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Stephanie Brim

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Everything posted by Stephanie Brim

  1. I just use my normal white starter for everything, though I'd like to see how the different flours flavor the starters and, by association, the bread made with them. I may break some of my current, active starter off and start feeding one chunk rye and one chunk whole wheat to see what I get.
  2. I was bound and determined to have a sourdough starter going by the end of this month. I'd tried 3 times before with no luck, so I decided to go with a recipe that someone else started. The first day you mix together 1/4 cup rye flour with 1/8 cup water and set it on the counter. The second day you mix another 1/4 rye flour and 1/8 cup water. The third day I did 1/4 cup rye flour and 1/8 cup water again. This is all without discarding anything. After the third day, I left it alone until I started to see bubbles. On the 5th day I discarded all but 1/4 cup of my starter and mixed 1/4 water and 1/2 cup flour (a mix of 1/4 rye and 3/4 unbleached bread flour. I kept on with the rye/bread mix until I was getting good growth, after which I started feeding only unbleached bread flour. It's been about 3 weeks total since I started and I've been baking bread for about a week. I can control the sour with how much starter I use, how it's built up for use in the bread (stiff, paste, or liquid), how much I use in the recipe (I've been making up my own recipes as well), and how long I let it rise for the bulk ferment. On my blog at http://mentalexperimental.org you can see the fruits of the first couple of my labors. The breads I've made so far with this starter have turned out to be incredibly tasty. You can imagine how happy I am with it. You don't really need high temperatures to make a good sourdough. My temperatures are 70F and lower in this kitchen in the winter. Rye flour works very well. I've never mixed commercial yeast in with it. My favorite bread is this one, which my boyfriend has been using for sandwiches at work all week. Coming to sourdough has been a challenge, but it worked out well in the end. I have a happy, healthy starter now.
  3. I made this tonight with a few modifications and...wow. I'm speechless. It was good. I'll be doing it again, though, and mixing the whole thing with a wooden spoon because I think that the beaters got it a bit too light. I want it dense. However, it was moist and chocolatey and just what I want in a cake. Thanks!
  4. Eggs were fresh, butter was creamed until creamy, eggs were beaten until fluffy. I'll try just beating the eggs until incorporated the next time and see how things go. Lately I've been making butter cookies, all of which have come out exactly like I want them: chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. I agree that weight is better than volume, but I'm stuck with no scale for a couple weeks. None of the stores around here carried the one I wanted and so we're waiting until we need the other stuff we normally order from Amazon to order one. If I wanted a 5 pound capacity I could've gotten one yesterday, but I need the 11 pounder for large batches of breads and the like. We're baking about 8 dozen rolls for my daughter's birthday in a few weeks. The way I like my rolls, that equals 5 pounds of flour for each 4 dozen plus wet ingredients. At the moment I'm just hoping I have a bowl big enough. So anyway, all this because I wanted to try the new Nestle Bittersweet Chocolatier chips. I like bittersweet chocolate, but I don't know if I like these.
  5. We all like images here, no matter how horrid, so here's a camera phone photo to illustrate the difference. http://mentalexperimental.org/images/choco...cookiescomp.jpg On the left is the first batch. The right is the second. I cream the butter and sugar for a couple minutes at least before adding the eggs one at a time and mixing until fluffy. Then I mix in the flour in two batches, followed by folding in the chocolate chips/candy/nuts/dried fruit that I use in a cookie by hand with a wooden spoon or a spatula. I don't chill the batter, and I drop using a teaspoon size cookie scoop onto insulated aluminum sheets. This isn't the first time I've had a chocolate chip cookie recipe I didn't like, and I still haven't found the perfect one yet. The second batch had half the sugar and a little baking powder added as well. I think the next time I'll just do soda.
  6. Flavor is all right, but the texture is just SO Far off. My gut is telling me to cut the sugar by 1/2 cup and add at least 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. I'll try a half batch and see.
