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To Our Baking Community

Mar 22, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

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Photo by Matthew Septimus

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

This Fall it will be 12 years since we started the blog and 10 years since we started the Forums.

General Mills originally sponsored the blog but for the past several years we have run the blog without sponsorship. We have elected to keep the blog pristine and devoid of ads and pop ups which distract from the enjoyment and functionality of the postings, comments, and responses.

We are putting out feelers to know if the blog is a valuable part of your baking life and whether you would consider supporting us by being a patron.

If you answer yes in the comments below (and this is not a commitment), we will add an option to the site using a service called Patreon. This makes it easy to collect small donations on a regular basis, which would go towards maintaining the site and encouraging me to spend more time developing it. You will be able to choose the amount you would like to contribute and whether you would like to have your name listed or prefer to be anonymous.

Donations would be optional -- everything here will still be available to any baker whether you donate or not.

Your patronage will be used only for blog maintenance and improvement.

Your feedback would be appreciated greatly.

Love, Rose & Woody


The International Housewares Show

Mar 18, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

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Rose's Signature Series Bakeware is being featured at the APG (American Products Group) booth at the IHS.

This is the annual largest housewares show in the world, showcasing 2000+ vendors.

If you are attending, be sure to stop by the booth #S3821 and say hi to Dan O'Malley and his great team.

Hong Kong Sponge Cake--an Amazing Technique

Mar 18, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

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Having fallen in love with Linh Trang's Milk Bread and her beautifully crafted video, I decided to explore some of her other videos and was intrigued by her unique method of making sponge cake without a tube pan. Normally a cake of this type will dip in the center without a center tube to support it. Linh Trang explained how she created this cake to prevent dipping:

In Vietnam, people think that is a terrible failure. So a large part of my time in the kitchen was used to find out how to have a soft, cottony sponge cake that has a dome in the end :-) A very helpful tip that I learnt recently is to drop the mold onto the counter from a level of about 7 inches) like what I did in this chiffon video, at 5.33). I am not sure 100% but I guess the shocks help to ventilate and release the steam better, and this trick works like magic to me. After dropping the mold 3 - 4 times, we can unmold the cake (if it's not baked in a tube pan) and let it cool on a rack.

The resulting sponge cake is extraordinarily tender, moist, and velvety and not at all overly sweet. I brought half the cake to my dentist, Dr. Kellen Mori, and learned coincidentally that her 6 year old daughter Olivia had just expressed a yearning for strawberry shortcake for breakfast. All that was needed was some lightly sweetened whipped cream and strawberries and apparently it was a great success! Olivia even made a video expressing what she thought a "famous baker" should be. Essentially she said that one should not be concerned about fame or money but rather about having fun, and feeding and making people happy. She certainly made me happy!

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Linh Trang's video demonstrates exactly how to make this cake but it is in Vietnamese so she has given me permission to offer the recipe to you in English. (No--I don't speak Vietnamese, but I do speak Baking!)

Here is the recipe:

One 8 x 2-1/2 to 3 inch pan, bottom lined with parchment (do not grease the sides) (Note the baked cake was 2 inches at the sides and 2-1/4 inches domed so a 2 inch pan might work)

4 to 5 egg yolks: 76 grams
superfine sugar: 20 grams
milk: 40 ml (3 Tablespoons) fine to use orange juice or lemon juice instead
oil: 30 ml (2 Tablespoons)
vanilla: 1/2 teaspoon
all-purpose flour: 50 grams (I used bleached but she thinks her flour was unbleached)
cornstarch: 50 grams (for the best texture I recommend organic such as Rumford)
4 egg whites: 120 grams
cream of tartar: 1/4 teaspoon (I used 1/2 t but Linh Trang said it is not good quality in
Vietnam so more will be too tangy)
superfine sugar, sifted: 70 grams

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, milk, oil, and vanilla until very smooth. Add the flour/cornstarch through a strainer and whisk until evenly incorporated.

Beat meringue on low speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue on high speed until soft peaks. Then lower speed to medium for about 2 minutes until stiff peaks to give it more stability.

Whisk 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Then use a spatula to fold in the meringue, adding it in two parts. Smooth the surface.

Tap the pan 3 times on the counter to release any large air bubbles.

Bake toward lower rack so not too close to top heat at 300°F 40 to 50 minutes (slow rise=less likelihood of falling) until it springs back.

Drop the pan 3 times to release steam and unmold right away. Remove parchment and cool top-side-up on a raised rack.

