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« November 2005 | Main | January 2006 »

Bread Questions

Dec 02, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

A New Bread Coming Soon
those of you who are avid sour dough bread bakers, start getting your starters ready because in a few weeks i’m going to post one of the best bread recipes i’ve ever tasted from the wonderful restaurant primo in maine. i’ve tested it every which way but lose and have to admit that price, baker/co owner, is 100% right when he said you have to have a starter for this bread to come out right. it’s a carmelized onion focaccia and you’ll LOVE it!

Manrique Question:
Dear Ms. Levy Beranbaum,

I recently bought a copy of The Bread Bible and I read it when I go to bed! I also try out some recipes, of course. Thank you for your such an interesting book.

I've been trying to make baguettes and I'm getting better at it. I do have a question regarding the scrap dough described on page 337. You describe the mixture as "very soft and sticky" but I find that 57.5 grams of flour plus 1.2 grams of salt do not get soft and sticky if I add two tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of yeast water. Are the quantities that you indicate correct?

Thank you very much for your time.


Rose Reply:
i notice you are writing from another country so i bet your flour has a higher protein content and is therefore absorbing more water. OR you are measuring and not weighing and getting more flour than i specified. either way, add more unyeasted water until you get the proper consistency.

Christine Question:
Hi Rose,

I love this new site. Thank you for all your hard work.

Here's my question. When I want to double a yeast bread recipe, should I also double the amount of yeast? One cookbook I consulted says you should double all the ingredients except the yeast. Maybe you've discussed this in "Bread Bible," (which holds an esteemed place on my bookshelf, by the way) but I haven't been able to find the answer.

Thank you!

Rose Reply:
thank you! i always double the yeast when i double the recipe. i have also read that less yeast is required when recipes are increased but i’m quite sure, especially from experience, that this refers to larger increases. yeast and bread dough seem to behave differently in larger amounts.

Cheryl Question:
Hi Rose;
I have baked from your books for years, and love the Cake Bible, and the Pie Bible and am working my way through the Bread Bible. I've loved everything but tonight I finished baking the panetonne and am somewhat disappointed on two accounts. One, it is barely sweet--almost a non-sweet taste, I would say--and second, the flor de sicilia (which I measured very carefully) has left the bread bitter. I did not alter the recipe at all and it rose beautifully and has a great texture. Is is possible that more sugar or corn syrup should have appeared in the recipe?

Thank you for your help.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Barbara Question:
If I use the mini paper molds (individual serving size) instead of the 6”x4” size, what adjustments in time do I need to make at step 8 (final shape and rise) and step 10 baking)?

Thanks very much. Your recipes are always the best ever!

Rose Reply:
smaller panettone bake for 25 to 35 minutes. since the unbaked dough will rise to almost 3 times its height, and it’s nice to have it rise a little above the paper liners during baking, i would fill them about ¾ full.

Joyce Question:
Hi, I have a recipe from a 1941 cookbook that calls for 1 cake of yeast. Can I use the fresh yeast sold in supermarkets are they the same weight now as then? Also what would be the measurement for active dry yeast?

Thanks for all your help. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Rose Reply:

i can’t tell you the size of the cake of yeast but i can tell you about how much yeast to use in relation to the amount of flour in the recipe. also, i’m a great beliver in instant yeast. for 1 cup of bread flour use about ¼ teaspoon instant yeast. if using active dry add a tiny bit more. if using all purpose flour instead of bread flour use a scant ¼ teaspoon instant yeast. these proportions are for the basic hearth bread but if you’re making a bread with a lot of eggs and butter such as a brioche you will need to double the yeast

Lou Question:
Hi Rose,

First, let me start by telling you that I have all of the "Bibles" and they are fantastic. I have yet to have a recipe not come out perfect and I cannot thank you enough for that. Your cheescake and flourless chocolate cake are amazing and I have been asked countless times to make them for friends and co-workers. My new favorite is the Linzertorte. I have a bread question that I hope you can help me with.

My favorite bread is the Italian bread that is is found in all of the good bakeries (especially the ones in the Bronx). It is called a Bastone and it is torpedo shaped and covered with sesame seeds. I have searched high and low and cannot find a recipe for it. I have made your Ciabatta and Puglise and they were great, so I am hoping you might have a recipe.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.


Rose Reply:
thank you so much lou for your kind words. i’m sorry to disappoint you but this is not a bread that i have pursued. have you checked carol field’s book “the italian baker?” if she doesn’t have it i don’t know who would. do try the primo focaccia that i plan to post in a few weeks. i think it might make you forgive me for my lapse!

Sarah Question:
Hi! I made your chocolate chocolate chip bread twice and I think I'm doing something wrong. Everything goes really good until I add the second half of the cocoa paste in two additions. Once it is all incorporated the batter starts to look kind of grainy and possibly loses volume as well. The final product loses some butter which you can actually see almost condensing on the parchment paper used to line the loaf pan, and the flavor is almost a little watery. I followed the timing instructions exactly. Am I overbeating or something?

Rose Reply:
it sounds to me like the butter is too cold and can’t stay in suspension. it needs to be soft but squishable (65 to 75 degrees F). it shouldn’t be too soft or warm either. as for the flavor being watery—i wonder what kind of cocoa you are using and perhaps you should try another as this quick bread is intensely chocolatey. try the organic green and black which is fantastic.

