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SethG

"Baking With Julia" by Julia Child (2004)

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No, I think $17 for two beans is outrageous. Prices for vanilla are at an all-time high but I recently ordered them from Penzey's and paid $36 for fifteen Madagascar beans.

As for sour cherries...are you near a Trader Joe's by any chance? They carry them.

Everyone I know is down with this Rota Virus so I just stocked up on 7-Up and saltines, just in case. But I'm thinking positively as I really would like to make brioche this weekend!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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The odd thing is that I don't feel any more competent, or professional, than anybody else. And by cheating, I mean we buy the tart shells already made and baked, and the pastry cream, which is as good as anything I can make, comes in a 20lb pail. The apples I peel and slice by hand. My big boss was around at Christmas the day I made 15 of these and told me to get a slicer, but nothing beats a sharp paring knife. It's nothing but short dough, pastry cream, apples, butter, cinnamon sugar and apricot glaze. Who couldn't make it? Even if an "amateur" took it on as a Sunday project, it's all building blocks of French patisserie. Make these things enough times and it becomes second nature. In order to standardize things, the earthy crunchy grocery store I work at has bakehouses all over the country that ship us premade high quality components.

The creative part of my job is in finding things to do with all the bought components. We obviously get more profit out of items made inhouse. I've been trying to post a picture of some small tarte aux pommes and some lemon curd tarts, but they got sent to me embedded in a Word document, as did this other pix, and I can't remember what sequence of programs I used to break it out and save it as a jpg.

We have caramel sauce, all natural, good stuff, which I mix with walnuts, spread into the bottom of a mini tart shell, pipe with frangipane, bake, glaze and garnish with a walnut, and bingo..Francois Payard's caramel walnut tart. I spread peanut butter into a chocolate tart shell, fill with ganache, then mix equal parts of pastry cream, caramel sauce, and whipped cream, pipe that on, drizzle with a thread of caramel, and I've got a 5 dollar dessert.

I'm slowly being very subversive and changing our pastry case to a French look. Anybody can master this stuff. I'm certainly not trying to intimidate, but encourage people. If I can do this, anybody can. My obsession maybe struck harder and earlier, I've been at it (and cooking on a professional level) for 30 years. I get a huge kick out of fixing someone up with a good dessert. I watched people looking at our self serve pastry case at brownies and stuff today, and I went over and said, you want chocolate, try this. Jivara milk chocolate pot de creme. We're undoubtedly the only store out of almost 150 who sell it. I think it might be Pierre's recipe. I use Jacques Pepin's creme caramel recipe. My big bosses don't even know where I get these ideas, but my wife does, because she trips over the pile of books next to the bed every morning.

btw, the apples are granny smiths.

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McDuff, your tart is beautiful! And you descriptions are great.

Seth, I have the stuff to make the brioche. I'm going to start today so it chills overnight.

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I'm still in and I'm going to try to time it so that I can bring the twice-baked brioche to work on Monday.

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I am in as well. My plan is to make the dough tonight and have it rise in the fridge tonight.

Happy baking!


Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.

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No, I think $17 for two beans is outrageous.  Prices for vanilla are at an all-time high but I recently ordered them from Penzey's and paid $36 for fifteen Madagascar beans.

As for sour cherries...are you near a Trader Joe's by any chance?  They carry them.

Everyone I know is down with this Rota Virus so I just stocked up on 7-Up and saltines, just in case.  But I'm thinking positively as I really would like to make brioche this weekend!

Thanks! I went to Trader Joes and found cherries and vanilla beans (3.69 for 2). As for the cherries, should I use dried bing cherries without added sugar or dried tart montmorency cherries with added sugar? Those were the only choices. I thought the montmorency cherries would be better.

I returned the $17 vanilla beans.

My dough is now in the fridge for its second rise.

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Definitely. I vote Montmorency. Those dried Bings don't do a thing for me.


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Well, I'm not going to make brioche this weekend after all. I look forward to your pictures, and I'll catch up to you all next week by making both apple tart and brioche. I'm currently in the middle of a trial (I'm a lawyer) but next week I start a two-month leave. So I'll soon be free to bake every day for a while if I so desire.


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I'm in for the apple tart next weekend as well. I may deviate from Julia a little bit and use McDuff's apricot glaze. I really like the shine; nice eye candy. How do you do it McDuff?

-therese


Many parts of a pine tree are edible.

