Butter Love

Is there anything more sensuous than watching a buttercream come together in your mixing bowl? If there is I haven’t seen it. First it’s the yolks mingling and mingling…then the hot sugar syrup in a steady stream…followed by glistening chunks of room-temperature butter, one after another after another, until the mass suddenly unites in a […]

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Bubble Bubble

To me assembling a Dobos Torte isn’t all that different from making a stack of pancakes, though the batter in truth is more akin to waffle batter. Like waffle batter, much of its bulk consists of egg foam…millions of tiny little bubbles which will heat up, expand, and leaven the cake. Keeping those millions of […]

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Buttercream and the Melting Point

One of my many imaginary friends just asked me why buttercreams made with vegetable shortening leave that greasy sensation in your mouth when you swallow them. “Manny,” I said, “It’s all about melting points.” The reason real buttercreams are so silky smooth is because they’re made with real butter, and butter has a melting point […]

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Why is it Always “American”?

How come every cheap knock-off of great world cuisine gets the label “American” slapped on it? Take buttercream (a critical component of ths week’s pastry recipe). There are three basic types of buttercreams. Two are made from egg foams to which sugar syrup and fresh, lovely butter are added: French which is made from a […]

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Back in Business

While I’m not nuts about this new look for the site, this skin appears to be the most stable choice, and seems to look decent on most browsers. We should be good to go for at least a while.

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Bear with me please…

I’ve been receiving some complaints that the skin I put on the site last week hasn’t been behaving on some browsers. The (ehem) world’s leading expert on my current software is working on the problem as we speak. Thanks for your patience while things look a touch rough.

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Light Posting Next Day or So

Which is to say probably none at all. I’m driving to Chicago on a little business. I know, you’re wondering: “But Joe, don’t you make all the money you need and more doing this?” A fair question, because of course there’s no money like blogging money. Let’s just say the Lexus needs new floor mats, […]

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What’s the Deal with Vienna?

So what is it exactly about Vienna that made it the center of the baking universe for so much of the last century (and the one before that)? It may be nothing more than Vienna’s longstanding café culture, which dates back 300 years to the time of the Ottoman invasions and the Battle of Vienna, […]

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By Their Cheese Shall Ye Know Them

Heavy reliance on cream cheese is also a way to spot a compromised baking operation. Lots of carrot cakes, thickly-layered bars and cupcakes piled high with star point-piped toppings are a good indicator that a bakery has gone over to cream cheese as a primary fat (or rather pseudo-fat). Cost is the main reason, since […]

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