooling racks were prepared as a cooling station. The baked cookies rested on one rack per the recipe instructions and then transferred EVER so gently, as the cookies have set just enough for transfer, to the second rack for complete cooling

Two cooling racks were prepared as a cooling station. The baked cookies rested on one rack per the recipe instructions and then transferred EVER so gently, as the cookies have set just enough for transfer, to the second rack for complete cooling

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Now for the Tasting…..

Erica loved the cookies and listed a few dry wines that she would like to try with these

Erica loved the cookies and listed a few dry wines that she would like to try with these

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Melissa is getting ready to place her order for Christmas

Melissa was impressed with the difference between the cookie with and without the goat cheese, ” I like them both. I get different notes with each.”

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Melissa is ready to place her order for Christmas

Melissa is ready to place her order for Christmas

All Nina could say was, " OH TONY!"

All Nina could say was, ” OH TONY!”

McHerold was a little skeptical at first....

McHerold was a little skeptical at first….

But after he tasted them, his smile tells a different story

But after he tasted them, his smile tells a different story

© Tony Bridges and One Crumb at a Thyme, 2014

Flaky Cream Cheese Scones

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This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

 

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

 

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week did not I cheat and I did  follow the recipe verbatim.

I made these delicious scones for a get together with friends this week and made them the day of the event.  I did not have the time to create the Raspberry Butterscotch sauce that was to be laced on top of the scones but, I did begin the process.

I was enamored by the Raspberry Sauce we created earlier in the book when we made the Red Velvet Rose.  While I complained quite a bit at the lengthy process, I fell in L O V E with the superb taste and quality of the finished sauce.  So, KNOWING ME, I ADDED to the process for creating a “berry sauce”:

Here’s what I did:

I had previously purchased raspberries when I saw a beautiful selection earlier this summer and simply froze them for later use.

I added about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of lemon zest that I had frozen. Then I added about a teaspoon of extra fine sugar.

I place the fruit in the green strainer which is placed in a ceramic baking dish to catch all of the juices that will be released.

I cover the strainer with a plastic covering with a stretch band to lock in the aromas of the mascaraing fruit.

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I then get one of those extremely large travel zip lock bags to encase everything in order to lock in the gases released during the process pictured below:

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The aroma and experience of the unveiling after the fruit releases it’s juices is simply amazing and I find this helps in developing the rich quality of the fruit itself in the finished sauce product.

NOW for the scones themselves…….

DSC00991After measuring, I did not have enough dried blueberries for the recipe so I looked and found dried cherries that I added.

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Dried fruit was chopped per the recipe directions and set aside

Dried fruit was chopped per the recipe directions and set aside

Land-O-Lakes butter, Cream Cheese and Land-O-Lakes heavy cream were measured per the recipe and placed back in the refrigerator per the recipe instructions

Land-O-Lakes butter, Cream Cheese and Land-O-Lakes heavy cream were measured per the recipe and placed back in the refrigerator per the recipe instructions

DSC00997 DSC00998 DSC00999The heavy cream was actually placed in the bowl of the stand mixer along with the whisk attachment to chill as well – the recipe stated 15 minutes for the cream, but I just let it all chill for 30 minutes.

Scone Mise en Place

Scone Mise en Place

Lemon zested and loosely packed

Lemon zested and loosely packed

Lemon Zest added to the dry mixture

Lemon Zest added to the dry mixture

To whip the cream to soft peaks, I began the Kitchen Aid on speed # 4 for 2 minutes, speed # 6 for two more minutes then finally speed # 9 for a final 2 minutes to reach soft peak stage

To whip the cream to soft peaks, I began the Kitchen Aid on speed # 4 for 2 minutes, speed # 6 for two more minutes then finally speed # 9 for a final 2 minutes to reach soft peak stage

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Cream Cheese was mixed into the flour mixture with the pastry blender

Cream Cheese was mixed into the flour mixture with the pastry blender

Butter is added to the flour and with a fork the butter is lightly coated

Butter is added to the flour and with a fork the butter is lightly coated

The butter is then blended with your finger tips until very thin flakes evolve

The butter is then blended with your finger tips until very thin flakes evolve

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Dried Berries are added and a well is created to hold the whipped cream

