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gfron1
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So, I thought it might be time for some group therapy. Okay, actually I need it.

A friend asked me to provide snacks for a big training tomorrow (for therapists), and so I thought, "Great! I'll make my favorite scones and a batch of Ling's brownies." But my mom is in town and I didn't want to ignore her. So I asked if she would make the brownies (its just following a recipe right?). She had some hesitation in her answer so I did all of the mixing. All she had to do is divide the batter between the pans and bake it while I was out doing something else. I came back and sure enough, she had burned the bottoms. Argghhh! What was worse is that she thought they were perfect - so she didn't even know what she had done. I of course wondered if I wasn't adopted.

I don't have time to do another batch, so now my friend and 25 therapists, who have been hyped up about me making the food, are going to think I can't even make a pan of brownies!

I'm done whining...just give me an "Awe" and I'll shut up now.

Who's next for their therapy session?

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You can still salvage those brownies! Cut off the burnt parts, turn them upside down, and frost them. Or cut them into bits and make brownie trifle (or individual brownie "sundaes") interspersed with pudding or whipped cream. Present the individual ones in clear plastic cups.

I learned this trick from my own baking disasters, mostly involving cakes that were so soft that they fell apart when unmolding from the cake pan, and an Easter lamb cake whose head toppled off as the cake was being transported to its destination (judicious use of frosting and toothpicks remedied that one).

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I think my assistant at work is channeling your mother, gfron!

My assistant is helping me out on a temporary basis until I can get a full time qualified assistant with some kitchen experience. Please, God, a little kitchen experience.....please.

My current helper has no kitchen experience, but as my employers said cheerfully, "she sometimes bakes at home", which means absolutely nothing when you work in a professional kitchen. She normally works the counter at our Cafe, so she's being "loaned" to me two days a week.

She follows directions on recipe cards fairly well, but I'm busy too and I keep forgetting to watch her every second, and stuff that comes naturally to me is the stuff I forget to tell her. Like whenever you use cocoa, you have to sift it, otherwise the lumps never come out. I ended up with two sheet pans of brownies with big cocoa lumps in them. Argh. She was mixing a batch of cookie dough, and after she added the eggs, she realized she forgot the butter, so she just threw blocks of cold butter in there thinking "no problem". Yeah, well, big problem.....the butter, of course, never creamed in because the dough was so slack.....it was like overmixed sugar soup with butter chunks. Double argh. It also doesn't help that the mixer is in another room, so I can't see over her shoulder most of the time.

Who knows what today will bring....I just know that I'll be watching her more carefully (and therefore reducing my productivity), and praying for some experienced help that I so desperately need.

/end rant.

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Who knows what today will bring....I just know that I'll be watching her more carefully (and therefore reducing my productivity), and praying for some experienced help that I so desperately need.

Maybe giving her some overnight reading would help? The Simple Art of Perfect Baking? I haven't seen Foundations of Food Preparation in a long time (since I was a kid), maybe that's a good read too :smile:

Haven't had any major mishaps recently, but I'm still not able to whip cream. I thought the ice bath trick would work but it still hasn't progressed over slightly thickened (and I could've sworn it looks exactly the same as when it came out of the fridge), but the last resort is to crank up the air conditioning and try it one last time, with frozen utensils, plastic bowl, and ice bath.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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Who knows what today will bring....I just know that I'll be watching her more carefully (and therefore reducing my productivity), and praying for some experienced help that I so desperately need.

Maybe giving her some overnight reading would help? The Simple Art of Perfect Baking? I haven't seen Foundations of Food Preparation in a long time (since I was a kid), maybe that's a good read too :smile:

Haven't had any major mishaps recently, but I'm still not able to whip cream. I thought the ice bath trick would work but it still hasn't progressed over slightly thickened (and I could've sworn it looks exactly the same as when it came out of the fridge), but the last resort is to crank up the air conditioning and try it one last time, with frozen utensils, plastic bowl, and ice bath.

Did you add sugar? I find it's easier to whip it with just a teeny bit of sugar, and even then, the heat here is such that I don't manage to whip it up very well unless I do it in the mixer with a well-chilled bowl.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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I think my assistant at work is channeling your mother, gfron!

My assistant is helping me out on a temporary basis until I can get a full time qualified assistant with some kitchen experience. Please, God, a little kitchen experience.....please.

Find me a hotel, I'll be your helper.

I've had enough of the kitchen I'm in. But I'm not moving for another three weeks. Of hell. I won't have to worry about what it's like later, I'm living it now.

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Haven't had any major mishaps recently, but I'm still not able to whip cream.

Did you add sugar? I find it's easier to whip it with just a teeny bit of sugar, and even then, the heat here is such that I don't manage to whip it up very well unless I do it in the mixer with a well-chilled bowl.