Betsy Question:
Dear Rose-- Love your Bread Bible.

Question: I have been trying to perfect the sacaduros and am running into a few snags.
The dough looks exactly like your drawings but the finished product does not look like the last drawing. I just don't feel like they poof up enough during baking. I have been baking bread for a long time so feel like I know what I am doing.

So my question is: do the rolls need to rise for a bit before you bake them, or only while you are getting the whole pan of them ready?

Also--what causes the outer part of the roll to be "too" hard?

Thanks a million.

Rose Reply:
at daniel they did not let them rise before baking but maybe since they were doing a larger quantity they started to rise by the time the last ones were done. it wouldn’t hurt to try letting them rise a little. is suspect that would solve the problem. i was there a couple of weeks ago and found myself giggling bc the saccadoros were so hard on the outside i had trouble breaking into them with my fingers! they are a special treat so they are not always available. now that you’ve made them you know why—they’re very labor intensive!

if you would prefer for them to be softer, you could add some oil to the dough. when i want to make softer hamburger buns from my basic heart bread recipe i just add ¼ cup oil for 1 pound/3 cups flour.

Mitch Question:
I have made your recipe for sacaduros rolls. They are delicious but I am having trouble in having them open up during baking. I think I am sealing it too much when I cross over the dough. Got any hints?

Rose Reply:
i’m thrilled to hear you’re trying this recipe as my editor and i deliberated long and hard as to whether to sacrifice so many book pages to it! please see my reply above re letting them rise a little after shaping and yes, seal a little less firmly as they won’t open if sealed too tightly.

Measuring Pumpkin & Shortening & Re Dutch Processed Cocoa

Dec 04, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

Christy Question:
Hi Rose,
I've got a couple of questions that Im sure you can answer for me. The first is this. When measuring out ingredients like pumpkin and shortening, which measure do I use, a liquid or a dry measure?

My next question is about baking cocoa. When a recipe calls for dutch process baking cocoa, can regular cocoa be substituted? I seem to have trouble finding dutch process in my area. Thank you so much for your responses!

Rose Reply:
pumpkin and shortening are both considered solids so they need to be measured in solid measuring cups, i.e. those with unbroken rims (no spouts) so you can level them off. the wonder cup is great for shortening bc you can push the shortening, which tends to be messy, out of it without having to touch it or scrape it with a spatula. of course i think weighing is a lot easier than any form of measuring cup!

re dutch processed cocoa, green and black organic is available at many health food stores and is a dutch processed variety. when a recipe is formulated for dutch processed it usually won’t work as well with regular cocoa which usually calls for baking soda to neutralize the acidity. some recipes, however, will be fine but it’s impossible to know without trying.


Dec 06, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

Sugar, in all its wonderous forms, has been the focus of many articles over the past few years. People have expressed curiosity and a desire to try some of these sugars in their baking but are uncertain as to how to use them in place of the familiar refined granulated sugar. I wrote the following article primarily for chefs, in an attempt to demystify the subject. But I think the time has come to share it with the home baker as well.

First a tip regarding a commonly used sugar: Light brown. I store it in a canning jar where it stays soft for years, but if it should harden and lump, I make a little cup of aluminum foil, place it on top of the sugar, wet a paper towel, wringing out excess water, set it in the foil cup, and close the jar. In a matter of hours the sugar will soften as if by magic.

Whenever a recipe calls for light brown sugar I chose light Muscovado from the Island of Mauritius, off the coast of India. It is available in many specialty stores and on line at www.indiatree.com. The flavor is far more complex and delicious than ordinary light brown sugar and elevates the dessert to a higher plane.

Roses Sugar Bible published in Food Arts Magazine April 2000

Sugar, the one flavor that is pleasing to all humans and other mammals on birth, is alluring, addictive, and can be a powerful tool in the hands of the right cook.

Yes, sugar is sweet. But there's a lot more to it than that. Sugar can offer subtle to intense overtones of butterscotch, toffee, caramel, wine, molasses, spice and even bitterness. These qualities derive from both the variety of the sugar source and from the degree and type of refinement. Knowing the different varieties and granulations of sugar and the ways in which they best perform can add considerable depth, drama and sparkle to both cooking and baking.

Continue reading "Sugar" »

Quantity Cookies

Dec 07, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions

Henna Question:
Hi Rose,
I'm working in a new bagel shop/bakery and i am in charge of the bakery department. i'm looking to introduce some new items based on recipes that i use at home. at the bakery we measure everything in pounds, ounces and quarts. how can i charge my cookie recipe that makes 24 cookies to a recipe that makes 400 cookies???

i'm stumped and i've been looking for the answer but i can't find any clue anywhere?
can you help me or can you point me in the right direction?


Rose Reply:
i do everything in weights even for 6 cookies because it’s so much faster and easier. all you have to do is convert your smaller recipe to weights. make a batch weighing each ingredient and then multiply it. the problem you may run into is that things mix differently in larger quantities. you may have to adjust mixing time.

Fake Cake

Dec 08, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Wedding

Mary Question:

You mention presentation wedding cakes in your book. How would I make a fake cake with a small part of real cake (used for the cake cutting ceremony)?

