30 April 2005

Roses & Cherry Lambic 2

petals 010
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Valentines day, soo overrated. Yet I happily except my roses & Merchant Du Vin Cherry Lambic Ale...& Chinese food [orange chicken & chowmein..yumm].

Actually the past few days have been sketchy to say the least. We had a family emergency, & so my husband was gone for 2 days , and didn't get home until late. I told him not to do anything. What a sweet gesture.

My love affair with lambic ale started when I had just turned 21 yrs old. I personally like peach better than all the other flavors. {I detest raspberry} I am not a "girly" drinker. I don't like really fruity mixed drinks either.

I'll take a Mack & Jack's African Amber Ale any day. Sadly it is only available on tap. A few of my favorite hang outs seem to cater to that.

As for fermented beverages- I am partial to Amber ales , & Guinness stout, & a few select Lagers.

And of course wines. I am partial to syrah , and reislings. I like most reds - if they are well aged.

And since alcohol is the subject for this post, my mixed drinks of choice are kamikazes & vodka-crans.

I don't do much drinking. I am always busy with chasing my toddler - no time to relax. Nights out are few and far between.

29 April 2005

Poetry: Entertaining Glances 1

Soft muted colors
make impromptu kaleidoscope
in my pint glass.

Slip past the warm blooded,
flush faced regulars,
the fretting malcontent hands,
fingering empty pitchers.
Salivating mouths,
shout their ill satisfaction.

I catch your stray glances-
a haphazard tapestry of fate,
spilled out through hazy cigarette smoke.

What intentions?
Foamy realizations leave their mark.
As I sip to the tunes,
watching sharks get sharked -
in pool hall glory.

We , full of promise and alcoholic malice.
Closing time paints a weary picture.
Will phone numbers call themselves?

-- Amber © 2002. All Rights Reserved

28 April 2005

Poetry: Once The Whistle Blows 1

All these men.
I see their faces,
in these crowded streets.

As if fallen birds -
their hearts like broken bone,
disfigured and misshapen.

Egos are like feathers
concealing the transparent flesh,
which hides the confusion within.

Away from the roughnecks,
jobs keep them civilized.

Once the whistle blows,
Find them clocking out.

from under their bosses'
or fathers' thumbs.

They watch the liquor poured,
throwing caution to the wind.

Their debts and duties---
as if the foaming head
of a lager,
--- to be blown off,
'till morning comes.

Amber © Jan 02, 2000

27 April 2005

I heart Culinary Arts 0

have a heart.
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Dedicated to Valentines day. Something about a person in chef whites using cookie cutters & making short dough hearts, makse me feel all gooey inside...

26 April 2005

Formula : Americanized Pumpernickle Bread 2

This is a small production formula. If you want to make at home you must convert the ingredients to 1/3 of the formula. [# = lb]

Sour :

  • 4# Cold water
  • 2 oz. Yeast
  • 2 oz. Malt
  • 4# High Gluten Flour
  • 2# Rye Meal or Pumpernickel

Mix in a 20 qt bowl with a hook, and let set out, covered with plastic, until next day.

Your sour will resemble this :
Pumpernickel Sour
AP Sour After Overnight Fermentation.

  • 8 #   Water (cool )
  • 12oz. Honey
  • 4oz.  Instant Yeast
  • 10#  Hi Gluten Flour
  • 3#  Rye Meal 
  • 2oz.  Malt
  •  8oz.  Salt

