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Posts posted by lcdm

  1. Wow a lot of great information. I remember when my husband and I started having dinner parties, my typical menu was: salad, chicken parm, pasta and garlic bread. Dessert was usually cheesecake or apple pie.

    A few things to think about when having a party:

    have a pre-designated place for guests to put their "stuff" (purse, coats)

    make sure the bathroom is clean, have extra toilet paper and clean towels available

    make guests feel welcome ... thank you for coming, let me take your coat, what can I get you to drink, introduce them to the other dinner guests

  2. ok guys!!!! here's the report, pictures will follow later this afternoon when i get home!

    I CAN BAKE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :cool: this bread was heaven to my eyes when it came out of my oven, boy all I can say was WOW :wub: ...haha thats all that came out of my mouth, so proven the fact that I can bake bread, I will continue to perfect it, although I didnt go step by step as how the BBA instructed me to do so, but the bread turned very nice!!! nice golden brown color, I love the flour streaks( for a minute I thought I've been doing this for years), it made my condo smell like a boulangerie :raz: I had to do it one at a time, as I didnt get a chance to get quarry tiles, so I had to make do with my 12 inch pizza stone,hehe it works :smile: and I also used my wooden chopping board as the peel.

    I feel very fulfilled after baking those bread last night, oh and I was so tempted to split the bread, to see the inside cross section, but I didnt....well I didnt coz I fell asleep :hmmm: 

    I brought the bread to work today as well, and it was a hit. everyone here now dont think im a bogus anymore, hahahaha *basta*ds* lol


  3. I want to make the Pain a l'Ancienne, but don't know how to convert the recipe to make up for my Active Dry yeast versus the Instant.  Do I still use ice cold water and "proof" before adding to the flour?  Or do I proof in warm water, chill it and then add to the dry ingredients?  Or, do I postpone this recipe until I can order instant yeast online?

    Hmmm, really a good question. I think I'd proof in the warm water, and then chill.... He clearly wants to keep everything cold. I was leaning towards just throwing the yeast into the flour without proofing, but... you want to disolve the yeast due to the size of the grains... so I'll vote for proofing and chilling.

    I had the same problem. I proofed the yeast in a small amount of warm water and added to the rest of the ingredients (I think I used about a 1/3 cup of warm water + yeast). I didn't wait for the mixture to cool down, I figured it wouldn't elevate the overall temp too much. The bread came out fine, but I guess to truely know how it effects the outcome you would have to do a side by side experiment.

  4. those were nice loaves, and i can totally see the "glistening effect" on the cross section of the dough being transluscent, as described  in BBA as a basis for a well baked bread, so the letter fold is the traditional form of ciabatta? but BBA stated it was a slipper shape....whats a slipper shape? :unsure:

    Ciabatta literally means “slipper” in Italian, and the name refers to

    the shape of the bread—a flattened oval, kind of like a comfortable old bedroom slipper you just can’t bear to throw out. However, ciabatta has come to mean, at least in this country, any airy, dimpled loaf dusted with flour, of just about any shape. We like to remain true to the original spirit of the loaf, and shape it into a

    rough oval.

    Definition from here:


  5. A local restaurant supply store cut a sheet of stainless steel to size, and we mounted it behind the cook top with high-temperature caulk (available in the fireplace section of your local big box store). Cleans up great!

    We did that behind the range in our last house, one of our friends works with sheet metal he just cut a piece for behind our cooktop.

    Now I have a 30" metal back that is fitted for our range.

    Both clean up very well, but you can see all the little grease splatters/smudges.