Thank you,

Rose Reply:
use a styrofoam cake base. cut out the section that you want to contain real cake and simply insert the cake into it. frost the entire thing but make a special little decoration or mark so that you or the person cutting will know where the real cake is living!!!

Amish Friendship Bread at High Altitude

Dec 09, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Chris Question:
Hi. I made some Amish Friendship bread, it is like a cake, but baked in small loaf pans. Every time I make it, it falls in the middle. I live at a "high" altitude, and I made the adjustments necessary, but the bread still falls. What can I do to fix this problem?

Rose Reply:
when you say you've made all the adjustments for high altitude i'm assuming you also decreased the amount of liquid. many people do the reverse bc of the dry air at high altitude but moisture in the bread results in a higher rise which then collapses bc the structure can't support it. aside from that, try using a flour with a higher protein content.

if you're using bleached all purpose use unbleached. if that doesn't do the trick try bread flour.

Sinking Crumb Topping

Dec 09, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Kim Question:
I have a rather perplexing problem. Every time I make a cake with a streusel topping, the topping ends up sinking inside the cake, rather than sitting on top as it's supposed to. I'm beginning to think that my oven is cursed. I find it very hard to believe that every recipe I've tried is flawed, and I know that the batters were prepared correctly... Any ideas what could be causing this? Thanks for any help you can give me,

Rose Reply:
i had this happen when filming a t.v. show. the prep person made my streusel or crumb topped coffee cake and when i saw it there was NO crumb topping at all. the batter had swallowed up the entire amount. it turned out the oven was way off and the baking time was too long. the structure of the cake has to set quickly to hold the crumb topping up. my coffee cake uses sourcream which makes a more acidic batter which also helps to set the structure.

but for absolutely perfection, i now add the crumb topping after 30 minutes of baking. i lift the cake out of the oven and quickly strew the crumbs on top. then gently place it back in the oven.

Silicone Cake Pans

Dec 10, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

Allison Question:
Hello Rose,

I am a novice baker who's been turning out fabulous cakes thanks to your Cake Bible.

I have,however, had trouble locating magic strips for my cake pans, and was advised to try a silicon pan to achieve an even layer. What is your experience with silicon cake pans?

Thank you,

Rose Reply:
the cake layers are not quite as high but it is more even and interestingly it has a more even, lighter, and i think much improved texture.

Read about my association with Lékué Silicone pans and bakeware from Spain.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Dec 12, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

Margaret Question:
Help! I have made excellent lemon meringue pies (no, I don't have your pie bible...just the cake book) and yesterday I made a double recipe for my son's 42nd. And it was much to sweet and did not set properly even though I am sure I used the right amount of cornstarch plus flour and cooked over boiling water for at least 20 minutes. Could I have overcooked it? The order lemon juice is added to the egg yolks is different in different recipes. Is there a physical / chemical reaction that could have impacted it's "set-up"? I was abit embarrassed as I am known as a good cook and baker. The meringue was fine and has not "wept" even after 24 hoursl.

Rose Reply:
lemon meringue is in the top 3 of my favorite pies. i hope it helps to know that the same thing happened to me when i was showing off my new pie plate to my cousins about 6 months ago! this is the first time in many years that this has happened and on thinking about it i realized that a double boiler is NOT a good idea bc cornstarch will not thicken completely until it reaches a boil and a double boiler prevents it from reaching this temperature. i suspect that bc you doubled the recipe and used the double boiler it did not get hot enough. also the lemon juice is best added AFTER thickening as the acidity can prevent the cornstarch from doing it's job!

if egg yolks don't reach a temperature of over 140 degrees F the thickening they provide actually reverses itself due to the enzyme amylase in the yolk which attacks the starch unless it's deactivated by adequate heat. whew! make it again soon so you won't be left with a sense of failure. it happens to everyone.

baking can be full of surprises. but mostly happy ones!

Prematurely Melting Moments

Dec 12, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions

Mark Question:
Rose, My wife has faithfully backed your chocolate dipped melting moment cookies for years. Last and this year her cookies literally melted on the cookie sheets. The cookie sheets are now professional grade, (so that isn't it). The oven has been calibrated. (so that's not it). She uses LOL butter unsalted. And watches them. What do you think is the reason? My mouth and stomach await your answer.

Thanks, Mark

Rose Reply:
yes—melting moments are supposed to melt in your mouth not on your cookie sheets! you say the cookie sheets are NOW professional grade so maybe that’s the reason. heavier cookie sheets bake more evenly but will probably take a little longer to heat up which means the dough can spread more before setting. it would help to set the shaped cookie on parchment on a baking sheet with one open side and then slide it off onto a room temperature or heated baking sheet before placing it right in the oven. this technique helps all difficult cookies to keep their shape especially useful when doing cut out christmas cookies.

a good thing for everyone to keep in mind is that when things that worked for years suddenly stop, it helps to think really hard what thing or things have changed. even something small may be the culprit. sometimes the flour has a different protein content which will also have an effect on baked goods but in your case i don’t think that’s it. and don’t trust professional calibration 100%. if the things you’re used to baking suddenly take more or less time you know the oven’s off!

Snappy Gingersnaps

Dec 13, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions

Caitlin Question:
I'm having such trouble with gingersnaps and I hope you can help! My goal is a cookie that can last longer than one day while still being "snappy" and still tender to the bite. I can't seem to find the balance between chewy and tooth-breaking!