I didn't! I now want to strangle the barefoot contessa for putting cream in her KitchenAid and managing to whip it in 5 seconds to perfection. I've been using a whisk (I only have a hand mixer) because it looked like I was turning it into butter really easily with a mixer, but I'll give it a try, thanks. (Agh, it is close to body temperature here today!)

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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Haven't had any major mishaps recently, but I'm still not able to whip cream.

Did you add sugar? I find it's easier to whip it with just a teeny bit of sugar, and even then, the heat here is such that I don't manage to whip it up very well unless I do it in the mixer with a well-chilled bowl.

I didn't! I now want to strangle the barefoot contessa for putting cream in her KitchenAid and managing to whip it in 5 seconds to perfection. I've been using a whisk (I only have a hand mixer) because it looked like I was turning it into butter really easily with a mixer, but I'll give it a try, thanks. (Agh, it is close to body temperature here today!)

If all else fails, you could try a teeny bit of gelatin--there are measurements for this, but I don't have them in my head.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Hehe this remaind me one ( or more than one?) I asked my sister to help me with something while baking.One time I was making a sacher torte , I asked her to butter and flour the pans and pour the batter in .They cam out beautifully then I unmolded them :blink: Haha she didnt shake off the extra flour out of the pan :laugh: so I had a nice big spot of flour on the bottom of my cakes .I think one time I was late for work and asked her to check the bread in the oven etc etc,Then realize she took it out yes but left the loaves in the pans so they got all nice and soggy :rolleyes: .

Wee then everybody gets mad when I say "I'll do it myself!" :laugh:

Edited by Desiderio (log)

Vanessa

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Who knows what today will bring....I just know that I'll be watching her more carefully (and therefore reducing my productivity), and praying for some experienced help that I so desperately need.

Maybe giving her some overnight reading would help? The Simple Art of Perfect Baking? I haven't seen Foundations of Food Preparation in a long time (since I was a kid), maybe that's a good read too :smile:

Haven't had any major mishaps recently, but I'm still not able to whip cream. I thought the ice bath trick would work but it still hasn't progressed over slightly thickened (and I could've sworn it looks exactly the same as when it came out of the fridge), but the last resort is to crank up the air conditioning and try it one last time, with frozen utensils, plastic bowl, and ice bath.

Are you sure your cream has enough butterfat? A lot of the cream I've seen in the US seems to be only around 30% butterfat which is very difficult to whip up. I have to buy the fancy organic cream for twice the price, just to get 36% butterfat. If you can get some 40% butterfat, that's even better.

PS: I am a guy.

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I volunteered to make cupcakes for the end-of-the-year party at my daughter's preschool. I used a box mix because I was short on time, and as I was going to switch my mixer off, I pulled the lever the wrong way. Let's just say the batter got about 20 seconds on high before I figured it out. The centers fell on the cupcakes.

Thank god for frosting. LOL... they tasted ok, but had big air bubbles in the middle. None of the kids complained any.

Cheryl

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but I'm busy too and I keep forgetting to watch her every second, and stuff that comes naturally to me is the stuff I forget to tell her. /end rant.

Thank you for that, chefpeon! I'm continually berating myself for not remembering to tell my assistant every single thing...I'm glad to not be alone!

Jennifer

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If you plan on keeping your assistant for a while and he/she has a sharp mind, you can always adopt this method of instruction: see one, do one, teach one. Well, okay, skip the "teach one," cause he has no one to teach it to.

Shalmanese: Thanks for the tip! Although here in the Philippines, I think, all cream is heavy cream (labeled "all purpose cream"), but one brand is labeled "easy whip." If you try to pour it when chilled, it comes out very thick and will hold its shape. I'll have to conduct an experiment.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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My assistant once dusted salt on top of my shortbread instead of sugar. luckily I tasted it. She also once added peppermint oil instead of peppermint extract to the shortbread. Needless to say our eyes were watering as they baked. Talk about EXTREME MINT!

ChefPeon, I hear you with how inexperienced help can sometimes be more of a burden than an asset. As we all know, baking involves a lot more than just following a recipe. I just think you can't expect someone with no experience in the kitchen to be able to keep up with someone with tons of experience. What I end up doing to help the situation is have them do mundane repeatable tasks like cracking eggs, or lining sheet pans, or dishes, but that takes a little pre-organization because you don't want them to be just standing around waiting for the next job.

Oh, and about the cream, a little dried nonfat milk (about 1tsp per cup) added to the cream before mixing usually stabilizes. I never add sugar until I start seeing a little body forming in the cream, and I never add vanilla until the end.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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Thanks Stephanie! I hope one day body does form on my cream. I guess fullfat powdered milk is also fine? Much more common here.

