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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. Mold and staling are only similar in that both ruin a perfectly good loaf of bread. From what I have learned, refrigeration promotes bread staling (but is a mold retardant), because the act of refrigeration is not that is keeps food cold, but rather, removes heat. In the process of removing heat from food, it also draws out moisture, hence staling the bread much faster. That is why you see condensation on refrigerator coils....because the process of refrigeration removes heat and moisture from foods. This is my basic understanding of refrigeration......if I remember right. If you want to keep your bread mold free and don't mind it being a bit stale, refrigerate it. But I believe you either keep it at room temp or freeze it. I like to freeze mine and then throw it in the micro for just a few seconds for a quick thaw. Or I toast it. But even more lucky for me, I have a 15 year old stepson who lives on bread and cheese, so I can't even keep a loaf in the house for more than two days. Viva la teenage eating habits!
  2. I came across this thread at the most appropriate time, as I'm introducing a line of cheesecakes for my employer to wholesale to restaurants around town. I've always baked my cheesecakes in a regular cake pan in a water bath in a regular conventional oven.....never a problem.....nice creamy cakes, no browning, no cracks. All I have to work with now is convection ovens. My cheesecakes bake up nicely, except now, they are very brown on the top. Ugh. I hate that. This was baking them at a temp of 350 for about 45 minutes. I'm guessing I'll have to drastically lower the oven temp (maybe 200 or 250) and bake them a lot longer. I really don't want to have to do this because having my one oven at such a low temp means I can't bake anything else in there til the cheesecakes come out. This really screws up my ultra efficient baking day. I'm also concerned that the lower temp would alter the creamy texture I'm currently getting. However, if turning down the oven solves my browning problem (and is the only way) I guess I'll do it. So I ask you all who are more experienced with convection ovens and cheesecakes..... what you do? Thanks in advance!
  3. I sent bkeith an apology via personal message, but wanted to apologize publicly too. My above post came off as elitist and condescending and seeming to say "me smart, you stupid". A big "ooops" on my part. I'm not like that. As I told Keith, my only desire is to save my fellow PC's the agony of doing stuff the hard way, because, believe me, I've done stuff the hard way......that, in essence is how I figured out how to do it the easy way. I am hoping my dumbass mistakes will save others. I certainly don't mean to do it in a way that makes me seem as though I consider myself any kind of cake decorating God(dess), because I most certainly am not. Not even close. My above post came off that way, and again I apologize. Many lashes with a wet piece of fondant.
  4. I don't know if this is exactly on-topic, but one bakery I worked at had a popular Halloween tradition of selling "GingerDead Men". We would cut out the gingerbread man shapes and then "kill" them. Cut off their heads.....use a toy car to put tire tracks across them as if they'd been run over. Amputate a few. Pipe some nooses around their necks. Stab a couple. It was great fun. Customers loved them, and a great stress outlet for us bakers too.
  5. Well, wouldn't we all love to have an immersion blender! I know I would. But ya know, I'm cheap. Cheap cheap cheap. I always like to be able to solve my culinary dilemmas without having to throw money at it. I mean, I don't have much money to throw around anyway.......sheesh.....I work in the food business doncha know. When people ask questions or want to be able to make something work, I always give the answer that most anyone could implement. I never assume people have special tools. I have a lot of them....but not everything, and I don't believe most home cooks have all those fun little gadgets that make kitchen life easier either. Gosh, you know what I'd love to have? A freakin' sheeter. But I gotta make do with a rolling pin. As do a lot of folks.
  6. ScharffenBerger is kind of weird....I will say that. We sell it where I work, and I tried it.....not my favorite chocolate to work with, that's for sure! If you like the taste of the ScharffenBerger, go ahead and use it again......just melt it first and you should be fine!
  7. Hear hear! I never use them. I always use a regular cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment, press my crumbs in, pour in the batter, place on a sheet pan, put in the oven, pour some water in the sheetpan and bake away. I let them cool overnight, then stick them on top of my gas cooktop for a minute or so, run a knife around the edge, invert the pan on top of a cardboard cake circle, and remove the pan. Peel my parchment off, then flip the cake right side up onto another circle. Done. I've baked my cheesecakes with and without water baths, and I'm in the water bath camp too. I've had more success with water baths.