I've tried increasing baking powder, I've fussed with bake times, stored in sealed bags, I've thrown in desiccant to see what would happen, but still am unhappy with my results.

Rose Reply:
i've never actually made gingersnaps but in my book "rose's christmas cookies" i have both gingerbread for building gingerbread houses and gingerbread for gingerbread people! the difference is that in the people one i use egg, more butter and more brown sugar, all of which makes it more tender though still crisp. if you roll them thicker--say 1/4", they will be more soft, chewy and pudgy!

also be sure to underbake them slightly as on cooling they will firm up but still remain a little soft. these cookies keep for several months but of course become less soft with time.

Crème Fraîche

Dec 14, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

Patricia Question:
How do you make creme fraiche?

Rose Reply:
it's really easy if you can find cream that has not been ultra-pasteurized which heats it to a much higher temperature than for pastuerized cream. pasteurized cream thickens much more quickly.

pour 1 cup of heavy cream into a canning jar with tight fitting lid. add i tablespoon of buttermilk. set it in a warm spot, such as over the frig, or near a warm cooktop, and try not to be like me who visits it frequently with anxious glances. let it sit undisturbed for 12 to 14 hours or until thickened but still pourable. ultra-pasteurized cream may take as long as 36 hours.

for a speedy crème fraîche that is a little less tangy but still delicious: combine 1-1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup sour cream.

Yeast Conversion

Dec 15, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

Linda Question:
What is the conversion factor for substituting dry yeast for compressed yeast. Yeast cakes are getting harder to find in the supermarket. Thanks!

Rose Reply:
for those of you who have "the bread bible" the yeast conversion is on page 562

to convert fresh cake yeast to instant yeast, for 1 packed tablespoon/0.75 ounce cake yeast use 2 teaspoons instant yeast or 2-1/2 teaspoons active dry

1 teaspoon instant aka instant active dry=1-1/4 teaspoons active dry or 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh cake yeast

instant yeast can be added directly to the flour without proofing. it is available nationally under the following names:

fleischmann's bread machine yeast or rapid rise
red star's quickrise
red star's instant active dry
SAF instant
SAF gourmet perfect rise

i store the unused yeast in an airtight container in the freezer where it stays fresh for as long as 2 years. (if it's a large quantity i store about 2 tablespoons of it separately so that the larger amount doesn't get subjected to oxygen and deteriorate more quickly.

Please Note: There is a second posting about yeast conversion so put yeast conversion in the search box and you will find it if you need more information.

Rye Bread

Dec 16, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Gale Question:
I have used your Jewish Rye Bread recipe many, many times and everyone loves it. One question I have--no matter how long I let it rise, it tends to only rise to 3" and tends to spread to 8". How can I get a bread that is smaller in diameter and rises to the 3 and 1/2" that is indicated in your recipe?

Rose Reply:
thanks--it's one of my favorite breads and i've been making it for many years. there is a mistake on the recipe--in step 2 i say to add the rye flour but there is no more rye flour to be added. are you getting the same weight of finished dough that i indicate? if you are not weighing you may be getting a different amount of flour and liquid which could affect the rise. but if it is very smooth and elastic and your bread flour is under a year old you should get the same results i do.

i wrote on the recipe that my finished loaf is 7-3/4 inches by 4 inches high. if yours is spreading 1/4 inch more that is hardly significant. but the 1 inch less in height is. it could be you are not getting enough oven spring. are you preheating the oven and baking stone for at least 45 minutes? are you steaming the oven? all this helps a great deal to get the maximum rise!

Making Caramel

Dec 17, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

Mark Question:
Your Pie and Pastry Bible is my absolute favorite cookbook - quite thorough! I had a problem with the Boulders Tart that I was hoping you could help with. I couldn't get a caramel to form by simply adding the sugar and corn syrup. There simply wasn't enough liquid. I added water to accommodate and it worked fine, but I'm wondering what I'm missing. Thanks again for a wonderful resource!
Best, Mark

Rose Reply:
caramel is made by evaporating the water from the sugar. the more the water evaporates, the higher the temperature of the syrup aned ultimately the deeper the color of the caramel. i like to add a little extra water in the form of corn syrup or water to start the process of melting the sugar more evenly. the cornsyrup also helps to prevent crystallization. if you add extra water it will just take longer for the sugar to start caramelizing but if it works better for you that’s fine.

Freezing Pies

Dec 17, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

Linda Question:
Wanting to make raisin pies early for Christmas and not sure if they will freeze. Can you help as I hate to waste anything.

Rose Reply:
hope this reaches you in time but at least you’ll know for the future: you can freeze unbaked pies and add about 20 minutes to the baking time depending on how deep the filling is. it’s actually an advantage because the bottom crust starts baking before the filling thaws giving it a chance to get crisp and brown.

i wouldn’t freeze a baked pie because the dough loses much of its charm and all that remains is the filling and calories!

Storing Fresh Ginger

Dec 17, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

Rosalie Question:
I have a piece of fresh ginger and would like to store it for awhile. Seem to me I read that one can put it in sherry, maybe, or water - I can't remember. Do you know? Thank you in advance for your reply.