Dried Berries are added and a well is created to hold the whipped cream

The mixture is formed into a loose ball and placed on a lightly dusted surface to roll out into a disk formation

The mixture is formed into a loose ball and placed on a lightly dusted surface to roll out into a disk formation

Plastic wrap is placed in the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan to form the scones; a piece of plastic wrap is placed over the top and the dough is pressed to the edges creating the scone shape; The dough is then placed int the refrigerator for 10 minutes to harden the butter and cream cheese

Plastic wrap is placed in the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan to form the scones; a piece of plastic wrap is placed over the top and the dough is pressed to the edges creating the scone shape; The dough is then placed int the refrigerator for 10 minutes to harden the butter and cream cheese

The disk is then cut into 8 pieces to form the scones; I placed the cut scones in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow the flaked butter to harden to form the flaky centers we all look forward too; later I brushed the tops with an egg was of one yolk and 1 teaspoon of heavy cream

The disk is then cut into 8 pieces to form the scones; I placed the cut scones in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow the flaked butter to harden to form the flaky centers we all look forward too; later I brushed the tops with an egg wash from Rose’s other recipe of one yolk and 1 teaspoon of heavy cream

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Into the preheated oven we go

Into the preheated oven we go

Our temperature goal is a range between 205 degrees F and 212 degrees F

Our temperature goal is a range between 205 degrees F and 212 degrees F

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Here is where the battery died on the marvelous digital camera from

Mónica A Peverini 

and I had to use my cell for pictures.  Notice the color and how blaahhh my Galaxy Note is compared to the brilliant color of the digital camera.

 

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And we are back to digital…..

THANK YOU MONICA!

 

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My friends really enjoyed the scones, even without the Raspberry Butterscotch Carmel Sauce topping

There were Ohhs and Ahhhs as they were unveiled and I heard someone say, “Looks like Starbucks.”

I didn’t know whether to take that as a huge compliment or if someone actually thought I had purchased them commercially  …..

So after explaining to everyone to please enjoy my home made scones, the scones all quickly vanished.

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Someone texted the next day and asked if there were any left.

    ………..I was a very happy baker………

I just love seeing peoples faces when they taste my desserts - THANK YOU ROSE!

I just love seeing peoples faces when they taste my desserts – THANK YOU ROSE!

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Happy Baking Ya’ll!

© Tony Bridges and One Crumb at a Thyme, 2014

Erica’s Double Damage Oblivion Birthday Cake

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This week I have to start at the end and work from there…

This week I baked Rose’s Double Damage Oblivion but with my additions of course as a birthday cake for one of my taste group testers.

Erica had to have a piece immediately upon delivery and a co-worker, Chioma, happened to walk by…Chioma detest dark chocolate and has no interest in any dessert made of dark chocolate, or so she had previously told me.  When Erica offered Chioma a piece of her birthday cake, Chioma replied, “Well if TonyB made it, of course I will try it.

Her first facial expressions were priceless….

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She could not figure out the complexity of the oblivion as she stated that,

[…the texture is very similar to a rich, chocolate ice cream, then I tasted the texture of the moist cake, then the richness of a berry flavor and then a nice back flavor of something else…]

[...I just can't figure it out but it all melded into one luxurious bite...]

[…I just can’t figure it out but it all melded into one luxurious bite…]

I am such a proud baker!

After all, that’s why I came to this party, Marie and Rose, thank you SO MUCH for the invite

I also must thank Mónica A Peverini for her gift of the Sony digital camera that has made all of these delightful pictures possible

THANK YOU MONICA!

This recipe is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

 

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

 

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week I cheated and I did not follow the recipe verbatim.

