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The Baking Bible

The Baking Bible

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When Pastry Chef's Bake for Each Other

Sep 20, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Lindsay Stewart, who is the pastry chef at Natirar (90 Acres) in Somerville, NJ, was featured in a recent posting for her fabulous milk chocolate caramel tart. I met her mother Linda at the Belvidere Farmer's Market last year and she told me about her daughter so that is how we met. When I promised to invite them both for lunch for a viewing of the new baker's kitchen, Lindsay asked what she could bring. My first thought was a tub of the lard rendered from the restaurant's farm but then I came up with an additional inspiration. I said that if she would bring the salumi, which I adored at the restaurant, we would make baguettes and a special dessert.

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Lindsay also brought a selection of cheeses, nuts, preserved olives, and her famous cheese crackers.

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We all feasted and chatted for well-over an hour. Linda gave us great tips ranging from getting rid of stink bugs to where to get the best peaches in the area.

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For dessert, Woody and I made a génoise from the upcoming Baking BIble, filled with mascerated strawberries and raspberries and adorned with local redcaps (aka thimble or wine berries) that we picked the day before. We used the juices from the mascerated berries to moisten the cake the night before which also softened the berries a bit so the redcaps added a firmer fresh touch.

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We made a special accompaniment: whipped cream, using Devon Double Cream, lightened with homemade crème fraîche and a tiny touch of sugar.

As a special treat, we opened a bottle of blueberry wine from the nearby Four Sister's Winery. The photo on the label is of Mia, the owner Matty's granddaughter.

Interview in The Forward

Sep 17, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Review

Liza Schoenfein wrote this beautifully personal review of The Baking Bible. It is special also because it describes how we first met several years ago.

My grandmother, Sarah Horwitt Wager, used to read The Forward--at least I think it was The Forward. She could read only Yiddish and I loved seeing those mysterious characters. I was amazed that she could decipher them while I couldn't understand a single one. My grandmother and I shared a room until I went away to college so many a night, at bed-time, she would give me entry into the world of her childhood in Russia with stories which I still remember vividly.

She would have been so proud to see this review.

Note:Also check out her blog--it has terrific videos!

Casting Bread on the Water

Sep 17, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Much to the joy of any bread lover who has enjoyed her bread at the French Laundry or at her bakery Della Fattoria, Kathleen Weber has, at last, published her first book: Della Fattoria Bread. The official Pub date is October 7 but the book is available on Amazon for preorder.

Della Fattoria Bread: 63 Foolproof Recipes for Yeasted, Enriched & Naturally Leavened Breads

Not only does it have enticing precisely written recipes from the hearth, her stories from the heart are fascinating and beautifully written and I am reading this book page by page as well as baking from it. I have already made two of the breads with great success and will include step by step photos on each of two postings.

I first met and fell in love with Kathleen's breads at my first dinner at The French Laundry in Yountville, Ca. When the wait person told me that the bread at that time was not made in house, I lost no time in asking my northern California friends to find out who was baking the bread. I was in the process of writing The Bread Bible and put in a call to Kathleen Weber, timidly asking if she would give me the recipe for her seeded wheat sourdough bread that I so loved. I was stunned by her generous response. She actually said that SHE was honored and proceeded to send me a detailed recipe in addition to the flour and yeast she used for the bread and even offered to send the water! And that is how I fell in love with Kathleen as a perfect reflection of the goodness, beauty, and integrity of her bread.

Continue reading "Casting Bread on the Water" »

The Undoing of a Revision: The UK Cake Bible

Sep 14, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Book Errata/CORRECTIONS


How to Convert Recipes in the UK Cake Bible to Bleached Cake Flour
When I originally revised The Cake Bible to the UK version, bleached cake flour referred to as self-raising, was available in the UK and commonwealth countries. This meant retesting and significantly revising the recipes for butter cakes as the flour already contained baking powder, and not necessarily the amount needed in the recipe, especially when baking soda was needed as well.

Since that time, bleached flour has become illegal in the UK and commonwealth countries making the UK version no longer useful for the cakes calling for self-raising flour.

For those of you who have the UK Cake Bible and have access to bleached cake flour, here are the conversions. Alternatively, you can treat unbleached flour by the "Kate Flour" method if you put Kate Flour into the search box.

Using Bleached Cake Flour Instead of Self-Raising and/or Plain Flour

For the volume cup measure, cake flour is always sifted into the cup and leveled off unless specified. These measures refer to US measuring cups with unbroken rims, so it will be different if using other types of cups and, in any case, best always to use weight rather than volume.

Caster sugar is the equivalent of superfine sugar

After much testing I now list the weight of 1 teaspoon of baking powder as 4.5 grams instead of 5 grams.

For the teaspoon measure either use US teaspoon measures or convert as follows:

1/4 teaspoon=1.2 ml
1/2 teaspoon=2.5 ml
1 teaspoon= 5 ml
1 tablespoon= 15 ml

These cakes are presented in the order in which they appear in the book. The only ones listed are the ones where self-raising flour was called for and is now being replaced by bleached cake flour and the addition of baking powder and in some cases other adjustments in sugar or butter are made.

Continue reading "The Undoing of a Revision: The UK Cake Bible" »

Double Strawberry Ice Cream

Sep 13, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Ice Cream is my favorite dessert and I have developed many delicious variations from peanut butter to passion fruit ( The Pie and Pastry Bible). Thus far, however strawberry ice cream perfection has eluded me as the high water content of the berries results in frozen particles rather than 100 perfect creamy smoothness. I have an idea, though, and testing it will be very enjoyable. But meantime I want to share with you a terrific way to enhance the flavor of any strawberry ice cream. And until I perfect my own version, my commercial strawberry ice cream of choice is Hagendaz.