  6. hi guys im back on this thread........wow been gone for a while and was putting off my bread baking experience. anyways, i'm at work right now, and I just realized the other day that i have access to a digital, pharmaceutical grade scale, which i totally forgot. and i have a few new laboratory materials that i can definitely use for the exact measurement of things such as graduated cylinders and the like which im taking home by the way hehehe since we have ALOT. but yeah i just got done making the Poolish pre-ferment an hour and a half ago, so it should be ready to be refrigerated in 2 more hours.

    i also used dry active yeast, which i think is perfectly alive. i see the poolish bubbling so, i think it is alive. i did the necessary adjustments for substitution. the 100% for wild yeast 40-50%for dry active and 33%for instant. so i used 50% just to make sure i get maximum participation of the yeast  :hmmm: so far so good. id be doing my measurements for the main bread ingredients after lunch, i'd just bring some more bowls in to work when i go home for lunch here in a few to put in my pre measured flour, yeast and salt, since i cant take home the scale( i wish they had two then id take it home as well hehhehe). oh btw im attempting the ciabatta bread according to BBA recipe. I most likely wont be able to bake the bread till tomorrow night, but if i can tonight i will. Peter Reinhart suggested keeping the Poolish in the fridge overnight for the flavor to develop.

    i got much of the stuff down to an exact science. the only thing i dont understand is during the kneading part after the first 30 minute proofing. the book states the liberal use of flour on hands and dusting on the bread, how do i know how much flour to use for dusting and all of the above? do i set aside some flour from the total amount of flour used in the recipe? or this is just extra flour to be added to the pre measured items. PLEASEEEE RESPOND SOOON!!!! I'd be waiting for y'alls response. THANKS

    If the dough sticks to your hands and won't come off you have used too little :).

    The use of flour (and a bench scraper) will help, I just use a little extra flour at a time until I can manage the dough. Sorry I can't give you an exact amount I just throw some on the counter, it really depends on the dough.

  7. Okay - my name is Tracy and I am a complete baking dumb ass!

    I bought Peter Reinhart's Baker's Apprentice book.  In it, he discusses in great detail the various types of yeast available, and states he prefers instant to active dry yeast.  He also says one can use either form - but he does not tell me what to do in the method if I am using active dry yeast.

    Sadly, I was not able to find instant yeast at my local grocer or at Sur la Table.  What  I do have is SAF brand "Bread machine Yeast" , which they claim can be used in traditional bread baking.  The label says the water must be 120-130 degrees F, while the recipe I want to try first (the focaccia) says the water must be at room temp.  I also have a couple of packets of active dry yeast - Fleischmann's brand.  This must be proofed prior to adding it to the dry ingredients.

    What should this dumb ass do?  Do I mix the yeast in with the flour and add the water at the label's recommended temp or do I follow Peter's directions and add the water at room temp?  Also, my house is cold - maybe 68 degrees.  Now, I can put the dough in the laundry room to proof, where it is much warmer b/c of the dryer.

    Don't tell me I have to wait until summer to make bread!

    I am far from an expert but here's what I did:

    Proofed the yeast (mixed the required amount of yeast w/about 1/2 cup of warm water, I think the package say 115 degrees) after it was nice and frothy I made the recipe as written (but deducted 1/2 cup of the water from the original recipe.

    My house is also cold, I either increase the proofing time (look at the dough until it's doubled) or put in the microwave with a cup of hot water (increases the surrounding temp) or you could put it in the luandry room:).

  8. Melissa, how exciting for you. We just finished our renovation <snip>

    Anything you'd do differently? Anything you're really glad you did?


    I haven't had time to take a finished picture yet but here is the main part of the kitchen near the end of construction.


    I love everything about it, but there are some things I would do differently.

    We purchased a 10" depth sink, because it is undermount it's really like 11.5" so I have to slightly bend to reach the bottom of the sink, also I can't store a full size garbage can under the sink.

    I would have ordered a swatch for the counterstools before getting them, they are great but they don't exactly match.

    Use fluorescent instead of halogen under cabinet lighting, the halogens get pretty hot.

    I really did a lot of pre planning so I'm pretty happy.

    I am especially happy with the appliances, and the floor (we chose linoleum). The layout works really well and it's very functional.

  9. ok guys i'm a little late, but i'm back. and i got the book!!!!! it was the last one at the barnes and nobles place, i'm so lucky....so baking is so meant to be. i doubt i'd be able to bake tonight, but im shootin for sometime next week coz i have to work this weekend. :sad: in the mean time i'll start browsin through and create a storyboard in my head for my set up.

