Sweet Home Chicago IV

The outlaws were in town last week so I didn’t have a chance to make a pizza. But it did give me plenty of time to think. The way I see it, I’ve been talking pretty big about using the biscuit method to make pizza dough. Looking at the recipe though, I’m not satisfied. It’s […]

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Whip It Good

A pastry chef I met in a hallucination this afternoon had a good challenge to one part of my thesis on whipped dairy ingredients. She asked: Joe, Northern European herding tribes were whipping cream thousands of years before French cooks were whipping egg whites. How can you say the French were the first to apply […]

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Looks Like a Busy Weekend

I just got talked into making appetizers for an event over at U of L. A reception for a talk on Afro-Cuban art. The only kind of savory Cuban pastry I can find however, other than the same-old-same empanadas that are kind of everywhere in Latin cuisine, are these, cangrejitos. There only seems to be […]

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Whip It

All this talk about air bubbles and leavening has me wondering about egg foams. Specifically, how and when cooks started whipping up eggs (especially whites) and using them to raise baked goods. There’s surprisingly little published on this (ehem) critically important topic. But dammit I want to know! Somebody needs to lie awake at night […]

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The More Things Change…

Pound Cake isn’t called pound cake the world over of course. The French call it quatres quarts (or “four fourths” cake for those of us in the Anglosphere). That term again refers to the proportion of ingredients, which, as we can see from the below posts, canny bakers were fooling with even in the very […]

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Bread Slump

Lord I’ve been turning out some lousy bread lately. Part of the reason is that I lost my recipe in the conversion last week, so I’ve been kinda free-wheeling it. The loaves have been coming out pale and gummy, with a vaguely raw-cereal taste, which means they’re under-proofed. It’s the pale-ness that’s the dead giveaway. […]

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Anyone remember the first step with a new recipe?

Yes, you in the back. Correct! Convert all volume measurements to weight. Here’s what the Orange Pound Cake recipe looks like after the, uh…switcheroo. For the batter: 7.5 ounces softened unsalted butter 1.8 ounces milk 5.2 ounces eggs 1 tsp. vanilla extract 6.75 ounces sifted cake flour 5.25 ounces sugar 3/4 tsp. baking powder 1 […]

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Dobos Debrief

Well, the cake was received well by all but the birthday girl. What I forgot to consider was that European-style cakes aren’t as sweet as their American counterparts (they seem to be geared toward richness instead). So, despite the points I was awarded on the cake’s technical merits, officially the effort will be put down […]

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Bam! Bam! Bam!

To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So goes the proverb I trot out every time I see an intellectually sophisticated food writer projecting a complex theory onto a self-evidently simple thing. Take cakes. Check the “cake” entry in your average food reference and you’re pretty sure to find some ink […]

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Fire in the Hole!

Well my stack of Hungarian chocolate flapjacks is all put together except for the trademark caramel-candy top layer. As I mentioned before, I’m going for the fan blade presentation (but with a dark chocolate exterior). Doing that should be no big deal, you don’t need a thermometer to make this kind of simple caramel. All […]

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