Adding fresh strawberries as an accompaniment to the ice cream is the ultimate flavor enhancer. The berries don't need to be at their very best as macerating them for a few hours in sugar greatly brings out their flavor, turns them brighter red, and forms a light syrup.

Simply hull and slice the berries. Sprinkle them lightly with fresh lemon juice and sugar to taste. Toss gently to coat the berries. Cover with plastic wrap and allow them to sit for a minimum of 2 hours at room temperature and up to 2 days in the refrigerator. (Note: as an alternative to lemon juice, try a light sprinkling of rose water. There is something about strawberries and rosewater that is pure magic!)

When serving the ice cream, spoon some of the berries and syrup on top.

Note: I like to give ice cream a 9 to 15 second zap in the microwave on high power to ensure that it is creamy and not rock hard.

Honey Cake for Jewish News Year's

Sep 12, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Good news! The honey cake recipe from my upcoming The Baking Bible has just appeared in the August/September issue of Hadassah Magazine and also available on their on line site.

This recipe was adapted from my dear friend and esteemed colleague Marcy Goldman, the authority of Jewish baking in Canada.

Note: As there was room in the article only to give the weight for the flour, here are the rest of the critical weights: (They are now posted on the Hadassah site as well.)

4 large eggs: 7 ounces/200 grams
canola or safflower oil: 7.6 ounces/215 grams
strong black coffee: 8.4 ounces/237 grams
orange juice: 4.3 ounces/121 grams
whiskey or rye: 1.9 ounces/55 grams
superfine sugar: 8.8 ounces/250 grams
light brown Muscovado or dark brown sugar: 3.8 ounces/108 grams
all-purpose flour: 14.1 ounces/400 grams
honey: 11.8 ounces/336 grams

My favorite pan for this cake is the one piece, non-stick NordicWare 18 cup Pound Cake/Angel Food Pan. It is available from Fante's in Philadelphia 1-800-4432683. Or check it out on their site. (It also works in a 16 cup pan but the NordicWare one is no longer made in that size.)

Woody's Newest Sideline

Sep 10, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Woody's Place


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It has been almost a year since Woody made the move to nearby Pennsylvania. In addition to working with me on the upcoming Baking Bible, a near full time job, and organizing the office and new baking kitchen resulting from my move to New Jersey, he has also followed one of his other great passions: music. He began by donating to the local public radio station WNTI which resulted in his being invited to be a guest DJ on a show.

In the late summer, WNTI public radio holds a three day music festival, "WNTI Stage," along the Delaware River in northwestern New Jersey. The music fest is their major fund-raiser and to showcase various local and regional musical artists. I volunteered this summer to be on their "Street Team" to help promote the station and assist at various events. Melanie "Dawnbird" Thiel, the station's morning DJ and WNTI's Management/Development Director informed me that along with helping at the event, it would be great if I could bring some cakes for the backstage tent. Last June, I was able to be a guest DJ on her morning show, for which I also brought several treats from The Baking Bible. Food and beverages are provided by some of the vendors and volunteers at the music fest, but desserts are generally lacking.

On the night before the first day of the fest, there was a meeting of the volunteers and WNTI staff to go over details and to enjoy some delicious pulled pork, roasted corn on the cob, and my offering--The Golden Lemon Almond Cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

My assignment was to be on the parking lot attendant crew, on which I volunteered to help out for two days. Friday's headliner was the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, a folk rock band that is a favorite of WNTI listeners. I was able to hear them from my parking lot post with my flashlight and flag in hands to direct cars. I made another favorite especially for them and the rest of the backstage seekers: The Deep Chocolate Passion frosted with Chocolate Ganache, also from Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

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Continue reading "Woody's Newest Sideline" »

Rose Knows: Honey

Sep 9, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose Knows

Here is the link to my latest contribution to Food Arts Magazine. This time the subject is all about honey.

Click here

Around the World in 80 Cakes Revisited

Sep 9, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Last January I wrote a posting called "How Rare It Is," about a very special baker, Jen Rao, who happens to be a neighbor.

The name of Jen's business," Around the World in 80 Cakes" is a result of her world-wide travels, her scientific background, and her experience in baking. I have been encouraging her to put all this in a book and she has chosen to publish it as an e book in installments as the chapters are completed.

The first installment, How to Bake, the Basic of Butter Cakes, is already available on Amazon. It is a model of clarity, with excellent photos and techniques which would be very helpful, especially for a beginning baker. And, dear to my heart, she offers weights s well as volume for the key ingredients.

The link to ordering her book is on her blog which also tells about her unusual background and plans for the next sections of her book.

Time Magazine Review

Sep 8, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Just learned that Time Magazine has listed The Baking Bible as one of the 15 new cookbooks of the fall!

I'm especially pleased to be in such good company of mostly chefs and restauranteurs, and there are only two baking related books listed. Here's the review of my book:

While the James Beard award-winning cookbook writer has a tendency to call her books "bibles" (The Cake Bible, The Pie and Pastry Bible, The Bread Bible), they're really more like almanacs. Baking lists the ingredients for each recipe in three different metrics (cups/spoons, ounces, and grams), names "golden rules" and offers specific fixes for all manner of problems that may arise (top of your cake cracked? The oven might be too hot, or the batter over-mixed). For the serious baker, the book's mechanical precision will lead to perfect results, from "Irish cream scones" to "brandy snap cannoli."

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