Place water honey & sour into a 40 qt bowl.
run 035
Honey, water & AP Sour in mixer  bowl.
Mixing the Americanized pumpernickel
Mixing of the AP dough.
Add the rest of your ingredients - mixing with a hook, until smooth. Mixing time is approximately 4 minutes beyond clean up stage. Dough temp should be 78°F .
Blocking the pumpernickel dough
Blocking AP Finished Dough.
Remove the dough from the bowl, lightly flour the bench [work space] and block the dough. Divide dough using a hot dog cut [easier to scale]. Scale to 1# 3oz., round immediately.
Scaling AP Dough to 1# 3oz.
Rounding the pumpernickel dough
Rounding AP Dough.
run 055
AP rounds on Board.
Rounds are then put on boards. Let relax 5 minutes covered.
egg washing the pumpernickel rounds
Egg washing re-rounded AP rounds.
Re-round, lay on board lined with proofing cloth, tuck proofing cloth between rows [to prevent sticking] and egg wash. Proof for 25 minutes.
run 084
Making Beehive cut in proofed AP rounds.
Once proofed, put 6 on a cornmeal prepped peeler, using a a sharp blade, make a beehive cut/swirl cut - starting from bottom, side cut upwards in a curving motion & meet 1 inch from center . Continue until you have four equal cuts, which offset each other.
Putting rounds into oven
Loading cut AP rounds into oven w/ peeler.
BAKE AT 450° F. Use "thump" test to check for correct bake-off.
Pumpernickel Bread
Baked AP rounds.
Has a fine crumb, light. Not dense at all, and not much for sharp rye flavor - more nutty. I don't care for rye, yet I loved this bread. Most people when they think of rye , they think of the hors 'd ouvres sized crouton - hard rye mini loaves you add cheese to. This bread is not at all like that. It is similar to a whole wheat.

Traditional rye is very dense, and calls for mainly rye flour. Rye flour doesn't have gluten. Hence the dense bread. It is more popular on the East coast. You won't find too much Rye bread on the West coast.

I find it funny that we as North Westeners love artisan breads and our organic, healthy lifesyles, yet can't find room on our palate to appreciate rye...

25 April 2005

Proofed rounds -Ready for oven 0

Here The Pumpernickel bread rests on the bread board & proofing cloth. It is now ready to be put on the cornmeal prepped peeler & cut. Then baked off.

24 April 2005

Link: What's Baking - Beautiful Photos of A Pastry Chef's Creations! 0

I don't know how I missed this site! Here IS A preview:
raspberry mouse w/ ribbon cake

Go here to see

22 April 2005

Formula: Short Dough Cookies 11

Here is a formula for short dough cookies. These are perfect for icing with royal icing, poured fondant or decorating with buttercream.

Shortbread by lilivanili
 Done in a 20 QT mixer. This is a large batch so I would do about a 1/3 or even a 1/4 of this formula for home use.

[# = lb]
  • 6 # butter
  • 3# sugar
  • 3/4 oz salt
  • 1# 2oz. Eggs
  • 2 oz B & V (is a flavored powder with lemon, rum & vanilla) [you can add liquid vanilla etc.]
  • 9# pastry flour
Cream butter, sugar & salt till light . Add eggs & flavoring.
Add pastry flour a little at a time. (has a tendency to plum in a 20 QT bowl, so carefully add)

Put onto a floured [unpapered] pan.Flatten with hands, cover w/ plastic & retard[refrig.]

Take pan from the retarder (a.k.a refrigerator). Take a bench scraper & cut out 1/3 of the pan of short dough. Flour your work space. put your chunks of dough onto the flour space & taking a rolling pin holding with both hands, firmly hit the dough with a down sloping motion. Continue to rock & roll back & forth until dough is no longer cold & firm.

Flour your dough , and the bench again, if needed. Roll the dough out until it has reached 1/4 -1/2 inch. Place a cookie cutter over dough & press firmly. Make as many whole shapes as you can with your dough.

Remove the scraps . To prevent the dough from being over handled (so the butter is warm enough for cookies to wilt) Take a clean bench scraper - run the corner under the edge of your cut out shape.

The dough may stick to the bench} Run the scraper blade under the cookie until it moves freely. IF making larger cookies it is best to slide the scraper under the cookie & let it rest on the blade & part of your hand, this way you can safely transport the cookie to the pan without it losing shape

Bake at 350 - 375 F. Until lightly browned.

Let cool completely. Then ice .

21 April 2005

Technique: Shaping Croissants 0

Dough taken out of the cooler should be re-sheeted to 4 1/2 mm. Flour sheeter & dough, with fold turned toward you.

[Production ]Plain:

(I don't have a photograph of this, I found this on the web. These croissants are very small! Not at all like the ones we make .)

You need to have a rectangle measuring 14 x 7 inches.

