Saturday, May 26, 2007


So, a lot of people asked me about this bread when I told them I was starting the artisan bread section of my schooling. It has recently come back into pop culture as classic sandwich bread. I would have to agree with this craze. Not only does this bread taste delicious for sandwiches and soup accessories, but it also is so simple to make its just ridiculous. Some classmates of mine actually got paranoid at how simple it was. It was too simple, they got scared, and I got scared.

“Really? This is all you have to do? You don’t have to knead it? Really?”

Ya, for all those people who wanted me to teach them how to make this bread, you don’t need me. If you can follow a recipe successfully, you can make this bread with out issue. Of course, for those of you who can follow a recipe and still end up with a block of cement in your oven, give me a call some time and I’ll help you out.



Water 1 lb, 1oz
Fresh Yeast** 1 oz
Bread Flour 1 lb
Virgin Olive Oil 3 oz

Salt 1 Tbsp
Bread Flour 8 oz

Sponge: Add yeast and water and stir with a whisk until yeast is dissolved. Stir in olive oil. Stir in bread flour and mix until the sponge is relatively smooth. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 45 min. to 1 hr or until the sponge begins to bubble.

Dough: Mix flour and salt together, and then add to the sponge. Mix just until combined and no dry ingredients remain. Scoop half the dough onto an un-greased sheet pan with parchment paper. Form into a loaf shape as best you can. (*Note, this dough is going to be super sticky) Do the same thing with the other half of the dough. These won’t rise much, so you can try to fit the two on one sheet pan. Dust the loaves with bread flour until covered. Set aside in a warm, dry area until the bread begins to rise. (You will see a bunch of little cracks in the flour when it’s ready.) Once the dough it ready, put in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom.

**If you don’t have fresh yeast, dry active yeast can be substituted. The conversion is just multiply by .5. In other words, if it calls for 1 oz of fresh yeast, you use .05 oz of dry active yeast.

Recipe from: Gisslen, Wayne, Professional Baking; Fourth Addition, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2005, pg. 99

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What Do Doctors Know?!

A few months ago, a study came out that said that garlic actually isn’t good for your heart. Well, it isn’t BAD for you heart, but it doesn’t quite contain the magical saving quality your mother told you about. I have to say I was disappointed when I read about this because I love garlic almost to the point of obsession. We go through one head of garlic a week. Then it occurred to me; you know what, they are WRONG!! I find garlic is very good for my heart. I have fun smashing and cutting it up, which makes me smile, which is good for my heart. When I’m making something with a lot of garlic in it, I get excited and, yes, sometimes jump around. This is also good for my heart. Those silly medical studies think they know everything. Frankly, I think this particular study is rubbish. Garlic is good for you. Eat LOTS of it!

The reason for this rant is that I made a fabulous Herb Focaccia. It is a surprisingly simple recipe. You just have to want it bad enough to put in the effort of kneading and waiting and forming and waiting and baking and waiting. The Focaccia I made today is totally worth it, and not just because I’m being graded on it. Reason: Well, there are two, yes two, full heads of garlic roasted, smashed into paste, and spread over it. This is where it’s at. The bread is layered with olive oil, garlic paste, fresh rosemary, and tomato slices. It makes one of the best lunches I’ve had in years. The mix of tomatoes with the spices plus the soft, thick bread, makes you feel like you’re eating pizza, but oh! so much better. If any of you feel so inclined. I really recommend making this; it’s a great addition to an Italian dinner or as an appetizer.

This stuff is good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Okay. Okay. The Bake Sale was a bust. I have to say I didn’t really put much stock in it. I can’t even give the stuff away. *sigh* That’s okay. I know where some Americorps people hang out. If they won’t eat it then…well, then I’ve just failed as a baker.

Anyway! The exceedingly large amount of food will become less of an issue now. The corporate office for Le Cordon Bleu has decided that students are no longer allowed to take food home for fear of food poisoning. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I am greatly, GREATLY upset by this. Some student, some where took home some food and gave someone food poisoning. I don’t know the particulars of the situation, but corporate has freaked and froze all outgoing food. Excuse me but, isn’t that why our first order of business is a food safety course!?! One: We are students, and we are going to mess things up on occasion, but this is why we have an entire course dedicated to lessen that possibility! It seems like a matter of trust and faith in your students. If you don’t have faith in the competence of your students that YOU are teaching, then your school has a problem. Two: We PAID for this food. It is part of what are tuition pays for. It is our food. It is our product. It is our responsibility. If they would like us to sign a waiver that says if someone gets sick, they can’t be sued. FINE! I know we’d all be willing to do that. Three: Technically this new rule states that not only can we not take the food home. We cannot even take the food from the classroom. Our classes have a long standing tradition of sharing food fairly often, but now that’s supposed to be against policy. So you know where the 20-21 cakes, breads, and cookies are going to go now? TRASH! Whatever we don’t eat, will get throw away. How totally unacceptable that is? Do you know how many people in these cities alone that go hungry every night? It makes me sick to my stomach how much food is due to be wasted if this policy holds.