The Story of The Cake Bible--A Baking Classic

Mar 15, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

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My wonderful editor Cassie Morgan Jones, at Harper-Collins, gave me a list of questions to answer about how The Cake Bible came to be a classic and my thoughts about the influence that it has had on my and other people's baking lives:

Congratulations to one of our favorite authors, Rose Levy Beranbaum, whose book The Cake Bible was recently inducted into the International Association of Culinary Professionals Culinary Classics Hall of Fame. This bestselling, definitive cookbook makes cake baking a joy and brings professional-quality baking within reach of home bakers everywhere.

Here is the introduction to the Q & A written by Cassie:

And here is the Q & A for you to enjoy.

My Top Favorite Photo & Travel Adventure

Mar 11, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories 2017

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CHEF HIROSHI YOSHIKAWA

Over the years, I have had many wonderful travel experiences, but if there had been just one to choose from, without hesitation it would be my visit to the Sakumas in Kyoto.

Yoko Sakuma was my student when I ran the Cordon Rose Cooking School. She took several of the classes more than once, and when I asked her why, she explained in her now exquisite English: There were two reasons. First, you were so kind and patient to teach an actually novice like me at baking. So, I did not hesitate to avail myself of the opportunity to learn till I understood what you taught. Second, as I had just begun NY life and could not understand English well, your baking classes were also English classes for me. You were not only a teacher of baking but also an excellent English teacher though you might not recognize it. Accordingly, I could learn more English than in the actual English class at NYU.

Never have I met a more dignified, truly sweet, and beautifully spiritual soul, who became my life-long friend. When finally Yoko and Ushio returned to Japan, Yoko wrote to me that they would be living for a very short time in Kyoto--exquisite city of artisans. She explained that the apartments were very small and that the only oven she would have room for was a toaster oven, which either burned the bottom of the cake or the top. She said that she could not live too many years in a place which had no oven, and urged me to come and visit them while they were still there. I promised that I would and that when I came, I would teach her how to bake a cake in a toaster oven.

When I arrived, Yoko presented me with a carefully detailed itinerary of my stay, saying that it was not a rigid schedule and that if I wanted to change anything that would be fine. I did not! What followed was more than a week of amazing dinners and trips including to Nara, and to a visit to Horyuji--the oldest wooden temple in the world that exists at present, dating back to 607 AD.

The dining experience that was most profoundly unforgettable was at a tiny sushi restaurant "Matsu (pine tree) Sushi." There were only 5 seats, all at the counter, and we three watched in fascination as the sushi was prepared. Yoko and Ushio explained to me that the fish, which was white on the outside and black on the inside, was called Sayori. Mr. Hiroshi Yoshikawa told them that there was a phrase of "Sayori beauty? in Kyoto. According to him, "Sayori beauty" means a woman who is very beautiful but malicious at heart. Sayori is very beautiful lean silver fish but its inside color is ugly black.

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Mr. Hiroshi Yoshikawa, the master, did not speak english so the Sakumas carefully translated everything. They explained that his father before him owned the restaurant and was so respected he had access to the best fish which was a rarity for this inland city. But Mr. Yoshikawa would not allow his son to take over because he felt he did not have the proper spirit.

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It was when he was deftly shaping one of the sushis, and his hands curved around it like a dancer's, that I started taking photos, hoping to catch that exact moment. I must have tried about 5 times as that was before digital cameras so I had no way of knowing if I had gotten the shot until he said something emphatic which was translated as "she got it!" He had intuited what I was hoping for and with the precision of a Zen archer who can shoot an arrow into his target with eyes closed, knew when it had arrived. Before leaving he asked the Sakumas if I would send him my book which, of course, I was honored to do on my return to the US.

Mr. Yoshikawa is now over eighty years old. He has been saying that the climate change has had a serious effect on fish, shellfish, and other seafood. They are often too small or too big, and accordingly not tasty, but also are not caught by fishermen or bay men in the right season. So he has decided the time has come to close the restaurant.

Now for the solution to that toaster oven which had two levels. If baking on the higher level the top of the cake burned; if baking on the lower level, the bottom of the cake burned. So I suggested that we try double panning to protect the bottom and to bake on the lower level to protect the top of the cake. It worked.

The most special treasure I brought back was this antique traveling sake cup gifted to me by Ushio after we visited a sake manufacturer and museum. The metal stand enables it to swing back and forth so that the sake doesn't spill a single drop during a train ride!

