28 February 2005

Baking theory : Dairy products used in Baking 0

Functions Of Milk:

+ Color

  1. Due to sugar content (lactose = milk sugar)
  2. Yeast has no enzymes to metabolize Lactose

+ Absorption

+ Tenderizer

+ Nutrition

  1. {the perfect protein combo = milk + wheat}
  2. contributes to the overall nutritional value of bakery foods.

+ Casein

  1. {75% of protein contained in Non-fat dry milk}
  2. perfect protein, due to amino acid balance.

+Body & Resilience

Types of Milk Products:

*Non Fat Powdered milk

MCT Dairies - Sweet Cream Whey
Product Description -
A light colored,free-flowing powder resulting from spray drying sweet, fresh cheese whey. For applications where a smooth, creamy texture is desired, Grind A is available. (MCT-MISC-SWTWHEY)

*Sweet dairy Whey
  1. Mostly Lactalbumin
  2. tenderizing agent
  3. causes rapid crust color development

All Dairy blends or cereal based blends {rarely used in bakery}

27 February 2005

Photography : classy glass 0

classy glass
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

I cuaght this shot after the sun had set, It turned out nicely.

26 February 2005

Do you believe in karma ? Let alone human kindness? 0

Thursday was a great day in the fact that I had an ad on Craig's List and I was contacted by several people. In my ad I mentioned that I am a student looking for pastry & confectionery tools , and one of the main items was a KitchenAid stand mixer. I received an email, from a guy stating he had one & would sale it to me for $50! So I was hesitant at first, but I talked to him more. He had a kitchen establishment & they had just bought a Hobart so the mixer was sitting in the warehouse. Well I went to pick it up, turns out it was a kitchenAid K5SSWH. And white to boot. The kitchenAid K5SSWH is a stationary stand mixer, there is no swivel head. But it came with a large bowl & attatchments. I read Reviews about this mixer. Over all the owners of this mixer seemed pleased.

This be it , it has 325 watts & a 5 quart bowl. To think I almost bought a [ Wolf Gang Puck Mixer shown here at a much better price] off of eBay at a 60 dollar markup from the retail price. It was a very weak moment, I had gotten my tax refund, I had wanted a mixer so bad, & that one is 700 watt & comes with 2 bowls, a pour sheild, a glass blender attachment plus the dough hook & beater, paddle. KitchenAid mixers tend to suffer motor burnouts, but I figure for $50 dollars - if this one goes I will buy the Wolfgang puck, when I get some money.

Also someone who has a catering business offered me : 20 fluted tart pans (3" and 4"),4 heart shaped 4" pans, 2 fluted boat pans , 60 tarlet pans, 10- 4 inch cake molds, a large marble rolling pin, 2 thermometers, a spring form pan, a angel food pan, a lemon zester, a melon baller, 2 metal cake spatulas(a 10" & 13") , a ring mold , plastic scraper, a mandolin, large pastry tips, various chocolate molds , cake pedestal etc. All for only $25

It was a great day to be a pastry student. I am so thankful. I believe it may be karma, but who knows. Never under estimate human kindness.

25 February 2005

Baking Theory Notes: Sweeteners 0


---Sugar in bread dough is an additive

  1. [Basic bread formula: water, flour, salt]

Functions of sweeteners:

  1. Sweeteners are Hydroscopic --> [bind moisture]

without sweeteners you have Pale bread / pastry
  1. can be the result of adding no sugar
  2. or yeast dissolved [was eaten] during the intial mixing.
  1. in cakes and cookies
+ Stabilizer
  1. In cakes
+ Fermentation Control

  1. A dough which makes it's own fermentation using sugar, makes a richer , complex flavor.
  2. Dough high in sugar takes a long time to ferment
  3. sugar sucks moisture out of yeast.

Types of Sweeteners:

  1. beets
  2. Cain
  1. Used for icings & fillings
  2. Look On the back of the package / recipe, The higher the amount of eggs they list to add, the finer the sugar you should use.
+Hi-Fructose Corn Syrup
  1. Cheaper
  2. more efficient
  3. Fructose is a simple sugar, easily broken down in the body.

24 February 2005

Puff Pastry Basket I created. 0

Basket I made using puff pastry dough..

I made this early on in my culinary training, the first time.
I cut long strips of dough from the puff pastry, and I used a rectangular roasting pan up side down, sprayed with non-stick spray & parchment. Then I "wove" the strips in a basket weave around the roasting pan - starting at the top of the pan. Once covered, I put the pastry covered pan on a parchment line sheet pan, and into a hot convection oven. Baked until golden brown & crispy.

When it had cooled, it was put on a platter covered in mint sprigs & garnished with limes and lemons. Then filled with muffins to be served a breakfast banquet.

