Saturday, October 27, 2012

Make shift 'couch' method baguettes.


Still trying very hard to get my baguettes shaped properly. I have been making a makeshift 'couch' out of a hand towel dusted with flour. Make sure you have some 'bookends' to keep them in place.

I covered it with plastic bags to rise. I still can't get these to look proper, but its much better than with out the 'couch'. :/ Here you can see the baguettes peeking out. 

Sorry, I don't have a picture of a finished baguette.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Prep-ing the yeast in the flour bowl.


This is something I figured out I thought I would share.

Even though I like to use instant yeast over active dry, I ended up with a big bag of the dry stuff. It is nice to be able to mix it with the dry ingredients. I also found it frustrating to prep it in a separate bowl first and then have a hard time getting all the yeast particles off the rim. 

First of all, many recipes tell you to put sugar in the yeasty water to make sure it is still alive. If you use your yeast regularly, you have a pretty good idea of whether or not it is still peppy. You can simply skip that step.

Second, I realized you can make a well in the flour and prep the active dry yeast right there, in the bowl.

First you put the yeast. This is a picture of this weeks challah dough recipe (I bake challah every friday, for the Shabbat). After experimenting with all kinds of flour mixtures, I realized the all AP flour seems to make the best challah's for me.

Then the warm water. While you are waiting for the yeast to wake up the flour is already in 'autolyse'. Plus, if your eggs are cold, the warm water takes off their cold edge by the time you mix it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Heavenly Cake - Orange Glow Chiffon Cake


 This, of course is a wonderful cake, as are all the components of the 'Bostini' recipe.

I avoided this cake a long time because of the whole 'flower nail' thing. I finally decided to just give it a go with a regular nail. Also, I wanted to make another heavenly cake for the upcoming Simchat Torah holiday.

I thought this might work. When it went into the oven with the batter poured around it, it was standing up, but when I took it out of the oven it had sunk to the bottom. Oh, well. Seemed to come out O.K.

Batter ingredients.

Batter ready. Love the orange zest.

Egg whites. I could not find the cream of tartar (I always say that with a heavy pirate voice 'AR' and a squinted eye), so I had to wing it.

Batter ready. Looks O.K.

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

I personally could not see the point in putting this cake upside down. It seemed to sink slightly anyway and I could have taken off the spring-form right away as it was not firmly attached. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Heavenly Cake(s) - Yellow and White Velvet Butter 'Cupcakes'


O.K., so they are not actually 'cupcakes.' I did not have any cupcake liners so I just made the recipe in regular cake pans. The Yellow I made in a pound cake pan and the white velvet in a layer cake pan. 

The white cake tasted pretty much as you expect a layer cake to taste. The Yellow cake on the other hand was much lighter a cake than I am used to having in the pound cake shape. It was slightly disconcerting. In fact in made the cake 'seem' to taste slightly heavier, though if you paid attention you could tell that it was really a light, layer cake type cake. I am glad to say that it baked well though with out any issues. So it is OK to use a pound cake pan for this kind of cake.

The egg mixture.

The batter from the white velvet. The white velvet was definitely a favorite with the kids over the yellow cake for some reason.

Omi Girl was with me for moral support.

Some raisen challah I made for the sukkot holiday.

I used some left over challah dough for the some of the lachmagine. It came it out pretty good but the next day it was a bit tougher than the standard thinner dough.

Here is our sukka.

My wife used some leftover baguette that I made for her french onion soup. It was delish!
You place the bread in and cover with cheese. Than put the whole bowl in the toaster to melt it. Careful, it is hot!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Marcy Goldman's Everybody's Jewish Apple cake and The Upshern Tzitit Cake


This is a Tzizit cake. At three years old there is a Jewish custom for a boy to have his first hair cut - the 'upshernish'. The boy starts wearing sidelocks and tzizit, as commanded in the Torah (bible) as the official start of his Jewish Education.

The Ez Man before:

The Ez Man after:

Ezra Raiding the cookie table.

Aleph Beit Cookies. We take the boy wrapped in a talit to the bet medrash and learn Aleph Beit with him. We put honey on the letters that he reads so that it will be sweet to him. This is called the 'arayn-fir-nisht.'

More cookies

Lovely danishes. Baking isn't about the food itself really. Its about people getting together and sharing in each others pain and joy.

Here is the batter from Marcy Goldman's Everybody's Jewish Apple Cake recipe. Very easy to make No mixer needed.

My wife's opinion is that, this cake, while not as nuanced as one of Rose's cakes, is classic, satisfying and 'homey' (in yiddesh, "heimish").

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Those who buy bread instead of baking it...