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Elizabeth Andoh, a former New Yorker and much esteemed colleague who has been living in Tokyo most of her life, writing wonderful books on Japanese cooking, once told me a story which I cherish. She said that there was to be a contest of two renowned culinary sensei (master teachers) but only one showed up. The other sent his best student. If I were in that position I would send Yoko.

Baking Basics Production Phase 7

Mar 08, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

Baking Basics Production Phase 7: Revising the Manuscript to send to the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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We Finished the Manuscript! (71,176 words, 560 pages) Of course the many photos, with their captions, will add lots more pages!

A benefit to our having remade most of the recipes for the step-by-step photo phase is that it gave us an ideal opportunity to tweak, revise, and produce a clean and consistent manuscript.

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Our goal was to submit the manuscript (along with style sheets for the copy editor) to our editor, Stephanie Fletcher, by March 1, and we did it. (It turns out it is exactly 4 years minus 12 days after we submitted the manuscript for the Baking Bible!) Now an entirely new phase begins with Stephanie and the HMH book production team going into action to begin the publishing process. And fingers crossed to see what the next critical Copy Editor's phase will send back to us. Plus our upcoming week-long beauty/style photos phase in New York City in April.

IACP Award Finalist: Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore

Mar 07, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

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I first met Anna Thomas at a weekend of book demos and author signings sponsored by Kitchen Aid. It was an exceptionally cold and rainy summer day in Michigan, and we exchanged samples of what we were demo'ing. We got the better end of the bargain as our demo was red velvet heart cake, but Anna's was a duo of heart-warming delicious, nutritious soups! We have been long distance friends ever since.

So when Anna emailed me saying she would be unable to attend the IACP award ceremony this past week, I was delighted and honored at the prospect of receiving an award on her behalf. I asked her to write something reasonably short that she would like me to say for her. Anna is an exceptionally talented writer so what she wrote made me regret, all the more, that she wasn't the winner in her category. I think her message is of such great import I am sharing it here with you:

A giant thank you to IACP for the incredible honor! And thank you to Kris Dahl at ICM and to Maria Guarnaschelli and the great people at Norton for running with this.

I'm known for my vegetarian cookbooks so people might be surprised to see a book from me in which there's a recipe for bacon crisps.

I love vegetarian cuisine. But over these last years I've seen so many people who seem afraid to invite others over for dinner --because everybody eats in such different ways. We've become food tribes.

But we can't lose hospitality! We can't give up our impulse to sit down and have dinner together. It's essential to civilization! So I wanted to write a book that might help people keep inviting everyone over to dinner.

My idea is simple: START with the food everybody eats.... But don't stop there.

I love to cook! Right now I'm sitting here with my arm in a cast, trying to figure out how to cut up an onion without being able to hold onto it. I know you all love to cook too -- what a great room! Keep inviting everybody over for dinner -- Thanks again!

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Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore: Dinner for Everyone at the Table

The Cake Bible is Inducted into the IACP Culinary Classics

Mar 07, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

Scenes from the IACP 2017 Conference

This amazing lifetime honor is the International Association of Culinary Professionals Hall of Fame. The award ceremony, which celebrates culinary teachers, cookbook writers & journalists, digital media and photographers, is an event to which we look forward all year.

The conference this year was held in Louisville, KY, which was the headquarters of IACP for many years. It was such a joy reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

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George Geary, once a student at a class I taught in LA, is now a recognized writer of "bibles" in his own right.

One of the highlights was a party previewing and honoring the completion of the upcoming book(s) Modernist Bread. There will be 6 large volumes. Nathan Myrvold, of Modernist Cuisine fame, put together a team of 27 notable bread experts, lead by baker/author Francisco Migoya, and including Peter Reinhart. As with Myrvold's previous books, the photos are drop dead stunning.

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It was great to see Franscisco and the ever delightful Carla Hall, who also emceed the awards ceremony.

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The ceremony was held in the 'jewel box' Paradise Theater.

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I thought that only the palaces of King Henry VIII had ceilings like this one!

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I was so delighted that the amazing photo of my wonderful friend Erin McDowell, taken by photographer Mark Weinberg, won one of the Food Photography & Styling Awards.

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It was also wonderful to see Sam Sifton, food editor for the New York Times, running up onto the stage 4 times in his tennis shoes to receive awards for his staff on their behalf, a strong statement for the value of the printed newspaper.

