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"Baking: From My Home to Yours" (Part 1)


rjwong
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I've been paying careful attention, Ling, to your comments on the Golden Brioche Loaves. My dough is just completing its overnight in the fridge and my plan is to make one loaf for the Bostock option and make the Pecan Honey Sticky Buns with the remaining dough.

I, too, had problems with the dough, but mine were entirely different from yours. I think I started off poorly because I began the dough in the early evening and neither the butter nor the eggs were truly at room temp. It took a good deal longer than three minutes after adding the eggs and sugar for the dough to form a ball, even goosing the speed well past the suggested medium. And then I couldn’t get the butter to incorporate. I finally put the butter in a turned off gas oven to warm it up with the pilot light until it was definitely not still “slightly firm.” And here, too, I was using a higher speed than low and regularly stopping and scraping. Incorporating the butter took at least 20 minutes, maybe longer.

Then, and I’ve never had this happen before, I set the mixer speed to medium-high and the timer for 10 minutes, got involved in an e-mail, and before the 10 minutes was quite up I heard a loud crash in the kitchen. My Kitchen Aid had "walked" off the counter! Bless the old Hobart mixer. The back end had loosened, but I just unscrewed it, reseated it, screwed it back on, and it seems to be just fine (please, please!). But even though I hadn't mixed it for the full 10 minutes, the dough had indeed come together in a ball and didn't require any additional flour or mixing.

Now, onto the loaf and the sticky buns, with your comment noted on the baking time for the loaf. I just hope I'm as pleased with my results as you are with yours.

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Now, onto the loaf and the sticky buns, with your comment noted on the baking time for the loaf. I just hope I'm as pleased with my results as you are with yours.

The comment about the time was for the brownies, not the brioche, although I remember the brioche took less time (~5 min. less) than the suggested time as well. :smile:

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Better late than never. For T-Giving I made the sour cream Pumpkin pie and the chocolate bread pudding.

The pie was outstanding and is easily one of the best I've made. I did bake and puree my own pumpkin since they are in season. I served this with red wine caramel and whipped cream.

The Chocolate bread pudding did not fare as well for some reason. I am guessing it might've been due to the type of bread I used combined with the fact that the custard base was cooked (ie thick). Basically the bread did not soak up the custard and the whole thing, while it tasted good, just felt like you were eating bread with chocolate! Every other bread pudding recipe I've made uses uncooked custard (sauce royale?)to soak the bread, I wonder how come this one makes you cook it.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I've made the Earl Grey Madelines three times over the past two weeks and expect them to become a staple among friends and family. They are wonderful! It was my first time making an tea infusion with butter for baked goods and it will be the basis for a lot of new flavoring possibilites for me.

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Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

After all the trouble I was having with the dough last night I just didn't know what to expect, but these were simply marvelous. Because I had no guest eaters today, I cut six slices off the rolled log and wrapped the remainder for the freezer. Since I was baking less than half the number of buns, I made only ¼ of the glaze recipe and put it in the smallest pan I had: an 8 X 8 dark metal one.

The recipe says to bake at 375 F for about half an hour. Luckily, I went to check on them at about 15 minutes and half of them were already beginning to burn. I pulled them out of the oven thinking the not-burned ones might be underdone, but they weren’t. I know my oven temp was okay because I checked it with a thermometer. It must have been the small, dark pan (she recommends Pyrex) that threw the timing off so badly.

I'm not sure I understand why the author recommends putting pans on parchment (or silicone) on a baking sheet when there's clearly no chance of the contents of the pan bubbling over. Does anyone know what the reason for that might be?

Anyway, these were sooooo good. The brioche dough is just wonderful with an extraordinarily light, tender crumb. The filling is rich and cinnamony without being cloying, and the glaze—which is of course very sweet—isn’t overwhelming. I’m embarrassed to admit that I ate three of them almost as soon as they were cool enough to handle—and then polished off the burnt ones soon thereafter. Sticky buns for breakfast; sticky buns for lunch. Only wish I still had some sticky buns left for dinner.