הלוקח תבואה מן השוק למה הוא דומה? לתינוק שמתה אמו, ומחזירין אותו על פתחי מיניקות אחרות ואינו שבע. 
הלוקח פת מן השוק למה הוא דומה? כאילו חפור וקבור. 
האוכל משלו דומה לתינוק המתגדל על שדי אמו. 

Rabbi Achai the son of Yoshia says:
What do you compare someone to who buys produce from the market (instead of growing it)?

To a baby whose mother has passed on and goes around trying to nurse from others and is never satisfied.

What do you compare someone to who buys bread from the market (instead of baking his own)?

To someone dead and buried!

Rather, a person who eats from his own efforts is like a baby who is nurtured from his mother's bosom

אבות דרבי נתן - פרק שלושים

כי תבא

(סו) חייך תלואים לך
זה הלוקח תבואה מן השוק:

ולא תאמין בחייך -
זה הסומך על הפלטר:

Ki Tavo verse: 66
Your life will be hanging in front of you. (by a thread)
This refers to someone who buys produce from the market.

You will not believe in your life .
This refers to someone who buys bread from the baker

-in both cases you are dependent on someone else for life's basics so its as if your life was is hanging by a thread and you can not trust you will be alive.

However, I particularly like the Message of how people should bake their own bread. :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

The coolest way I've found yet to separate out an egg yolk.


Check out this video. No chinese needed to understand:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Heavenly Cake - Red Fruit Cake


Here it finally is after a long long wait to find fresh currants. As luck would have it, no one had raspberries in stock like they normally doso I had to use blackberries. Oh well.

While I did this, the 'Ez Man' attempted to make himself useful by 'fixing' the dryer.

le genoise.

Le genoise on drugs. Any questions? 

Okay, okay, this happened when I flipped it over. We are trying to be truthful here. No one could notice after it was completed. 

I actually thought this was a pretty good method for cutting out the middle. Outline a circle then cut it out horizontal strip by strip.

Yum. The cake on its with with the reduced syrup was really delicious. The fruit was pretty good too, although I am not the biggest fruit-cake lover.

Some cinnamon ice cream. Ice cream is a terrific medium to express simple or complex spice combos. This one had no other flavors other than Saigon cinnamon and it was lovely. I have realized that ice is the best when it is fresh from the machine. eat it right away! :)

Some toasting baguettes. Later slathered with butter and used to soak up leftover penne ala vodka sauce from dinner. They were baked the same day as they were made and they were fantastic! 
Ala the 'retardation of retardation'. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pie and Pastry Bible - open face Blueberry pie


This is my first pie! Also, my first attempt at Rose's pie and pastry bible.

Mis en place (sort of:)

So, I have not had home-made pie in years so I have very little to compare it to. The organic pastry flour was delicious but probably not what the recipe had in mind. I had to use much more than the recipe called for as the batter came out very wet. Also, I did not notice but my wife was not sure what to make of the fresh blueberries folded into the cooked ones. She expected all the blueberries to have been cooked into the blueberry mush with the cornstarch I think. At any rate, I thought it was delicious. :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rose's Baking Bible - Yossele Rosenblatt Cake A.K.A. the 'The Chocolate Pavarati'


Also known as the 'The Chocolate Pavarati', as Rose calls it.

However, Pavarati is very meaningless to me so I changed the new to something our family can better relate to.

Anyways you can't compare with the soulful Yossele, the greatest cantor of the past generation.

Here is a link of Yossele singing, 'kel male rachamim', sung when a person passes away suplicating the almighty to lift up the soul of the departed to the high heavens. At the time, Yossele sang this for those who perished in the Titanic.This, in solidarity with Rose who just lost her father. May the omnipresent console her together with all those who mourn Tzion and Jerusalem.

On to the cake!

This cake was rich from the melted white chocolate bar and very chocolaty. It looked a bit crumbly, but oh man, when you take a bite it is smooth and delicious. It seemed a bit too rich to have with morning coffee though. More like desert after a steak and wine dinner.

I can't seem to find the link now on Rose's sight to the recipe she posted...

Here is the batter with the white chocolate added. I did have enough white chocolate so I used only 3oz per layer. I also did not have two sticks of butter per layer but used 1 stick of margarine and 1 stick of butter.

'Omi Girl' was with me for moral support.

Here is what it looked like with the top cut off. Seems slightly crumbly but in reality the texture was perfect.

I made a simple vanilla meringue to top it with (recipe from Rose's Heavenly Cakes). After all, I was making this for a birthday party.

Here is what it looked like fresh out of the toaster.

Always a good sign when it looks yummy enough for a child to poke their fingers in... grrr

Two layers:

No, the little car is not on the cake. :)

Ahem, more fingers...

Ooh, look at that pretty sky.

Happy birthday little Lava Lamp!