Aug 19, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
I have a wonderful friend, Marko Gnann, who travels the world and brings or sends back, among other things, some great baking ideas. It was he who introduced me to the Kouign Amann which now graces the cover of my upcoming book The Baking Bible.
Marko's latest contribution is this adorable cookie from Barcelona. He reports that the cookie consisted of "a very nicely balanced shortbread with the right amount of salt and then the chocolate for a sweeter section." Last I visited the city I was stunned by the creativity taking place in the bakeries throughout the city. Thought you'd all enjoy this photo.
Aug 18, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
When Things Go Wrong and Sister Bakers Collaborate
Over the years, occasionally people have written to me telling me that their génoise comes out with a coarse texture and twice this has happened to me as well. It happened most recently when Woody and I were testing a 12 inch layer for an upcoming wedding cake.
The recipe had already been perfected 26 years ago in The Cake Bible, but I was curious to see if it would work with Wondra flour which I subsequently found to be easier to integrate into the batter and to result in a more tender génoise in a 9 inch layer. I also wanted to see what the flavor would be like with rose water syrup instead of a liqueur.
The batter filled the pan even more than usual and seemed to have more body but, to my dismay (actually horror), after about 10 minutes in the oven it started to collapse. On cooling and syruping, the resulting crumb was more toward cornbread than the usual fine texture.
My first thought was: "what would I say to a blogger who posted a question along the lines of: it always worked before so what went wrong? I would say: What did you do differently? And the answer was two things: I used a mixer with a different high speed from the Kitchen Aid on I usually use, and I replaced the cake flour/cornstarch mixture with the Wondra flour.
The change of mixer explained the difference in volume and why the cake collapsed. So Woody and I went on to make a second cake using the usual highest speed on the Kitchen Aid mixer. The cake did not collapse, but the texture was still coarse and the cake tasted unpleasantly eggy. More often than not, when the texture is off the flavor is also affected but eggy? The first matter to deal with was the texture.
We made a third 12 inch cake using the usual cake flour/cornstarch combination at the correct mixing speed and the cake again did not collapse, but the texture was still coarse and the flavor eggy.
I decided to reach out to my dearest friend and colleague, Lisa Yockelson. And sure enough, Lisa has been working on a recipe based on her own continuing research, which is why she understood my textural concerns immediately.
Lisa asked if the cornstarch was genetically-modified, as we were going over the ingredient list, only to isolate every detail. The answer was yes, so we considered the possibility that it might be part of the problem.
We had a long probing discussion at the end of which was a major part of the solution: Based on several years worth of research, Lisa has been adding an extra yolk to her 4 egg génois and using cake flour entirely. All cake flour made the biggest improvement, for it tenderizes the texture, adds delicacy to the finished "crumb," and refines the mouth-feel of the baked cake. In the end, in addition to a few other tweaks-in-the-works, Lisa has been using an extra egg yolk in a 4-egg génoise and 1 cup cake flour (sifted before measuring).
Coincidentally, I had mentioned to Woody at the start of making the first test génoise that since the proportion of egg yolks to whites is smaller than it had been in the past I wondered if this was going to have an effect on this cake. (Egg yolks have gotten smaller because the laying hens are now younger.)
We have found, when making cakes where the yolks and whites are separated, or where all yolks are used, to get the equivalent of what used to be 4 yolks, you may need to use as many as 6. Egg yolk provides natural lecithin which is a great emulsifier.. So I made yet another 12 inch génoise, but this time separating the 7 eggs and weighing the yolks and whites before combining them. I had to use a total of 9 yolks. I also replaced the cornstarch with equal weight cake flour Eureka: perfect texture. But once again I syruped the cake with the rose water syrup and it still tasted eggy.
Back to the drawing board for the flavor solution. I made a 4 egg, 9 inch by 2 inch génoise, and syruped it with the usual syrup containing 2 tablespoons of liqueur. The liqueur was barely discernable but neither was the eggy taste of the cake. In future I may add more liqueur to the syrup (and reduce the water proportionately). I reported this to Lisa who loved the idea!
I also decided not to point a finger at cornstarch unless I was certain it was part of the problem. So I made what I thought to be the final test (#6) with a 9 inch cake, using the correct amount of yolk but also the cake flour/cornstarch mixture. The results: acceptable but not as fine as using all cake flour. The right amount of yolk was the answer but not the whole answer.