  7. I made chocolate chip cookies using the recipe on the back of the Ghirardelli chocolate chips bag tonight. I made the mistake, I think, of not following my gut, but something seemed fishy. First of all, the recipe used a whopping 2 cups of sugar. That seemed a bit much. Second, the recipe called for only baking soda. Most chocolate chip recipes that I've used previously call for both soda and powder in equal measure. I did nothing to change the recipe other than use one cup of chocolate chips and one cup of peanut butter chips. My cookies came out flat and almost hard. Definitely not the lovely crisp edges I was looking for. I'm guessing the problem is the lack of baking powder, but I'm not really sure. Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup butter 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 2 tsp vanilla 2 cups chocolate chips 1 cup chopped nuts (optional) Anyone want to weigh in with what went wrong? Recipe said to bake at 375. Flat. So I went to 425 to see if anything would be different. Still flat. From now on I'm sticking to my own recipes.
  8. I think I'll do the vanilla gifts and then give cookies/muffins/cakes in a jar that use the vanilla items. Then I'll put together a book with more recipes. I'll also add in a loaf of whatever bread I'm baking at that time.
  9. I was thinking of doing bread. I figured that I'd par-bake the bread, freeze it, and then bake it the rest of the way before I go to that place for dinner. I'm working on an Italian rustic recipe right now that has good olive oil and pieces of parmigiano reggiano cheese incorporated into the dough and sprinkled on top as well. I haven't gotten my stone (or my unglazed tile) yet, though, so rustic breads are a little harder. All I can make is boules small enough to go in my dutch oven or to fit under my metal bowl.
  10. I saw the thread on making vanilla and it inspired me so much that I plan to jump on the bandwagon and do some for myself. But then it hit me: I could give it as Christmas gifts! I would assume other people have done this same thing before. What else would you put in? At the moment, the list I have is pretty sparse. Two 4 ounce bottles of vanillas, one Madagascar Bourbon and one Tahitian. Two small jars of vanilla sugar, one from each of the beans. Jar of 5 vanilla beans of each kind. Small book of recipes using each thing. For my grandparents, my boyfriend's mother, and at least one of my uncles, I know this will be a welcome gift. For the other people, I think I may do other things. It's a simple idea, though, that will keep on giving. That is what I'd rather give. Right now, though, I'm trying to find a basket that I could put it all in.
  11. Okay, update. The Lebovitz recipe isn't what I was looking for either. I'm starting to think that I'm really going to have to do it by trial and error to get it right. It could be any number of things, though. The quality of my cocoa, the size of my eggs, the quality of my oil, etc. I don't know. I'm on to something with the recent bake, though. I took the black bottom cupcakes and added the cream cheese into the cake mix itself instead of using it in the middle. It produced a rather moist, beautiful cupcake with a very tender, moist interior. I'm still working on the recipe, but I think it may work with a bit of tweaking. We'll see, and I'll keep updating this for anyone who wants to know. The recipe I plan to try next is on my blog. I may try it tonight, but I really should bake that loaf of French bread I've been meaning to do.
  12. I think I'll try David's recipe. I tried another black bottom recipe a while ago that was good, but had none of the flavor that I was going for until I added buttermilk for the water. It was a BIG change, and they tasted rather good. I'll half the recipe and make one half with coffee and the other with buttermilk and see how we fare. May as well get the cream cheese, too. I have another idea that may work as well, and I'll need that.
  13. As my first post here, I thought I would share some frustration. In my attempt to find a suitable chocolate cupcake for my daughter's first birthday, which is just over two months away, I have come up with not one I've actually liked. I've tried many recipes and a few things of my own, but I still can't get the texture quite right. I want a cupcake that's between a brownie and a normal cupcake in texture, and very chocolatey in taste. I want it moist but somewhat light. I've tried just cocoa, just baking chocolate, and a mixture of the two. I've tried all purpose flour and cake flour, but not mixing the two yet. I've used granulated sugar. I use only whole eggs. I may try one more thing tonight. I have some baking chocolate left (6 ounces) and I may try replacing the cocoa with my semi-sweet baking chocolate to see how that goes. It's frustrating. I know that I'll eventually find what I'm looking for if I just keep experimenting, but I only have a few weeks left. Any ideas as to what could give me the texture and flavor I want?
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