  8. Ok......so I'm figuring it this way: Your mixture is at approximately 175 to 180 degrees. You strain the mixture into a bowl then stir in vanilla. It's probably cooled a good amount in this process. Then you add it to your chopped chocolate which cools it further. There probably wasn't enough residual heat at that point to melt all of your chocolate. That's my guess anyway. So I say, why not just melt the chocolate and add your hot cream mixture to it? Then you don't have to worry about the heat of the cream mixture melting all of your chocolate. That's the ticket!
  9. Ok, first off, since I would rather work smart than hard, I would also recreate the pleats using the opposite flat edged side of a large basketweave tip. That would be the best way.....labor-wise anyway. But if I WERE going to do it in such a way where I would be cutting out strips of something, there's no way I'd use fondant. Fondant is good for a lot of applications where you actually need to take advantage of that good ol' stretching action (like around corners and crevices), but if you want to do the pleated look using fondant strips, it would be a major pain in the ass.....as Keith discovered. The fondant's own weight stretches and tears it out of shape....especially if you are folding it over to create a "finished edge". Double the weight. Easy solution though. Two words. Modeling chocolate. Whenever I need to do any kind of horizontal striping that's what I use. It doesn't stretch or tear (when you use it in a cool state-if it's warm it's harder to work with than fondant). If the climate doesn't allow you to use modeling chocolate, then save yourself the hassle and do it the buttercream flat tip way! In my experience I have found that just a box is not enough to protect from the humid conditions of most refrigeration. If I have a fondant cake that I don't want to get any additional condensation on, I either put the box in a large clean Hefty bag, or I wrap the box completely with commercial large sized plastic wrap. Works great. Also if your cake is refrigerated, there WILL be some condensation that forms on it no matter what. But the good news is, as it comes to room temp (and it's not humid outside) the condensation will evaporate away. Regarding fresh flowers on cakes, some people get all freaked out about the stems coming in contact with food. There really is no danger if you make sure you use flowers that aren't poisonous. Like Poinsettias and Ivy.....big no-no there. If I'm making fresh flower sprays, I use floral tape around the stems and then stick them in the cake. I've never used straws.....I hate making more work for myself.....
  10. Bothers me too! It's almost as if they are saying, "I love the stuff you make but I don't want to pay you to make it, so let me have the recipe, ok?" In this case though it doesn't bother me, because I don't make doughnuts for a living, I've never made them any doughnuts personally, and mostly, they were just relying on my supposed expertise to find an answer to their question. They respected me enough to ask, so in this case, it's all good.
  11. So it's been awhile since I've manned the doughnut fryer......at least 14 years. Can't say it's my area of expertise at the moment. I had a client ask me this question: When I made donuts, they all came from mixes.....never really had a recipe for a cake donut from scratch. I'm also inclined to think that a donuts' lightness comes not only from the recipe, but the kind of fat you use and the temperature you fry them at. I do know that if you fry them at too low a temperature they absorb more fat and become heavy. I have also heard that the best donut frying fat is lard. Anyone have any thoughts about how light cake doughnuts are made?
  12. Geeeeeeez! What is it about that cake? I think it's the most disgusting thing on the planet. The first time I had to make it for a client I thought I was gonna lose it when I saw how much red food coloring went into it. Do people REALLY like the way it tastes? I mean really?
  13. I feel your pain. It so happens, where I work, one of our flakiest accounts also happens to be one of our BIGGEST accounts! We're tearing our hair out because she never pays on time, but she does end up paying eventually. It's a freakin' battle every month. It's such a downer.....because here we are, delivering fresh baked goods on demand.....yet, we have to beg and wait for our money. Somethin's seriously wrong with this picture.
  14. Help! It's the attack of the alien macaroons! Run for your lives!
  15. SweetCaroline Is your cheesecake a dense New York style? I do exactly what you do also, and freezing doesn't hurt them at all....I love the "freezing=neat slices" feature too. Maybe freezing other types of cheesecakes doesn't work as well, but I've certainly never had a problem either.
  16. I got lucky. I watched eBay auctions for quite a while and finally saw a DeLonghi self contained ice cream maker up for bid. Brand new in box, from a store closing and they were liquidating their inventory. I watched the auction until the final minutes and bid. Got it for $99 including shipping! What a steal! I've used it a lot. Just turn it on. Wait 5 minutes for it to chill up. Pour in your stuff. 25 minutes later you have ice cream. It's also great when it comes time to add ingredients in the final moments, like chocolate, caramel, nuts, or whatever. Just add them through the feed opening. It's great! I agree with Moopheus.....part of the joy of homemade ice cream is making the amount you want to eat in a short period of time.
  17. I've been decorating cakes professionally for 14 years and I'm STILL practicing......!
  18. chefpeon