Taken some time in June 1999.

23 February 2005

Photography : Ice 0


An arctic blast has frowned upon my existence.
Sheeting the landscape in a frigid cocoon.

22 February 2005

Baking theory Notes: Other Flours 0

Other Flours used in production bakery:

+Brown Rice

  1. when milled produces Rice Flour
  2. Heavy, dark flour
  3. Very rich flavor
  4. Gives heavy character to bread or whatever it is added to.

+Soy Flour

  1. finely ground soy beans
  2. added to other flours
  3. Enriched more than other flours
  4. Low fat content
Potato flour
©1996-2003 Lori Alden, As seen on The Cook's Thesaurus.Click picture. 


  1. Flavor goes well with wheat
  2. Moistens bread

+Vital Wheat Gluten

  1. Manufactures for supplementing in gluten, for strength.
  2. Starches are stripped from the sponge/starter & marketed as "pure gluten".

21 February 2005

Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho 5

I walk around . My nostrils flare with scents carried on the winter wind gusts - I know that spring is closer than ever. I am starved for spring! I want the gray bitterness to dissolve away. I need the breezes to be pleasant and the sun to warm my cheek. And I want to be thrown about with god's green tenderness.

Here is a recipe that awakens the spring from within & delights your palate.

Watermelon gazpacho

Adapted from a recipe found in Vegetarian Times

Do not puree the ingredients or this will have to be named "smoothie" instead!

  • 6 Cups seedless watermelon cubes ( [1] 16 lb whole watermelon)
  • 1/2 of a seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 of an organic yellow bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 3 scallions chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 TB lime juice or lemon juice
  • 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1 Cup cold raspberry-cranberry juice
  • 3 TB chopped fresh mint

In a large food processor, combine 3 cups watermelon, the cucumber , bell pepper, scallions, garlic, lime or lemon juice, olive oil & hot pepper sauce. Process with short pulses until the mixture is just finely chopped.

Add the remaining watermelon, raspberry-cranberry juice, and mint. Process with pulses until just finely chopped.

Serves 8

20 February 2005

Photography : Symbolism 0

Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

18 February 2005

Formula : Callebaut Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Scones 0

{This formula is meant for a small production batch, mixed in a 20 quart mixer. For home use cut the formula ingredients into 1/3.}

This is an Americanized version of scones. Real scones would be VERY dry.The Americanized version has also more flavor & sweeter.

This is a Base or Master formula - meaning you can use this basic formula, and add onto it. Just make sure if you are going to add an ingredient with liquid, to use less liquid in the base formula. This goes for ingredients that are very dry. It is all a balancing act.
{# = lb}
Buttermilk Scones:

  • 3# Bread Flour
  • 2# Pastry Flour
  • 1# 7 oz. Sugar
  • 1 oz.Baking powder
  • 1/2 oz. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 oz.Salt
  • 1 oz. Vanilla extract
Blend dry ingredients in a 20 qt. mixing bowl. Add:
  • 1# 14 oz. Butter
Room temperature butter is much easier to work with here. Break up into small pieces , place pieces on top of dry ingredients. Blend in butter in 1st speed until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove bowl from the mixer. Transport to bench/workspace.
{Tip: If you end up working with cold butter, break off small chunks into your hand and work/massage the butter chunks before adding to the mixer.This will help the butter warm up once the mixing starts - because the paddle & the hitting of the sides during mixing produces friction which leads to heat.}
  • 2# Buttermilk
  • 1# whole eggs
[Warning: do not wear long sleeves!This is very messy.]
Add the eggs to your buttermilk.Make a "well" {or hole}in your dry mixture, pour the egg & buttermilk into your well. These ingredients will be folded in by hand with a plastic scraper.Fold until liquid & dry are completely incorporated.
TIP: A true "fold" is when you take the rounded edge of your scraper and starting at the bowls lip(edge)scrape downward & under the batter,an even line along the bottom and sides of the bowl, to complete your fold at the other sides' lip. Your next fold will start where that first fold ended. With each fold completed, the is bowl slightly turned.
This will ensure that you will never have an area in the bowl that hasn't completely been mixed.
Dark Chocolate/Hazelnut:
Callebaut Dark Chocolate

  • 8 oz. toasted, chopped hazelnuts

  • Add the chopped dark chocolate & toasted,chopped hazelnuts to the mixed dough,fold well.
    Folding in dark guittard chocolate for hazelnut scones

    Once well mixed, take small globs of dough and line them up on a well floured table. Have a yard stick(ruler) handy.
    opiate 012

    opiate 013

    Pat out dough{flour your hands}, onto well floured table, 1/2 of the dough into a strip: 4 inches wide and about 3/4 inches thick. (No thicker than 3/4 of an inch - this dough rises & the scones will be huge)

    opiate 009

    When you have the correct width & thickness, line up your yard stick along the strip. Gently score the dough in 2 inch increments with a bench scraper].[ do not cut, make indentation]
    opiate 014

    Now apply pressure with knife on scored lines & cut. {you need to be some what consistent or you won't make an even cut due to hazelnuts etc.} This dough is soft , you will need to pull just cut pieces, away from the main dough strip - or they will reconnect.

