January 30, 2008

the last of the breads.

earl grey tea cake, beer bread, & blueberry muffins multigrain sourdough, country bread in two shapes, and two brioche a tete

up top, there's a earl grey tea cake, some beer bread - the beer is in a coating that is painted on pre-proofing, and some really, seriously good blueberry muffins.

below, there is some multi-grain sourdough, some country bread in two decorative shapes, and two brioche a tete.

my day today started just after 6 am. i got to attend a class being taught by bronwen weber, a seriously amazing cake artist and a genuinely cool lady. it was a pretty amazing way to start your day. i had to pinch myself several times. i saw how she makes the chef's bust cake, a photo of which is on this page.(it was the head, not the whole chef body cake!)

anyways, tomorrow we start petits fours!

Posted by donna at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2008

so. much. food.

the croissants & some brioche slices
almost all the pastries we made on friday
the stuff i brought home

on friday, we made sourdough baguettes, pain aux raisins(though not as good as the ones i've had in france), marble cake, kugelhopf, assorted danishes including apricots, plums and pears, almond cream filled croissants, and brioche bostock.

in the top photo, you see day-old croissants sliced in half and slices of brioche awaiting almond cream.

technically, the chef-instructor made the sourdough dough and then we split it up, shaped it and baked it.

the danish dough was started on thursday, and then rolled out and shaped on friday. these by far are my favorite. especially the star-shaped one with the apricot in the center. the spiral-shaped ones are technically pain aux raisins, but they're different than the ones i had in france.

there is also a pistachio, chocolate, vanilla marble pound cake which i think got slightly overcooked.

the large, crown-like cake is a kugelhopf. it's a yeast dough-based cake with raisins baked in a special terracotta mold.

there's a funny story behind the kugelhopf involving the three kings and a peg-legged baker in Alsace... but it's probably not true.

here's a nyt link that explains a bit more about it.

i brought home nearly two grocery bags full of stuff.

Posted by donna at 08:20 PM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2008

five loaves of wheat bread and a lemon pound cake

five loaves of whole wheat & a lemon pound cake

actually, maybe the title should read "and the best lemon pound cake". seriously, this is the thing i'm bringing to parties from here on out. at least until i learn how to make something even more delicious, like next week.

tomorrow i'm rolling out dough for croissants.

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Posted by donna at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2008

three kinds of bread and a waffle.

more breads

here we have french bread in two shapes, brioche parisenne(ludicrous amounts of butter in this – so good!), and banana bread.

this time, all of the bread was made with our trusty stand mixer, but i can't help but wonder how long it would've taken to mix all that butter into the brioche by hand. i'd guess it might take over an hour.

i'm personally not very fond of banana bread, but i have to admit that i think this one is quite nice. maybe because it's not as banana-y as most banana breads.

nothing particularly exciting to report about the making of these breads, except that the peel for getting the french breads in and out of the oven was the size of a full sheet pan - and quite awkward to maneuver.

oh, and the waffle... it never made it into the photo, but it looked like a waffle, had rum in it-among 11 other ingredients, and was so delicious i ate it before i could even get a photo of it.

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Posted by donna at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)

January 17, 2008

my first brioche.


from left to right there is a sugar-topped loaf, a traditional brioche Ă  tĂȘte, a bee sting with a crunchy almond honey layer, and a streusel topped one.

making brioche by hand is messy. it starts a lot like egg noodles, with a giant crater of flour that all your liquids get poured into. next you stick your hand in that eggy mess and start incorporating the sides of your crater untill you have a big sticky mess in your hand. now, you knead it... well beat it is more correct. you pick it up and slam it on the table!, then you fold it, turn it, and slam it again! and you do this until you are tired and the dough isn't as sticky.

oh, but silly, you're not done! now you have to add the butter! more butter than is healthy. enough butter to make them delicious. now, your firm dough is going to turn back into a sticky mess. and you knead and you smear and you knead and you smear until your dough firms back up again.

the butter sure does make your hands soft. i believe that butter was actually first used as a lotion - until people had the good sense to eat it. how fortunate we are to live in this modern age.

i should also mention that the bee sting is delicious. ok, the others are awesome too.

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January 16, 2008

pain de mie

pain de mie

pain de mie. loose translation: bread of crumb.

basically, it's really freakin good sandwich bread.

i made a grilled ham and swiss with it.

i also made brioche dough by hand today, for baking tomorrow.

stay tuned.

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Posted by donna at 11:52 PM | Comments (1)

January 10, 2008

keep hot foods hot...

keep cold foods cold.

and for the love of god, wash your hands!

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Posted by donna at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2008

it is ON.

FPS jacket

Posted by donna at 09:36 PM | Comments (3)