As I said last night, I was going to bake something for my Grandma who came over this morning. My first try at Pain Aux Raisin was a great sucess. I tend to have the habit of taking bread out too early and therefore the final product can be doughy at times, but today was different. The recipe comes from yet another one of my favorite websites The Fresh Loaf. Instead of brushing the egg glaze on the baked rolls, I decided to use a White Fondant for a different look and sweeter taste. Floydum makes note that Pain Aux Lait is typically the, "poor man's brioche," but I agree with him, my rolls were plenty rich. The White fondant I used came from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It is optional to use lemon extract in the fondant glaze, and I recommend doing so. It is amazing what you can do with what you have.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I have officially completed my very first challenge for the Daring Bakers!!! This month's challenge was hosted be Tanna from My Kitchen in Half Cups. Thank you Tanna for helping me to continue working on my bread skills!
Let me just say something in regards to my title for this post. It has been awhile now that I have been up this late or early in the morning turning something in for a project, if you will. I am very familiar with late nights and long papers. However when I was doing school work I was staying up till midnight to turn in my paper at 11:59pm of that day so it would not be late. Well how do you like me now?? Here I am staying up waiting anxiously for the clock to strike 12:00am, so I can post my challenge as early as possible. Geez, talk about a change.
Back to the bread! The potato bread was something very new to me, using actual potatoes in a dough. I opted for about 10-13oz. of Idaho and Russet potatoes on different occasions. The dough gave my arms and hands quite the workout, it was by far the stickiest dough I have worked with to date.
Tanna allowed us to choose different shapes for our dough, and we were also allowed to further challenge ourselves by coming up with other possible savory ways to bake this dough.
The first day I made my bread I stayed safe and baked a loaf and some rolls. The bread looked fluffy and tasted great!! I used the leftovers from dinner to make egg salad sandwiches later on that week.
My second round with the dough was where I challenged myself by making stuffed bread. When I was working at Flour Bakery+Cafe in Boston one of the daily specials was a different variety of stuffed bread. Some days I would peek in on the chef to see how he stuffed our house-made focaccia bread with savory fillings. Although I had never learned how to do so directly, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try. I tried and I succeeded. The stuffed bread on my menu was Roast Rib eye, Spinach, Caramelized Onions, and Sharp Cheddar Cheese. My family loved it, and although I felt I could have left it in the oven for a bit longer, I was satisfied.
I think I am done here. Congrats to all the Daring Bakers out there who completed this month's challenge. Thank you all for the support and encouragement!!! Special thanks to the founders Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice and Lisa of La Mia Cucina. I had a great time this month, and I can't wait for all that is come!
**For the Tender Potato Bread recipe please visit Tanna's site
Sunday, November 25, 2007
11:12pm. Considering I didn't sleep much last night, I should be tucked in by now. Counting sheep and all. But no, I'm getting ready to go downstairs and bake. I have to check on the the amount of eggs I have, but if I get the go ahead, there will be sweetness in the kitchen yet again. Grandma is coming in the morning to help my mom out and she deserves a treat, right??? I am going to go ahead and place the blame on my new favorite blog, don't worry Tartlette, I still love you (your potato bread came out beautifully!!). However this beautiful, amazing, smart, blog takes my two favorite things in life, adds a tablespoon of sugar, and bakes a whole lot of heaven for me. Check it out. Baking and Books. Ciao for now!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Here I am, the day after Thanksgiving, Baking. I think I have a problem. Not only did I stay up till 3am on Thanksgiving Eve to make two pumpkin pies and a pumpkin cheesecake, but now on a Friday night I am at home baking. I really know how to make myself feel good. I actually take it all in good humor. So myself and the Joy of Baking have pretty much become best friends. Sometimes I feel bad though, because I am the friend that always copies the other. But I think it is okay. I am a beginner, I go by the book for the most part, and I hope that over time I will develop skills to create my own takes on recipes.
I recently started working at a really great place that is known for the tea and scones. After serving many baskets of scones, along with jam and cream I had to do it myself. Im satisfied with the outcome. The cream was amazing. It was supposed to be mascarpone, sugar, egg, and vanilla. I substituted cream cheese for the mascarpone, and added a little bit of powdered sugar and powdered egg whites to thicken it up. Delicious. I love raspberry jam and the combination was right on. I feel as though I could eat the spread on a saltine cracker and be perfectly content.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Haha...who would've thought there were any (perks). But there are. First of all I have my family to cook for, two parents and three brothers living at home means I eat a lot less of what I make. I have a kitchen with a KitchenAid, cake pans, cookie sheets, flour, spatulas, sugar, and more to work with. That mean no getting through half a recipe and realizing I have to walk all the way to Shaws just to pick up something that I know I would have had if I was still living at home. It is nice. As for being unemployed...I have all the time in the world to bake and make. Although I have no money, I do live at home so I have no rent to pay and best of all...I have a MOM!!! Which is better than a bank. So today I decided to go easy on the bank of mom and figure something out with what I had at home.
They say if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. I say if life hands you lemons, make lemon curd! Lemon curd is a dream come true. The funny thing is, up until...I worked at Flour Bakery+Cafe I had no idea what the stuff was. I had no idea that my favorite cheesecake in the whole entire world, lemon cheesecake, was made with lemon curd! So what I did today was recreate the tart I made Monday. But I replaced the apples with a layer of lemon curd. The recipe for the lemon curd can be found on one of my new favorite resources Joy of Baking.
The final product, was good. I think I should have thinned out the crust on the bottom, and made a higher crust around the tart. The tart could have also stayed in the oven a little longer, but I will remember that next time.
Personally I enjoyed the lemon curd cream cheese tart more than the apple, but my family didn't seem to matter either way, as long as they got their dessert.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Today was definetly one of my most productive days in a LONG time. I seriously spent all day in the kitchen, it was nice. Long hours and hard work pays off when my mom and dad are through with working and have a meal waiting for them. We ended the night off with a recipe for a cream cheese apple tart I found on Joy of Baking. If you have never been to the website before, I suggest an immediate visit. The photos are beautiful and there is so much to be baked. This was my first tart and I am glad I picked the recipe because it was very simple. Just what I needed to end my shift as the family chef. The cool part about this recipe is most of the steps involved the food processor which was easy to use and a time saver. I chose to use Jonagold apples, but I think in the future I will stick with the Granny Smith for a tart flavor. I was nothing but pleased with the final product, and think that this was the perfect first tart!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Everyday is a good day for baking. Since I discovered the blog world I have been so inspired. Mom took me to buy a scale (food) today and I can't wait to use it! It makes me feel so professional. I had a lot of free time today, and was in the mood to make something. I also bought some material so I can create my first apron, looks good.
Yeah so Tartlette occupied most of my cyber time today. I love that blog like I can't even explain. It is so beautiful! I aspire to be a tartlette one day...heck I already am a tart. I had been eyeing the baked donuts since way back when and decided to go for it. The results so far were great. I made about half a dozen for my family tonight, and refridgerated the rest to share with family at church tomorrow.