So! With that, the student council has begun work on a petition. I don’t know how much help it will be, but it’s important that corporate is aware of how IDIOTIC this policy is and that it should stop!! Thanks much for listening to me rant. I’ll keep you updated. In the mean time, here’s a practice round of my plate decorating lesson. It’s a Baba cake with raspberry & cream sauce. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Carb Addict

There are few things in this world better than home made bread. For me, it ranks right up there with birthdays, vacations, and lottery tickets. There is nothing more awesome than the pillowy softness of a freshly baked loaf of bread. Plus there’s the bonus of a delicious smell that fills your house for hours making you feel as though you may, in fact, be the best baker on the continent. It’s amazing what bread can do!
Today we made Milk Bread that was surprisingly fantastic regardless of the fact that its name reminds me of bread that’s been soaked so long it makes you feel like you’re eating paper pulp. We made four different types of buns, depending on how creative you feel like being. While it is fun to make buns into double knots or (my favorite and most hilarious) “lips” shape, it’s just as simple and classy to shape a piece of dough into a smooth round and give it a cut right down the middle. I suppose it’s a matter of opinion, but I’ve never seen anything wrong with it.
This recipe produces a really light, soft, and golden brown crust. It was great to watch them poof up. The second best thing in the world is grabbing one while they're still hot. THIS is what beauty tastes like. **Drool** Just thinking about them causes... **Drool** The dough it a little sticky, but with a little patience, it should come through alright. And they would make fantastic additions to big family meals. They just ***Drool*** melt in your mouth, ***Drool***especially when they’re**Drool**right out **Drool** of the oven. **Drool*** Excuse me, I have to go.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bake Sale

Alright. I’ve had it. I really enjoy piping out cakes like a pastry bag, but oh man I’ve got to get these things out of my house! My fridge & freezer over flow'eth with the bounty! It’s insane! It’s so insane that I’m sure loved ones are beginning to avoid me for fear being stuffed with 5 different sugary forms before I let them leave. It isn’t just that I want to get rid of the things, but I am genuinely proud of what I’ve been learning and producing. However, for fear of becoming a social out cast with the dearest of my friends, I’m taking advice from some ingeniously resourceful people and initiating a bake sale.

Every week I’ve brought home some sort of delicious tasty that, through the grace of god, I’ve been able to keep my paws off of. And so various cakes are now sitting in my fridge or freezer, simply dying to find a tummy to call there home.

Below is a list of those things which you can by on the cheap for a pastry chef in training. Most of you should have my number, e-mail address, or a mutual friend by which we can do business. It possible that this will become a weekly posting of goodies stocked up in my kitchen ready to be bought, but we’ll see how this goes.

Ready. Set. GO!

1. French Gingerbread (Pain D'Epices)
Don't be fooled by the familiar 'gingerbread' sign. This is not your Grandma's Christmas specialty. The cake is very similar to American Gingerbread, but it is lighter and drier. Still really tasty, though. Two ready in waiting. $5

2. Old Fashion Gingerbread
THIS is the classic. It's heavier than the French version and has the old familiar molasses flavor. Two yummy loafs available. $5

3. Orange Nut Bread
This is a nice spice cake with a hint of orange flavor and small bits of walnuts. Two of these as well! $5

Carrot/Zucchini Quick Bread
This is a surprisingly good bread. I has a hint of spice and brown sugar. It's a good breakfast treat to get you started. I've got two of these as well. $5

Banana Bread with Chocolate Pieces
This is the old classic. It's a really simple and quick recipe. I always have some old bananas in my freezer for when I get a hankering for this. That's why I've only got one left to sell. Heh. $5
4. Sponge Roll with Ganache
Some people might remember this as a yule log, from christmas past. It's really nice and light. It's even better when it's frozen, it tastes a little like an ice cream sandwich. Only One! $7

5. Chocolate Sponge Roll with Creme Chantilly
This is the opposite of the one above. The filling is very creamy and tasty and I could eat it by the spoonful on it's own. Only One! $7

6. Brown Sugar Spice Cake
This is a good spice cake. It's nice to have on a lazy weekend morning. Very comforting. It has a light sprinkling of powdered sugar icing. Only One! $7

7. Orange Chiffon Cake with Ganache
All I can say is...Oh man. This cake is tasty tasty tasty. I could eat an entire cake on my own and that would be totally fine. YUMMY!! Only One!! 7$
So! There it is. I endorse all these products as totally fabulous and worth the sugar high. Also, most of these will be okay to freeze for a week or two if you have an occasion coming up, but I wouldn't wait too long. You can call or e-mail any time. Also, my sister is available to take orders if that's easier for you. Thanks so much for your support and reading my rants and raves. Live fast, eat sugar!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Cake Decorating

I could do this all day. Cake decorating appeals to my meticulous nature. I remember more than one occasion where my sister would yell at me for spreading the cream cheese on my bagel so evenly. I could never eat it until the cheese was even and smooth across the entire bagel. She laughed at me. *Sigh*I still have to do this! It bugs me! Little did we know that this was something of a seed for the growth of obsessions to come. I must say, the trait has been handy today. We’re beginning practice on butter cream frosting, which takes a surprising amount of finesse. Mainly because a major ingredient of the frosting is a sugar/water syrup that you must pour into fluffed egg yolks while keeping them inflated and not splatter 240 degree boiling syrup everywhere. Finesse. The main problem for the entire class was splattering, either that or making a sugar nest across the whip.