Cut in [increments of 7 inches] .

Take you pastry wheel /pizza cutter/pastry knife and cut triangles (7 inches to tip) (3-4 inches at widest part). Scaled these should way about 3 1/2 oz.

With clean bench scraper, score 1/2 inch cut , centered at the widest part of the triangle[base]

With your fingers , gently tug the corners [at the base] and pull until the scored cut seperates.

With the triangle point toward you, reach & fold the base edge toward you and under. (this roll should be tight)

One hand should now hold the triangle point. With the other hand - place palm down, centered on roll just created, pull down with a "sweeping motion". Roll until 3 cascading layers have been created in your rolled dough.

Fold thin sides inward -- The center side with the triangles thinnest part will be kept inside . Lightly press ends together.

Chez Jean Cluadet Pattisserie Picture od frozen croissant & final product. Lovely!

After proofing, brush with eggwash.


milk (enouph to add lighter color)
pinch of salt

beat with wire whisk. keep on ice if out for long periods.

Pan, no more than 12 on a sheet with parchment.

Baked when you feel flakiness. Bottom is browned. Croissant is stable.

20 April 2005

Technique: Chocolate croissant 5

Chez Jean Claude pattisserie More beautiful illustrations.

This is an expandable cutter.

Arctica Baking & catering equipment

Have a expandable cutter set at 3 1/2 , cut your rolled dough, steadily run the blades across.

Cut into squares. 4x4 rows.

add French chocolate bar to edge of squares. Roll until short & fat.

once proofed. Brush with egg wash.

Baked when bottom is browned & the pastry is stable.

19 April 2005

Walnut croissant & French turn overs 5

Some of the pastry I have been making. Tommorow is my groups last day in the laminated dough station. It is also a test day.

It is amazing how ones confidence can soar, once you get a little bench work in.

I have too many irons in the fire as of late, so my writing is suffering. I had tapped into a good vien there for a spell. Now writers block has bruised me, like one big hematoma, I cannot see past the cosmetic details.

My photography on the other hand has been unearthed. I carry my camera everywhere now. I have over 4,000 photos in my flickr account. Go figure....

18 April 2005

"Adult Dinners " are fun! 0

Today we will be traveling 3 hours, to arrive in the town where grandma lives, which makes it possible for me and my husband to have an "adult dinner" [no toddlers].We have waited a year for this. And the restaurant of choice is rumored to have very pleasing food. I am going to have --should I say it out loud? ...Fun. And cocktails.

Being a student is one thing - but also having to pay childcare on top of the usual expenses [rent,utilities,food] is another thing. So when tax time comes around, it is great for that education credit to kick in. It enables us a night out at an expensive restaurant.

And time for relaxing. Hell - time for ourselves.

17 April 2005

Link: Food Universe - Your food search engine 0

I typed in several different things like : Chicken Liver - [these were not the results I wanted...] Meringue Powder [2 uselful] ; Pastry Bags, however turned up a whole bunch of results.

So if you wanted more culinary specific results when searching mabye try "Food Universe".

16 April 2005

Photography : Macro of a bread Sponge [starter] 1

Macro of a bread Sponge [starter]
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

If only you could smell this! It was very strong - which makes for good, flavorful bread.

15 April 2005

Danish Bakeri : home of the Baker 1

Where does the quiet history of the baker reside? In the dilapidated ruins of ancient civilizations? Or in the failing masonry of eleventh century European buildings. If I were to lay my ear upon these stones, would I hear the soft murmurs of ancient oven doors, of an artisan bread song or the benching and rolling of laminated doughs?

I am now in the Laminated Pastry station. In class I was told today from a reliable source [a 4th generation Baker from Denmark], about Denmark and it's bakery history. We were making Kringles. Kringles are Danish pastries and are based from Danish pastry [Weinerbrod dough]. The demonstration was on the "Wisconsin Kringle". The Wisconsin Kringle varies immensely from traditional Danish Kringle, due to the Round or oval shape and 10 additional fillings. You can follow this link to learn a little history & the process of Wisconsin Kringles from a old world Danish bakery in Wisconsin .