    Egg only eggwash

    Put onto parchment papered sheet pan. Arrange 12 per pan { 3 across & four rows }. Lightly egg wash with "egg only egg wash".

    Egg Only Egg wash:
    • whole eggs
    • liquid egg (from container)
    Make enough for use. Beat with wire whip. Use pastry brush to apply.
    Bake until browned. Don't rely on color - because this will very due to egg wash. Rely on touch , in the middle & sides . The scones will feel baked - no under baked dough, more formed.

    Dark chocolate hazelnut scones

    17 February 2005

    Photography : Folding in dark guittard chocolate for hazelnut scones 2

    Folding in dark callebaut chocolate for hazelnut scones
    Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

    We made lots of scones wensday. I will post the formula later.

    16 February 2005

    Baking Theory notes : Rye 0


    Rye Upclose and Personal  by P1r

    Parts of The Rye kernel:

    1. Germ = Very core, inner center, where sprout develops.
    2. Bran = outer Layer wrapped around the germ.
    3. Endosperm = inner middle of the kernel.
    About Rye :
    1. Rye has no Gluten
    2. Rye flour used on it's own makes for a very dense bread. -- an example of this is Pumpernickel.
    3. Usually mixed with a hard four to produce better bread.

    Rye Flour Types:

    1. "Light" rye flour -- made from inner most endosperm
    2. "Medium" rye flour --- made from whole endosperm
    3. "Dark" rye flour --- made from Outer endosperm
    4. Rye "Meal" -- made from whole kernel

    15 February 2005

    Link: Bread Snobbery? Arrogant Baker? You be the judge! 0

    "I love to make bread too, but I make the bread, I do not delegate that very
    pleasant, calming, almost therapeutic task to a machine. Bread machines were
    devised by the Japanese, a culture that has no historic connection to real

    Real bread, of course, is made by hand--it is "artisinal" in the
    best sense of that word. Bread making becomes a craft, one works the dough with
    one's hands--and arms, and shoulders. You punch the dough, massage it, roll it
    under your palms. You look in after it, as it quietly sits and rises. You work
    your life and the life of the bread together, so you can be there when it needs
    you, to punch it down, to shape it, to bake it.
    I have never eaten bread
    made from a bread machine. I do not want to. Bread is too closely connected to
    the daily life of humans to let a machine do it, and do such a poor job of
    it--of bread making--at that.
    Do yourself a favor. Make bread by hand. Touch
    the dough. Make it live for you. Just throwing flour and yeast and water into a
    machine and then eating the results is more than I can stand to contemplate." --

    This comment was left on The food blog : On her first entry in Culinary Epiphanies . She then actually publishes an entry devoted to the comment here , and readers also comment. I myself reacted to this comment. There are too many arrogant bastards in the world.

    If you come upon this entry while searching for Arrogant Bastard Ale - you'll find the official website here.

    Here is how I responded:

    Posted by Amber @ 02/14/2005 02:30 PM PST
    Ron's example of "baking snobbery"
    is ridiculous. I don't agree with his "breadophile" logic.

    I am a
    student learning pastry/baking. I have had past experiences in the baking &
    culinary industry.

    I would like to state a few points:

    First ,
    most people who purchase "artisan" breads - can't tell infant if it was indeed
    frozen bake-off, meaning the bakery /grocery bought the dough from a factory
    that was made & pre formed-- gasp -- by automated machines. And the
    bakery/grocer proofed & baked it.

    Less than 50% of bakeries are
    "scratch" - using all their own formulas, scaling by hand etc.

    With that
    being said what really is baking? Is it the thought and time - whether automated
    or not- that goes into creating something? Is it Being able to control the
    ingredients that go into your product?

    Who is the better person -
    someone who enjoys the end product, or someone who is casting stones at those
    who can evolve with technology or modern equipment.

    I have made bread by
    hand, & tasted bread machine bread. And guess what ? The chemical reactions
    & fermentation stay the same. The end result, is bread. The fact that home
    bread baking in any form, continues to exist is really great.

    IF Ron
    wants to go after someone - go after the giant corporations - adding chemicals
    to their product - like Potassium Bromate[which has banned internationally
    except for the U.S, & that is carcinogenic(causes cancer).

