Friday, June 29, 2007
Also, I seem to have made enough puff pastry to no longer find it a daunting task for the home baker. The dough is only: Flour, salt, water, & butter. (No yeast to throw curve at you!!!) Then you fold an appalling amount of butter into the chilled dough, but it makes such a pretty pastry!! I love it! I was actually thinking today that I would love to make this for the wedding, but I think I have more sanity than to try and make 300 o'rdourves the day before my wedding. If I had the resources, I'd totally do it. It's so much fun.
This pastry puff:
is a 2'' round base and a 1 1/2'' cutter crust. These babies are bite size and totally delectable. I made 6 for my final and consumed them as soon as the grade was given. The filling is feta with half and egg, 2 teaspoons of milk, dried basil, and ground pepper. OH MAN. You have no idea how awesome these things are. I may be bias since I incorporate feta cheese into at least one meal every day, but still...it's tasty.
The second puff pastry is filled with raspberry jam, topped with 1/2 of a fresh raspberry, and drizzled with milk chocolate. Also delectable, also consumed at record speed. I have to say I was very happy with todays final. I was deducted only 5 points because my pinwheels were slightly underdone. Stupid pinwheels.
Now I have a week off to analyize past baking experiences and ready for the next section which will be mostly pie's and some cakes. At least these are unlikely to fill up my freezer making me unable to pull out the ice tray with out an avalanche!
Monday, June 25, 2007
It was designed to be modeled after "To Kill a Mockingbird," but I'm afraid it really didn't turn out that way. It ended up looking more like something out of a story book. Sigh. The big thing is that the birthday girl loved it. Which is all that matters to me. I thought the lettering turned well. I just wish I could've given the cake more.....aspect of the book???? The title looks rather like a last minute side note of the left-top page. I was hoping to make it a more defining point, but it didn't turn out. Ah well. It looks pretty nice and as I get into classes that are actually cake decoration related (we have a whole quarter on the subject) I believe my talents will improve and I'll be able to give my friends ever more impressive birthday designs!
My classmates and I are considering forming a group for the iron chef-cake decoration competition they have at school twice a year. I am excited at the possibility, even if we don't win, it's still really good experience.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
This week we made pretzels and that’s just really close to heaven for me. They taste very similar to the ones I have to get under any circumstance when I go to a baseball game, only four THOUSAND times better. They are so fluffy and chewy, it’s ridiculously good. They also ruin me for the rest of my life because now the pretzels at the baseball game are going to make me sad by their lack of flavor. Boo. To make it even worse, we used a grape sour starter for the bread that took 6 weeks to develop. I may not be ambitious enough to undertake that in my own kitchen, but I do really love sourdough, so we’ll just see how we go. The dough is really simple, aside from the starter:
10 oz Water
¼ oz Yeast
9 oz Grape Starter
20 oz Bread Flour
1 Tbsp Malt or Honey
2 tsp Salt
You mix, let it rise, form into pretzels, rise again, and bake. To help pretzels get that chewy crust, you dip them lye or a mixture of 2oz baking soda and a pint of water right before you bake them, fairly simple. Maybe I will start my own sours at home. I probably won’t regret it.
I’m now off to make a birthday cake. If it turns out well, I’ll probably post it tomorrow. If it doesn’t turn out well, I’ll definitely post about it tomorrow.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
And who has the right, as master of the house,
To have the final word at home?
A quiet home, a kosher home?
Who must raise the family and run the home,
So Papa's free to read the holy books?
-Fiddler on the Roof
Challah was one of the first breads I ever remember baking. For the first couple years I made it my mom kneaded the dough because I'd get tired and bored, but it was always fun braiding the doughs together, and my mother would invariably end up singing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof at least half the time. That seems to have been passed on to me as we made two different Challah recipes in class today. I was singing "Tradition" in my head all day. It got a little old, but I was feeling very nostalgic about memories of family baking, so I kept a smile on my face the whole day.
Personally, I think the recipe I've been making since I was 10 years old is the greatest thing ever and doesn't compare to the recipes I did today. My recipe is a lot richer, or maybe I just think it is. So, here's a treat! I'm actually going to post a recipe! I know I don't do this often, but this is one of the greatest recipes of all time, so I want people to know it. Traditiiioonn!
2 Packages dry or compressed yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup light oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
8-9 cups flour
1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water and pinch of salt
Sprinkle yeast over water and mix with a fork until yeast is disolved. Blend in sugar, salt, oil, and eggs. Beat in 4 cups of flour until mixture is smooth. Mix in about 4 more cups to make a soft, workable dough. Knead for 10-12 minutes on floured board. Place in a warm, greased bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and towel and set aside to triple in bulk-1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let it rest for 10 minutes.
You can form these guys anyway you want, in loaves or braids. I usually did an easy three braid, it doesn't hurt or frustrate. :)
Form, cover, and set aside to double-45 minutes.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppyseed.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Best in the City! Enjoy!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Anyway. The plaque it a dedication to the apes and my obsession with them that will never go way. (Even if I do become a world famous pastry chef)
Thursday, June 7, 2007
So this week(over the coarse of three painstaking days) I made the dough, folded the butter in, and chilled the concoction three times over. This may sound simple, but if you've ever worked with chilled butter in any fashion you know that to roll out a slab of chilled butter is about as easy as being given a large rock and told to make some sand. It's slow going and it's hard going. The palms of my hands were, quite literally, bruised when I rolled the dough out this morning. My back and forearms were sore and achy from the unusual exertion forced on them.
Monday, June 4, 2007
With the above picture in mind, consider what happens everyday. Towards the end of class, when golden brown things are coming out of the oven and your sweet tooth starts to beckon, think of how hard it would be for you to not sit down and just have a taste.
P.S. Interesting fact about these puppies. They are more of a cake donut that a true donut and they're actually baked for cooking. Frying comes in for presentation, it's just to get a brown color. Vanity. Vanity.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
It’s been hard to keep up on the blogging recently, sorry. Between work, school, and the slow development of a social life, it’s been rather busy.
I did want to touch on one thing that I made last quarter. We made a simple Devils Food Cake about a month ago that had a more than simple flavor. It was phenomenal. This cake was so rich, so chocolaty, so smooth that almost makes you melt. I had a great time decorating it as well (surprise, surprise). It was given a simple ganache bath (maybe 2 or 3 baths, hehe) and white chocolate decorations that I came up with myself.
Isn’t it beautiful! I was very excited for this cake. I planned on giving it to one of my friends for her upcoming birthday. I was so proud at the awesomeness of this cake, it was unreal. I even made two trips out to the car so I could carry it safely home. Only, with two mindless steps in the wrong direction, to have this happen:
I screamed. I cried. I threw such a tantrum my cats had to go hide under the couch until I was safely removed from the house. I had put the cake too perilously close to the edge of the counter and turned to close the back door, forgetting that my backpack was still on; I knocked the cake upside down onto the floor-still in its cake holder. There is nothing so frustrating as to spend hours working on perfecting something, just to have it smash to the ground. I find my tears are justified in this.
So, I wanted to read a poem I found online in honor of this, most admirable cake. Hemm..
The chocolaty pillow rests on my plate,
The sugary brown frosting,
I can’t wait, To dive into my plate.
I couldn’t eat another bite but,
It’s taunting me,
Staring with a sweet glare,
Just saying, “Eat me, eat me”.
Finally I decide,
To make a sacrifice,
To gain some weight,
And to eat the cake.
By Lucas Lee
Fair Well beautiful cake, we hardly knew you.