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Actually it's called Kidde Gel and I doubt that it's available retail. Apple jelly gives a nice shine. The Kidde Gel smells like apricot sours. To me, the smell of hot apricot is the smell of the bakeshop. I get the same reaction from smelling red wine being boiled down to make bordelaise sauce.

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Seth:

I use a KitchenAid stand mixer as well, and I find it to be rather maddening for bread dough. By trial and error, I've determined that anything more than a modest 600-700g batch of dough (about a pound and a half) tends to be more trouble than it's worth. In my case, the big frustration is that once the dough gets to a certain consistency it climbs the (pick an expletive) dough hook and gets wound around the head of the mixer.

I have devised a number of methods for getting around this. One is to do large quantities of dough in small batches, and then combine them in a large bowl for fermentation. Another is to take the dough out of the mixer, hand-knead it to a certain texture (which, alas, I'd never be able to communicate verbally) and then return it to the mixer. A third is to make a lot of "rustic" breads with a rather wet dough, which is easier to mix and does not climb.

Another technique, which does not cure the problem but which helps and is always useful, is to give the dough a twenty-minute rest (the "autolyse," if you're a boulanger) after about 2/3 of the flour has been added. Gluten strands don't form, of course, until the flour is hydrated; giving this rest time allows the gluten to form up without giving your arms (or your mixer) quite the same workout. After the resting period, you'll find that the dough comes to the correct consistency with much less work.

McDuff, I found your comments about pastry-making quite interesting. After 20+ years as an avid home cook/baker, I am about to graduate from a reputable culinary school here in Canada. Although I've enjoyed baking for years, and have made things like brioches and puff pastry from scratch, I'm finding my time in the pastry lab (two weeks down, two to go) quite enlightening. There are just so many ways to combine the basic techniques into different products!

Wrt apples, btw, have you ever tried one of those little hand-cranked jobbies that peel, core, and slice the apples all in the one go? My parents made 30+ apple pies per day at their homestyle bakery in Nova Scotia, and that thing was a godsend. The cheap ones will only last a few months, but the better ones will stay sharp for years (and are adjustable, so you don't lose half of your apple with the peel).


“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Oh, and Tmnoland, you can get a good apricot glaze by going to your supermarket and buying a jar of apricot jam. Warm it slightly and push it through a sieve to remove larger lumps, then warm it over a double boiler with a little bit of water and brush it on with a pastry brush. Very traditional, very nice...


“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I just did a web search for Kidde gel and got a hit. But the site tried to download an excel file to my computer and the firewall blocked it, and then the puter froze.

I don't care for the newer "safer" apple peelers. If you look at a vintage hand cranker and a modern one, there is a fundamental difference in the blade. I used to use one that had a springloaded arm with an angled blade that had a little chipbreaker like a wood plane. The spring held the arm against the apple, the chipbreaker rode against the skin and the blade peeled the apple. I was able to disable the slicing function.

On modern "safety" peelers, the blade is rounded and at least on the few I've examined, it looked to be hard or impossible to disable the thingie that slices the apple into spiral rings. You can always tell fruit or squash peeled with one of these as the surface will have a narrow concave spiral carved into it.

The old ones can be expensive if you find them in antique stores. The one I used my boss had bought for 75 cents at a yard sale. He didn't deserve it.

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i2669.jpg

I only had one brioche pan and one loaf pan, but two mini loaf pans, so that's how I made my brioches. (Sorry, the Picky Eater grabbed one of the tiny ones before I could get the camera out.) I put some Brazilian milk chocolate into the two tiny ones to make chocolate brioche.

I'm very pleased with the way these have come out. I know that there's some interest in moving on to pies, but I'm hoping we'll stick to different breads for a few weeks. I'm really enjoying the experimentation and I know I won't follow up enough on my own! How about the fougasse next-- or some kind of focaccia? I've made it from mixes but never from scratch.

Neil


Author of the Mahu series of mystery novels set in Hawaii.

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I did the twice baked brioce this weekend and my friend informed me that I am purely evil after eating two loaves. I think in some areas the dark side is a GOOD thing. With the other half of the recipe, I rolled out the dough and slathered (That's a technical term, right?) butter and poured brown sugar and cinnamon on before rolling the loaves. None of this hard labor took more than a few minutes to disappear. Everybody says that this is definitely a keeper recipe and I'll be making this again soon. Once you get the hang of adding the butter, it's all good. However, the book is right because there's a few minutes there where you are desparately afraid you are screwing up big time.

