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Everything posted by Lkfarkas

  1. Oooooh, I want to cry! My starter that I've had for quite some time has gone...off. Help! I moved from Indiana to Florida about 7 weeks ago. My starter was babied all along the way, being careful not to expose it to too much heat. However, it's gone...icky...now. It gets a dark colored hooch on top of it, and smells of nailpolish remover?!? It'll still bubble....I've dumped out almost all of it and "started over" with just a bit, but it still goes off-smelling once it's fermenting again. Please help...have I lost my starter? Or...what? Thanks!
  2. These are savory little hand-pies. They're a bit like an empanada, only they're not masa-based. They're more of a pie-crust type of dough, deep fried, and filled with either Gouda, chicken/raisins/spices, or beef of some sort. Aruba has a very large Dutch influence...not sure if these are Dutch, or not. However, they're SO good, and I want some help recreating one. Can anyone help?
  3. When I do samples, I use portion cups (small plastic cups, with lids). I ice a sheet cake, cut them into small sample pieces, put them into the cups, squirt a little filling on the side, and lid them. I slap a sticker w/my company info on the lid, and chuck 'em in a box. Heck, I've even frozen them. They don't dry out. They don't get confused with other people's samples, and they feel strange about taking 50 of them apiece. They stack nicely for display, and they transport nicely, and I don't have to have anyone serving them. Never once had a complaint about my samples - and now the other vendors are doing them that way too. For dummies, I do several contemporary cakes, and a traditional one or two. I have several photo albums, a "consultation request form", brochures, biz cards, etc. on the tables. I usually have my laptop running a powerpoint slideshow hooked to a TV (our booth gets PACKED cuz we do cakes, and catering.) so that people can see our photos/get our info w/out coming into our booth to see the albums/talk to us. I also find that setting tables into a "U" shape, versus the standard "table across the front" works nicer. People feel invited to come into the "u" and interact, versus stopping at the front table, which can be initmidating. More later as I think of them!
  4. I have that book! Yay! Thanks!
  5. Lkfarkas


    Thank you everyone! What great suggestions. I'm going to look at the links as well, and see what's there. Yay, thanks again!
  6. I have a friend who wants something pineapple-y, and being that I'm "the baker" he knows, I'd like to make it something fabulous beyond the usual upside down cake. Under the circumstances, it should be something home-y, perhaps a bread, cookie, or cake concoction. What'cha got that you LOVE? I also have some really great dried pineapple (i never thought there was such a a thing until I found this!), and would love some ideas on how to utilize it, short of sticking it straight in the gob, which is where it's been going. Thanks!
  7. I remember having some amazing black & white cookies from NY once - they were soft, cakey, and wonderful. However, all the ones I see at the bakeries are hard, or the icing is awful... We have a lot of East coast kids that come to our shop, and I'd love to offer a great b&w cookie...anyone have a good recipe to share?
  8. Please help! I've been working with a homemade starter from The KA bread book. I used to make some pretty spiffy bread with it, but lately, I've just ended up with sophisticated smelling hockey pucks. What am I doing wrong? I've been using the KA recipe. I mix my starter & water, pour that into my ap & ww flour. Mix, wait 20 min, add salt. Rise 1 hour, fold, rise another hour. Divide into 2, shape, rise 2 hours, bake. I either end up with some big holes at the top of my loaf, or just tiny holes all over - but both end up way too dense & not risen enough. I usually feed my starter the night before I make my dough, and then make my dough that next morning. Perhaps my oven hasn't been hot enough? I usuaully turn it to 450 F about a half hour before baking....perhaps it should be longer? *Sigh* Edited to add: I usually feed it about 1 c. ap flour and a scant cup water. Help! Thanks, ~Lisa
  9. Ooh. I think that's a good guess. Hrm. I did notice that my starter seems a bit thicker, and when I fed it today, I added a bit more water. Also, I'm in the middle of making a loaf, and the dough seems heavier in texture, too. Grrr. Can't blame the starter, though - my scale went nuts in the middle of weighing my flour. *sigh* So, I think I've got too much flour in there. Anyway...thanks for the "guess"!
  10. What happened to my starter? I had a great starter going, had it in the fridge for awhile, brought it out, fed it for a week or two (daily), and then one day fed it with whole wheat flour. (I was out of AP) Since then (probably a week or two?), I've fed it with AP. It's not as active as it was - bubbles come, smells okay, but it's not frothy, nor does it have bubbles actively rising to the surface & breaking. I do have bubbles - but they're not "bubbling", if that makes any sense. It smells okay, but just doesn't get "puffy". What gives? I did dump out a good bit of it, and did replenish with plenty of AP flour.....what happened? Thanks!
  11. Maybe not what you're after, at all...but what about styrofoam? I mean, if it's just a symbol, and not a functional dessert......what about a dummy cake? Desserts (or, otherwise) can be served seperately - fresh fruit & SF pudding, etc....?
  12. Nice work. You did well with the fondant application - no puckers (or at least that we can see, which is worth that much anyway!) at the bottoms, nice job with the "appliques", and good use of the lace molds. Nice work - for a first timer especially!