    --- Amber
    (culinary novice)

    14 February 2005

    Cake Recipe: EDITED Mocha & Chocolate - Vegan Style. 4

    Well I really am interested in Vegan Baking. And today I will share my first recipe. And of course it is decadent & a lovely dessert.

    This serves 10-12 people.

    Mocha - Chocolate Cake:
    Cake Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times magazine.

    • 3 cups organic wheat unbleached wheat flour
    • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 2 cups natural cane sugar
    • 1 cup canola oil
    • 4 tsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in 2 cups water
    • 4 tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 TB cider vinegar

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Have ready 2, 8 or 9 inch nonstick round cake pans.

    In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt & sugar.

    In a small bowl mix together the oil, espresso,& vanilla extract.

    Pour liquid ingredients into the dry & mix with a wire whisk until well incorporated. Add the vinegar & stir quickly. You will notice pale swirls in the batter - due to the vinegar & baking soda reacting[chemical leavening].

    Pour equal amounts of the batter in to the cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Flip onto the rack & let cool completely.

    Mocha Icing:

    • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    • 1/2 cup vegan margarine {edit:Preferably Earth's Balance Margarine, better texture, tastes better. Also in stick form the margarine has a higher melting point - it is better for icing because it keeps it's form. The tub form stays liquid & never truly thickens}

    • 3 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
    • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
    • 2 TB soy cream(soy milk can be substituted) { use coconut milk + 1/8 vanilla extract}
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Melt chocolate & cool to room temperature. Beat the margarine until fluffy. Add sugar , espresso powder, soy cream and vanilla - beat until smooth. Then beat in the cooled chocolate.


    • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
    • 1 Tb golden syrup or brown-rice syrup { why use this? It effects the flavor}
    • 1/3 cup soy cream

    Process the chocolate in a food processor until finely chopped.

    In a sauce pan, stir the syrup and cream together - bring to a boil. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the hot cream over the chocolate, process until smooth.


    For real vegan ganache that has texture & that holds up use this formula:
    • [BP = Baker's percent]
    • 1lb. Bittersweet chocolate [BP 100%]
    • [BP 75%] 12oz of coconut milk solids ( let coconut milk sit in a container in refrigerator for a couple of days before use - the milk fats will float to the top of your container , scoop these off for use in ganache.)
    • EDIT : Soy cream shouldn't be used. It doesn't taste right & effects the consistancy. Use canned coconut milk {tip: Shake can - if you hear liquids moving don't buy that brand. Get the brand with the least amount of sound. The sounds you hear are the coconut liquids. Less sound means the can contains more milk fats}
    • 6 oz. cane sugar or Your favorite sweetener [BP 17% ? play with it...] (this is optional , be creative)
    • 1 tsp of vanilla

    In double burner slowly melt chocolate. When chocolate is no longer chunky & is easily stirred , remove from heat & double boiler. Let cool [luke warm to touch] . Add the coconut solids and vanilla & sweetener. Whip until incorporated and proper consistency. Allow to cool at room temp.

    This ganache has a nice flavor & better consistency. The base Ganache recipe was adapted from Le Cordon Blue Professional Baking 3rd edition .

    Cake Assembly:

    Place one layer of cake onto a cake plate. Spread the mocha icing on top. Place the second layer on top of iced layer. Pour & spread the chocolate ganache over the sides & top covering both layers. Garnish as desired.

    Save the extra mocha-icing for another use.

    13 February 2005

    Formula/recipe: Croissant with a starter 4

    [this is a small production formula (40qt mixer) - reduce for home use]

    [Bakers %]: Starter
    [100] 5# 8 oz. Organic bread flour
    [60 ] 4# 5 oz. Ice water
    [.25 ] -- ½ oz. Compressed yeast

    Dissolve the yeast in water. Add flour and mix until incorporated. Desired dough temp. is 62° F. [DO NOT Develop the gluten)

    Ferment overnight in the retarder.

    Final Dough:

    [100] 5# 8 oz. Organic bread flour
    [47] 3#5½ oz. Water
    [19] 1# 7 oz. Sugar
    [4] --- 5 oz. Malt
    [4] --- 5 oz. Milk powder

    [4] --- 8 oz. Compressed yeast
    [4] --- 5 oz. Salt
    [126] ALL of The Starter
    ---- 1/8 tablet ascorbic acid(Par-C)
    [7] --- 9 oz. Butter(soft)
    Combine water & ascorbic acid in 40 qt bowl
    • Dissolve yeast in liquid
    • Stir dry ingredients by hand
    • Add butter when dough starts to develop
    • Short mix
    • Fermentation: 1 hr, 30 minutes in the retarder
    • Scale dough into 3 pieces at 7# 12 oz.

