Archive for December, 2009

Gordon Ramsay How To Cook Duck

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December 28, 2009 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

Amazing Baking Recipe: Feathery Summer Shortcakes

Here at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, our students recently perfected an amazingly light and decadent shortcake recipe which is a perfect building block for strawberry, blackberry or blueberry shortcake.

Split these warm shortcakes in half with a fork and fill them with regular or non-dairy whipped cream and the berries of your choice. If you prep individual shortcakes for each person at your table this Shabbos, you are likely to be greeted with roars of delight. Or better yet, bring the materials to the table and let them make their own(keep them warm in the oven so you can split them easily).

The following recipe has been adapted for the home cook. The weight in ounces is the more precise of the measurements. In baking, as opposed to cooking, it’s important to measure your ingredients with precision, using an ingredient scale.

Ingredients:

32 oz. (2 lb) all purpose flour, sifted (approx. 4 cups)
2 oz. baking powder (approx. 1 and ½ tbsp)
6 oz. granulated sugar (approx. 7/8th of a cup)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
14 oz. Unsalted cold margarine or butter, cubed (approx. 3 and ½ sticks)
9 oz. non-dairy creamer or milk
4 eggs
Powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:

Combine your dry ingredients and then either cut in your cold butter or combine the dry ingredients with the butter with your mixer on low, until nicely incorporated. Add your wet ingredients slowly until you have a thick dough. For extra flakey shortcakes, refrigerate your dough for at least an hour.

Roll out the dough to approximately a half-inch thickness with some flour and cut into 3-inch circles using a round cookie cutter or water glass. Space them two inches apart on an oiled or parchment paper-lined sheet pan.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and immediately dust with powdered sugar. Makes 15 gorgeous shortcakes, and more if you use a smaller sized cookie cutter.

December 27, 2009 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment

CKCA Baking Column: The Art and Science of Honey Cake

The Art and Science of Honey Cake

At this time of the year, ovens the world over are being fired up, and would-be pastry chefs are baking batch after batch of delectable, moist honey cake, the traditional dessert of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Most bakers have a love/hate relationship with honey cake. They either have an amazing recipe that works out fantastically well every time, or they slave for hours and come up only with a tough, dry mess. My job today is to give you that ideal recipe—coupled with an understanding of the science that backs it up—that will turn out that “perfect” honey cake every time you make it.

The main problem people experience with honey cake is toughness, but luckily, it’s a very easy problem to solve. What makes honey cake tough is overbeating and over mixing. Honey cake is not made by the “creaming method”; the method by which most cakes with shortening or butter/margarine are made. Instead, honey cake is meant to be made with the “combining method,” which is very simple and straightforward. The key to this technique is to incorporate the flour only enough so that there aren’t any lumps. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing the gluten.

Bakers know that gluten is a protein. It is the rubbery, strand like substance that gives chewiness to bread. It is a natural by-product of the combination of wheat flour and water. Gluten, above most things, is what gives texture, volume and depth to baked goods. If you want the gluten to develop, which you would certainly want if you were baking challah, bread or especially chewy bagels, it is important above all to mix and knead the dough extensively. For bread recipes, you can also purchase high-gluten flour, which has more protein and therefore more gluten-forming potential. Only extreme over mixing of these kinds of flours would break down the gluten structure. But for honey cake, all-purpose flour is best, though cake or pastry flour would work just as well.

For honey cake, your goal is simply to combine the ingredients until you have a uniform mixture, but no more. You now know what happens when the gluten is developed, so now you understand that the less developed the gluten, the lighter and more delectable your honey cake will be.

The order in which you add your ingredients is also vital with honey cake. You want to first beat the eggs well, because any moist cake is built, first and foremost, upon well-beaten eggs. After the eggs, add the sugar, oil and finally, your honey, because the measured oil helps coat the cup so that the honey will slip out easily. Since the honey is the most expensive, and arguably the most important part of the recipe, it’s important to use just the right amount.

And most importantly, mix your dry ingredients separately before adding them to your wet ingredients. This will ensure even mixing, and remember only to mix until the flour is incorporated.

Perfect Honey Cake:

eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup canola oil
¾ cup honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 cup strong brewed decaf or regular coffee
½ cup golden raisins (coated first in flour) (optional)

Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs in mixing bowl. Combine slowly with sugar, oil and then honey. Add coffee alternating with your dry ingredients, taking care to mix only until the dry ingredients are combined. Sprinkle in the flour covered raisins at the end, by hand.

The mixture can be poured into one 9 by 12 cake pan, or two loaf pans, or in mini-loaf or cupcake pans. Fill the pans halfway or a little more. Bake at 375 degrees. The baking time can be anywhere from 15 to 35 or 40 minutes, depending on the depth of your pan. Test for doneness by piercing with a toothpick; If the toothpick comes away clean, the cake is done. If you don’t have a toothpick, just wait until the middle of the cake doesn’t jiggle when you move the oven rack. The recipe doubles well and freezes well.