I''m just a home baker so all I'd ever want from an assistant is to wash dishes. Especially whisks, beaters, and anything that has touched a mass of butter. I'd make a terrible boss, I'd lose my mind if an assistant wasted my ingredients.

I'm planning on making eclairs in the near future so I read the thread on Choux Pastry, and I never realized it had so many pitfalls! I'd only ever watched Gale Gand make them and it looked so easy. I may have an entry here in the future, but I'm crossing my fingers that I won't.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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Probably my all-out worst day was having to make three batches of cheesecake one day as the first round burned, then the second! After mixing the batter the second time and burning them (by now I was about at hour 12 of my work day), I had to go to the grocery store around the corner because we were out of graham cracker crumbs, then whiz 5 boxes of grahams in the Robot Coupe before mixing a third batch of batter. So help me, the third batch came out.

Problems of having two kitchens, a stairway apart, and getting sucked into conversations in the lower one while your cheesecake burns in the upper one!

Not really baking related per se, but dropping a (full) 8-qt. container of yolks isn't much fun to clean up either. :raz:

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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:biggrin: JGarner, I've done that! But with carrot cake.

It was years ago, I'd just gone out on my own and baked a 2-layer 12" round carrot cake. It was heavy and dense, not at all normal. - more like hockey pucks than cake. So thankfully I had more pureed carrot and could make another batch. Same thing. In desperation, I called my friend in CA (we use the same recipe) and we compared notes. I left out the baking soda!!! Both times! Gahh! The cake was due that night and it's 2 pm. Thank god for freezers and friends!

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I outlined my choux pastry disaster here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1430034

I'm blaming my oven/ me for not having an oven thermometer/ the recipe/ the humidity. I'm pretty sure the dough (before piping) looked fine. Next time I'm piping directly on nonstick sheets. Also, my piping sucks. A soggy eclair is still quite tasty, right? *sigh*

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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Whoo boy! Ask someone to scale out a recipe and flail against a wall when they use 1/2 oz dry yeast instead of 1/2 oz fresh yeast. Meanwhile the dough has risen out of the bowl, out of the proofer, onto the floor and of course now you don't trust her to clean it up because there's electricity down there.

Oh, and have an entire class' bread not work out because someone else has switched the bin covers of the high-gluten and cake flours.

Mark, I can tell you from the get-go that you'll never have the beautiful whipped cream the Contessa has because the UHT cream available in the Phils sucks. It has all these odd things that make it thick, but none of them increase the butterfat... try looking for the Australian cream. I almost cried the first time I saw "real" cream whip up by my own hand, when I moved to the US.

Soggy eclairs are from underbaking and humidity, yes. The key here is that the cracks should be very brown, not just the smooth parts. Try drying them out in a low oven.

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Hi everyone, thanks to those helping me out with my catastro-cream. (My crea-lemma? :raz: )

The cream here is sold on the regular shelves. Imported "whipping cream," "heavy cream," and "cooking cream" are sold from the chiller, and I suspect these are the proper ones to use, though they cost 2-3 times as much. I haven't bought them.

Anyway, the regular shelf cream: I have two different types here, both interestingly enough by Nestlé. The one in a tin can is "Nestlé Cream. Premium Quality. It is preserved solely by the perfectly clean and hygienic process of complete sterilization. Do not freeze, except when making ice cream. Manufactured in Brazil." No info on the butterfat percentage or anything.

The second is a tetra-pak: "Nestlé All-Purpose Cream. Easy Whip! For easy desserts, just chill... for at least an hour. Cut open about 1/2 inch in the corner and squeeze cream directly on cookies, muffins or ice cream. Ingredients: Water, Milkfat, Nonfat milk solids, emulsifier and stabilizer." From the website:

A sterilized, recombined and homogenized cream with 27% fat; UHT processed for long-life.

A convenient ready-to-use UHT cream that turns ordinary desserts to great-tasting delicacies which the family can enjoy with its handy packaging and superior whipping ability perfect for dessert toppings.

Source: http://www.nestle.com.ph/corpsite/content/...=Creams&puid=21

Though the picture is hopelessly out-of-date, so I don't know if any of it is still true. True enough, it is thick, but I've never successfully whipped it into a billowy mass.

Thanks reenicake, I figured it out re: choux pastry. Though some may sneer, I still did the pierce-after-baking thing on the side, because there was no way I was going to give these lovely puffs a chance to fail.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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I needed to make a nut free carrot cake at work for someone with a nut allergy. Our large batch had nuts in it, so I made one without nuts. I started decorating it for the person who was coming in later that day. As I started putting the chopped nuts around the edges as was our normal decorating style, someone yelled WAIT!!!!. Too late. Back to the drawing board.

www.cheri-pie.com

Life is too short. Eat good chocolate.

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