    Some of his breads use pre-ferments or some need an overnight stay in the frig. I usually do this step Friday night after I come home from work and complete on Saturday or Sunday when I have more time.

    Good luck and have fun.

  10. Melissa, how exciting for you. We just finished our renovation, we chose an Asko DW, it has an SS interior, is very quiet, has a short cycle time and uses less water than the average DW (it also has a 5yr warrenty). Before you decide on a DW go and check them out, you can even bring a few dishes or glasses to the showroom with you to see if your stuff fits.

    Other appliances we purchased:

    Kitchenaid 48" refrig/freezer

    DCS 36" Range

    Vent-a-hood 36"

    Kitchenaid 27" convection electric single wall oven

    Before we did the remodel this site was a God send http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums

  11. Here to help you.

    The best advice I can give is to get The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. If you read the intro which provides explanations on why different techniques work, then follow a recipe. I promise that you will produce great bread... to use a Brit expression, it will be 'better than shop'. I imported the book from the US, and have not regretted at all. it is a beautiful book, a pleasure to own and read.

    I agree, get the BBA; I made the Pain a l'Ancienne over the weekend and it was great. My husband and kids said it tasted like it came from the Italian Bakery.

    I still have to work on it a bit, but it was my best as of yet.

  12. This is too funny, at first I thought 56 was the name of a restaurant.

    The Meadowlands sports area cards everyone also. I guess it's a CYA type of thing, but it is posted so you have that expectation when you are there.

    I have to agree that the waiter was very rude and could have gone about it differently.

  13. The King Arthur website has tons of recipes and even online tutorials. If you are just getting started may I suggest the White Bread 101 on the KA website:


    or Toast and Sandwich bread also on the KA website:


    These both make basic white loaf bread, the toast and sandwich bread recipe does not call for any special ingredients, just yeast, sugar, milk, salt, All-Purpose Flour and butter and the only equiptment you need is a loaf pan.

    Once you get this basic bread down you'll have the confidence to branch out and try other types.

    Edited to add:

    If you are like me and like to see or feel exactly what the bread is supposed to be like during each step you may want to look around and see if a local school (like an adult school program or community college) or a supermarket, has a bread baking class (many are just a day or two).

  14. Thanks all I used etalanian's rice pudding recipe, but took others suggestions and for the initial cook I used 1/2 milk and 1/2 water (instead of all water). The rice was tender and it had the consistancy I was looking for.

    Thanks again,


  15. My daughter wanted rice pudding. I figured how hard could it be to make? Well I've tried it twice and both times I bombed. First time I made it I used this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/106089 don't know what I did wrong but the rice never got tender. Second time I used the rice pudding recipe from the gourmet cookbook (pre cook the rice). The rice was tender but the pudding was a gloppy disaster (although it tasted OK).

    I used Carolina long grain rice in the recipes. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

  16. Oh, well.  I have a new, revised menu.  Can't figure out why, but daughter made some requests to change the food.  Here's the new menu:

    Crab Meltaways         


    Mini Tacos

    Tortilla Chips with Guacamole, Salsa & Queso Dip

    Liptauer Cheese Spread with

    Pumpernickel Cocktail Bread

    Red Pepper Jelly Cheesecake with Crackers


    Bleu Cheese & Caramelized Shallot Dip   

    Caesar Dip

    Asian Style Dip

    Skewered Fruit

    Cinnamon Pecans

    Assorted Cupcakes

    Still should be good, and I am making the sliders,guac and Queso dip (not buying from Costco), but I was really looking forward to see what I could do with those Deconstructed Spring Rolls  :sad: .  Some other time, I guess.  No chance of complaints of 'too fancy' now  :biggrin: !  Crab meltaways & mini tacos - sob.

    Everything sounds delicious. Depending on the presentation and your company, (my friends think it's fancy when I put spinach dip in a hollowed out loaf of bread), I'm sure you will still get a "how fancy" :)

    PS Maybe you could slip in the springrolls when she isn't looking.

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