December 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm Leave a comment

CKCA Bakes Seven Grain Artisan Bread!

This week, CKCA pro baking students are working on all kinds of artisan breads. The smells coming out of the kitchen are amazing!

Here’s a great recipe for seven grain bread that is not just delicious; it’s also healthy!!!

1 lb 10 oz water
1 oz fresh yeast
1 lb 8 oz high gluten flour
6 oz rye flour
2 oz barley flour
3 oz corn meal
3 oz rolled oats
2 oz flax seeds
2 oz millet
.75 oz kosher salt

Mix water yeast and salt, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix with dough hook in mixer for 10-12 minutes at slow speed. Let bread rest for 90 minutes, then form into loaves. Bake, with a preheated breadstone, at 425 degrees for approximately half an hour until crusty.

December 27, 2009 at 11:25 pm Leave a comment

Mastering the Muffin Method


Mastering the Muffin Method for Seasonal Loaf Cake Recipes

If you study baking like we do here at CKCA, you will learn that there are three types of quick bread mixing techniques, but there’s only one that will deliver perfect blueberry muffins, zucchini bread, banana bread and pumpkin cake every time. The muffin method is perfect for these kinds of recipes, and if you master this technique, your kitchen will always be able to reflect the fresh and delicious ingredients of the season.

The muffin method is characterized by the use of a liquid fat like oil or melted butter, instead of solid fats used with the creaming method such as softened butter, margarine or shortening. In case you were wondering, the third quick bread technique is the biscuit method, which uses a cold fat to achieve a flaky product. Since the muffin method is part of the quick bread family, you will have the benefit of a cake baked quickly, with a minimum of steps.

The goal with the muffin method is to create a tender, soft, evenly shaped cake with an equitable distribution of nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits, fruit puree or other fillings. The most frequent problem people experience with the muffin method is overmixing, which can lead to a condition known as tunneling in the finished product. Tunnels are large, tubular holes inside the cake or muffins, and cakes with tunnels will not slice well or keep their shape.

There are four easy steps to baking with the muffin method:

1. Measure and combine wet ingredients.
2. Measure and combine dry ingredients.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while alternating with a seasonal addition, such as pumpkin puree, shredded zucchini or carrots, banana puree, etc.
4. Fill loaf cake pans or muffin tins halfway with batter and bake according to recipe directions.

With a good recipe, several loaf cakes or a whole pan of muffins can be baking in the oven within fifteen minutes or less.

One important tip: These recipes tend to include baking powder as well as baking soda, so it’s important to measure these ingredients precisely and mix them well into your flour and other dry ingredients. This will avoid problems later by preventing your loved ones from getting a mouthful of something not so wonderful. (I speak from experience. Bleech!)

The nicest thing about the muffin method is that it is very forgiving and lends itself to a variety of flavors and textures. For example, having a good banana bread recipe on hand is a good idea so that you can make something delicious out of the overripe bananas you’ve forgotten about. If you have a garden and grow squash, carrots or zucchini, you know that they’re only harvested once a year, so having a reliable zucchini bread recipe will help you present a healthy veggie to your family in a sweet way. It’s also a good idea to know how to make blueberry, raspberry or cranberry muffins, because berries tend to cost much less in the summertime, and you can freeze berries for use in muffin recipes all year long. My favorite loaf cake recipe is one given to me by my cousin Laurie Gage, the surprisingly delectable pumpkin chocolate chip cake. It’s perfect for the autumn, when all the pumpkins, squash and gourds are in season and priced well. The recipe is provided for you here.

LAURIE’S PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tsp cinnamon
4 large eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups oil
2 cups pumpkin
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º’F. Sift dry ingredients together. Beat eggs, sugar and oil until light in color. Add, alternately, dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing between each addition. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour until half full into large ungreased tube pan (or 9 x 13 pan). Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until dry in center. This cake also may be baked in muffin tins, two 8”x 8” pans, or two large loaf pans or three small ones. The baking time will be shorter if you use smaller pans or muffin tins, so keep an eye on them. Recipe can be easily halved or doubled.

December 27, 2009 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

Cream Puffy Cream Puffs


CKCA student Yael Colman took this gorgeous picture of her perfect cream puffs. Pate aux Choux with vanilla pastry cream, garnished with powdered sugar and strawberries.

1 cup water
6 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 and 3/4 ounces flour
1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites

Bring water, margarine and sugar to a boil. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat until it looks like mashed potatoes and return to the flame. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool. With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, one at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. You don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs! Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip.

Pipe immediately into shapes of your choice, at least two inches apart onto parchment-papered sheet pans. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown.

Fill with pastry cream or ice cream and garnish with powdered sugar or melted chocolate.

December 27, 2009 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

How to Make Gnocchi

December 27, 2009 at 6:14 am Leave a comment

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