My additions were numerous but I find that each addition creates such a wonderful marriage of flavors that meld into one amazing bite

So we started with the mise en place for the Chocolate Oblivion:

Eggs at room temperature, Dark Chocolate and a sharp chef’s knife

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Chocolate was chopped in the first direction

Chocolate was chopped in the first direction

Then in the other direction to create a mosaic of diced chocolate for easy melting

Then in the other direction to create a mosaic of diced chocolate for easy melting

One tip I have learned when chopping chocolate for melting is to place a piece of parchment over your cutting board; you have less cleanup and easy maneuvering of the cut chocolate

One tip I have learned when chopping chocolate for melting is to place a piece of parchment over your cutting board; you have less cleanup and easy maneuvering of the cut chocolate

Butte and chocolate were melted together over a double boiler

Butter and chocolate were melted together over a double boiler

Chocolate and Butter were melted slowly until well blended

Chocolate and Butter were melted slowly until well blended

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Eggs were tempered over the double boiler

Eggs were tempered over the double boiler

When the desired temperature is reached, the eggs are then whisked until tripled in volume

When the desired temperature is reached, the eggs are then whisked until tripled in volume

Half of the egg volume is delicately folded into the melted chocolate mixture

Half of the egg volume is delicately folded into the melted chocolate mixture

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Then the remaining egg volume is folded into the chocolate

Then the remaining egg volume is folded into the chocolate

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Our baking pan was prepared

Our baking pan was prepared

and poured into our baking pan with the top smoothed with an off set spatula

and poured into our baking pan with the top smoothed with an off set spatula

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our baking began in the bain marie uncovered

Our baking began in the bain marie uncovered, then per the recipe instructions, covered to steam until the temperature reaches 170 degrees F

Per the recipe instructions, a lid was placed over the oblivion in order to steam

Per the recipe instructions, a lid was placed over the oblivion in order to steam

NAILED IT!

NAILED IT!

Our oblivion then is allowed to cool to room temperature and then it must be covered specifically as the recipe directs and allowed to stay refrigerated over night to set up completely.

As the ganache needs to cool to room temperature for three to four hours, I choose to make this next…

More chocolate is chopped and ground

More chocolate is chopped and ground

I find this is the best way to spread a cooled ganache by setting a strainer in the top of a Wilton bag, stretched over a container - I had a beer mug that worked just fine

I find this is the best way to spread a cooled ganache by setting a strainer in the top of a Wilton bag, stretched over a container – I had a beer mug that worked just fine

Heavy Cream was boiled gently just until there were bubbles appearing around the periphery

Heavy Cream was boiled gently just until there were bubbles appearing around the periphery

The warm cream was added to the chocolate along with other ingredients to form the ganache

The warm cream was added to the chocolate along with other ingredients to form the ganache

Next our Deep Chocolate Passion Cake begins….

 

Some mise en place for the cake was prepared and set aside as the additional chocolate cocoa cooled with the liquid ingredients added

Some mise en place for the cake was prepared and set aside as the additional chocolate cocoa cooled with the liquid ingredients added

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Eggs were added to create a beautiful display

Eggs were added to create a beautiful display

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the mixture was whisked until smooth such as in the texture of a butter cream icing

the mixture was whisked until smooth such as in the texture of a butter cream icing

Our Chocolate Passion Cake was baked and cooled

Our Chocolate Passion Cake was baked and cooled

DSC00805 DSC00806 DSC00807 DSC00808Meanwhile, back at the ranch about 2 days ago, for 10 hours our strawberry sauce was in the makes

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Our cake is cut in half and "doused" liberally with both the strawberry sauce and my choice of raspberry liquor

Our cake is cut in half and “doused” liberally with both the strawberry sauce and my choice of raspberry liquor

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The Oblivion is removed from the baking vessel with the aide of a kitchen torch

The Oblivion is removed from the baking vessel with the aide of a kitchen torch

Just look at how delightful the Oblivion is!

Just look at how delightful the Oblivion is!

The first layer of ganache is applied

The first layer of ganache is applied

The tops and bottoms of the cake are assembled

The tops and bottoms of the cake are assembled

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Here's a tip: As the top of the cake cannot be turned over to douse the underside with sauce, etc...as the cake top would stick to any surface, I doused the top of the ganache with sauces and liquors and set the top on the liquids to absorb into that portion of the cake to ensure a moist texture

Here’s a tip: As the top of the cake cannot be turned over to douse the underside with sauce, etc…as the cake top would stick to any surface, I doused the top of the ganache with sauces and liquors and set the top on the liquids to absorb into that portion of the cake to ensure a moist texture

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The cake then was manicured to a custom finish

The cake then was manicured to a custom finish

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Next, after a dusting with powdered sugar, the hand drawn monogram design for Erica's initials were set in place for final review

Next, after a dusting with powdered sugar, the hand drawn monogram design for Erica’s initials were set in place for final review

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Monogram is in place for dusting

Monogram is in place for dusting

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As a final note, I received a gracious email from Erica this morning explaining how delighted her household was with the Double Damage Oblivion Cake.