Just to seal the deal, Woody decided that one more test was necessary: test #7 was for a 9 inch cake, using the correct amount of yolk with the cake flour/cornstarch mixture using non-GMO Rumford cornstarch. And that was the winner. Compared to the 100% cake flour génoise, it was 3/16 inch higher but what was more important is that the crumb was finer, more even, and softer.
Moral of the story:
Either weigh or measure the yolks and whites separately, or add one 1 yolk for every 4 eggs.
Use non-GMO cornstarch or replace the cornstarch with equal weight cake flour (for 3/4 ounces/100 grams, 1 cup sifted into the cup and leveled off).
Add a minimum of 2 tablespoons of liqueur for a total of 3/4 cup/177ml syrup for the best flavor. 1/4 cup of liqueur will not be overpowering because a sponge-type cake does not hold the volatile liquid as effectively as a denser cake.
Note: I have found that eggs graded jumbo now have yolks that are the same size as eggs graded large used to be so I often choose them and freeze the extra egg white for another use.
Aug 16, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
I've been grilling ribs for years now on a charcoal grill with indirect heat but I have recently discovered a far better way to make them and my ribs will never be the same. I have adapted the recipe from Food-52 "Genius Recipes." In the original recipe, the ribs are first baked in the oven for 2 hours until they are falling off the bone. We like our meat with a bit of bite and still clinging well to the bone so I halved the baking time. They were also cut into servings of 4 ribs each and wrapped in aluminum foil. I cut the rack(s) in half, place them in a roasting pan and cover the entire pan with foil. They suggest that grilling the baked ribs is optional but I much prefer them crispy with a gilding of barbecue sauce of your favorite barbecue sauce.
The beauty of this technique is that by baking the ribs with a little water, tightly covered, almost all the fat is removed but the ribs stay incredibly juicy. Also, it works perfectly to bake the ribs a day ahead, refrigerate them, and in under 10 minutes they grill to perfection. For the short amount of grilling time I now use my gas grill as the preheating time is so much shorter.
Note: baby back ribs come anywhere from 1 pound to 2 pounds. I prefer the less fatty 1 pound racks. 1 pound of ribs per person makes a generous serving.
Several hours ahead make a spice rub and rub it into both sides of the rack(s)
for every 2 pounds of ribs combine:
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika (preferably smoked)
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. If necessary, cut each rack in half and set the racks in a roasting pan. For each rack add 1 tablespoon of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1-1/2 hours (or longer if you prefer).
Carefully open the foil to allow the steam to escape and lift out the racks. (Pour off the juices and, if desired, cool and refrigerate them for adding to rice or stock. The fat that rises to the top can be used for frying or discarded.) Grill the ribs or allow them to cool and refrigerate them until shortly before you are ready to grill and serve them.
Preheat the grill as per manufacturer's directions. Grill the racks on high heat for 2 minutes a side or until browned. If desired, brush the ribs side with barbecue sauce and return the racks to the grill, ribs side up, but turn off the center burners or move them away from the coals as the sauce burns quickly. Continue grilling for another 2 minutes to set the sauce. Then flip the racks and repeat with the meaty side.
Aug 13, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in APPEARANCES
This listing of events will be updated as things are added. Woody and I are so excited about meeting you all.
Most of the events are open to the public free of charge. Those with links are the ones with the fees.
Rose Levy Beranbaum's Book Signing Events for THE BAKING BIBLE
(Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; on sale November 4th, 2014)
New York, NY
Wednesday, November 5th, 5pm
Book Launch Party at Whisk NYC
933 Broadway (between 21st and 22nd Streets), New York, NY 10010
Saturday, November 8th, 3pm
bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy
6423 Montgomery Street, Suite 3, Rhinebeck, NY 12572
St. Louis, MO
Wednesday, November 12th, 1pm
St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, Jewish Community Center, Staenberg Family Complex - Arts & Education Building
2 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146
Thursday, November 13th, 12pm
Johnson & Wales University, Denver Campus
Thursday, November 13th, 5:30pm
Book Launch Party at The Fort Restaurant
P.O. Box 569, 19192 Highway 8, Morrison, CO 80465
Friday, November 14th, 7pm
Tattered Cover Book Store
2526 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80206
San Francisco, CA
Sunday, November 16th, 3pm
Omnivore Books on Food
885 Cesar Chavez, San Francisco, CA 94131
Tuesday, November 18th, 7pm
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco - An Evening with Rose Levy Beranbaum, Alice Medrich, & Emily Luchetti, moderated by Margo True
3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
Wednesday, November 19th, 6:30pm
The Book Larder
4252 Fremont Ave N., Seattle, WA 98103
Thursday, November 20th, 6:00pm
Tom Douglas' Hot Stove Society Cooking School - Hotel Andra
2000 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121
New York, NY
Thursday, December 4th, 12:00pm
The 92nd Street Y Kitchen Arts & Letters Series - Rose Levy Beranbaum in Conversation with Lucinda Scala Quinn
1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10128
Saturday, December 6th, exact time TBD
240 New Jersey 17, Paramus, NJ 07652
Hyde Park, NY
Monday, December 8th, exact time TBD
Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538
Aug 9, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
Cakes baked in fluted tube pans form their own beautiful decoration and often require nothing more than a dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa if that. However, if the pan is not prepared properly, the cake will not release well and some of the lovely decorative parts will be stuck to the pan.
