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 ‘Savory’ Category

Pink Peppercorn-Thyme soda

Posted by osakaben41 on March 31, 2010

Just a quick one here.  My daughter is home sick from school and wife is out of town.  It’s gray and wet outside, so what do we do?  We cook.  Well if you consider making savory soda cooking that is.

This come from a back issue of Bon Appetite, and just sat there at the back of the line, waiting for its turn.  Totally unnecessary, but sometimes you just have to make something.  And WOW does the house smell good right now.  Overall it looks like a thin bourbon, but tastes almost like a spicy pimms.  The trick is going to be adding just enough syrup so it’s not too sweet, but still has enough kick to stand out as something different.

Besides, it’s nice to be able to use my seltzer machine for something else these days.


Posted in drink, Savory | 2 Comments »

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 »

Vols-au-vent, DB September Challenge

Posted by osakaben41 on September 27, 2009


Baking Fail

Baking Fail

I’ll admit defeat this month, lick some wounds and gear up for next time.  If you can judge a cafe by its laminated dough, I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon.  But perhaps I should start this story at the beginning.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

In summary, we were to make puff pastry from scratch, shape it into a container, typically a cylinder, which is then filled with a savory or sweet stuffing.  Puff pastry, like any laminated dough consists of layers of butter and dough rolled into thin layers, such that when the butter melts, the steam released puffs up the thin layers of dough, resulting in an ethereal buttery flakiness.  Normally the challenge with this dough is to roll out and fold it as thin as can be without breaking through the layers.  Its a tricky thing, and when done right a wonder of engineering.  But like all things worth doing, all too easy to screw up. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in DB Challenge, dough, Pastry, Recipes, Savory | 5 Comments »