As with everything, I’ll get better with practice. I can’t wait for practice. This part is better for me anyway. It’s harder for a sample from a cake to go unnoticed. No more of “I’ll just have one piece to make sure it’s tastes good.”

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Time of the Egg

Oh Good LORD! I have never cracked so many eggs in one sitting in my life! Today was just eggs everywhere. We did a Chocolate Chiffon Cake, a Genoise Mousseline Cake, and a Lemon Sponge Roll. For example, let me point out that the Genoise Mousseline has in it 10 ounces of whole eggs and two egg yolks. That’s eight eggs right there. Just for that cake. Not to mention the fact that I inadvertently COMPLETELY FORGOT TO ADD THE SUGAR. Hem. Which means the freaking thing turned out hard as a rock, flat as a pancake, and lumpy-[disgusting analogy here]? It was no good. Luckily, I figured out that I’d forgotten this most major of all ingredients as soon as I put the abomination in the oven. So I quickly made another one, cracking eight more eggs to add to the empty shell pile.

The Sponge Roll was the only thing that was actually completed, thus it is the only visual you get for the day. :P It turned out well. Not difficult at all. It’s just… it’s lemon…Egh. I don’t mean to offend people of the tart-ed tongue persuasion, I'm just not fond of the flavor as the star actor. It’s always seemed like more of a really important supporting character that you don’t always notice, but the plot would fall right through the earth if they weren’t there. That’s what lemon is to me. I just made it look as pretty as I could.

I do enjoy the Sponge Roll, though. It's freak'n easy. Tomorrow we’re supposed to make it with a chocolate ganache filling. I’ll be more responsive then. :)

Sunday, May 6, 2007



Okay. This was actually a personal endeavor, not a school project, but it's SO awesome that I have to show it. A lot of you saw this cake at the birthday party, but for those who didn't, this in a Dino the Dinosaur cake I made for my friend, Dustin's, 26th birthday party. It turned out awesome! I was given lots of compliments on it, which is great. I did develop that very annoying characteristic of not shutting up about it for most of the night though. I'm sure I started to piss people off when my first sentence was always, "Hi! Did you see the cake?" I tried to calm down about it...but LOOK AT IT! IT'S SO AWESOME!! If anyone else wants to have a themed party of any sort, I am totally up for making the cake. I should go to school for this or something!?
The cake had a butter cream frosting that I adjusted slightly. It turned out a little on the rich side, but still really tasty. The filling was a fudge icing, which did not help the richness factor, but I wanted to pack a little extra chocolate goodness in. The actual cake was also chocolate. I found the recipe online some place last year for my sister’s birthday cake. It's a fairly simple recipe and the cake was able to sustain quite a beating without turning completely to crumbs, which I was very happy about. And it was still light and moist! Yay! If you're ever brave enough or bored enough to undertake baking a cake from scratch, I endorse this recipe:

Chocolate Cake

¾ cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sifted cake flour

1 ¾ cups sugar

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Sift (Yes, SIFT) flour, sugar cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into butter. Add 1 cup buttermilk and mix until all flour is moist. **Beat 2 minutes at low speed of electric mixer.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, and **beat an additional 3 minutes. Pour into 2 buttered and floured round layer cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

** The recipe says to beat it 2 and 3 minutes, but I don’t really recommend this unless you want holes in your cake. Beating the batter to excess like that will cause ‘tunneling,’ which is long holes in the cake running from top to bottom. Just a warning.

Can you tell I’m excited about this cake? I think I may have found my calling. Surprisingly, the fiancĂ©e actually endorses the destruction of the kitchen for love of my hobby.

So! I suggest you all take advantage of my crazy and request a cake before I become the most celebrated cake maker/decorator in the history of Western culture! I like making cakes

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It's a fight to the finish

Can I just say it would make more sense for me to have a never ending bake sale to find some place for all these goodies to go to. And the money could go to my student loans. There you go! Make the education start working for me before I'm even finished. I'm seriously thinking about this because the amount of sweet and decadent bakery items in my kitchen at this very moment are beginning to be a problem. It has become a battle between the tasty, sugary treats and the wedding dress I should look totally stunning in. Who will win the match! Only TIME will tell.