    Roll-in Technique:

    • Roll-in butter(i.e Cremerie Classique or a European style butter with high fat content)
    • For Each piece : 2 # 4oz. (Total = 6#, 12 oz. plus 6 oz. Extra for the bowl & paddle)
    • Soften the roll-in butter in mixer.

    To roll-in butter; Make a rectangle with your dough(make sure to even out edges)Run the side of your hand down the middle of the dough, to make a slight divide; now make a rectangle with the butter [2#4oz.] about 2-3 inches thick, and as wide as half of your dough rectangle [on bench]. Flatten the butter with your hands. Pick up the butter & put onto your dough. Make sure the butter fills out most of the area to the edges. Fold the 3 sides' dough edges up & over the butter. Fold the remaining dough half, over - to cover the butter filled side.

    Feel around the edges. You should be able to feel the butter - all the way to the edge. If you can't, place the heel of your hand in the center of the dough, place your other hand on top[heel to thumb] Almost like you are giving CPR compressions. Firmly apply pressure toward the edges --You want to move the butter outward to the further most edges.

    Desired dough temp: 62°F



    • Roll dough 3X3
    • Flour sheeter & dough [w/ out enouph flour sheeter will ruin & tear dough]
    • Use rolling pin to roll dough to a thinner width[to fit through sheeter]
    • [this is 1x] Sheet to 7-8 mm When you reach 8mm stop & sweep dough clean of flour. Fold left side toward center, stop at 2/3, fold right side over that.
    • Flour again
    • [this is 2x] Turn fold opening [always] toward you on sheeter. Continue until you reach 7-8 mm.
    • Sweep flour.Fold from left to right.
    • [3x] flour again.Turn fold opening toward you. Sheet to 8mm.Sweep flour. When done fold left to center, right should meet left in center. Then take both sides and close as you would a book.
    • Put on sheet pan, covered, freeze or retard for future use.

    12 February 2005

    Formula/Recipe: Wussel Bread 3

    {this formula is for production [40qt] - home use [divide formula into ¼ ]
    [#= lb]

    9 # 6 oz. Water

    8#-- Bread Flour

    --1 oz. Yeast

    Mix and ferment on the floor [bench] overnight for 17 hours.


    To the starter add:

    8#-- Bread Flour
    -- 2 oz. Malt
    -- ½ oz. Yeast

    Mix for 3 minutes - Rest for 20 minutes

    Add 3½ oz. Salt

    Mix at low speed for about 5 minutes.

    2 hour primary fermentation

    Scale at 1#3oz.- make up units

    Rest for about 20 minutes

    Place on bread cloth & board

    Retard- between 18-22 hours

    Pull at 6:oo - warm at room temp.

    Proof for 20- 30 minutes

    Bake at 470°F with 30 seconds of steam for about 30- 35 minutes bake time.

    This is very beautiful bread. Such wonderful texture! My favorite bread that I have baked so far. The outer crust is chewy, yet the inside is light & flavorful. Also it is versatile. It can be shaped into different forms .

    as you see here the outside has quite the texture. When you take these loaves out of the oven they literally sing -- the outer crust is sizzling and screaming. Bread songs are magic for a baker.

    11 February 2005

    The Uber Male Ego - On Baking [# 2] 0

    "There are certain natural instincts that all men have.
    Hunting, gathering, protecting his territory…cooking is not one that you usually
    group into this list. I think you would be remiss if you didn’t halfway admit to
    yourself that there is something abnormally mannish about Pyrex pans and beating
    eggs, though. Baking, I think, is the ninth manly instinct, the one that
    directly follows scratching and comes before hot dog eating contests, and the
    one that gets overlooked more than any other. So lets just call it what it is:
    cooking is manly.

    I see them everyday, those masculine chefs that stare
    out at me from the covers of their glossy pages in the cooking section. Wolfgang
    Puck, Jamie Oliver, Bobby Flay, Jacques Pepin….Julia child's….all of them, with
    their meaty muscles and messy hair, all proclaiming for the world to see…I CAN
    COOK! LOOK AT ME! They look good on those covers. And then there are the cooking
    babes, not your homely mom types of yesteryear’s kitchens. These are pure grade
    A fresh meat hotties right out of a sex-laden subliminal Food Network
    commercial. They tempt you with their succulent flavors and exotic textures,
    Rachel Ray domineering over them all with her toothy grin and golden spatula
    saying, bow to me, oh, cooking legions… I am your queen! You will ebb and sway
    with every sauce I make, with every crab cake I fry and put in a lovely little
    decorative parfait glass over a bed of leafy greens. I can make a complete meal
    in under thirty minutes…and it’s not Zataran’s Easy Make Jambalaya, it’s a real
    meal! Hahahahaha!

