Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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    BreadBakingDay #28 - last day of submission April 1, 2010
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Archive for the ‘dough’ Category

Pistachio & Poppy-Seed Crackers

Posted by osakaben41 on March 31, 2010

I’ve got a new muse these days, hopefully one that will smooth over the issues of “Sweet-lord what are you going to do with all that ________?!?” Normal people ask each other simple questions like, “I’m feeling peckish, wonder what we have to snack on?” My problem however has been “What am I going to do with this bucket of flan I just made?” Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Cookies, dough, Nuts, Savory | Leave a Comment »

Nikuman – Bread Baking Day #28

Posted by osakaben41 on March 28, 2010

The trick to being broke in Japan in your early 20s is to know the seams in the system, and how to live off $20/day without dying of malnutrition.  Having spent roughly 2-years there, split between Tokyo & Osaka, I can testify to the number of my people saved by late-night convenience store dinners.  Put aside any thoughts of those 7-11 hotdogs, stuck on hells own treadmill, or the stomach cramping plastic wrapped microwave burrito.  You too can live, nay Thrive, off the occasional $2 meal. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bread, dough, Savory | 8 Comments »

Laminated Brioche

Posted by osakaben41 on March 2, 2010

Pardon my French, but these are some Kick Ass rolls!!!  Francisco Migoya strikes again with his recipe for pecorino, roasted garlic, sea-salt and fried sage laminated brioche.  I’ll admit to being intimidated, given my poor history with laminated dough, but anybody claiming to be a true butter-freak just has to try these.  In short, you mix up some butter-heavy brioche dough (on its own a bit of a high-wire act), then fold in a block of butter as you would with croissant dough.  Roll it all out flat, cover with shredded pecorino, roll into a log and cut into 2″ sections.  Proof the rolls for a few hours, top with sea salt and a roasted garlic clove and bake.  Finish with a single deep fried sage leaf.

 Fickle mistress that she is, I’ve been unable to tame laminated dough, and this was no different.  In short, the goal is to enclose a block of butter in dough, then fold it like an envelope, roll it out, repeated at least three times.  The goal is to not work it so hard that the layers tear, or the butter melts.  You can’t just pop it into the freezer or the butter will get harder than the dough, causing it to tear.  Brioche dough presumably has already developed its full gluten, meaning it’s much more elastic than the butter.  Roll it out too quickly and it’ll snap back like so much rubber.  Even if you hit that magic temperature when the dough and butter share the same consistency, if you rush the process and roll too hard, the friction will melt the butter, ruining the dough.

The recipe called for resting the dough for at least 15 minutes between folds, but I gave it a good 30-45 just to be on the safe side.  Even then, I might have pressed too hard when rolling these out, though the dough felt good to the touch.  When they were baked, they puffed up nicely, filling the paper cups, but a decent amount of butter ‘flooded’ out.  What should have been light and airy, was instead weighted down with melted butter and turned partially gummy inside. 

So, though far from a smashing success, it still worked better than the last attempt, so I’m calling it progress.  Regardless of the texture, the roasted garlic, with its hint of sweetness, worked extremely well with the cheese.  Instead of sea salt though, I had some left-over pink Hawaiian salt that really finished it off nicely.  

My wife and I both had one for breakfast this morning (and will probably carry that faint whiff of garlic throughout the day).  Otherwise the rest were intended as a thank you gift for a friend that saved us the other night.  Our babysitter was trapped  in NY after a snowplow crushed her friend’s car, so she couldn’t get back to Boston.  J however stepped in at the last-minute, freeing us up for a much-needed night out.  Garlic-sage brioche is the absolute least we could do for him.

Posted in Bread, dough, Savory | 2 Comments »

Checkerboard Icebox Cookies

Posted by osakaben41 on February 11, 2010

My daughter turns 4 soon, and while we’re working on a small party for a her friends, her school does something called “the birthday walk”.  Each kid, on or near their birthday, walks in a circle around their class the number of years they are, singing, “the earth goes ’round the sun, the earth goes ’round the sun.  All year long, the earth goes ’round the sun.” 

…and then they give out cookies. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cookies, dough, Lemon | Leave a Comment »

Chocolate Creme Chiboust Fail (and a giveaway)

Posted by osakaben41 on January 26, 2010

The pre-fail shot

There have been a few baking fails along the way, most of which I try to ignore and pretend they never happened.  Except of course when they’re really spectacular and noteworthy.  Under those standards have I got a whopper for you.

