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The Best Ciabatta I've Ever Had!

Jan 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

SHERRY QUESTION

Feedback: I heard you have the best ciabatta bread recipe to be had but I can't find it, can you help? Thanks either way.

ROSE REPLY

thanks for asking--it will be on the blog by wed. night. i'm waiting to get back to my home computer to retrieve the photo to go along with it!

P.S. Just realized you wrote ciabatta. and it's a focaccia that i've posted! i do have a terrific ciabatta i worked very hard on in my "bread bible" on page 355.

Glycerine

Jan 03, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

HEATH QUESTION

Feedback: The site is fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to answer so many reader questions.

Mine is a little late - I made a traditional royal icing for Xmas cookies this year, and read that it remained shinier if you added a couple of drops of glycerin. So I bought some at the drugstore and (although it said 'do not ingest this') I put in a couple of drops. Well, EW. It tasted like plastic!

Is there a food-grade glycerin to be had? Or is there a better way to keep the icing shiny?

Thanks so much,

ROSE REPLY

thanks heath. i try to respond as soon as possible but starting january 18th i'll be travelling off and on for several months so may be harder to keep up quite as quickly!

i wouldn't use glycerine from the pharmacy especially if it says non-food grade. i got my supply from a wine making supply shop but they also have it at cake decorating supply places such as sweet celebrations in MN. it is a staple of candy making and rolled fondant. if you taste just a drop it does taste bitter but i find it's entirely over-ridden by all that sugar. if they don't carry the glycerin they will recommend other products that create the sheen in royal icing. i seem to remember when i studied at wilton that they had a product called numolene that helped to keep the icing soft as well.

Fantastic Focaccia (Primo Rustic Bread)

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

Primo Bread Sponge.JPG

Bread Made with the Sponge Method--Note Even Holes

This fantastic bread is my holiday gift to dedicated bread bakers who either have a sourdough starter, are willing to make one, or to purchase one: (www.sourdo.com).

The source of this bread goes back several years to a visit we made to the Old Sheepherding Co. in Chatham, New York. My cousins Bill and Joy Howe have a second home nearby and were overjoyed to report that at the time Melissa Kelly, a CIA graduate, was the chef and that they had a standing reservation every Sat. night. I fell in love with the place and the food. Subsequently, the pastry chef, Price Kushner, fell in love with chef Kelly and they left to open their own restaurant, Primo in Rockland Maine www.primorestaurant.com

Last summer my husband and I spent a week in Maine attending his radiology conference and i persuaded him to drive to Primo saying it was no more than an hour away. (I fudged a little.)

The restaurant, located in a renovated Victorian house, was exquisitely New-England charming and romantic and Melissa’s food was as always unlike any other and well worth the voyage. But this time there was something extra: THE BREAD. i immediately pronounced it to be the best bread I had ever tasted (which means it was ONE of the best breads because when it ranks up there, it’s the one that’s in my mouth that gets top billing.)

After dinner I sought out Price who agreed, saying it was his favorite as well but he hesitated to give me the recipe saying it required something I didn’t have: A sourdough starter. My reply: “Guess what was the last thing I did before leaving for vacation! I fed my sourdough starter!”

Several months went by and finally I put my pride aside and called Price. Good thing too—he had misplaced my e-mail address. The recipe came that very day and I made it very soon thereafter. (I wasn’t taking any chances—I once held a recipe for 30 years only to find it wasn’t what I thought it would be.) The only changes I’ve made to Price’s recipe is to add the caramelized onion after baking as I found that in my oven it burned on the top of the bread, and I used a 475°F oven instead of 550°F as mine won’t go that high. My husband and I were thrilled with the results.

Now here’s what I love so much about this focaccia: It’s soft, and moist, with big uneven holes inside, a faintly tangy flavor which blends impeccably with the deeply caramelized onion topping, and it stays fresh for up to 3 days. It’s really easy to make—it’s just that you HAVE to have the sour dough starter. I tried to make it with the sponge technique and got smaller totally even holes in the crumb, far less flavor, and it staled the same day it was baked. Price was right! (NOTE: the photo on top with the even holes in the crumb is the bread made with a sponge. The photo below, with the beautiful irregular holes, is the one made with the starter!)

So make, buy, borrow, or beg a little starter and mix up a batch of this wonderful bread. Once a starter is established it only takes minutes once a week to keep it alive. I now add a little to almost every bread I make. Even when not fully active, it adds depth of flavor, better texture and keeping qualities to the bread.

The Perfect Texture--Note the Uneven Crumb

Primo Rustic Bread Slices.JPG

Continue reading "Fantastic Focaccia (Primo Rustic Bread)" »

Shine on Royal Icing!