Rose Reply:
i hate to tell you how old my ginger in sherry is—maybe 15 years!!! and it’s still fine. i’ve stored it in the frig. but these days i simply freeze any left-over. it freezes very well.

Dutch Processed Cocoa

Dec 17, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

June Question:
would like to know the differences between Dutch processed and regular unsweetened cocoa powder?
thank you

Rose Reply:
Dutch processed cocoa has been treated with an alkali to neutralize some of the acidity of the cocoa and give it an attractive reddish color.

My Method for Mixing Layer Cakes

Dec 17, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Altaf Question:
I've tried your lemon poppyseed pound cake recipe. They are delicious, my family loved them.

My question is: the mixing methoed you used is strange to me ( To mix the dry ingredients then add the add butter,liqiude.

Can you please explaine the name of that method why did you choose it?

Rose Reply:
i appreciate your asking this! the lemon poppyseed is my signature cake. the method of mixing i use for all my cakes in which butter is softened as opposed to melted as in genoise or oil cakes as in chiffon, is called the two-stage method in the cake baking industry. it had always been used only with high-ratio shortening but my claim to fame is that i worked out a way to use it with butter. this method results in a cake that is faster and easier to make and is more even and tender in texture. there is no disadvantage to using this method but it is important that the butter be cool room temperature (65 to 75 degrees F.) tbe best description is cool but squishable.

Size of Bundt Pans

Dec 18, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

Sue Question:
I have a question. My recipe calls for a 12 cup bundt pan. I have not been able to locate one. In addition the size is not given in cups, they are given in inches, so I bought one that says 9-1/2 inches. How does 12 cups equate to 9-1/2 inches? Will my recipe turn out using this size pan?

Rose Reply:
for the future, the best way to know pan size is to use a liquid measure to pour water into it. if it’s a two-piece pan line it first with a plastic bag such as a garbage bag.

i can tell you that by june, nordicware will be reissuing the famous 12 cup bundt pan. your 9-1/2 inch pan is almost certainly 10 cup capacity.

a good rule of thumb is to fill it no more than two-thirds full. but i sometimes fill it as much as 1-1/2 inch from the top and then it domes above the center tube while baking.

you will have extra batter using the smaller pan so use it to bake cupcakes.

Greasing Parchment Paper

Dec 19, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions

Jane Question:
Wnen using parchment paper for cookies, do I grease the paper if the recipe says to grease pan, and must I change the paper each time that I bake another batch of the same cookie?

Rose Reply:
no need to grease the parchment but it is a good idea to change it between batches as it will start to turn brown and fall apart. also residue or tiny bits of the cookie dough will start to burn and get into the new batch.

Beranbaum Family Fudge

Dec 19, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Sweets

my stepson michael and his wife frances had the good judgment to space their kids a few years and 6 months apart which makes it just perfect for a biannual visit to snohomish washington for each of their birthdays. elyse, who is just turning 6, was born right before christmas, and haley, who will be turning 10 was born in june. this also gives us the chance to experience two different seasons along with seasonal activities in such a beautiful location.

this years' christmas visit started off with a request from the kids to make cookies. haley wanted her favorite: chocolate chips without nuts, And elyse wanted to try a chocolate fudge recipe that was in one of her books called "strawberry shortcake." since it was meant for kids to make, i figured it would be quick and easy but when i discovered that we were 1/4 cup short of sweetened condensed milk, i decided to add 2 tablespoons of butter instead. frances told me they all preferred bittersweet chocolate so instead of using 1 cup of semi-sweet chips and 1 cup of milk chips called for in the recipe we used 2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips.

we decided to start off with the chocolate chip cookie batter as it's easier to shape after chilling so while it was chilling we could whip up the fudge.

it was great fun for all of us. the kids donned their aprons, chefs hats and potholders i had sent them 2 years ago, got up on their step stools, and were most adept at exchanging turns for every step of the process.

i wasn't expecting to like the fudge because i've always found it to be too sweet and grainy but i have to say this fudge recipe, in all its simplicity, was absolutely fabulous. we all loved it so much it will be sure to become part of a family tradition.

Butter an 8 x 8 inch pan and line it with a piece of waxed paper

In the top of a double boiler, combine 2 cups of chocolate chips, preferably bittersweet, a 12 ounce can (1-1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.

Set it over simmering water and heat, stirring often, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top so that it is even. Place it in the frig and allow it to chill and set for at least 2 hours.

cut the fudge into 1 inch squares and then keep it covered with plastic wrap.

Preparing Pans for Baking

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Christine Question:
What is the best way to grease and flour a detailed pan, such as a fleur-de-lys bundt pan? When I use solid shortening, gobs of it often get stuck in some of the details, so the cake batter can't fill in properly, and there are small gaps when I unmold the finished cake. I tried brushing melted shortening on, but it rolled off the non-stick finish. I've tried a spray product called Bak-Klene, which is an oil-wheat starch mixture, but everytime I've tried it, my cakes stick terribly, even when I use a silicone pan. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated! Thank you.

Rose Reply:
i've had great success with baker's joy which has grease and flour. sometimes it builds up more in one area so i use a little brush to get rid of the excess. my friend rich from nordicware likes to use solid shortening and then wondra flour. i haven't tried it yet but it sounds promising!