I was delighted to see that my fellow author and restauranteur, Rick Bayliss was also inducted into the Culinary Classics for his book, Authentic Mexican. It was also a joy to see Vivian Howard winning the Best Cookbook of the Year as well as a couple of other awards for her tome Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South--her first book. You can also see all of this year's award winners, including previous winners on the IACP's website.

Another dear friend, Anna Thomas, was a finalist for her Vegan Vegetarian Ominivore, but unable to attend the conference. I asked her to write an acceptance speech as she had given me the honor to accept a possible award in her behalf. This short speech contains such an important message I will follow up this very long posting with a photo of why Anna could not attend and what she would like to have imparted.

Where the Microwave Shines

Mar 04, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Recipes

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I have a long history with microwave cooking. In the 1970's, when I was a student at NYU, one of my assignments was to develop recipes for their one microwave oven which dated back to World War II.

A few years later, Elizabeth Alston, who was the food editor of Redbook Magazine asked me if I would like to do a freelance story on microwave cooking. I declined, saying it doesn't do everything well to which she said: Good! Then do only what it does do well! (I have admired her ever since and had a great time working on the recipes with a nutritionist, Gail Becker, who did the nutritional analysis. The upshot was that we were so taken with microwave cooking, we decided to start a cooking school specializing in it.

I put in a call to Mimi Sheraton, who at the time was writing about cooking schools for the New York Times. She asked me when the school was starting and my response was: "When will you be writing about it." She informed me that the New York Times would never stand behind microwave ovens as they were dangerous and, as the wife of a radiologist, how could I consider such a thing. (This was before Barbara Kafka had her weekly microwave column for the New York Times--lesson: never say never.)

I explained to Mimi that because my husband was a radiologist I knew that there are two different types of rays, and the one that is used in microwaves is on the same wave length as that of radios. I'm not sure if she was convinced, but somehow the microwave school never happened.

A short time later, NYU lost their microwave teacher who told me that she was tired of academia and was going into industry. They begged me to teach the class and I agreed as long as I didn't have to grade exams. It turned out to be a great opportunity to explore recipes conducive to microwave cooking, and I even took the class on a field trip to the Sharp corporation in NJ to try out their microwave/convection oven.

Out of all the recipes that were created in that class, there is one that stands above the rest as the most enlightening, so I'm going to share it with you here and I hope you will be inspired to try it. I wish I had the name of the student who created it as she did a splendid job adapting the recipe and writing it up as is presented in her words here. It is for a classic french dessert, Poires Belle Helène and perfect for this time of year when pears are at their finest.

Continue reading "Where the Microwave Shines" »

Baking Basics Production Phase 6

Mar 01, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Production

Phase 6: Rethinking Baking Powder

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Over the past 30 or so years of measuring and weighing baking powder, I had established an average weight of 4.5 grams per teaspoon. But a few months ago, after much deliberation and vacillation, I made the decision to remove all the weights for baking powder from the manuscript because they varied so widely from day to day, by as much as 2.2 grams per teaspoon. I thought this was because of humidity or possibly that the baking powder was settling, so I tried whisking it before measuring it and also writing down the humidity indicated by my hygrometer on the day I was weighing it. I even checked it against the weight of a teaspoon of salt which is almost always exactly 6 grams. None of these factors seemed to influence the consistency of the weight of baking powder so out went the weight.

But a few weeks ago suddenly the following thought occurred to me: What if the inconsistency in weight was due to a variable way in which the baking powder was settling on storage. Maybe it was more prone to inconsistent settling even when whisked than other granules or powders. So over the period of 12 days, I first sifted the baking powder into the spoon until it mounded slightly over the top, leveled it off, wiped off any powder from the bottom of the spoon and weighed it on my Mettler scale which is accurate to a 100th of a gram. Eureka! The weight varied only by 0.2 gram. Back into the charts went the weights!

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Of course if you are not using a highly accurate scale designed to weigh such minute amounts, it is better to use spoon measures and best to whisk or stir the baking powder before measuring. Note: Do not sift it into the spoon as that method was used only to establish consistency of weight. The recipes were developed and tested using the average weight of the baking powder measured by the dip and sweep method, which is about 1 gram more than when sifted.

Conclusion: it is most accurate to weigh the baking powder and convenient when using a large amount but the differential caused by measuring will not significantly affect the results.

Note: I did not list weights for other powders such as cream of tartar or spices, because these ingredients only need to be weighed when used in large volume.

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