Her husband is a chef and per Erica, he will always taste something presented before him, think a minute to ponder and then explain what the dish needs or how he would have perfected it;

We chefs just do that… we can’t help it; it’s in our

Chef DNA

Erica stated that her husband didn’t utter a word, which was amazing, but rather he simply reached for a second piece of cake

Again, VERY PROUD BAKER I AM

HAPPY BAKING YA’LL!

© Tony Bridges and One Crumb at a Thyme, 2014

100 % Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf

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There is nothing comparable to making your own bread in your own home with your own hands…..”

Tony Bridges

This weeks Alpha Bakers recipe from our baking group is 100 % Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

 

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

 

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog. Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: This week I did not cheat and I followed the recipe verbatim.  Marie, I know…..it’s a first….

We began our bread baking adventure by making the dough starter or Sponge.  Other recipes thus far for the Alpha Bakers using The Baking Bible have used a Biga or Poolish as a starter.  However with this recipe, the Sponge Method allows a much faster start for the dough, an hour to a four hour window, compared to 3 days for a Biga to ferment.  The Sponge is therefore referred to as a pre-ferment.

For a crash course in the differences in the Sponge, Biga and Poolish starters, I recommend that you pick up a copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible.

The Bread Bible Picture

As a quote from The Bread Bible on page 30 – 31, Rose quotes her friend Rob Ruotolo as he describes the Sponge stating,

” Not only are they delicious while I eat them, the flavor lingers in my mouth for a long time afterwards.”

Thus, the Sponge creates a depth of flavor both complex and texture-wise, it creates a different crumb that other dough starters.  

The first process I completed was the toasting of the nuts.  Rose has shown us in other recipes the process for removing the bitter skins on the walnut.  The removal of the skins creates a much more palatable product and is well worth the effort.

My adapted process is as follows:

  • Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil
  • Roast the nuts based on the recipe oven temperature guidelines ( temperatures and times may vary depending on the particular nut used)
  • Prepare two clean kitchen tea towels, placing one on a sheet pan and the other reserved to be used in soon – (I prefer the terry cloth myself as I find this grabs the skins more effectively than a plan, flat cloth)
  • As soon as the warm nuts come out of the oven, transfer them to the prepared kitchen tea towel and rub the nuts gently to begin removing the skins2015-08-02 17.32.59
  • Place the reserved kitchen tea towel on the sheet pan just removed from the oven and transfer the worked nuts to the clean towel
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  • You will be amazed at the “nut dust” that is left behind from the removed skins2015-08-02 17.35.48
  • As overkill, I move the sheet pan holding the cleaned nuts to a cooling rack and then remove any remaining skins with clean, dry hands, rubbing the nuts between my palms then letting the nuts fall to my fingers.  Opening my fingers slightly allows any final “nut dust” to fall onto the tea towel.  I then transfer the impeccably cleaned nut to a sheet pan supported by a cooling rack and allow the nuts to cool completely
  • Nuts are weighted for the recipe
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  • I process an entire bag at once and then weigh, label and date the bag of residual nuts and place the nuts in the freezer to increase the shelf life
  • 2015-08-02 17.54.03For inventory, I have begun a “Martha Stewart” inventory listing of anything going into my freezer for future projects
  • 2015-08-02 18.01.35

Next we begin the Sponge.

Sponge mise en place

Sponge mise en place

Sponge ingredients are mixed in the bowl of a stand mixer until well combined.

The water temperature is extremely important as too warm will kill the yeast and too cool will now allow the yeast to properly bloom.

I try to aim for around 75 degrees F

I try to aim for around 75 degrees F

The bowl is covered and set in a *warm environment while the flour blanket is being made.

* I have found that if I preheat my oven to 400 degrees F and place the covered bowl next to the stove, I have created the perfect environment to allow yeast and dough to rise properly.

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After the flour blanket has covered the liquid starter, it is covered, placed in a warming environment to ferment from 1 to 4 hours until the bottom liquid breaks through the flour blanket.