Consistency for Chocolate Spike Buttercream

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

Dana Question:
I prepared your Chocolate Spike Cake from the Cake Bible. I could not get the icing to stand in spikes like yours did. It was either too cold and unspreadable or to warm and wouldn't stand in spikes. I am sure that my problems were entirely related to temperature of the icing, esp given the nature of cocca butter. What temperature should the icing be to form those lovely spikes?

Rose Reply:
i find that when i leave ganache or buttercream in the kitchen, which is about 80 to 85 degrees, it's just right for spreading on the cake and forming spikes.

of course for piping it needs to be cooler. play with those spikes. if they're too droopy put the cake in a cooler spot and check every few minutes until it's just right! once you get the right consistency it will stay that way for long enough to decorate the whole cake with perfect spikes!

Increasing Yeast

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Mike Question:
I have been using "The Bread Bible" for two years now & couldn't bake without it. I often make the butter-dipped dinner rolls found on pg. 249. If I want to double the recipe, do I need to double the amount of yeast or should I use less? I doubled the amount once & it seems as though the dough rose much faster that is did in the single batch recipe.

I also have an "old" recipe for Swedish limpa rye bread. Is there a way I can convert the amounts of ingredients to grams? I make a great loaf from the old recipe but I would like to standardize the amounts.

Rose Reply:
please check out the entry about increasing yeast under the bread catagory. essentially i wrote that for smaller amounts i didn't find there was a difference so i double the yeast but for larger batches of dough the yeast seems to multiply more rapidly and less is usually required. but if you found from experience that doubling this recipe made the dough rise faster i would cut back a little simply because a slower rise makes for a more delicious flavor!

i'm delighted that you want to convert a favorite recipe to grams. i find it so much more enjoyable working with grams than measuring or even ounces. since you have my book, all the weights are in the back. i would approach it by making the recipe as usual but weighing the ingredients as you measure them. then it will come as close to what your usual results have been.

Bread Rising Slowly

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Rose, I am a 74 year old Man that loves to cook and especially make bread. However, lately I am having trouble with my dough not rising as it should, the first time. Have any idea's?
I have several of your books and am looking forward to your new "Cake Book" coming out. Thanks

Rose Reply:
thank you—i’m really enjoying coming up with new cake recipes and delicious variations on old favorites.
if your bread is slow to rise on the first rise it may be that the yeast is old or that it is not warm enough. a slow rise is not a bad thing flavor-wise but the best way to speed it up is to give it more warmth—ideally moist warmth.

i use a cheap plastic box as a cover and put a small container of about 1 cup of boiling water in it—not too close to the dough or bread pan. i change it every 30 minutes. this gives you a temperature of about 80-85 degrees which is just right. higher temperatures will give it an off flavor.

Cool Rise for Bread

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

I would like to know if all bread recipes (with yeast) can be used as a cool rise? That is after they are shaped and formed can I put them in the refrig. over night ?

Rose Reply:
i’m racking my brain to think if there’s an exception and can’t come up with one. oh! quick breads that use chemical leavening instead of yeast need to be baked soon after mixing. but yeast breads all seem to benefit from a cool, slow, overnight rise.

Rosemary Foccacia

Dec 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Jane Question:
I attempted the Rosemary Foccacia a couple of weeks ago and ended up throwing out the mixture. When I completed Step 1, after 30 min. of mixing on my Kitchen Aid, the mix was still totally liquid. After sitting for 7 hrs, I finally tossed. What could I have done wrong?

Rose Reply:
many people have had trouble with this recipe but some have succeeded so i have to assume it's either the type of flour or the amount, i.e. if measuring instead of weighing the balance of flour to the enormous amount of water may be off. also, it may take longer than 20 minutes to form a ball but if it doesn't after 25 minutes you need to add a little more flour. For the airiest texture and largest holes, allow the dough to double instead of 1-1/2 times. i also double the yeast now as well. and most important of all, dimple the dough deeply all over before baking. i will be posting a fabulous new focaccia from primo in maine but you will need to have some sort of starter. old starter is fine--it doesn't have to be very active bc the recipe also contains instant yeast. i think this is the best flavor and texture of any focaccia i've ever tasted.

Stitched Bindings for Cookbooks

Dec 21, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose's Books


Feedback: I have owned the Cake Bible for years, but the pages keep falling out. I would like to buy a used copy on the Internet, but fear getting the same edition. Can you tell me what to look for to make sure I get a later publication (and, thus, a better bound editon)?


sadly the publisher doesn't stitch the bindings in their books so if they get a great deal of use they come unglued. once i discovered this i vowed never to sign another book contract without a guarantee that my book would be stitched. so the bread bible is stitched and my next cake book will be stitched but the only way to get a stitched binding cake bible is to bring it to a book binder. there is, however, a newly revised edition in which i have updated all the ingredients such as chocolate, and equipment. there is a small, quarter size, label on the upper right side of the front cover that says "revised ingredients and equipment sections.

Increasing Recipes

Dec 21, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers


Feedback: I've just started getting into this baking stuff and for a party last week I quadupled the recipe for muffins. This also meant two teaspoons of salt since 1/2 teaspoon was called for. I ended up with salt-licks embedded with blueberries. When increasing a baking recipe, do you increase everything proportionally? Or when it comes to some items, like salt, should you do something different?


yes--you increase all the ingredients proportionately. but i find that if i don't write down the amount for each ingredient i often make mistakes. you may have added the salt two times. if it was the right amount of salt in the original recipe you would need 4 times the amount for 4 times the recipe. something went wrong.