    Maybe that’s a bit far, not too far mind you.
    Rearranging the cookbook section this last week did make me want to put some
    time in the kitchen, so baking does make the In list this week. Time spent
    slaving over an open gas flame somehow gets me in touch with those ancient genes
    of roasting legs of Wildebeest over crude fires. It’s got to be manly if I do
    it, right? Cooking comes in spurts for me and is over with before I even finish
    the leftovers, so it’s probably back to Zataran’s next week. It was good while
    it lasted. Although, I am fond of the cool little cooking names that all the big
    time chef's give themselves. My favorite, is of course, "The Naked Chef",
    although I do tend to like "Alton Brown the Science Kitchen Clown" for a chef
    name. Since "The Naked Chef" is taken though, I think I'll take The
    Promiscuously Nude Chef. That has a nice ring to it and at least makes you want
    to tune in to the TV show."

    Blogged by Lane : Life and Times in the Fastlane , post : of Cooking and stalin

    O.k I love this post. I love the lyrical quality and the words he uses to convey a complete thought in transit. Lane goes to great lengths to describe here. It is honest --- he is not acting macho for anyone. He is simply stating his opinion. Subtle hints of sarcasm . And this post is very masculine. I think quite SEXY!

    10 February 2005

    Culinary vs. Baking --- the icky blue line. 0

    I asked a fellow baking student about the separation - the unspoken divide, that exists between baking students and culinary students.

    Thin Blue Line by Derbeth
    This was his response :
    "It has always been there. No one has even tried to end the separation. When I first started, I started sitting over at the culinary table -- to visit with the former chef, he sat alone and I'd offer to sit with him. Everyone WOULD FREAK OUT if I mentioned going there...they told me: See that blue line the tile on the floor creates --- this is a line no-one will cross. IT is looked down upon."

    I told him: "I had already committed that "taboo", no wonder I get looks". He laughed uneasily.

    Another student , this time from culinary - had this to say:
    "Bakers bake, cooks cook. Nothing more to that. We leave each other well enough alone, the only exception - lunch, or when we are hungry for some pastry."

    Another culinary student - More brazen, actually came up to us (on our baking "turf"), though it was only the 3 of us, due to an earlier lunch because of the station we were in, he still came up to us and said this :
    "I am trying to bridge the gap between baking and culinary. I am trying to make conversation with everyone."
    Unfortunately he never attempted this ballsy move with the larger baking crew. He hasn't attempted this since.

    It really is quite bizarre. And the main thing is everyone carries on this behavior as if we are rival fraternities. The right of passage for either is one's ability to ignore the other or avert your eyes . Doing this allows you full privileges inside the esteemed circle.

    This is truly not what I was hoping to find. We are not part of some large & evil plot in a movie, we are just students learning.

    And the funny thing is I have been on both sides. So far my previous culinary classes were so great. I loved the friends I made and all the memories. We had a blast.

    So I imagined I would share this again. But it is awkward to try joining in on this bizarre discrimination. The problem is I have already made my stand. And people fear change.

    09 February 2005

    Photography : 25th Birthday Beauty 0

    Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

    A red rose to commemorate my 25th birthday.

    25th Birthday Bouquette
    Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

    Here are some of the beautiful flowers I received yesterday(the 8th), I arranged them together in an old Mason jar. (I haven't a vase large enough}

    A second year student gave me a cake for my birthday. It has rich, dense , wafer thin layers(mostly chocolate with a brownie consistancy) and milk chocolate ganache baked in between. Then it is poured with more ganache. Then drizzled with pure milk chocolate.

    That was soo nice !

    [I kept my birthday a secret, because I had visions of my instructors finding out and having the whole class sing, at the morning meeting... how embarrassing..]

    08 February 2005

    The UBER MALE EGO --- On Baking 0

    I came across some blogs showcasing male perspectives on cooking/baking --- The main question> Is it manly? And here were some of the results:

    "Several recipes have come into my inbox from caring readers who have been keeping up to date on my News of the Day cooking ventures. 
    I am a little off-set by this recent flux of nice mail.

    First of all, nine out of the ten recipes I received involved me needing to use the oven.
    The one principle I stand by when I cook is that the oven door never opens. This is mainly because I am easily swayed by peer disapproval, and the moment any of my boys sees me baking, I will never hear the end of it.

    Baking, for some reason, is not manly. I assume it's because baking is predominantly a female
    thing. You never hear your boys tell you that they spent their weekend baking muffins. No one will come right out and say it, but it's just not done.

    When I cook I am only doing two things: boiling or frying. I'm just saying it like it is. You give me uncooked food and I'm either boiling it or frying it.
    I'm not one to romanticize cooking with my friend the thesaurus;
    I don't sear, simmer, saute, percolate, or stew.  
    If I put it on a pan, I'm frying it; in a pot, I'm boiling it.