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Next the dough is made.

Dough mise en place

Dough mise en place

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Two rises are needed, therefore the marker is placed to show when the dough has risen to 1.5 times the original size

The dough is placed in a lightly oiled rising bowl

The dough is placed in a lightly oiled rising bowl

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After fully risen twice, the dough is placed on a pastry cloth with only enough whole wheat flour to allow the dough to be pliable and not stick to the cloth.

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Air bubbles are worked out gently with your thumbs then the dough is molded with your hands into an 8-inch rectangle.

The dough is then folded from top rolling to the base closest to you.  As you roll, the dough is pressed down with your fingers to form a tight seal with each roll.  Once at the end of the roll, the ends are pinched together to form a seal.  The dough is shaped placed seal side down into a prepared, greased baking dish.

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For the final rise, a piece of plastic wrap is gently sprayed and oil side down is loosely placed on the baking dish covering the dough.  The dough is then moved to the warming environment for about an hour to an hour and a half until the dough has risen about an inch to an inch and a half above the top of the baking dish.

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The oven is preheated at at minimum of 45 minutes at 450 degrees F with the oven rack moved to the lowest setting. A baking sheet or stone is placed on the rack to warm.

Once ready, the baking pan is placed gently onto the baking stone and a small sheet pan is placed on the base of the oven and about a half a cup of ice cubes are tossed onto the small sheet pan to create a steam environment for the bread to form a nice crust.

The oven is immediately reduced to 400 degrees F.  The loaf is turned at the staged amount of time to promote even cooking and browning.

After the stated amount of baking time, a paring knife is inserted to gauge if the loaf is fully baked.

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When the paring knife returns clean, the loaf is fully cooked.

 

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The loaf is then removed from the oven, removed from the baking dish to a cooling rack and allowed to cool for two hours.

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As my loaf is cooling now, I will post pictures of the sliced product tomorrow, so please come back to visit and sit a spell.  I plan on stopping by the market tomorrow and purchasing cheese to spread on the cut loaf.  Rose recommends a blue cheese.  I will share my selection tomorrow.

Please leave your comments as they are always welcomed!

Until tomorrow ……

HAPPY BAKING YA’LL!

 8/4/15

SO….I stopped by Harry’s Farmer’s Market and decided on a local goats milk cheese called, “Fresh Chevre Plain Capra Gla”.  The taste is very acidic, tart and tangy, smooth and creamy and a PERFECT match for this wonderful Walnut Loaf.

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Now, after a day of reflection, I must say…

I LOVE THIS BREAD!

I am now thinking of the following variations the next time I make this wonderful bread as follows:

  1. Increase the nut volume by 1.5 percent
  2. Change the nut from walnuts to pistachios

HAPPY BAKING YA’LL

© Tony Bridges and One Crumb at a Thyme, 2014

Kourambiethes

 

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This has never happened to me before, but when I walk by these cookies on the platter, I just can’t help but break into a big smile just thinking about having another one……

People, let me tell you….This is one of the best cookies we have made so far in the Baking Bible Project, and that’s saying something as there as been so many wonderful cookies thus far!

 

This weeks Alpha Bakers recipe from our baking group is Kourambiethes ( Pronounced koo-rahm-BYEH-thes ) from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

 

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

 

HOW IT WORKS:

Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog.Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I cheated and added other things not in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s original recipe.

  • 2 extra sticks of AA Butter – Land-O-Lakes
  • fine sea salt
  • zest of one orange
  • orange oil
  • almond extract
  • and a WHOLE LOT OF LOVE

Before I continue, I must thank all of the Alpha Bakers for their conversation regarding the key ingredient and technique: CLARIFIED BUTTER

Rose clarified ( of course the pun  is intended ) that …”when you use AA butter you lose on average 25% of the weight when clarifying. but if you use a lower quality butter there is more water and you lose more.…”

Our goal then was to clarify butter from 4 sticks of butter.  As bakers think in terms of grams, 454 grams of butter then should yield, 340.5 grams…with all of our conversations, somehow we agreed that  390 grams was the goal so I increased the butter to 6 sticks of AA butter.  This turned out to be almost the perfect amount with a tad left over; approximately 1/8 of a cup.

