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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. I'm with alana on this one. Love the silpats.....hate the bakeware. Another thing about silicone bakeware is that it eventually does tear or perforate after a good amount of uses. I figure for the price of a silicone pan, I can buy a metal pan that will NEVER wear out.
  2. Hey McDuff.....long time no see! Welcome to the Cake Decorators Repetitive Motion Injury Club. I've had both hands under the knife for Carpal Tunnel work, and now my arm hurts, EXACTLY the same way yours does. I cannot lift up my left arm above my shoulder, or reach back with it without a lot of pain. My doc determined I have osteoarthritis in that shoulder, as I do at the base of both of my thumb joints. Getting old in the pastry biz ain't no fun at all. I suspect you are a bit younger than I, and maybe doing what you're doing less time than I have been.....so there could still be hope for you. One, take some anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen. Two, do range-of-motion shoulder exercises, like big arm circles, and other arm exercises that will help you stretch out and be flexible. I'm just a pastry chef, not a personal trainer, so I couldn't tell you exactly which exercises would be best. It's always more dangerous to your body when you are doing the same motions day after day. Perhaps it would be possible for you to trade off cake decorating duties with a co-worker so you can do other tasks to rest your arms? It can be beneficial to change some things such as table height, turntable height, using a different spatula, icing the sides up with a large wide tip and a bag.......anything you can do to "change up" your routine will rest at least some of the muscles and joints you are using in your work. Hope that helps..... Cheers......Annie
  3. Any time I start complaining about not having the right tool for the job, my husband is usually there to help me come up with an answer. If I told him I needed a cylindrical three inch diameter tampering thingy, he'd go into the garage and make one. I have a great husband. He also has saved probably every scrap piece of wood he has come across in his life. He always says they'll come in handy someday, and I sure can't argue with that. I really regret that as a woman, I didn't take shop class in high school.....that was a class I really could use in my present life, for sure....but who knew?
  4. 1) I seriously doubt it. 2) cocoa doesn't contribute structure. Cocoa dries and toughens doughs and enhances chocolate flavor, but does not contribute to structure. Your flour and eggs are responsible for most of that.
  5. Methinks I'm in the cake twilight zone.....
  6. How about a tiered cake that looks like it's split in half? Woman standing on one half, guy on the other. If it's a divorce where the woman got everything (don't they always?), you could put a lot of little symbolic items on her side of the cake, like a little house, the car, the dog, the kids, and nothing on his half. Heh Heh Heh. Or you could do a tiered cake where she's sitting happily on top (or he is) and the other one is sitting/lying on the bottom tier as though they've tumbled off......
  7. As an educated professional, I'm very aware of all these facts. When you have a small clientele and limit the orders you take, of course, being able to bake and ice to order is a wonderful luxury. But when you do a relatively large volume of cakes in addition to pastries, pies and breads, then the freezer, simple syrup and lots of liquor become your best friends.
  8. Seriously, I mean seriously? Really? I mean seriously seriously? Age? Refrigerator? That goes against everything I've ever learned or known about cakes, and storing them. For me, if the cake doesn't get iced the same day it's baked, or the day after, then it goes straight into the freezer, (well wrapped of course). Storing a cake (un-iced) in the refer just stales it faster.
  9. Hee hee.....well yeah, that sort of explains it......
  10. I just want to ask.....when you tasted the cake later, was it refrigerated at that point? I always notice that cakes are NOT at their best as far as flavor and texture are concerned, when they are cold. Room temp is always best. I can't imagine why a cake would lose the essences of the spices as it sits.....! What a mystery. I'd do what Jeanne suggested and brush the cake with some "amped up" syrup to make up for the loss........
  11. Generally wedding cakes are priced partly on the ingredients used, but most of what drives the price up is the complexity of the decorating and construction of it. If the cake is simply decorated with just a buttercream finish and a border, then yeah, about $3.75 per serving is the average rate. If there is fondant, modeling chocolate, or ganache or marzipan finishes involved, the price goes up. If the decorating is intricate or labor intensive, your price goes up yet again. Then there's also delivery and set up fees to think about too.
  12. Chocolate on direct heat burns very easily. Also, if you overheat ganache, it can break. Pouring the boiling milk/cream over the chocolate is just enough to melt the chocolate, it won't burn, and it won't break. And like Rob said, make sure you have your chocolate chopped up into small pieces.
  13. See, I think the problem here is that you're expecting government employees to actually think....and you know, well, we couldn't have THAT, now could we?
  14. It all depends on how they are displayed too. If they aren't behind glass in a case and exposed to open air and grubby hands, they have to be wrapped per health dept. rules (in my state anyway). I rarely do the individual wrap on anything I make, but I did individually wrap my gingerbread squares at Christmas time.....or they would have dried out immediately.
