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Everything posted by Beanie

  1. If it's not available at the library, do your research at Borders. I spent an hour there the other night reading Hamelman's book. It's the next book on my "to buy" list.
  2. I am bumping this up to let everyone know that I just ordered 1/4 lb. tahitian vanilla beans from saffron.com for $15.95, shipping included. For a minimum order of $21.95, they will include 5 free beans and a bar of soap (vanilla or saffron.) I've never tried their beans, but recently purchased an ounce of saffron that is the best I've ever used; that order included free vanilla extract and a bar of saffron soap. I love this company.
  3. Beanie

    Savory Oatmeal

    Bob's Red Mill has steel cut oats here and groats here. . You can order direct or find them at natural food stores and some supermarkets.
  4. It's worth noting to the many out-of-towners reading your blog that most New Yorkers do not have washer/dryers in their apartments or laundry rooms in their apartment buildings and must walk to the nearest laundromat ... just like they walk to the supermarket. Thus, shopping carts like this are a common sight along the streets of New York. Do you use one? Edited to add: that's why you guys manage to stay so thin even though you all eat so much!
  5. K8Memphis, I was beginning to think you had abandoned us , but am so excited to see the reason for your absence . Good luck!!!!! There's a unique tea room near Saratoga Springs, NY called Whistling Kettle Tea Lounge (it's actually in a place called Ballston Spa, south of SS). They sell hundreds of varieties of bulk teas and accessories. The cafe is furnished like a living room with an eclectic mix of chairs and tables. It has the laid-back feeling of a coffee house, but with tea. Here's a link to their website and menu. I'm not sure the menu will provide any new ideas, but it's well done and I thought you would be interested. You can download a more extensive menu with descriptions of teas, etc. On another note ... don't spread yourself too thin. Now that you're legally your "own boss," you can easily get preoccupied with business matters, employee issues, etc. and won't have time or energy to bake and decorate those fabulous cakes. That would be a shame.
  6. Patrick -- I know this is repetitive, but I just have to add my astonishment at your photos. They rival anything in the many food magazines I receive each month.
  7. What did the health department say? New York State is surprisingly liberal with respect to farmer's markets and farm stands, clickety here, but strict when it comes to retail stores and wholesalers (which you would be if you sold to local shops.) Where are you located?
  8. Megan, This looks exactly like my kitchen on E. 78th Street when I lived there in the late 60's-early 70s. Only a New Yorker would consider this a "big" kitchen (you're a New Yorker now, right? ) Those tiny stoves next to the wall so there's no room for a pot handle. I always considered this to be the landlord's revenge for rent control Seriously, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog and the memories it brings back. When I lived in your neighborhood, it was pretty much a food wasteland ... except for a few Hungarian and German restaurants and bakeries (but lots of good bars to hang out in.) I would love to see photos and read about the food shops and eateries in the neighborhood today. (Is Orwasher's bakery still on 78th? I loved their pumpernickel rolls.) Slightly off topic, if you ever walk down 78th between First and York, take notice of the street trees. I was part of a community group that raised money to plant them. I hope they are still alive and well. Thanks again for the blog; it's really generous of you.
  9. Congratulations!!! ← I second that! Can't wait to see the pictures!
  10. Take a look at Kyle's Kitchen's web site. Kyle is an occasional poster on eGullet. The link I gave is for his ciabatta demonstration. Click on each small image starting with the biga. It's really good demonstration.
  11. Beanie


    That explains why the commercial honey in supermarkets never tastes as good (to me) as local honey. I never knew about the different grades ("weed honey") or blending until today. This is so interesting. Thanks for the info.
  12. There's a whole thread on nuts in the Pastry & Baking forum here. Check out Wendy's post about deep frying them.
  13. From baking911: Vital Wheat Gluten is used in certain types of breadmaking. It gives the yeast in the recipe a boost because it contains a high amount of gluten forming proteins. I use it in my heavier breads that rise slowly, such as rye, whole grains, or ones loaded with sugar, dried fruit and nuts. Your loaves should rise higher and have better volume. FYI: Some bakers use it all the time when using a Bread Machine especially when using whole grain or all-purpose flour. Vital wheat gluten contains about 75-80% protein, compared to about 14% in bread flour. I used it once in 100% whole wheat bread and it was effective in that the bread rose a little more than it would have without it. But it's not something I've used regularly (in fact, it's been stored in the freezer since I bought it.) Here are some recipes using vital wheat gluten from Bob's Red Mill.
  14. I'd use just water for the first try, just to see how a lean bread turns out, then I'd make variations to compare. But that's just me. It sounds like you're doing just fine. Don't stress out over this. I made bread last week and was not all that happy with the result (my kitchen was freezing and I wound up proofing the dough in the clothes dryer; don't ask.. I should start a thread on this experience.) But believe me, it was better than store bought. I bet you'll be surprised at how good it turns out. Keep us posted. P.S. How much poolish do you add to the bread ingredients?
  15. Don't set aside flour from the recipe. Just use enough extra so you can handle it, but not too much because ciabatta dough is supposed to be wet. I find that wetting my hands makes handling it easier. A little flour on the work bench so it doesn't stick, but wet hands to fold it. I hope I'm not adding to any confusion.
  16. Beanie