I am looking forward to the apple tart for next weekend, but I have no problem with another bread after that. Focaccia is good with me. If we are all getting into the bread baking (and who isn't once they start?) we could alternate bread and other baking every week. That way we can also expand into Danish, puff pastry, etc. What does everybody think?

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I use a KitchenAid stand mixer as well, and I find it to be rather maddening for bread dough. By trial and error, I've determined that anything more than a modest 600-700g batch of dough (about a pound and a half) tends to be more trouble than it's worth. In my case, the big frustration is that once the dough gets to a certain consistency it climbs the (pick an expletive) dough hook and gets wound around the head of the mixer.

Having worked with the KA stand mixer for a long time, I can offer 2 suggestions that help with these problems (though they are not perfect):

I place the mixer on top of a rubber mat on the counter.

Spray a bit on non-stick spray on the dough hook to prevent climbing.

Hope that helps.


So long and thanks for all the fish.

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My brioche dough is still in the fridge for it's second rise. I'll try to bake tonight, or else I'll have to freeze the dough until next weekend. I wasn't able to find dried cherries -- all the local stores were sold out and the last of my TJ's Montmorency was used up in a lamb dish a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to sub unsweetened dried cranberries. I think the Sherry Yard brioche recipe I used last week was easier and less stressful on my mixer.

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I made the twice baked brioche this weekend, starting the dough on Friday, baking on Saturday afternoon, and baking again Sunday morning. I used my mixer to mix the dough and it did struggle. I like the idea of the rubber mat underneath. The mixer tended to walk around the counter. I didn't have any small loaf pans, so I made rolls. Half of the rolls I put an egg wash on, and we ate them with dinner Saturday night, and the others I continued with the almond cream and sliced almonds. They were delicious. If I made them again, however I would make them flatter. I probably will make them again.

What's the next project?

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I made the twice baked brioche over the weekend and they turned out nicely.

One question that I have is about the orange taste in the final product. I tasted the syrup after it cooled and it tasted wonderful. After baking the orange taste was quite mellow and I thought they would have tasted better with a little more orange in the background. I used fresh squeezed orange juice so maybe I just need to up the amount of juice and see if that makes a difference. Any comments on taste from the rest of you?

Is the apple tart up next or are we doing another bread? I am up for either one.

M


Edited by mdt (log)

Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.

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Unfortunately, I was ill most of the weekend (and sadly still am....darned flu!) I did purchase my brioche ingredients, though. So, maybe I will get to it later this week. Kudos to all of you who finished! :smile:

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I'm giving my summation in my trial tommorrow, and shortly after I'll be catching up on brioche. (If you tell anyone you saw me here tonight, I'll deny it! :smile: )

Seems like several people were up for the apple tart. When I proposed this thing I was thinking we'd do both pastry and bread. I like the idea of alternating, or just trying to do a mix-- we don't have to take turns rigidly.

My vote would be for apple tart this weekend, and foccaccia sounds great to me after that. Anyone else want to add two cents?

And anyone want to offer any more brioche tips? I'm sure what i've seen here so far will help me.


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Alright! Tart and Focaccia! My idea of heaven.

Seth, I used my KA 5qt mixer and I used one speed slower than recommended. It got pretty warm but I was able to keep my hand on it the whole time. It didn't bog down and the dough was beautiful. I tried the higher speed for a minute but the machine had problems.

Have fun and enjoy!

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Im gonna catch up this weekend hopefully. Tart and Focaccia sound great to me, though I may pass on the tart for purely dietetic reasons.

Msk

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Finally baked my brioche after the dough sat in the fridge for two days. I made 8 mini loaves and one double-mini loaf. The double-mini was for me to eat immediately and the rest were for twice-baked brioche. This is an excellent recipe although I would probably go back to the Sherry Yard one I tried last week: same results but I found the Yard recipe to be easier. Both produce very long strands of fluffy crumb(?) or whatever the inside of a loaf is called and lots of flavour. Both can be eaten without any sort of accompaniment although that didn't stop me from topping my freshly-baked brioche with some leftover chocolate mousse. I made the twice-baked brioche this morning to bring to work and they were well-received. I liked them, but I prefer my brioche to be plain, savoury or with chocolate. I split each mini loaf down the middle then soaked and topped each half with the almond cream.

i2718.jpg

Sliced in half diagonally and ready for work

i2719.jpg


Edited by Rhea_S (log)

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