  15. It was sort of halfway between fluid and fluffy. I used a white chocolate mousse recipe: Melt white chocolate Heat pastry cream and gelatin together Whip cream to soft peak Add pastry cream/gelatin to chocolate, stir thoroughly Add some cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten Then incorporate that all back into the whipped cream and fold to combine. Put structure sheet on sheet pan with extender collar Pour mousse into structure sheet Rap pan on table to get rid of any air bubbles Top with rainbow cake sheets I made, then freeze til set. Remove from freezer, put another sheet pan on top, then flip the whole thing over. The structure sheet side is now on top. The first one I did the "grab and snatch" as per PCB's instructions. Worked ok, but could've been better. On the second one I had towels ready in a bucket of hot water. I took the towels out, wrung them out and wiped over the top of the sheet quickly. Then I quickly removed the structure sheet. Worked great!
  16. It also helps if you break it up into small chunks too.....it'll take less time in the micro, and also reduces your chance of cooking it.
  17. I did a little reading up on the program, and personally, I don't think I would spend the money. For one thing, it's national, and really your time and effort pays off much better when you network locally. When I was neck deep in the business, I had portfolio books in local bridal shops, reception sites (which really, is where you get most of your business), local flower shops, hair salons, jewelry stores, caterers....etc. Everyone was really receptive to have my books and business cards on premise because I took their flyers and business cards and displayed them at MY shop. We all networked together and helped bring business to each other. I think that's FAR more effective than paying for a national program, not to mention some of the rules and restrictions you need to abide by to be in this program. Read more here: David's Bridal Wedding Cakes Across America One final thing that is very effective. Have a website. I can't tell you how many inquiries I get per day by just having a presence on the web. It also gives you "national" (even global) exposure at a much cheaper price.
  18. So are you saying that even when you use the mold release, that you still need the hot water treatment too? Does your can of mold release spray have an ingredients list on it? Is it fat based, like PAM? When I used my structure sheet, the warm towel trick worked even without the release spray.
  19. I have those too Bri. I looked at my PCB catalog for instructions and all it says is to "snatch" the structure sheet away quickly. I had the same results as you. Because you can't really dip a full sheet pan covered with a structure sheet in water, what I did was dip a clean towel in very hot water and quickly wiped over the top of the sheet with the towel. The warmth of it was just enough for me to get a clean release. If you do try the regular release spray and it works, repost here and let us know! Or, if I get to it before you do, I will post also. Rob, I see what you mean.....you lose definition in the mold pattern if you have to partially melt the dessert to get it out....... I guess what we don't know is if that mold release spray actually helps, and/or is different than a regular release spray such as PAM. Is there a mold release spray such as the one that PCB offers that you can get in the states? I don't think you can order it from PCB directly, because aerosol cans can't be shipped by air.
  20. I looked in my PCB catalogue because I know they sell it, but there was no info on exactly what it was.......but I do suspect it's some sort of fat based type thing like PAM. For what it's worth, I've never had trouble getting mousses out of molds anyway. A quick dip in warm water and it pops right out. I've never seen the reason to spend money on something that I think is basically unnecessary. Even if it does make mold releasing easier, I still wouldn't want to depend on something that really isn't that easy to find. That is, if it really is something other than PAM.
  21. I think that one point that is being missed here is that you will find if you make a pound cake with cold ingredients and one with all ingredients being at room temp, you will find little to no difference in the finished product. I did many experiments on this to satisfy my own curiosity. Trust me, you don't really need to take that extra step of making sure all ingredients are room temp, it just doesn't matter in the final product. The extra beauty of that is that you don't have to worry about all these food safety issues, whether they are legitimate or not. All I ever do is microwave cold butter slightly to soften it for some recipes, but most of the time, I don't even do that. I bake professionally....every day.....I don't have time (nor would the health dept allow me) to bring all my ingredients to room temp. Everything I bake is beautiful and tasty. I really truly believe that the room temperature thing is a myth, and probably has carried over from the days when homemakers did not have electric mixers and had to mix everything by hand. When you mix by hand, it is definitely much easier to incorporate ingredients that aren't so cold. In the age of stand mixers, this has now become obsolete. Just my professional 2 cents.
  22. This is what I found on the Spectrum website:
  23. That's what I was thinking too.......and that part that says "e. coli thrives in synthetic nylon"? Huh?
  24. Well said, Jason. I think you're spot on!
  25. pastrygirl, I went to the link you provided, and while the little missive sounds legit, I'm still one to question it. If the disease was something that was known about by the medical community, you would think one would find a lot more links and information about it on the web. When I typed in Tea- Induced Tytherium Sefalytus into a Google search, I only came up with two sites; the one you referred to, and the little flamewar on Tea Chat that I referred to. I sense there's something fishy. It seems weird, no? Also if E. coli were a real danger in tea, you would think that with all the news coverage we've seen lately, that there would be something mentioned about that danger too. Me, I'm always one to be skeptical, especially when you see the acronym, and this:
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