Oct 17, 2010

Yup! I did it!

I finally purchased SBI!! Instead of greek pastries I decided to write a website on flatbread. You can check it out at www.flatbreadbaking.com

I so excited to start my new website!!!!

Oct 9, 2010

I've Gone M.I.A.!

So yeah... I haven't been updating! I've kind of gotten lazy, so I haven't been baking or blogging -well that was at least until today. Yesterday morning -ahem... 9 o'clock!- I got all four of my wisdom teeth extracted, so no eating solid food for a while (a long while)! By solid food, I mean simple pastries or even a crispy loaf of bread. Because of that I've given up cooking and, even worse, baking for a while. Oh how am I going to survive? Other than that, I have some great news!

I've been working on awakinging a frozen sourdough starter, but I haven't had good luck. There are some reasons why but after the weekend, I'm going to work on another one. By the time I can eat solid food, my sourdough will be up and awake. I plan to do a couple posts on my method to sourdough!

I am also working on two other websites. One will be about Greek Pastries and another will be a new website for this blog. Awesome huh? I've became infatuated with Greek cuisine so I'm darn excited to share my knowledge with others! I think I will use a nice wordpress site for this blog. So anyway, I'm super excited and a little drugged as of now!!!

Keep checking back for more info! ...Oh and pray for a speedy recovery as I can't go this long with out BREAD! AHHH!!!

Aug 10, 2010

France + Butter = One Delicious Cookie (French Butter Cookie)

Butter and France go together like a cuppa hot masala chai on a white winter night. Ahh, butter! What's better than butter? Butter, flour, sugar, and eggs mixed together into a fattening and buttery treat!

What is the treat that I'm talking about? Well, they're called punitions. They are basically a French butter or sugar cookie that Lionel Poilâne is so famous for. (You can read my old post about Lionel) Going into his old Parisian shop you'll see a basket full of them for customers and window-shoppers alike.

The story behind punitions is so fun. Lionel's grandmother would hide a stash of punitions in her hands and would call Lionel as if he was in trouble. She would smile and give him a cookie. Punition in French means punishment. Lionel also once said that it is a punishment in itself to wait for them to cool. I just cheat and eat one hot. ;o)

Jul 22, 2010

Become One with the Dough

The one thing that separates a newbie baker and a master baker is their ability to sense the dough. What I mean is knowing the proper balance of liquid to flour. Oddly as it might seem... If you learn to become one with the dough then you can throw away your measuring cups and scales (to a point) and use your hands.

Many many many beginning bakers become too stressed over perfection. Perfection on measurements, time, and temperature, but the funny fact is that if you learn basic techniques then you've mastered the recipe. Now I will admit when you bake things like cakes or sweet pastries, you might want to be a bit more of a stickler on perfection.

"Once you have mastered a technique, you barely have to look at a recipe again" -Julia Child

Jun 13, 2010

Lionel Poilâne

It's strange that I haven't talked about Poilâne (Poi-lahn) at all! Along side Peter Reinhart, Lionel Poilâne is my other baking role model. 

Lionel Poilâne, if you don't already know, was one of the most famous bakers. He inherited a small Parisian bakery in the Latin Quarter and changed it into a baking empire that centered around simplicity. Lionel actually didn't want to bake. He just wanted to live a normal life, but his father forced him to bake bread at his shop. 

Jun 8, 2010

Butter Crisis

In this grand game we play of baking, the greatest battle ever is between butter and shortening. Butter is natural and just darn good, but shortening is easier to cook with and better suited for baking. With every baker you will find that there isn't a happy medium between butter and shortening; bakers tend to chose a side. My local bakery uses no shortening claiming that shortening is just bad for you. Really? Let's take a look at the two.

Jun 4, 2010

Bread Shapes

The shapes that bread has acquired over the years are as fascinating as--- well.... I don't know, but they're darn fascinating! Each shape is a testament to history and innovation of each culture and I would like to share some *basic* shapes with you. Later I plan on doing seperate posts to show you how to do each of them. Please keep in mind that these are the basic and common shapes.

Boule (Boo-l)

France really shaped the way we view bread, so most of our terms and names for bread come from French. Boule in French simply means ball. The boule shape is clasic French. In fact, before the French annexed the baguette shape, the boule shape was actually the most common shape for bread. It is not as popular as it once was because boule slices are not the same size, but they are great for being tosted and buttered.

Authors@Google: Peter Reinhart

I have to apologize for not updating in f-o-r-e-v-e-r! School and constant illness has gotten to me, and it wasn't fun. Just as a side not, I'm pulling A's! It's taken everything and more to keep focused, so the first thing to go was baking. It's summer now and I'm through being sick, so I'm back to baking and blogging. Although I'm not baking today, I want to show you guys a great lecture that Peter Reinhart did at the Google headquarters.

First before you watch it, I just want to tell you guys about Peter Reinhart and what he means to me. As an amateur baker I didn't know diddlysquat! I had no one to turn to to learn and discuss bread, really baking in general! I taught myself some tricks and techniques from simple recipes, but I wanted more. I did know about Peter and his many accomplishments and I always wanted his book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I waited practically forever for it until one Christmas. At that time my dad's hours were cut back extremely, so getting everything I wanted was picture. I didn't get a whole lot, but my prized possession was The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I really consider it a holy scripture (in a non sacrilegious way) because it has everything a baker needs to know and more to make artisan bread that is fit for the baking gods. That book really revolutionized the way I bake and it has formed my style of baking. Really, what makes the book and Mr. Reinhart so great is how they bridge together the world between amateurs and masters. I hope you will learn from Mr. Reinhart the way I have!


Jan 3, 2010

My First Attempt at Danish Pastries

So as my first blog post I have decided to make it big. My first daredevil mission is Danish pastries. *(This is where you yelp)* Really you might think, “Danishes! I get them from the gas station every morning.” If this is you 1) We have some serious health issues to talk about, because it would be easier to strap them on your hips and 2) YES THEY ARE PRETTY HARD TO MAKE! Well I guess they are not that hard, but believe me they can be pretty tricky…

Real Danishes (or at least these) are sooo much different than the ones you buy at QT (AKA Ouik Trip). The bread part tastes almost like a less buttery croissant, so to pull in that all around sweet taste you *must* have a great topping/filling. Fillings can range anywhere from cream cheese to apricot jam. For mine I decided to try out Joe’s Cream Cheese Filling. All in all his cream cheese filling was good, but I like my recipe for cream cheese (which is SUPER good). Note: I have a special article that I’ll post recipe for cream cheese filling and also blue berry filling. To me blueberries are bland, but this recipe makes them tangy and GOOD.