  13. We make the supernatural brownies at the shop, and oh. my. goodness. are they good! Give them a try!
  14. We've been having a very hard time w/the macarons at the shop. I can do them very well at home (thanks to everyone here!), but our baker is struggling. I'm guessing that it's got to do with the fact that she's grinding her own almonds (in the robo coup) that don't get fine enough, and that they're using the convection oven. Does anyone else succeed at these with the convection? Hers are very thin, crunchy, and "empty" inside. Any ideas?
  15. *sob* My 22-month old just got my starter off the counter & dumped it all over the floor. Fortunately, I salvaged what was left in the container. Arggggggggghhhhh!
  16. Just wanted to let you know that I successfully made a cinnamon-raisin sourdough hockeypuck today. Don't feel bad! I started to make my dough in the evening, and put it in the fridge to retard. Somehow, it just never came back. *sigh*
  17. Thanks! I just made some from Baking Illustrated, and they're a bit too bitter for me. I'll check out your recommendation! Do they have a flakyish top?
  18. I dig out a shallow circle of cake, leaving an outer ring of cake "dam". Then I fill. The cake "closes" completely, and there's no ooze or sliding.
  19. Allright, gang. I'm looking for a new brownie recipe to use at the shop. I need one that's crunchy/flaky on top, and chewy/fudgy in the middle. The one I love at home hates the convection oven at the shop. I need one that can be eaten out of hand, or be thrown in box lunches, but is still sinfully delicious. Please help!
  20. I shipped a fondant iced cake with no problems, twice. I actually shrink-wrapped the cake to the board, glue-dotted the board to the box, and put some peanuts around the cake. Shipped it via regular post, and it got there with little harm done both times. Not sure if I'd do it for a paying client...but it was fun to see what happened with friends...
  21. Eep....now that I opened my big yap, I'm realizing that you just want the dang starter to work out right, and aren't necessarily wanting a DOUGH to work with yet. Sorry....I was thinking "proofing" as in dough proofing...not the starter. I did what Devlin said with cutting back the water, and proofed in my oven w/the light on & it helped immensely. Best of luck to you! When you do get your starter working (it will come, I promise!), that recipe I posted worked pretty nicely for me with my having little sourdough experience! Best,
  22. Here's that recipe paraphrased from the KA book, "The King Arthur Flour, Baker's Companion" Pain Au Levain 5 c. (21 oz) unbleached A.P. Flour 2/3 c. (3 oz) whole wheat flour 1 ¾ c. (14 oz) water 2 ½ c. (16 oz) ripe starter (best measured by weight, volume varies with ripeness) 2 ½ t. salt Combine the flours in a lg. bowl. Add water to the starter & stir into the flours. Mix by hand for ~2 minutes, until flour is thoroughly incorporated but not yet smooth. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic and let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes. Add salt & knead the dough until it becomes smooth, supple, and slightly tacky. Avoid adding flour – the dough should be soft. The dough temperature should be 78 degrees to 80 degrees. Return the dough to the bowl, cover, and let rise 1 hour. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold it. Folding is a gentler and preferred alternative to “punching down” this bread dough. The object is to develop the gluten while not degassing the dough. Lightly dust the dough (still in the bowl) and your work surface with flour. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the work surface-a flexible dough scraper works perfectly for this step. Gently pull and pat the dough flat, without deflating all of the bubbles, then fold the bottom third up and the top third down, as you would a letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees on your work surface and repeat folds (top down, bottom up), so that now all four sides have been folded into the center. Pick up this folded package and deposit it gently, folded side down, back into the bowl. The dough will be noticeably tighter after the fold. Let it rise, covered, for another hour. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, or keep it as one if you wish to make a single large round loaf. Preshape each piece into a loose ball by drawing the edges together, so that one side becomes the other surface, with all the corners coming together at the bottom of the ball. Place dough smooth side up on a lightly floured surface. Cover and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Shape the loaves into tight round boules (balls), and place them into smooth side down and covered, in a well-floured proofing baskets for 2 hours. An hour before baking, preheat the oven and baking stone to 450 degrees. Half an hour before baking, put a cast iron pan in the bottom of the preheating oven, on the rack beneath the baking stone. Put a kettle of water on the stove and bring it to a boil, just before it’s time to put the bread in the oven. Before opening the oven door, take time to arrange everything you’ll need – the loaf on the peel, the kettle of boiling water, and a spray bottle filled with hot water. When you’re all set, proceed swiftly. Open the door, slide the loaf onto the baking stone, pour about ½-cup boiling water into the cast iron pan, spray a mist of water into the oven chamber, and close the oven door. Be careful of steam burns from the hot water going into the pan. Once the oven door is close, resist temptation to check on the bread for the first 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, allow the steam to escape by opening the oven door, and remove pan of water. Close door and allow to bake for up to 40 more minutes. The crust will be richly colored and the internal temperature of the loaf is about 200 degrees F.
  23. GAH! Is right....I honestly have NO idea what I'm doing, and it worked out well for me. Try not to think too much about it - that's where I was going wrong. *Smile* I turned on my oven for about, literally, 20 seconds, and then back off. Turned on my light, and popped in my starter. That's when my magic started to happen...turns out it was just. too. cold. in here. I don't know if the KA recipe is online or not...but I can post it for you a bit later...you need to get your starter brewin' first! Patience, young grasshopper....
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