    I came to this realization when I had a
    friend over for dinner one night.
    I made shrimp pesto. My dinner guest seemed
    impressed with this. But when a mutual friend called and asked what we were having, my
    guest said, "Pasta."
    Pasta. That bothered me to no end. "Anybody can make pasta," I thought. 
    "Saying I made pasta is like saying I know how to boil water."

    That's when I evaluated what I did to the pasta that was so special in the first place. Nothing. I boiled it. The shrimp? I fried it.

    When I realized that the only thing left was baking, life was fine from that point on. "
    Blogged by Adrian Fung: January 26, 2005
    His response is so "male". Honest but so male. In a small majority of males everywhere this may be what is seeded deep in there heads: Must resist baking ---play video games, bash anything feminine...microwave burritos! YES -- THAT IS It, I AM ALL That embodies maleness!

    But I am not convinced this is accurate. Becuase I have met too many male , potheads or otherwise educated , who take interest in baking.

    Although the stereo typing came about in the homes and apts across america, for many years, women would be tied to apron strings, getting dinner on, and baking cookies for bake sales & PTA meetings.

    But it is not historically accurate - Professional Baking was a male dominated industry --- not too long ago. The first women entered the professional scene mabye mid 20th century.

    07 February 2005

    Tommorow is my birthday...At 4:10 A.M Feb. 8 th 0

    So I am a quarter of a century. Yet I still feel like a kid. Time is a very unusual thing. I have no plans just survive another day. Hopefully no one makes a big deal.

    There is a point in your life when birthdays lose their "specialness", and the thought of another birthday makes you shrug.

    But when you have a child all things "you" are pushed aside. The child becomes first priority. And celebration of your birthday wanes in comparison --- because everything is so new for the child.

    Not that I mind this. But there is still a yearning sometimes for things that scream "ME"!

    06 February 2005

    Baking Bread: Trouble shooting 0

    holes in bread

    Large holes in bread :
    1. Dough was over kneaded
    2. Dough was proofed too long*

    *For Breads such as French or certain free form loafs , this can be an advantage.

    Doughy or Small, hard lumps:

    1. Original dough was not mixed enough*

    * hold back flour so dough can thoroughly mixed, work in additional dough as you knead

    Bread "Mushroomed" & there is a deep indentation around the bottom:

    1. The entire loaf has broken away from the bottom crust
    2. You tried packing too much dough into too small of a pan

    ++If a free form loaf:

    1. Oven was too hot causing the bottom to cook too quickly
    2. As the loaf rose it broke away and mushroomed [uneven & Denser]

    Free form loaf "spread" too much as it proofed

    1. Dough was too soft**

    * free form loaves must be firm when shaped. Add extra flour as you knead.

    When sliced - top crust "separates" from the rest

    1. Loaf was not properly formed
    2. Heat caused instant aeration when loaf was put in oven.*

    * not serious, alter your methods

    05 February 2005

    Baking Theory: Notes on Bread Baking 2


    1. Oven Spring {created in 5-8 minutes in oven, accelerated fermentation process}
    - Fermentation process

    1. Once dough reaches 140°F {yeast dies}
    2. Once dough reaches 165°F-175°F {gluten coagulates}
    3. Considered Par-baked --> ["brown n' serve products"] can be pulled from oven.
    4. Because products are Not caramelized--> causes quicker staling.

    - Caramelization

    1. Browning
    2. Internal temperature of fully baked bread = 210°F
    3. bread is sterile

    Potato Bread shown here is rotated for even browning. Then baked until...

    ..It has caramelized. Potato Bread ready to cool.

    Rule of thumb for Oven temps :
    • LEAN products -
    1. The lower in fat, sugar , eggs {examples are Baguette or Italian Bread};
    2. also if Smaller units

    • RICHER products

    1. The Warmer, hotter oven
    2. The higher in fat, sugar , eggs { i.e Danish or Croissant}
    3. also if larger units
    4. The cooler the oven
    - Cooling, Slicing & Packaging

    -{Once you have mold in an area - spores will spread. Use vinegar to kill both mold & spores}

    DO NOT put in plastic bag & close before product is cool --> Mold will develope!

    1. via Condensation
    When to package:
    1. 95°F - 100°F is optimal temp --> {cool}
    2. Use back of hand to test for cool to touch

    04 February 2005

    Baking theory notes : Salt & Yeast 0


    Functions of salt:

    - thickener
    - Tightens up gluten.

    - Retards Yeast
    - Balances out/controls fermentation by killing yeast.

    - Intensifies Flavor
    - Brings out the flavors of other ingredients.


    Types of yeast:

    Compressed Yeast

    - Comes in 1lb. cubes

    -73% moisture

    - Alive

    - Must be stored at 33° F - 45° F

    Draw backs:

    -- [less effective] Yeast easily becomes active & deteriorates quickly.
    -- Average shelf life is 10 days.