Dry Cookies

Dec 22, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions




cookies usually become dry due to overbaking as they continue baking after removal from the oven. better to underbake as you can always return them to the oven but you can't UNbake! bake the cookies until starting to brown at the edges and set but still soft when pressed in the center. leave them on the cookie sheets just until they are firm enough to remove and then transfer them to racks.
a few spoonfulls of molasses, honey, or corn syrup will also help to keep cookies soft.

How Much Yeast

Dec 25, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients


Feedback: I have been attempting to make my deceased mother-in-laws recipe for what they call Norweigian Flat Bread. The recipe that I have calls for aprox. 4 cups of rye flour, 4 cups of white flour, 1 cup of Karo syrup, butter, salt and scalded milk. It calls for one package of yeast. I have trouble getting the bread to rise, do you think that 1 package of yeast is correct? This recipe makes 3 12" circular shaped breads.Thanks for your help!


4 cups of flour usually require about 1 teaspoon of instant yeast or 1-1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast. but when you also have a large amount of sweetener and/or butter you need about 3 times the amount.

Slicing Cookie Dough Evenly

Dec 25, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions


Feedback: Each year I try to bake a pinwheel cookie.What is a good way to slice it? My recipe says to slice it one fourth of an inch.How can this be done.My slices are always too thick&when I try to make them thinner that is when I always mess it up.Can you help me?

you need to chill the dough until very firm before slicing. you can even freeze it until firm enough to cut even slices. i like to use a serrated knife.

Freezing Fruit Purees

Dec 25, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers


Feedback: canraspberrypureebefrozen?



Fixing Flat Cookies

Dec 26, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions


Feedback: I can not bake cookies. All of my baked cookies go flat. I have cookies look great fresh out of the oven and then go flat in minutes and I have had cookies go flat in the oven. I have an oven thermometer, I have tried hand mixing and have tried margarine versus butter to no avail.


use a lower protein flour such as bleached all-purpose flour. unbleached has higher protein which ties up the liquid keeping it from turing to steam and puffing up the cookie. also, after shaping the cookies, refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes or freeze them for 10 minutes if you have freezer space. that way they can set in the hot oven before they start to spread. if this doesn't help enough, try increasing the oven heat by 25 degrees.

A Quick and Easy Sourdough Starter

Dec 26, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Sourdough


Feedback: I love to bake bread and would like to have an easy starter for sour dough bread.
I have several but they are pages long and I need a short, to the point starter. I have a bread machine but prefer to bake bread in loaves.


there is a reason that instructions for sourdough starters are pages long. once you have developed a starter it only takes minutes once a week to keep it alive for years, but establishing a healthy starter is an achievement which feels akin to a miracle and miracles don't happen overnight. there is an answer for those who want an easy but excellent starter and that is to purchase an established one. king arthur is a great place to get a sourdough starter and you can also find other places on line.

Coconut: the Love/Hate Ingredient

Dec 26, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers


FH_Name: Debbie
FH_Email: seitzdeb@yahoo.com
Feedback: I often see cookie or cake recipes that I'd like to try, but they contain varying amounts of coconut, which I detest. What is the maximum amount of coconut that I can omit, and still have the recipe come out right? Or is there something I can substitute?


coconut is a very assertive flavor so there are those who adore it and those who detest it. if there are a lot of ingredients in say a cookie recipe and not a large amount of coconut it would surely make no difference if you left it out but if coconut seems to be the main or dominent ingredient the best thing is to chose another cookie or cake--there are so very many to chose from it shouldn't be a problem.

The Best Chocolate Cream Filling in the World

Dec 27, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers


Feedback: I have a recipe for a delicious cake filling that combines whipping cream, vanilla, and chocolate frosting mix. Since dry packaged frosting mix is no longer available, how can I get a very rich chocolate cream filling. Thank you


i know of none better than chocolate ganache. it is in many cookbooks including my own: the cake bible page 269 and it's really easy!

Crumbly 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Dec 27, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions


Feedback: I have my mother's recipe for ground whole wheat bread from my mother, who died 3-2000, so I can't ask her. My bread has a fine texture, is moist and tasty, but it is crumbly. I'd like bread with a good cling like hers was. What makes bread crumbly?


lack of gluten development. there is not much gluten forming protein available in whole wheat flour but if it's freshly ground, and if you use enough water it should be adequate to hold together well. to hedge your bets, add vital wheat gluten. there is a range of amounts on the package. start with the smallest amount so the bread isn't too chewy. it will make a huge difference to the texture of the bread.

Cooking for a Crowd

Dec 29, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers




i would make about 4 of the sicilian vegetable pizza rolls on page 220 of "the bread bible."


Dec 29, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients


You mentioned that ganache was a really easy frosting to make, but that doesn't seem to be true for me. Every time I make it, the ganache develops a layer of oil and looks clumpy. This has happened with your sour cream ganache, light whipped ganache, and the regular ol' ganache. I suspect I am overbeating it when I add the dairy, but is that truly the case?
Thanks, Jennifer


no, at least not for the regular ganache.you are overheating it and the cocoa butter in the chocolate separates and cannot be reincorporated. if you do it in the food processor as i indicate there is no way to overheat it because only the cream gets heated while the chocolate is ground and melts from the heat of the cream alone.

the ligt whipped ganache wil indeedl get clumpy if overbeaten.

