Author Topic: Home Baking  (Read 7746 times)

Offline Melomom

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Home Baking
« on: November 15, 2009, 05:01:33 PM »
I like to bake, but my efforts are strictly home style, not professional pastry type.  I have recently come across a couple of baking blogs that have lots of good ideas.  One is called Joy the Baker, here:

http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/

I love her photography and sense of humor.  Another one, more commercial, is the King Arthur blog associated with the flour company and baking catalog:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/

Today I baked the Eggnog Cinnamon Scones from a recent entry.  Baked this morning, but I actually mixed them up yesterday.  The recipe calls for freezing the shaped scones for 30 minutes to help with the rising and flakiness, and I e-mailed the editors to see if they could be frozen, say, overnight.  Answer was yes - so all I did this morning was take them out of the freezer, brush with eggnog, sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake about 8 minutes longer than the original recipe.  A really nice eggnog scent.  I did not have cinnamon chips so I just worked some cinnamon sugar into the dough.  Very well-received by my breakfast guest.

About eggnog, I was a little skeptical of using it as an ingredient, but I came across the Organic Valley brand at Whole Foods.  It does not have the ersatz ingredients of some nogs and it actually tastes good on its own. 

More baking now, the banana bread out of the KA Baking Companion.  This one calls for a cup of yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk, one of which I usually have on hand, along with bananas that need to either go in the freezer or into muffins or bread. 

Offline Melomom

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2009, 07:09:19 PM »
I have been baking a lot of bagels lately, using a recipe and technique from Peter Reinhart's book The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  Here is a link to a step by step based on that recipe:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/bagels

I've also been hearing a lot about Montreal's bagels and how much better they are supposed to be than New York's, here is a little something on this topic:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/montreals-bagels-square-off-against-new-yorks/

I like the picture with the "tout garni" bagels -- wait, those are everything bagels, right?


Offline Marmite Loving Euniculus

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2009, 07:16:59 PM »
Baked a loaf of banana bread with oatmeal replacing part of the flour that turned out surprisingly well with a nice caramalized crust. Not to mention sweet, moist, and full of real butter goodness.

It's been a long time since I baked from scratch and never considered myself more than marginally competent at it.  ;D

Offline Barnum

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2009, 12:11:43 PM »

Just put a Black Russian Cake in the oven (chocolate bundt cake w/ kahlua and vodka).  Mother-in-law will make the pumpkin mousse to be served with this for a KILLER combination.

Offline Mike GadgetGeek Stock

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2009, 12:53:52 PM »

Just put a Black Russian Cake in the oven (chocolate bundt cake w/ kahlua and vodka).  Mother-in-law will make the pumpkin mousse to be served with this for a KILLER combination. 

Damn, now you are talking...     I don't speak Russian and I still think I could get around a nice hunk of that cake, or even the pumpkin mousse, or both....

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Offline Roxro

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2010, 05:31:48 PM »
That Black Russian cake seems like just the ticket to use up some of my homemade Christmas Kahlua!  Yum...

Offline Melomom

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2010, 05:18:21 PM »
Tried a new recipe for flapjacks from Bon Appetit (which I am getting in lieu of the dear departed Gourmet), first one I have felt like trying from this magazine in a long time.  (I used to find a lot of recipes there, including some of my most successful, but no more.)  These aren't pancakes but a kind of bar cookie popular in the UK.  They are supremely easy to make and my tasters loved them. 

Here's the recipe:

http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2010/03/bar_none

Sounds like the triangles will be small but they are rich.

Offline Melomom

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010, 05:34:39 PM »
I have enjoyed looking at the Tastespotting website, seems the whole world is always baking something very yummy.  Lots and lots of cupcakes, and lots of vegan recipes I would like to try.  I alighted on a recipe for an orange-ricotta poundcake from a Giada de Laurentis recipe. 

http://newfinmysoup.blogspot.com/2010/02/ricotta-orange-pound-cake-with.html

It has a good orange flavor, I did not have any Amaretto so added a little almond extract.  Also used the King Arthur unbleached cake flour for the first time.  Very moist, some poundcakes can be dry.  I picked up some nice strawberries at YDFM this morning, with a little whipped cream we had a nice dessert.