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Dorie recommends parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet as stated on page 473: Lined undersheets are great levelers and transporters-they even out the heat that hits to bottom of your baking pan and give you a convenient safe way to slide your filled baking pans in and out of the oven-and they will catch anything that might bubble up and over the baking pan.

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Ever since Patrick S posted his photographs of Dorie's Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes (p.226) and Black and White Banana Loaf (p.232), I've had a hankering to try both of these recipes. I made my vanilla cakes with a HEALTHY drenching of rummy syrup! It's a wonderful pound cake and I look forward to trying the variations in the future. How great would the lemon version be in the summer with strawberries?

My attempt at the Black and White Banana loaf produced a rather dense cake. I'm not sure what went wrong. I definately noticed a huge difference between my two batters (the chocolate batter was much drier). In some areas of the loaf, this chocolate batter sunk right to the bottom.

Tonight, I baked off my dough for the Espresso Chocolate Shortbread cookies (p.125). I used a 1.5" square cookie cutter instead of following Dorie's instructions to slice the dough. They came out as pretty as the picture in the book! I cut out all of my "cookie dough squares" and then kept the remainder to be baked off in the freezer while the others went in the oven. I find that's the key to cookies keeping their shape. Keep the dough very cold just prior to putting them in the oven. Can't wait to try the Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread next!

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Made a Golden Brioche Loaf yesterday and the Bostock today. Loved how simple the Almond Cream, from the Indispensables chapter, was to make. It had a lovely, subtle almond flavor and wasn't overly sweet. And that brioche loaf is a real winner. I unfortunately undercooked it a bit because the top was beginning to brown too much. But the brioche was nonethless excellent. I'd never even heard of Bostock before, but certainly won't forget it now. And since the almond cream can hold in the fridge for a few days, it will be perfect treat for overnight guests on the run.

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Lovely photos, JBN.

Is the Bostock something you make from the brioche? Can you describe it a bit more?

Thanks!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Is the Bostock something you make from the brioche?  Can you describe it a bit more?

Yes, it is. Supposedly with stale brioche, but I couldn't wait that long. You just make an almond cream (Dorie's is a very simple, no cook, all-in-the-food-processor version), spread it on the sliced brioche, top with sliced almonds, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. The almond cream takes less than 5 minutes to make (once the butter is at room temp), so with the brioche on hand it's snap to make the Bostock

I've just discovered there's a recipe for Bostock in the new cookbook Tartine. But that recipe calls for sprinkling the brioche with orange syrup and spreading on apricot jam before adding the almond cream and almonds. It's then topped with confectioners' sugar. Haven't tried it, but I can't imagine those additional ingredients would be an improvement.

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Made the classic brownies with my gd this afternoon; fudgey rather than cakey. They were ok, the chocolate balance of the bittersweet/unsweetened chocolate was good, and they weren't too sweet, though if I make them again I will probably cut the sugar back just a tad. But I fess up that brownies are not my favorite thing. I'd rather eat cake. :biggrin:

This is a good recipe to make with a 10 year old, however. She was able to do most of it herself, and it was something we could do in the 2 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours we had between school and going home.

If anyone has recommendations for other recipes to fill this bill, I'm listening. We cook together every week or two. Baking (and licking the bowl) is her favorite.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Made the classic brownies with my gd this afternoon; fudgey rather than cakey. They were ok, the chocolate balance of the bittersweet/unsweetened chocolate was good, and they weren't too sweet, though if I make them again I will probably cut the sugar back just a tad. But I fess up that brownies are not my favorite thing. I'd rather eat cake. :biggrin: 

This is a good recipe to make with a 10 year old, however. She was able to do most of it herself, and it was something we could do in the 2 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours we had between school and going home.

If anyone has recommendations for other recipes to fill this bill, I'm listening. We cook together every week or two. Baking (and licking the bowl) is her favorite.