I have found only one supermarket product that works to give a full release to the cake and that is Baker's Joy, which contains flour and lecithin. Other products simply don't work nearly as well. Pam cooking spray is excellent for other uses but for baking, the Pam with flour and lecithin for some reason does not release well and, to my taste, it imparts an unpleasant taste to the cake.
The best way to coat the pan, using Baker's Joy, is to use an even spray and then to brush out any excess to avoid air bubbles. Also wipe the top edge of the pan with a paper towel to keep the pan clean during baking.
If you can't find Baker's Joy, the best substitute is solid vegetable shortening and flour, preferably Wondra flour, but any will do. Use a brush for the shortening to make sure you reach all the nooks and crannys. Then add some flour and tap and rotate the pan to coat evenly. Invert the pan and tap out any excess flour.
If you like a high shine on the cake's surface, here's a great tip from the late Rich Hecomovich who worked for Nordicware: After preparing the pan, set it in a 350°F/175°C for 3 minutes. Allow the pan to cool and then add the batter.
And another great tip, from Liz Duffy who was the food stylist for Rose's Heavenly Cakes: To eliminate air bubbles in the surface of the cake, for butter or oil cake recipes: first add a small amount of batter to fill the bottom of the pan, and using the back of a large spoon or spatula, press
the batter into the pan's flutings at the bottom.
Now here's a tip from me: If you prefer to use unbleached flour, tube pans are perfect to prevent the usual dip in the center. Why? because there is no center!
Aug 5, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
Lisa Yockelson's TREATS, a new recipe baking series for the FOOD section of the Washington POST, launched on July 30th. Blueberry Cake Squares was the first offering in this occasional feature, with more casual sweet and savory goodies to come.
I found the photo so very enticing I lost no time in whipping up a batch! Clever Lisa used less sugar by weight than flour, making the cake's structure just strong enough to support the blueberries well throughout the tender cake. She then suggested dusting it with powdered sugar before serving, which is both a lovely decor and puts the sweetness level in perfect balance.
For those of you who measure, Lisa uses the dip and sweep method for the flour, which results in 5 ounces/292 grams of flour.
By the way, the cake keeps at room temperature for a good three days and no doubt longer in the fridge if you don't polish it off before then (which is unlikely)!
Here are links to the article and recipe:
Aug 4, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
Here is the link to my latest article for Food Arts Magazine. The subject is Why Weigh!
Aug 2, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
Every late spring, I look forward to the annual Dessert Professional party in Manhattan, in which 10 of the upcoming pastry chefs are honored. This year was no exception for delicious creations and combinations of ingredients to woo our palates and please our eyes. Now that we live permanently in our woodlands home in western New Jersey, coming to events like this is especially delightful to rendezvous with colleagues.
The party started with a social hour while the honored chefs and their teams assembled hundreds of their creations in several kitchens on two different floors.
The first person we met was the charming Amy Guittard from Guittard chocolates, one of the sponsors of the event.
I was overjoyed to see my long time friends Jean François Bonnet of Tumbador chocolate and his lovely wife Dina Melandez, who is also a pastry chef. Jean François has been honored as one of the top 10 several years ago. They were accompanied by another of my favorite chefs, Tyler Atwell who is now pastry chef at Boulud Sud.
And what a great surprise to see Cara Tannenbaum, who is a long-time instructor at ICE (Institute for Culinary Education) where the event was being held, and who made all the food for my cousin's wedding some years ago. She is soon to publish her first cookbook!
I was also delighted to see the renowned pastry chef François Payard who introduced me to Pierre-Antoine Raberin of the famed Ladurée from Paris who just opened a boutique in SoHo, New York City. (I'm not usually a lover of macaron but I adore theirs--especially the caramel ones!)