The Danish are quite rigid in keeping with their traditional pastry standards. The traditional filling for the Danish Kringle is :

  • a thin layer of Remonce [ mixture of butter, sugar,vanilla can contain : almond paste, white cake crumbs, honey] ;
  • Pastry Cream [handmade custard];
  • Finally a thin roll of Almond Filling [Paste : crushed almonds or apricot kernels,butter,sugar; Then mixed with egg whites and more sugar]

The Pastry before fill is carefully rolled out with a French rolling pin into long strips, and the width is no bigger than 3-4 inches. The 2 fillings are spread in a 2 inch stripe in the center of the pastry, then the roll of almond filling is centered onto the stripe. The edges are brought up and over the filling to form a seem. It is then rolled out slightly on the bench. Here a baker from Edgar's Bakeri [bakeri is bakery in Danish] is forming the traditional Danish shape :

From as far back into Danish history, the Kringle has been a symbol of bakery. In fact the Kringle symbol means "home of the baker". Buildings from the middle ages and stones in graveyards can be found with the Kringle symbol. In modern day Denmark, neon signs loom over the walk ways, beckoning foot traffic. So if you are ever in Denmark, look for home - home of the baker.

bageri.jpg (13843 bytes)

14 April 2005

My Photography : Equipment used in the Bakery 0

Here is one of my sets, ranging from macro shots [closeup] to black and white shots. Pictures of many items found in a commercial bakery/kitchen.

bun 010


167 photos

13 April 2005

If you are sickened by this homogeneous thing we dub "urban sprawl" 0

Has the world gone crazy? We are obsessed with convenience, of course in some parts more than others.

Has fast food infiltrated everything? In all facets of our fragile, materialistic society - fast food chains have wrapped their greasy tentacles, around the minds and arteries which represent us as a whole.

It has gone so far , I am even convinced there are small groups of individuals that have even got the "golden arches" tattooed to their hiney.

But for those of us wise enouph to realize that urban sprawl & homogenised restaurant chains & supermarkets are not the ideal --there is an organization which mirrors that sentiment. And echoes the same idealism. That does so much more!

Slow Food

"Slow Food was founded in 1986, is an internationalorganization whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from thehomogenization of modernfast food and life. Through a variety of initiatives, itpromotesgastronomic culture, develops taste education, conservesagricutural biodiversity and protects traditional foods at risk ofextinction"
I found this site to be very cool. Plus they raised funds for the tsunami victims. Find reviews, recipes. And membership info.

12 April 2005

The Wandering Spoon 1

Follow me as I taste my way from Southeast Asia to India.

This website is great. Thy Tran brings his culinary adventures to your doorstep. He revels in bringing to you the sites and smells and views from his stops in Asian/ Indian providence. Illustrated through pictures, recipes and antidotes - anyone with a thirst for travel or culinary delights will love the simplicity of his journal.

unfortunately there is no RSS feed for ... The Wandering Spoon.

11 April 2005

Why Baking ? Events that shaped my views 0

Although I didn't wait that long - I too witnessed myself at a crossroads. I had been working in the medical field - as a biomedical tech./phlebotomist/Medical assistant. 5 years total.

Before that though, I had gotten culinary training & a chef certificate. I knew that I wanted to lean toward bakery. I interviewed and scored an internship at an upscale bakery downtown.

There I learned the Art of cake assembly & decorating of 12 different fine European style torts & gateaus [6 inch rounds (6 inch tall) 8 inch, 1/4, 1/2, full sheets]; bombs [layers of génoise chocolate sponge, cappuccino mouse, formed & then poured with chocolate ganache finished with a shell border & chocolate curl] cappuccino tarts [shortbread tart shells with a chocolate layer, filled with espresso ganache, then topped with chocolate ganache & finished with chocolate adornments]; Fresh fruit tarts[shortbread tart shell, melted chocolate @ bottom, sweet cream cheese, all types of fruits cut & arranged across the face of the tart, then covered with apricot glaze]; éclairs; gourmet cookies; tartlets; Bouche De Noël [with meringue mushrooms] ;Lemon meringue tarts; Cheese cakes; etc.