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394 grams of clarified butter

394 grams of clarified butter

Clarifying the butter was for me more difficult than making Beurre Noisette, or brown butter, as it was very hard to see an of the milk solids at the bottom of my saucepan.  The result after straining though cheesecloth draped sieve, was to have clarified butter mixed with splotches of non-clarified butter

Spotty non-clarified butter patches

Spotty non-clarified butter patches

My solution was to add a thicker layer of cheesecloth and to strain 9 different times to capture the splotchy non-clarified butter

Happily, I had my result….

Clear, clarified butter

Clear, clarified butter

I also must give thanks to Vickie Granny for recommending the additions listed above ( I added a full orange zest per her recommendation as well as orange oil and salt to the flour, baking powder mixture) So in theory I only added the almond extract, HE HE…..

Please visit Vicki Granny’s blog site at Heavenly Cake Walk

The clarified butter then was to chill for at least two hours to harden.

Beautiful Clarified Butter was easily to unmold using silicone bowl

Beautiful Clarified Butter was easily to unmold using silicone bowl

The slivered almonds were toasted and chopped medium-fine

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Mise en Place

Mise en Place

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To begin the dough, we chopped the clarified butter into cubes

To begin the dough, we chopped the clarified butter into cubes

Powdered sugar was added an mixed slightly

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Then the miracle happened….

Look at this WONDERLAND which resulted!

Look at this WONDERLAND which resulted!

Isn't this the most beautiful impressionism based on baking reality?

Isn’t this the most beautiful impressionism based on baking reality?

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Chopped almonds and the flour mixture were added

Chopped almonds and the flour mixture were added

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Cookie dough was then refrigerated for 30 minutes

Cookie dough was then refrigerated for 30 minutes, covered

dough was divided in thirds and the first third was weighed for volume accuracy

dough was divided in thirds and the first third was weighed for volume accuracy

Then each cookie was specifically measured

Then each cookie was specifically measured

I found that in all three batches, I did not have the 1.1 oz for the final cookie but .9 oz

Cookies were rolled into balls and then flattened to a specific measurement of height and width

Cookies were rolled into balls and then flattened to a specific measurement of height and width

2015-07-22 00.58.28I found that baking for 4 minutes, turning the pan for even browning, baking for 9 more minutes resulted in our goal of the cookie just beginning to have shades of light brown on the sides

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Two coast of powdered sugar were dusted onto the cookie tops then when cooled, the cookie bottoms were rolled in the powdered sugar as well

Two coast of powdered sugar were dusted onto the cookie tops then when cooled, the cookie bottoms were rolled in the powdered sugar as well

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My focus group LOVED these cookies!

Vikki's reaction was priceless

Vikki’s reaction was priceless

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Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of Erica, but her comments were,

“Yes, the cookie is fabulous. I wouldn’t drink wine with that. I would have tea…it almost reminded me of a tea biscuit, but a little sweeter, and it crumbled more. I wasn’t too upset about the crumbles though…it tastes pretty awesome. Thanks!”

Elizabeth is new to our group this week and her face says it all

Elizabeth is new to our group this week and her face says it all

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REVIEW:

Would I make these again?

ABSOLUTELY

Would I change anything?

I think this recipe is perfect, but I was thinking that the next time I bake these delicious cookies, I am going to infuse the clarified butter with the orange zest and mix thoroughly after the straining stage and before the 2 hour refrigeration

HAPPY BAKING YA’LL!

© Tony Bridges and One Crumb at a Thyme, 2014

Molasses Crumb Cakelets

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Crumb is the word

This weeks Alpha Bakers recipe from our baking group is Molasses Crumb Cakelets from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new baking book:

 

Baking_Bible-thumb-230x290-2938

 

HOW IT WORKS:

 Each week we as Alpha Bakers, are assigned one of the recipes from Rose’s new baking book and we as a group all over the world bake the same recipe at the same time.  Our objective is to share our successes, where we got stumped, what questions did we have along the way, our joys and in some cases our baking shortcomings.

FAIR WARNING:

PER MY WEB HOST, in order to leave a comment on my site, you will need to click on the title of the blog each week.  It opens into a new blog window in which comments are able to be left at the bottom of the blog.Thank you all for your comments!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I cheated and added other things not in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s original recipe.