I'm biased, :biggrin: but might I suggest the recipe published in the book as the Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake? You could make the dough one day (or do that part ahead of time) and then do the filling, assembly, and baking the next.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Made the classic brownies with my gd this afternoon; fudgey rather than cakey. They were ok, the chocolate balance of the bittersweet/unsweetened chocolate was good, and they weren't too sweet, though if I make them again I will probably cut the sugar back just a tad. But I fess up that brownies are not my favorite thing. I'd rather eat cake. :biggrin: 

This is a good recipe to make with a 10 year old, however. She was able to do most of it herself, and it was something we could do in the 2 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours we had between school and going home.

If anyone has recommendations for other recipes to fill this bill, I'm listening. We cook together every week or two. Baking (and licking the bowl) is her favorite.

I'm biased, :biggrin: but might I suggest the recipe published in the book as the Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake? You could make the dough one day (or do that part ahead of time) and then do the filling, assembly, and baking the next.

MelissaH

We often do pies. In the past we've made dough and done a swapout with some of the dough I tend to keep on hand. I usually start the preheat before I go to pick her up. Cakes present more of a problem as so many take an hour just for the baking plus cool down time. I think it's important for her to measure out the ingredients. She's learning to weigh them out as well as measure by volume. We went through an "experiment" where we weighed out a cup of flour dipped, spooned, sifted. Sometimes she stays for dinner which is when we can manage the time for a cake. It would be unthinkable for her not to take some home. :biggrin:

I have both apple cakes in my sights. And I often do stage out much cooking and baking. Sometimes, I'll do all the mis late at night and bake the next day. For a bonus this gives the fridgy stuff time to come to room temp.

But I'd like to find recipes where my gd and I can go through the entire process as nearly as possible from beginning to end. So many of the cakes take an hour just for baking, then need time to cool before they're ready for her to take (her share) home.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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In an effort to use up some whole milk, I baked a few of Dorie's breakfast treats over the weekend.  First up were her Allspice Crumb muffins.  My only comment about this recipe was that it made too much streusel (for me).  I had over half of it left over in the bowl after I generously topped my muffins with it.  The flavour of the allspice was more subtle than I was expecting.

That was exactly my thoughts on the allspice muffins: strangely bland and way, way too much streusel. Our muffins were teeming with it, and we still had over a cup left/

Check out my food blog: Coconut & Lime and my cooking review and tip site Food Maven

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I gently pressed the streusel into the top of the muffins and had only a little left over. The flavour developed after they cooled and sat for a little while - but more streusel on top would equal more flavour. I'm of the 'never too much streusel' camp. :laugh: Easy remedy would to be to add some more allspice to suit your personal tastes.

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Greetings! I heard about Dorie's new book as she was swinging through town on a promo tour, so I got hold of the book and met her on the same day. (Please Click Here for more about meeting Dorie in person!)

The next day, I tried the Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits, and they were truly fantastic... and dead easy. It was a great start to a wonderful baking relationship! The next morning, my husband had requested biscuits and gravy, so I tried the Basic Biscuits... as good or better than my old Cook's Illustrated standby recipe (I'll have to try a head-to-head bake-off; fortunately we're a family of six, and no baked good goes uneaten for very long). I've never heard that tip about not twisting the biscuit cutter (a glass, in my case)... I'll have to try that!

I needed something quick to send off to distant relatives, so I tried the Chunky Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chipsters. Two thumbs way, way up on this one! I loved the more elegant freshly grated nutmeg against the rustic oats and nuts, and the relatives raved up and down too. Wouldn't change a thing!

Next up was the Blueberry Crumb Cake. I was not terribly thrilled with this one, but I did have to use zest from an orange that wasn't very interesting (a navel)... maybe I should have stuck with lemon. I love the part where you mix in the zest with the sugar... it smells sooo good, it's a treat on its own (even with the weak zest). This too was quickly devoured.

I neglected to take any pictures of those previous goodies, but I happened to have the next three still at hand today:

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The first I made were the Orange-Currant Sunshine Muffins. Of all the things I've made out of this book, this was the first that didn't go over well here. I don't know, the flavor was a little flat and weak (or maybe I'm just picky about oranges, being from California but currently living in Kansas City... not exactly a citrus zone). We've slowly gone through them by toasting them and spreading them with butter (this treatment improves everything) but I don't think this recipe will make it into my regular rotation. They sure are pretty, though!