After I graduated from my culinary training I eventually was hired on, and they hired me also to fill their retail orders for Mondays. So I would come in on Sundays and basically have the cake room to myself. I would get All the products ready & racked to be transported to the 4 retail stores they had. It would take me 4-5 hours.

On one of these following Sundays, I noticed that the cake room had been stacked from floor to ceiling {every bench, every cranny was filled] with bistro chairs & tables from the retail area of the bakery. But when I entered the bakery that's what really stressed me. They had been stripping the wood floors and re-applying chemicals to varnish the floors. There were very little walls in the space - so all these fumes were drifting into all corners of the building.

The fumes were so bad I had trouble focusing. My then boyfriend was in the contracting trade, & he had made comments about the safety of working around those fumes- -- not to mention the products safety. I also am extremely sensitive to fumes.

I went upstairs to the Owner's office & repeated verbatim , what my then boyfriend had said.

The owner snickered & told his male 'companion' ,

"Show Amber to A table"

We walked down the stairs. He led me to the cake room & pointed to a small marble topped bistro table, the only one without chairs or tables stacked on it.

Well I finished my duties -- yeah it took me 8 hours instead of the typical 4. My mind was meandering , and the fumes were not dissipating (no windows/ air) . After I left, I resolved not to go back there again. I figured if the owner didn't care about me or the product -- why work there?

But part of me has been holding on to that since. I felt conflicted. That was the only job I have ever walked away from. I loved what I would do each day.

My friend Joanne had told me:

"You ARE SO lucky! That is my dream job!"

Then part of me wonders if said boyfriend was devious enouph to make me think I should quit? He had been guilty of other far worse things, which came to light later on. He knew that I loved that job. But then again that is really ridiculous.

My second week of school I asked my Baking instructor if I could speak to him. I sat down and told him the whole story. I had to hold back tears. My voice wavered with all the pain and self conflict I had been holding so near to my heart. I asked him if fumes like that were a bad thing.

He replied,"

"That it depends on the products you had been working with. If it was buttercreams or pastry creams --- anything of that nature, the fumes would be absorbed...."

The more that I told him, the better I felt. He told me to let it go. So I am not as apprehensive as I was the first few days of being in the bakery environment again.

When I look back , or when people ask me "Why Baking?". I think the true turning point was maternity leave, after the birth of my first child. Then I decided to go part time, as my job was really demanding & stressful. There were no set hours & overtime was happening quite frequently. Once I did that , only working 1-2 days a week instead of 50+ hours. I was able to really do some soul searching. I realized what I really wanted in life.

10 April 2005

Photography : Cakes 4

bake 173, originally uploaded by CulinaryNovice.

Decorated with rasberry mouse , white Callebautchocolate "windmill", shaved white Callebaut chocolate on the side.

09 April 2005

Josephine 3

Josephine, originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Josephine profile, originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

There is a wee bit of condensation on the side. This is a dessert used to "WOW" people...

08 April 2005

Napoleon 2

Napoleon, originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

Here is a close up of a napoleon. We have been making so many good things lately...more to come.

07 April 2005

Singing out my Passion! 0

I was asked to do a wedding cake this last summer.

It was a 3 tier [12,9,6 in] white sponge cake filled with champagne
flavored Italian meringue Buttercream, raspberry syrup, Then frosted with
raspberry flavored Italian meringue Buttercream. With marzipan leaves & purple rosettes.

And That was only the second cake I had done{scratch} since working at the bakery, five years before. It turned out lovely. And I realized once again where my passion keeps pulling me -- to all things pastry. And this in turn is echoed in the many books and tools which litter my kitchen.

06 April 2005

The Uber Male Ego : On Baking [#3] 0

Here is another opinion:

Some of my friends give me a hard time about my baking abilities. However I
never hear anyone complain when I'm making a pizza. Below you can see a picture
of a loaf of bread I baked. This isn't any ordinary loaf of bread.. This is
manly bread. A slice of this and a cooked piece of some dead animal (or a
package of ramen noodles) and one is ready to go to battle...or go to sleep.
This isn't like making cupcakes. This is survival food. This is a $0.16 loaf of

Blogged by : Eric [new blog] The Life of Eric [old blog ] Adventures In Tech Support post : Adventures in Tech Support :Manly Baking...