    Fluid Flex

    Yeah, Sweetex is hi-ratio. Nutex, huh? Well, I bet that would be interchangeable with Fluid Flex at least. I hadn't known that there were other brands of liquid hi-ratio shortenings out there! Good to know.....thanks!
  19. chefpeon

    Fluid Flex

    The only time I used Fluid Flex was when I managed a bakery north of Seattle. I used to have the recipe in my head because I made it so much, but it has since vanished into the dark cobwebby recesses of my brain......however.....it was yellow sponge and chocolate sponge that I made with it.....you said you were looking for a whiter cake, so my recipe wouldn't have helped anyway. My thoughts: Have you tried making your yellow cake recipe with just whites? Since yolks are an emulsifier and a tenderizer in a cake formula, you might notice a quality difference in a normal type of butter cake recipe, but since Fluid Flex is a great emulsifier and tenderizer in and of itself, you may just be able to sub whites for whole eggs and it would be just as good. I'd like to know what you other PC's who are familiar with Fluid Flex think of that. Personally, I hadn't heard of Fluid Flex til I got to that Seattle bakery.....I thought it was the strangest stuff. But having made tons of yellow and chocolate cakes with it, I gotta say it's magical stuff! It was so easy to use I felt like I was cheating.......but man, it makes outstanding cakes.......and the shelf life! The only things I hate about Fluid Flex are: *It's hard to find, and if you do find a supplier that carries it, it's usually special order, which is a hassle. I've always wondered about that.....I mean a product that good should be in higher demand, shoudn't it? I don't know anyone who's tried it who didn't like it! *Not easy to find recipes that call for Fluid Flex, which leads me to this question: If I have a cake formula that uses an emulsified solid shortening like Sweetex, can I substitute it 1:1 with the Fluid Flex? Anyone know?
  20. Hey Keith.... thanks for the tip about Americolor. Never heard of that brand before, but found it easily on the 'net! Too bad they don't make powders too...... Annie
  21. chefpeon

    Fluid Flex

    And it looks and feels like Vaseline! Love to play pranks on newbies with it. (Yes, I photoshopped a big Vaseline label and stuck it on the bucket, then told my new employee to start scaling up the stuff for a big batch of cakes. Also changed the recipe to say Vaseline instead of "Fluid Flex".) Pastry chefs just wanna have fun.
  22. Okey dokey....then....toasted nut trial number two coming up. This time I will toast them, and not steam them. I will use the gloves while the nuts are still hot/warm.....and see if this works......!
  23. So, since getting the skins off of hazelnuts is one of those jobs I hate, I was anxious to try the "exfoliating glove" method. Told my co-workers about it....we were excited to try. One of them brought in a brand new pair of the gloves (bright orange doncha know) and we set our hazelnuts in the oven to toast. After toasting, I placed a clean damp towel over them to let them steam, as someone else suggested. Let them steam for about 10 minutes. Then the moment of truth...... the gloves worked a bit, but not much differently than rubbing them in dry towels like we usually do. Not as good a result as I'd hoped........ Next, I placed the hazelnuts in the tamis and rubbed them around (with the gloves still on) and this worked a bit better. It's also nice that the skins fall below the tamis and out of my way. So my final review is as follows: The best way to skin hazelnuts: Buy 'em that way! I think the extra cost is worth it in the long run. Next best way: Toast, steam and roll around in the tamis (the raspy gloves help) Third best way: Make someone else do if for you. Of course, I haven't tried the baking soda thing yet, but was hesitant to do that, since I didn't want to mess with the texture of the nuts. That's my report. Over and out.
  24. Ok, so if you put white chocolate couverture in the Robot Coupe and whir it around....it softens the chocolate and makes it pliable without bringing it out of temper.....got it. So I guess my question is, why did you do it with white chocolate and then spray it with dark? Could you whir around dark chocolate couverture in the Robot Coupe too? Or does that not work? And does it have to be couverture, or will any kind of chocolate work?
  25. If you do, let me know too Dee. I'm a "Swiss-er" myself, because I find the method much easier than the Italian. However, if for some reason the Italian is more stable, I'll probably switch too.
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