Yesterday I made the Lenox Almond Biscotti, with the added anise variation (I upped the anise to 2 tsp., and ground it into the sugar, oh man the kitchen smelled sooo good!). I think I didn't bake it long enough the first time (so they squished down a little when I sliced them) and baked 'em too long the second time (some of the ones on the edges were definitely browned), but that was my own darned fault. The biscotti were just right in the flavor department, even if they're not the prettiest things around. I will DEFINITELY make more of these, and I think they've earned a position on my annual Christmas Cookie Tray.

Finally, I got the nerve up to make the World Peace Cookies. Everyone has raved about them so much, and I tried one at Dorie's signing party (and it was knock-out good) that I must admit I was a little bit intimidated: could I possibly pull this off? After tracking down the fleur-de-sel, and hacking up five ounces of my hoarded Scharffenberger bittersweet, I finally took the plunge. The dough was indeed very dry and crumbly, as Dorie mentions in the recipe, but when it was warmed by my hands during the brief gathering-into-logs process, it managed to stick together. I let it rest overnight, and this morning heated my oven (I have a husband who bakes too, and he insists on leaving the pizza stone in the oven, so after reading what you folks said way back early in this thread, I made sure to preheat well before putting in the single sheet).

I am bursting with pride to say that even a dopey amateur like me can pull off these cookies! They are intense, rich, crumbly but not falling-apart, everything that was promised. The only drawback is that this recipe doesn't make very many (I think I got 30 cookies out of it), so I'll try doubling the recipe next time.

Check the calendar; if Dorie's coming to town, you should make an effort to meet her. She's got an amazing way of somehow making you feel like she's all excited to meet YOU, instead of the other way 'round.

How wonderful to read all your stories, and I look forward to further sharing ideas, tweaks and adventures as we cook our way through this book. I hope Dorie drops back in soon... and I second the motion to have Patrick lead a photography session. ALL his pictures are soooo yummy, and about as sexy as food can get!

What's next? That Far Breton is pretty tempting... the brioche (and the Bostock) sound great... and those pecan rolls... decisions, decisions!

Come visit my virtual kitchen.

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Mottmott, I do have a suggestion for baking with a ten-year-old:

Betty Crocker's Cooky Book. It's a facsimile of the 1960 original, has fun pictures and easy recipes. I learned from it when I was a kid, and I still make some of the recipes -- the butterscotch brownies and toffee squares are tops and very easy.

Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies (you can Google it, it's posted online) are supernaturally easy and delicious.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Mottmott, I do have a suggestion for baking with a ten-year-old:

Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.  It's a facsimile of the 1960 original, has fun pictures and easy recipes.  I learned from it when I was a kid, and I still make some of the recipes -- the butterscotch brownies and toffee squares are tops and very easy.

Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies (you can Google it, it's posted online) are supernaturally easy and delicious.

Thanks for the suggestions. As it happens I have the Supernat'l brownies recipe. As for cookies, I don't like making them much. All that shaping, shifting trays about, timing, timing. They have to be pretty special cookies to warrant all that fiddly stuff. No, I'm not granny of the year. :laugh:

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I gently pressed the streusel into the top of the muffins and had only a little left over.  The flavour developed after they cooled and sat for a little while - but more streusel on top would equal more flavour.  I'm of the 'never too much streusel' camp. :laugh:  Easy remedy would to be to add some more allspice to suit your personal tastes.

Of course we could add more allspice but I always feel that a truly good recipe shouldn't have to be altered unless you are changing a significant flavor. It isn't too much to think that an allspice muffin would taste of allspice. We did allow them to sit but they were still bland and as it was, there was so much struesel on the muffin it was falling off and caramelizing on the pan!

Check out my food blog: Coconut & Lime and my cooking review and tip site Food Maven

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