The idea was to recreate another Johnny Iuzzuni creation, which Aran did so beautifully some time ago  (how is it that every time I get inspired it turns out she’s already beat me to it?).  It’s a chocolate tart shell filled with a lemon custard and topped with a Chocolate Chiboust (Chocolate meringue stabilized with some gelatin, baked ever so briefly).  Having never had chocolate and lemon together I was initially skeptical, but there are some examples out there to look to. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, dough, Lemon, Tarts | Leave a Comment »

Apple Danish Braid

Posted by osakaben41 on January 9, 2010

A few weeks before starting this blog I tried out a Julia Child inspired Danish Braid, filled with apricot puree and pastry cream.  It was a great success for a first attempt, but way way too sweet to call brunch  We had friends over this morning though, so I took the opportunity to try it out again, just with a toned down apple filling.

I was given a fantastic Pastry textbook for Christmas from the CIA,Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft that I wanted to use this time.  The most obvious difference though between a professional formula and a lay-persons is one of scale.  Perhaps someday I’ll need 10.5 lbs of Danish dough, but not this weekend.  Rather than sweat through the math, it was back to Julia again. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in dough, Fruit, Nuts, Pastry | 1 Comment »

Orange Custard Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on November 1, 2009

Orange Custard Tart

Sometimes a picture is just too good to be ignored.  A quick glance was all it took, but I just couldn’t get these tarts out of my head.  I’m going to have to keep myself from visiting Flagrante Delicia too often or I’m just going to keep recreating everything she does, just not as well.

And I tried, I really tried to put my own spin on this one.  She did an Orange custard, I’d make it with Pomelo.  Couldn’t find any though, so what about Yuzu.  Couldn’t find any of that either.  I thought about just doing this with pink grapefruit, but my father in law was coming to town and he’s not a grapefruit fan.  Back to Orange it was then. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cookies, dough, Fruit, Ice Cream, Nuts, Tarts | Leave a Comment »

Cranberry-Walnut Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on October 17, 2009

c-w tart

This month the majority of my baking energies have been poured into the October Daring Baker’s Challenge, the results of which are not to be published until the 27th.  Considering that as well as a general lack of sleep from trying to sleep train my 18-month-old son, I just haven’t had the energy for a serious project in awhile. 

That said, if a week goes by without something sweet and new coming out of our kitchen, my hands start to shake and I get fidgety.  To scratch this persistent itch I’ve resorted to the quick, small experiments, leaving the multilayered entremet cakes for when I’m not quite so drowsy (has anybody else ever fallen asleep standing up in the shower?)   The other night I ripped out some quick Madelines, which felt good just to get back in the groove.  To that end, I came across in our freezer some left over Citrus Tart dough from the Pear-Flan Tart a few weeks back. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in dough, Ice Cream, Nuts, Recipes, Tarts | Leave a Comment »

Pear-Flan Tart

Posted by osakaben41 on October 5, 2009


If you want to get better at something I suppose you just need to keep working outside your comfort zone.  There are some wonderfully complicated recipes out there and the list keeps getting bigger, but until recently I had avoided Johnny Izzuni for anything other than inspiring pictures.

His website is actually a great resource, as he posts two recipes each month, an “advanced”, and a “beginner”.  The advanced ones invariably involve some obscure form of molecular gastronomy and ingredients I would probably only find at an MIT lab.  The beginner ones are still more involved than anything you’ll find in a Barefoot Contessa book (seriously, who out there has poached a pear Sou vide?) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in dough, Fruit, Ice Cream, Pastry, Recipes, Tarts | 4 Comments »

Cinnamon-Peach Ganache Tarts

Posted by osakaben41 on September 28, 2009

Cinnamon Peach Tarts1

This was a quick experiment in making flavor infused chocolate ganache.  As a technique, it’s fairly simple.  A standard ganache is just adding some warmed heavy cream to chopped pieces of chocolate until it’s all melted together.  Here we’re just adding something to the cream to add a little kick before straining it over the chocolate.  This works well with coffee, or lavender (with white chocolate).  The other day, while researching Macarons, I came across the idea of a Cinnamon-Peach Ganache, from Syrup & Tang. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chocolate, dough, Fruit, Peach, Tarts | 1 Comment »