  • I used both white and dark brown sugar
  • I used 1/3 Dark Molasses and 2/3 Golden Syrup
  • I created my own spice mix
  • I used different baking pans ( see notes below )
  • I love my additions

I am so happy I read Vicki Granny’s comments before I began this recipe as she was the inspiration for the Molasses substitution listed above.  Please visit Vicki Granny’s blog at:

Heavenly Cake Walk

You’ll be glad you did

I also looked over the recipe a couple of five times as I always do with Rose’s recipes and I felt the recipe was a great base but lacked the potential for warm ginger spices which marry so well with our star ingredient : Molasses.

So I thought it through and created my own spice mixture reviewing the ratio of each spice and I was very happy with my final outcome formula.

Mise en place

Mise en place

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VOILA the spice mixture begins....

VOILA the spice mixture begins….

Spice and molasses mixtures

Spice and molasses mixtures

 

We first mixed the crumb topping in the stand mixer

reserving a portion for the crumb topping

Reserving a portion for the crumb topping

At this point, we added the remaining ingredients of which  one surprisingly was simply hot boiling water

The mixture was then processed just until incorporated in the stand mixer and then scraped into a 4 cup measure for easy poring into the prepared pans.

Speaking of prepared pans, the recipe calls for Four 12 cup mini muffin pans of which I only  had two 6 cup mini muffin pans.  I looked online and my local store had the Wilton 24 mini cup cake pan in stock…or so they said

Wilton 24 count mini muffin tin

Upon arrival to the store, I found NO Wilton 24 mini cup cake pan in stock…

VERY ANNOYED BAKER

So I went back home and rummaged again to see what cooking jewels I had in MY stock…..

I came up with these…

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The math didn’t exactly work out for me as the recipe states the yield should be 46 to 48,  1/3/4 inch cakelets, but because of the equipment substitutions a home baker must make, I simply had less equipment and more batter…

SOLUTION: I kept the same volume for the mix but the yield based on the equipment was half of the original recipe at 24 mini cakelets.

The black 6 mini carbon steel tin worked the best of the three and cooked closer to the recipe time table than the rest.

The aluminum 6 mini tin took forever to cook the cakelets which was only about 17 minutes in real time, but over the recipe guideline of 8 to 10 minutes.

The Nordic Ware mini cake pan took the longest at about 22 minutes.

Lesson learned; purchase the carbon steel 24 mini muffin tin in black for the best results

 

Two Recommendations:

WebstarurantStore24-cup-steel-non-stick-mini-muffin-pan-1-5-ozThis 24 cup carbon steel mini muffin pan is great for making appetizers, desserts, quiches, cupcakes, chocolates, brownies and, of course, muffins in! The smooth, non-stick design allows for easy cleanup, while small cups let up to 24 muffins be prepared at a time.

Overall Dimensions:
Length: 15 1/4″
Width: 10″

Compartment Dimensions:
Top Diameter: 1 3/4″
Bottom Diameter: 1 3/8″
Depth:13/16″
Capacity: 1 oz.

Wilton® Perfect Results Mini-Muffin Pan

available online only

This mini-muffin pan offers all the right qualities for better baking results.

  • non-stick coating
  • heavy gauge construction spreads heat evenly and prevents warping
  • cooks 24 muffinsWilton 24 count mini muffin tin BLACK BASE

 

With the additional spice mixture, I LOVED these cakelets

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I really enjoyed the two styles created with the two mini carbon tins and the variation with the Nordic pan

Non-Nordik Tin

Non Nordik Tin with crumbs on the top

Nordic Tin

Nordic Tin with crumbs on the bottom

I'm ready for my close up, Mr. De-ville

I’m ready for my close up, Mr. De-ville

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Would I bake these again?

ABSOLUTELY

Would I change anything?

Just the pan as recommended above

This week I decided to forgo the Test Group and try an experiment.

I am shipping the batch to a friend of mine in Texas; so I will be experimenting this week with packaging, learning what works and what doesn’t; review of carrier cost and ease of use; and the final decision is

How did they taste once they arrived at my friend’s house?

My lucky friend; Carl in Texas

My lucky friend; Carl in Texas

 Happy Baking Ya’ll!

© Tony Bridges and One Crumb at a Thyme, 2014