I had a great talk with Rick Smilow, owner of ICE, who assured me that next year the very popular and crowded event would be held in a much larger new venue being built in the Wall Street area of Manhattan.
The Top 10 chefs were announced in a ceremony sponsored by Kitchen Aid, after which Woody and I were off to the kitchens to taste a bit of virtually every creation including some unique beverages.
Amidst the myriad desserts we also discovered an incredible cultured butter from Beurremont with 83% butter fat. At the present time it is only available for on a commercial basis, so we were pleased when invited to take home two pounds of it!
Our top favorite dessert of the event was the one from, not surprisingly, Daniel Boulud's executive pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira. This is the first time that Daniel's pastry chef is a woman and, I must say, she did us proud!
Jul 29, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious
The Baking Bible
Beranbaum, a veteran cookbook author and baker, divides this worthy tome into four sections: Cakes; Pies, Tarts, and Other Pastries; Cookies and Candy; Breads and Yeast Pastries. All recipes include weights and volume for ingredients, and the author's "Golden Rules" give readers essential baking information, such as why one should always use fresh baking powder and high-quality unsalted butter. "Highlights for Success" boxes are filled with inventive and helpful tips including freezing berries on branches. Classic recipes--think pumpkin pecan pie--are aplenty, but first-time recipes and unusual selections such as the author's Pink Pearl Lady Cake, Cadillac Café's milk chocolate bread pudding, and an Amish BlueRhu pie make this title a must-have gem.
The offiicial pub date is November 4 but it can be pre ordered now on Amazon: The Baking Bible
The major advantage of preordering is not only being among the first to receive the book but also the deep discount ($28.80 instead of the cover price of $40).
Jul 26, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Woody's Place
Woody is making himself very much at home in his new location. From working with me, to working at local farmers' markets, he has even made his debut as a DJ. I wonder what comes next!
When I left Minnesota in October, I also left a great public radio music station: "The Current." Fortunately, I came across WNTI public radio broadcasting from Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ one morning on my beautiful daily commute through the Delaware Water Gap to Rose's place. Like "The Current," WNTI "Where Great Music Lives" plays an eclectic blend of current alternative music, classic rock, oldies, local artists, jazz, Frank Sinatra, and just about everything else.
When WNTI had its semi-annual pledge drive, I made a pledge amount, which included being a guest DJ for two hours with the DJ of your choice. I also became a volunteer for their Street Team to assist at station-sponsored events.
Rose and I baked up an assortment of goodies for me to bring to the studio for Melanie and other station staff. So, with a box filled with molasses cookies from our new book, fudgy pudgy brownies, two yellow cakes as we were testing a cake enhancer, a bialy with onions and poppy seeds, my playlist, CDs, and vinyl records, I was welcomed by Melanie and her daughter Vicky at the studio. (They were going to Coney Island in New York City after the show.) Melanie Thiel's show (6 to 9) is called "Mornings with Melanie Dawnbird." Her sparkling and enthusiastic personality makes her show so much fun to listen to each day, she has a wide following. Sitting on a stool opposite her and the control board, I announced my playlist as she spun my selections.
While the songs were playing, she tasted everything I brought and was able to discern the differences between the two yellow cakes with the same observations that Rose and I had concluded. My tunes followed my music preferences over the years, from "The Beatles" and other classic rock selections to women artists like Tori Amos, Enya, and Emmy Lou Harris, to alternative and current bands like Radiohead and My Morning Jacket. Rose and Elliott tuned in to hear my guest DJ debut, even though they were unfamiliar with nearly everything I selected. Rose is a huge opera fan and Elliott likes jazz. However, Rose does like Enya, as her new age music has many songs with operatic tones. And Melanie is a huge Enya fan as well. The two hours went surprisingly fast as we played tunes, conversed about them, and had a visitor towards the end.
The owner of Firehouse Bagels, north of Newton, NJ, came in with a bag of his wonderful bagels. He told me that prior to his bagel business, he had another business where he made some of his cakes from "The Cake Bible."
I will be seeing Melanie again as guest DJing was so much fun, plus I had only played a third of my original playlist. WNTI can be listened to as they stream their broadcast. Here is their website link.
- Baking Science
- Book Errata/CORRECTIONS
- Book Production
- Book Review
- BREAD BIBLE PHOTOS
- Did You Know
- OUT CAKES
- Questions and Answers
- Restaurant Reviews
- Rose Knows
- Spanish Language
- Special Stories
- Travel Adventures
- Woody's Place