    You may find the Dutch Gold website helpful. It includes a description of the different varieties of honey that they offer, including origin, color, flavor and sweetness level. Also, if you click on the online store and then on the link to 1-lb. honey jars, you will see all the varieties with descriptions and recommended uses. According to the web site, the orange blossom variety has a medium flavor profile with a subtle hint of citrus. Clove and alfalfa are both mild honeys and they are sometimes blended to produce a generic "honey." Dutch Gold's "premium" honey jar is made of this blend. I bet the ShopRite honey is some sort of mild blend. Dutch Gold also sells a 60 lb. pail of honey called "Baker's Special Pure Honey" that is not mentioned on the web site (I can get it thru one of my suppliers). But they do offer 60 lb. pails of the other varieties and maybe even the blend if you contact them. A few other random comments: In my shop I sell locally produced clover, wildflower and buckwheat honey and orange blossom that is packed locally but produced in the south. I find the clover and wildflower to be the mildest and I have used both for baking. It's worth pointing out that none of the above varieties are flavored; the honey is from nectar gathered by bees from the specific plants identified on the label. I say this because sometimes you see blueberry or raspberry honey in a store, but it is actually a generic honey blend that is flavored with a natural (or artificial) flavor. The ingredient label should be checked to make sure it just says "honey." I guess my only other thought is to try the varieties that you purchased; maybe you'll discover an interesting new flavor profile for your candymaking.
  17. That's just what I did after writing my post. I have a few recipes and plan to try them out. It may take awhile, but I'll report back. I know Wegman's is expanding, but Price Chopper pretty much has the whole market in this part of NYS. Next time I travel west to the Rochester area, I'll remember to check out Wegman's. Thanks.
  18. Philadining, You are cruel. Oh man, this brings back memories. I'm practically drooling all over the computer. There used to be a restaurant in downtown Albany that served this and it was the best sandwich I've ever eaten. The restaurant closed and I've yet to find a comparable beef on weck anywhere, even in the Buffalo area, which I visit once or twice a year. The roll definitely makes this sandwich...not just the flavor of the salt/caraway topping, but the texture of the topping against the au jus soaked bread underneath. Now I'm motivated to try baking it myself.
  19. Beanie

    Onion Confit

    Alan, Lack of clarity? That looks awesome. Just think, pizza for dinner and one of your chocolate bars for dessert. Will you marry me?
  20. Beanie

    Baking 101

    these are my favorite recipe reviews on sites like epicurious.com: "i tried to make this hazlenut torte with burnt sugar buttercream. but i was out of hazlenuts so i used peanuts. and i didn't have the amount of all purpose flour it called for, so i made up the rest with cornstarch and talcum powder. for the frosting i only had half the butter necessary so i made up the rest with bacon fat. and my cake pan was in use, so i baked the whole thing in an old running shoe i found in the basement. and my family hated it! i would definitely NOT make this recipe again, and i rate it one fork, but only because it won't let me give it zero!" uh... ok.... ← This is hilarious. edited to say the above is a quote from the previous post. I screwed up the reply.
  21. Chinese noodle soup on the dinner thread.
  22. Amazing demo. Thank you so much. I never even thought this could be done at home.
  23. its in one of these threads? ← If you check this thread, you'll find Lepard's approach. I've tried his formula and method several times with slight variations and have learned alot. There's a picture of my bread at the end of the thread. Over the weekend, I baked it again, this time substituting 30% whole wheat flour and adding 1/4 c. flax seed meal. I like it even more than the all white.
  24. I'm not familiar with the cornstarch substitution. Pastry flour weighs less than all purpose, so a cup of AP will weigh a little more (about 1/2 ounce or so) than a cup of pastry flour. Therefore, deducting 2 tblsp. AP flour should give you the equivalent weight of pastry flour. Since I use a scale rather than volume measures, I just substitute equal amounts by weight. I'm guessing that the cornstarch substitution would lower the protein level and produce a more tender crumb.
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