This post is short to the point & honest. Funny.

05 April 2005

Photography : Pastry Sheeter 0

Pastry Sheeter
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

04 April 2005

The Straight Dope --- Can a man live on bread alone? 0

Dear Cecil:

Can man live by bread alone? If so, how long? --Irving Butternut, Los Angeles

---Find out the answer and other interesting facts here

03 April 2005

Formula : Pate A Choux , Éclairs & Cream Puffs revisited 6

Well , at first glance most Pate A Choux ,[pronounced pat-e-shoe], formulas generally are of the the same basic structure. In class we had used this formula :

[#= lb.] {Bad Formula }

  • 1 # water
  • 1 # fresh milk
  • 1 # butter

We made both éclairs & cream puffs with the same batch. The éclairs were very uneven in texture, with jagged edges, and not at all pleasing to the eye. As were the cream puffs - the oven spring was quite large . Unfortunately both the éclairs & cream puffs had to be browned very dark to achieve a cooked inside. They smelled very much like scrambled eggs.

Most of you probably wouldn't mind darker pastry, and in some European bakeries that is the standard. Americans are said to "like under baked pastry goods." That being said these were quite dark.

My instructor wasn't satisfied with the bake off and she even did a batch herself to rule out student error. The results were the same. So she converted a home formulation to production size. The results were beautiful - uniform texture, with a slight crunch, yet soft and wonderful insides. The smells reminiscent of some French haunt. These were a heavenly delight :

{best formula}

  • 3 Cups water
  • 1 1/2 Cups Butter
  • 3 Cups flour
  • 12 eggs

Place water and butter in a sauce pan, bring to a rolling boil. Add flour and stir to smooth paste. Continue to cook and stir for a minute or two.

Place flour mixture in a mixing bowl . Mix on 1st speed. Slowly add eggs and mix until incorporated. Mix on second speed until smooth and glossy.

Eggs Are added to the flour mixture
Eggs being added to Eclair batter

Mix until Incorporated
eclair Batter

Pate A Choux mixture smoothing out in 2nd speed
Eclair batter smoothing out

Pate A Choux mixture is smooth & glossy - ready to be shaped
Ready to be pulled

Pipe with pastry bag or scoop Pate A Choux onto parchment lined pans. Bake at 400° F for about 10 minutes Lower temperature to 350° F and finish baking until done. Shut off oven and allow Pate A Choux to sit in oven until dry.

Pate A Choux pipe into cream puffs
Eclair batter piped into cream puffs

Pate A Choux piped into eclair shape
Piped eclairs

Eclair bake off
bake 098

Eclairs are done when they are light, and can be touched without collapse. Do Not open oven until the eclairs/cream puffs are set ( baked enough not to collapse), or you will not have puffs no longer.
bake 102

Once cool and dry, fill éclairs with pastry cream, dip in cooled ganache.

Éclairs filled with pastry cream, finished with ganache
bake 120

Cut cooled cream puffs {these were pictures from the 1st formula's batch a.k.a "bad formula"} at an angle. Trim out any webbing formed on inside which prevents insertion of filling. There should be a pocket formed.

Fill the cream puffs with stabilized whipped cream or other filling. You can use a large pastry tip and fill the pocket, then make a large rosette, put tops back onbake 123

Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar
cream puffs..

02 April 2005

Photography : key board 0

key board
Originally uploaded by abstract2concrete.

01 April 2005

damn flourescent lighting! 0

I made this today for my daughter's birthday. Unfortunalty the lighting made the tones look blue in the photo.These are lilac flowers.

They are varying shades of violet.

The cake it's self is "black Magic" chocolate cake,it has a very rich, dense, fine crumb.

The filling is rasberry simple syrup and white chocolate whipped cream. it is frosted with white chocolate buttercream.

---Sorry I haven't posted the good stuff yet, as you can see I am very busy. I will add 3 new posts this weekend. Please check back for updates.

Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Back to TOP