Offline Melomom

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2010, 05:17:52 PM »
Chewy chocolate chip cookies from the King Arthur Baking Book.  I usually make the crispy kind, but chewy were requested this evening.  Tasty, another successful recipe from this book.  (I subscribed one time to their newsletter, which I didn't think was any good, but the baker's blog on the website is usually interesting.)  The chocolate chips I had on hand were the Ghiradelli 60% cacao, but I have to say I think I prefer the Ghiradelli semisweet chips.  Won't complain about chocolate, though!

Offline Melomom

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2010, 08:31:39 AM »
I am finding lots of good recipes via the Tastespotting site.  So many great cooking and baking blogs!  I love scones but so many recipes make heavy, dense doorstops, or they have so much fat that they are almost greasy.  I saw strawberry scones at Panera earlier this week and then came across this recipe from a Tastespotting link:

http://hazelbloom.typepad.com/the-hazel-bloom/2010/04/strawberry-mini-scones.html

Well, who doesn't like mini anything?  Nice strawberries from Publix.  I used all butter since I didn't have any shortening and I brushed with just cream and no egg before sprinkling with sanding sugar.  So good!  Definitely a weekend breakfast kind of thing since they take a little more time than muffins, but worth it.

Offline Melomom

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2011, 06:27:15 PM »
I always used the peanut butter cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking, but last time tried Alton Brown's recipe.  It is in one of his books but I've seen it on the internet also.  I love JOC so it pains me to say it, but Alton's recipe is far superior.  The cookies are not at all greasy, very light with a good peanut flavor.  Baking another batch tonight.

Note:  here is a link to a site with the recipe:

http://abreiden.wordpress.com/2007/10/07/peanut-butter-cookies/

I halved the recipe and it still made over 4 dozen.  I used two eggs and omitted the granulated sugar topping.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 08:10:31 PM by Melomom »

Offline MadBob

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2011, 08:15:09 AM »
Are you using a digital scale for the p-butter cookies, or any of your baking? I wonder if a triple beam scale would come close to accurate measure instead of using my eyeball and a measuring cup? I am a peanut butter freak. Plain, chunky, on celery, on a spoon, on my banana samich, with honey.... and thanks for the PB Cookie site!
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Offline Mike GadgetGeek Stock

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 02:04:40 PM »
Are you using a digital scale for the p-butter cookies, or any of your baking? I wonder if a triple beam scale would come close to accurate measure instead of using my eyeball and a measuring cup? I am a peanut butter freak. Plain, chunky, on celery, on a spoon, on my banana samich, with honey.... and thanks for the PB Cookie site! 

I would think that a dial-a-gram triple-beam scale would be plenty accurate for measuring flour etc., after all it is accurate enough to be used in laboratories and many, many other places..    ;)    I use mine when I need to split hairs on doubled bread recipes or when mixing cake flour and regular flour.  I have also used it when working with Jason's very hydrated pizza dough and a few super-soft desert doughs I used to make. 

My terrific counter digital scale is very nice, but you have to pull a rubber cover off of the bottom of it to change it from grams to ounces, and that is a PIA.

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Finding offense where none is intended is a form of selfishness.

When facts change, I change my mind.  What do you do?

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Offline Melomom

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2011, 07:40:14 AM »
Alton's recipe in the book includes both weight and standard measurements.  I don't use a scale, but I am just a regular home cook.

Offline The_Scientist

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Re: Home Baking
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2011, 03:31:32 PM »
Gots to weigh in on this discussion.  ::)

Balance type scales are the most accurate ones out there because they depend on nothing but gravity to work, and the counterbalance weights never change. That's why laboratories, jewelers and mints have historically used them. The biggest problem with them is that they bounce a lot with any vibration or air current, making them notoriously hard to read. I've heard of labs built with concrete tables for balances tied into the building foundation so that vibration is minimal. They are also unwieldy for kitchen use and expensive compared to spring loaded scales.

Electronic scales are the way to go nowadays. They are much cheaper than they used to be, almost as accurate as balances, and far more versatile. Switching units and taring the bowl or cup so you can see the exact amount of each ingredient are a snap.

If you just make baked goods for the holidays, it's probably not worth it to buy a scale, but if you bake regularly, you really should weigh your ingredients for most consistent results. Flour is especially tricky because it can be compacted or aerated so easily, and weighing it takes that variable out.
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