    [From a cost standpoint this yeast is less effective due to the yeast easily becoming active & then deteriorating. If using in a scratch retail environment you need to have a inventory plan. The most cost effective plan entails purchasing enough Compressed yeast to last 1 week. By ordering weekly you eliminate both unnecessary inventory loss & cost.]

    Bulk Yeast

    - comes in 10lb bag lined in plastic.

    Active Dry Yeast

    - cooks mostly use this [not professional bakers as much, we prefer compressed]

    -7.5 - 9% moisture content

    - Shelf life 1-2 wks

    Draw Backs :

    --the yeast takes too long to develop
    --not cost effective
    --bakers are under time constraints.

    Granular Yeast

    -free flowing

    -resists compacting

    - reduces proof time.

    Instant Dry Yeast

    - Shelf life is 1 year

    -vacuum packed

    - high availability [even in grocery stores]

    - first marketed during the 1980's in France

    Draw Backs:

    - costs more


    [If using a formula that calls for Compressed Yeast & you would like to supplement Instant Dry Yeast in it's place, use 1 ⁄ 3 of the amount yeast specified in the formula. ]

    03 February 2005

    Formula: Seven Grain Bread 0

    This formula makes up to 9 full rounds & Mixed in a 40 Qt.
    [it barely fits in a 20 qt., if using a 20 qt. be prepared for some to spit out ,when you add the grains]
    for home use smaller batches maybe @ ¼ of the formula

    Multi Grain Bread Rounds Resting

    Make this the day before.

    • 5# Flour  [100%] 
    • 3# 2oz Water  [67%] 
    • 1½ oz Instant yeast [1.5%]
    • 2oz Salt  [2%]
    1. Incorporate for 3-4 minutes in 1st speed 
    2. Then 5 minutes in 2nd speed Will not be a full developed. 
    3. Put into bucket, w/ cover. 
    4. Leave on bench for 1 hr 
    5. Retard over night.
    * It makes well over 4 # of sponge.

    Prep Grains before mixing Mulit Grain Bread.

    Grains :
    • 1# Flax seed 
    • 1# Sesame seed (toasted) 
    • 1# Sunflower Seeds 
    • 1# Rolled oats 
    • 2# water
    Soak in water for 1 hour.

    Multi Grain Bread
    • 6 # 8ozBread flour 
    • 2# 8oz Whole Wheat Flour 
    • 1# (light) Rye Flour 
    • 5# 14oz Water 
    • 1¼oz Salt * 
    • 4# Pre-ferment --- (this must be made the night before - see formula above.) 
    • Grains
    1.  Mix everything except grains in 1st speed 
    2. Use 2nd speed to develop gluten 
    3. When almost fully developed add the grains 
    4. Mix in 1st speed till completely combined. 
    5. Proof in a plastic container (sprayed w/ non-stick spray) for 45 min. to 1 hour 
    6. Scale at 1# 3oz, give it a light round - re-round tight. 
    7. Proof on board for about 1 hr. 
    8. Bake at 480°F [top] for 20 min. 
    9. Bake {bottom} at 420°F 
    10. Turn down the top to 440°F, finish baking for 20 to 30 min. 
    This bread is very hearty. And it turns a beautiful rich brown color.

    01 February 2005

    Bread or Dead 0

    Warning: This post definitely falls into the category 'singular obsessions!'

    Like most people, I've gone through life unable to identify very many activities of which I could say that I was a bit of a dab hand and that I actually pursue, but weirdly enough baking is one of them. I can't recall when I started, but I did, and I've continued to this day. Generally, if I feel like eating bread, I'll bake it. --- quote by Ciarán O'Kelly from the post Bread or Dead

    I stumbled upon this blog Neither Indifferent nor Sceptical blogged by Ciarán O'Kelly
    Location:Belfast, United Kingdom

    It is a simple yet honest quote. It makes me want to tap into my literary reserves and write blog material that is good...real good. Maybe I have been letting things slide? I eat sleep - Bakery. But that is the catch 22 -- finding something you love. Something that makes you ache inside and yearn for the whole truth [ALL the ins & outs] , that pushes your intellectual and creative side, and not letting it consume you to the point of neglecting your other duties. Your other life.

    But when you have several "somethings", then what? Do you lose yourself in a scrambled frenzy? When Do you make time in between your creative interests & pursuits? The Internet can be a breeding ground for such as this --- you find newer nests, prettier hatchlings. Your old nest feels quite boring. So you go searching & get pulled in. Sites/blogs/stores/chatrooms ---all advertising , all different , all specialized in your field/interest. Oops , where did the time go?

    Before you know it, the time you had set out for productive means - is gone.

    Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)
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