Silicone Pans

Dec 29, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment


Feedback: I just got silicone baking pans for Christmas, do they need to be greased/pam when using, any other tips for using this type of pan or where I can find more info. Thank You


although manufacturers of baking and cooking pans use the term non-stick, this is a relative thing. there is no substance on earth that is 10% non-stick. silicone is the best of all non-stick materal but it still requres preparation. a light coating of oil will work for non-chocolate cakes but a sray that contains oil and flour or oiling and flouring the pans is necessary for chocolate cakes.

i wrote a booklet for lékué silicone pans that is packaged with the pans. these pans are carried in many stores around the country including fantés in philadelphia that does mail-order.

Read about my association with Lékué Silicone pans and bakeware from Spain.

Gummy Pie Crust

Dec 29, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions


Feedback: Why is the bottom piecrust always gummy and the sugar on the top crust won't stick?


for a detailed answer please see the blog entry on crisp bottom crusts located on the blog under november archives.

re sugar sticking to the top crust, you need to brush the dough first with milk or water.

Cracked Cookies

Dec 29, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions


Feedback: I wonder why my cookies cracked after it bakes.


cookies will crack after baking or just towards the end of baking if they are over-baked. since they are so small they continue to bake on the sheet even after removal from the oven. try baking them less. if that doesn't help, use superfine sugar, or grind fine granulated sugar in the food processor. the finer the sugar the smoother the cookie.

Overbrown Cake

Dec 29, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions


Everytime i make poundcake, the bottom 2/3s is completely brown in color and the top 1/3 is golden yellow the way it should be. The brown part tastes fine and is nothing wrong in texture, it's not burnt. Just brown in color - im so puzzled and dont want to serve it to my customers like this for obvious reasons. Im using wilton's dark nonstick loaf pan - spraying it with nonstick spray. I bake it at 300 degrees in my commercial convection oven. Here is my recipe - i hope you can help.


i don't like dark pans bc i don't want a dark crust on the cake. but if you are using them, it's a good idea to lower the heat 25 degrees and another 25 if using convection so you're doing the right thing. the problem sounds like the recipe itself. have you ever made It successfully using another oven, or another type of pan? you have three ingredients in it that promote browning: corn syrup and baking soda. if the lower part of the cake is getting more brown maybe the corn syrup is settling a bit. i use only 1/2 cup sugar for 1 cup of flour. you are using 1 cup of sugar for 1 cup of flour plus the corn syrup. that's a huge amont of sweetner.

Discolored Icing

Dec 30, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cookie Questions


Feedback: Hi.......

maybe you can help me. i have been making cookies and icing - powdered sugar, water and corn syrup - i have to heat the corn syrup a bit to get the icing to harden b/c there is a lot of damp in the air here. but sometimes - only sometimes - when the icing dries - the color dries and becomes kind of white (as opposed to whatever color the frosting is) - why is this and what can i do to correct it?


i don't understand why you're using corn syrup in the icing. why not use a traditional royal icing with powdered sugar and egg white or meringue powder? i could see adding corn syrup if the air were dry to keep it from crusting as fast but you have the opposite problem of dampness in the air.

by the way, for really intense colors for decorating and then baking the cookies try mixing a little food color into egg yolk and painting it on. this is the ancient recipe for tempera painting and works wonderfully for cookies!

A Clever Idea for Weighing Ingredients

Dec 31, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients


Feedback: An Idea for Marking Weights on Mixing Bowls and Measuring Cups

as you know from our correspondence and having experienced first hand that not all eggs weigh the same or even three sticks of butter for that matter, I now always weigh out (in grams)the recipe's ingredients, except for ingredients of a tablespoon or less. I was recently amazed that a package of fresh raspberries labeled 6 ounces/ 170 grams, actually tipped my scale at 150 grams! Maybe someone at the factory was doing a taste quality control.

Although I would like to claim that I instinctively zero out any mixing bowl or measuring cup on my scale before I start adding ingredients, well i need to work on that habit. Should I get upset and start all over, blame the c=scale for not telling me, or take a wild assuming guess? Instead......

I have now written in magic marker the weight and numbered on the side of each mixing bowl, baking pan, and measuring cup in my kitchen. Since I am not planning on any "kitchen open houses" and we do not mind the now non-pristine bowls, they are all labeled. I also have a corresponding sheet with their number and weight noted incase the marked weight wears off.

Now if I find that 2 large eggs weigh 540 grams, I can do the math of subtracting the 440 grams written on my mixing bowl for the actual 100 grams of eggs, and a few less hairs missing from my head.


this commitment to accuracy validates my trust in woody to be my official tester for my upcoming book!

it’s a great idea to mark the bowls. i wish industry would take note and mark both the weight and volume of the bowls and pans right on the side!

i’ve had a long standing fantasy of having kitchen wall paper with the weight of commonly used ingredients on it. one of these days i just might make my own by taking a magic marker and writing it right on the wall!

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