Friday, October 30, 2009

Pugliese from BBA


I do not know where to find durum flour so I had to make do with semolina.

This, below, I call "Biga Bread." as the I had a cup of extra biga. I threw it into the oven at 500 and this came out. It did not have the nice holes and texture of the "Poolish Bread" I previously experimented with but it did have a slightly richer flavor. I suspect that on their own, poolish and biga are just partially fermented. It is only when it finishes rising together with the rest of the dough that the full affect it has on the finished product is evident.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Heavenly Cake - Almond Shamah Chiffon


Mis en place:

"The Ez Man" was with me for moral support.

I used pre ground almonds and toasted them. I did not see the point in grinding them.

I tried to take the advice of fellow 'Heavenly Cake Baker' ButterYum and fold the parchment into eights before cutting. I was rewarded with this nice snow-flake:

The second time around I got it right though, as Shayna (who was supposed to be sleeping!) demonstrates.

I do not know why I did not just mix this by hand since the almonds were already ground...

The infamous "soft-peak"

Stiff peaks. Reminds me of the time when I was in a cave in the California Redwoods and the tour guide said, "when trying to remember which are stalactites and which are stalagmites just remember: when the mites go up the tites (tights) go down..."

Mix mix...

After first iteration...

I forgot to leave the wax paper on but the only reason I can think of doing that is for extra support. Luckily, the cakes were fairly sturdy.

I do not know why the instructions say to wait until there is a rolling boil with the sugar syrup. The sugar seemed melted and incorporated well before that. I also could not bring myself to dilute the sugar syrup by adding more water, even though there was still less than a cup. There seemed to be plenty anyways, although I did use it all up.

I could only find preserves. So I warmed it up to make it more liquid-y.

Then pushed through a sieve to get out the pits. I did not measure but it looks like it measured just about right.

Again, I used Rich's whip to keep the cake parve...

I think I should have pressed down in the middle to even out the cream. I dunno, 3/4 of the cream in the middle, as indicated, seems like a bit much... :/

...and Voila! The cake itself was really delicious! Especially with the syrup. I could have eaten it on its on without the whip cream. The whip cream was unique in its own right and the flavors of it and the cake seemed to juxtapose each other nicely, as did the walnuts of the last (apple upside down) cake. I would say, again, that the whip cream was a bit intense for my taste (next time I would use less preserves as there was more than enough whipped cream) and the tartness of the preserves could have used a bit of sugar to offset it.

I have a little quandary as to what kind of pan to use for the next cake, as I will have to make it dairy. The suggested pans will not fit in my toaster. If only the two half's of the Nordik-wear pan were not connected, oh well. I have amongst my dairy-only utensils: a 6 cup pound cake pan, a nine inch round or mini-cupcakes (each cupcake holds about 1/2 cup, and I suppose I would have to fill it only 3/4 quarters full or something, not sure.)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Saffron Challah


Based on Mark Bittman's Saffron infused Challah Recipe.

I do not think the saffron flavor really came through. There most be some way to bring it out more, maybe by sauteing the saffron or something.

I found these instructions on the web somewhere. Maybe I will try it next time...

"To bring out the flavor (safranal) in the saffron, pull, tear, crumble or cut as best you can and toast it carefully in a heated dry iron pan set over a medium heat; be careful not to burn it. It will darken, become fragrant and brittle. Now is the time to grind it in a small mortar and pestle.

Before using this ground saffron, at the end of cooking the object dish, let it soak in a Tblsp of an appropriate cool to room temperature liquid for 45-60 minutes. In truth, it would be optimal to prepare the saffron a day ahead, and let the ground saffron to soak in an appropriate liquid in the refrigerator, or at room temperature, as might be appropriate, overnight."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heavenly Cake - Apple Upside-Down Cake


My wife asked me to make this one non-dairy (parve) so we could have it after a meat meal. I used Margarine, Toffuti better than sour cream and Rich's whip instead of the called for dairy ingredients. We think it probably would have tasted better dairy, but it was still pretty darn good!

Mise en place:

Using the melon baller:

I used Ginger Gold apples for this recipe. I almost always use dark brown sugar instead of light brown. I just like the taste.

However, this caused a problem. How do you know if the sugar has turned amber if it already is amber to start with!? I just measured it by the bubbling instructions and it seemed to come out O.K.

Dip the apple in the amber...

I skinned the nuts somewhat, maybe I should not have but they still tasted great.

Eggs and what not:

Mix mix...

Ok. I may get some flack for this but here it goes. Here is my trick to avoid sifting the flour. I just simply can not be bothered to deal with the mess that sifting entails. I did it once and asked myself, "I wonder what it looks like if you do bang it on the table." This is what it looked like:

Its about 1/6 or so less. This also about matches the measurements that Rose herself makes in her white velvet cake video:

The difference between 4.2 ounces and 3.6 is just about 15% or, 1/6 difference. I have used this trick a number of times with Roses recipes and the cake texture has come out nice and delicate every time. Go ahead, bring it on me you sallow scale weighers!

Mix Mix...

My first cake strip attempt:

It still had a little convex in the middle but my plates are slightly concave so it fit perfectly.

With the nuts (note the shot glass...)

Ok, the Rich's Whip has an advantage, it did not decompose after 6 hours as Rose suggests the heavy cream might do. However, the 1/2 cup of cream with bourbon was way too intense! I added about another 1/2 a cup of Rich's whip (the rest of the container) and added 1 Table Spoon of sugar. Perfecto!

Looking forward to the next cake. :)

Had to fuss with the HTML a bit to get the pictures in the right order

Multi Color Chip Cookies


Multi Color Chip cookies, based on the recipe on the back of the Wondra box. Yum!

Potato Rosemary (and garlic) Bread

From BBA

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Ok. That's all my old stuff. I will try to be a little more detailed when I attempt the Heavenly cakes (coming soon) :)
You know you have been baking too much when you look at these and see soft peaks (egg whites...)

Rye Bread using clear flour approximation

We think this came out really good but we were eating it in the pouring rain in the Sukkah and it was sort of hard to tell...

In the background you can see a graybeh. :)

Spelt Challah

Spelt Challah, my new Etrog and my favorite Pinot Noir for the Holiday

Portuguese Sweet bread

BBA  (Hawaiian bread) Challah
Rose's Golden Almond Cake
Here is the clear flour approximation. The stuff on the right is the left over bran. This is what happens with high quality whole wheat flour. I also tried it with some low quality whole wheat flour and it appears that maybe 3/4 of it was bran instead of 1/4 of it, like here.
Oats, bran and carob chip cookies. I used the left over bran from sifting the whole wheat flour to make these...
I call this "poolish bread" I made too much poolish for the baguette recipe so I threw what was left in the oven at 500 degrees. It had a great texture with lots of big holes but was somewhat flavorless. It still was great together with some baba-ganoush...
BBA Poolish Baguettes (I approximated clear flour by sifting out the bran from whole wheat...)
BBA pizza recipe