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

i just consulted with my friend hans welker who is head instructor of the bread baking kitchen at the french culinary institute and he said that a little glucose (which is a thick syrup, thicker than corn syrup) would do the trick as well as gycerine but if you can't find glucose, use a little corn syrup.

Increasing Yeast for a Larger Bread Recipe

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

(Rose on Rising)

A prior posting addressed the question of whether the yeast in a bread recipe should be increased proportionately to the other ingredients or if less should be used.

since this is such an often asked question and various cookbook authors seem to have differing opinions, i decided to consult with two bread experts whom i greatly respect: bill weekley of SAF yeast (lesaffre yeast corp.) and hans welker of fci (the french culinary institute in new york).

bill reinforced that environment can play a significant role in yeast quantity, for example in alaska where the kitchen is probably colder, a lot more yeast may be used than say in phoenix arizona, where kitchens tend to be so much warmer. and as i quoted him in “the bread bible,” at high altitude less yeast is required due to the decrease in air pressure. bill also mentioned that if using volume rather than weight, larger formulae tend to be more inconsistent.

here’s his advice: for batches of bread dough using up to 10 pounds of flour increase the yeast proportionately to the other ingredients.

hans agrees that since home bakers are not working in huge quantities of dough, it is fine to increase the yeast proportionately. he agreed with my supposition that in large volume the yeast would grow faster, but he said, very practically i might add, that if the baker can keep up with production there’s no need to decrease the yeast!

i suspect that what is happening in really large batches of dough is that the fermentation of the yeast produces more heat thus speeding the rate of the rise.

Adding Rye Flour to Bread Dough

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

SCOTT QUESTION AND COMMENTS

Your Bread Bible is my favorite Christmas present this year. I spent
almost four months in Germany on business this summer and can't handle
store-bought American bread anymore, so I've gone back to baking my own,
something I learned from my mother and grandmother--although they always
made white bread and I longed for the great European style wheat/rye
breads. The first thing I did was use your sponge method on my favorite
bread recipe and was amazed at the difference.

So thanks!


In Germany I came across a great bread called Gassenhauer, my favorite
of the many breads I ate over there. It's a wheat/rye sourdough with a
gorgeous crust. Apparently it's trademarked, though, and I haven't been
able to find a recipe anywhere. Ever hear of it? I'd sure like to make
something as close to that as I can manage in this country.

Now a question: I made your Tyrolean Torpedo to go with the New Year's
Eve bean soup I made, and it went over really well--although I can think
of a couple things I could have done better. My wife and our guest
thought I was crazy saying it could have been better, but you know the
drill. It's never quite good enough, especially on the first try. They
enjoyed it and I dissected it. And then enjoyed it. But--what I really
learned to love when I lived in Austria for a couple years in the
eighties and on my German stay last summer is that taste of a combined
wheat and rye bread. I know you say you shouldn't substitute, but what
would happen if I replaced some of the flour in the Tyrolean bread with
rye?

Anyway, thanks again for helping me push my bread to a higher level and
helping to guide me on my quest for really great bread. If only I had a
better oven. The quarry tiles help a lot, but still...

ROSE REPLY

coincidentally, i'm making the tyrolean bread tomorrow for a party friday night. it's one of my favorites and i add about 75 grams/2.6 oz. of week-old starter (i still use the same amount of instant yeast) and an extra 1/8 teaspoon of salt since the starter has no salt in it. this gives it more depth of flavor, and keeps it fresher longer not that any of it will remain by the end of the party! i sometimes replace some of the flour with durum flour. it would be fine to do the same with rye but you have to be careful not to use too much as even with the acidity of the sourdough the pentosans in the rye will cause it to be gummy. i would start by replacing no more than 20% of the flour with rye.

re the german bread--i totally agree--i adore the breads of germany. i never had the pleasure of encountering the "gassenhauer"--anyone out there hear of it or have a recipe? i'll ask hans welker of fci next time i speak to him as he's from germany and surely knows.

i'm so thrilled when other people get excited about the breads i love so much. thanks for sharing! do let us know how the rye works with the tyrolean!

Soggy Pot Pie Crusts--How to Avoid

Jan 05, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

CINDY QUESTION

Feedback: Would you tell me if there is something to do to prepare a pie crust before baking a pot pie or juicy fruit pie to ensure the crust doesn't remain "doughy"?

ROSE REPLY

i only use a top crust for that very reason!

Vanilla Shelf-Life

Jan 05, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

JAMIE QUESTION

Feedback: Question concerns vanilla extract - how long after sell by date is it usable/effective? Thanks

ROSE REPLY

vanilla extract won't "go bad" but if stored in a warm place it will deteriorate and lose flavor complexity and depth. i keep it in a cool room (not a warm kitchen) in a dark closet as light also causes oxidation. vanilla experts recommend not to refrigerate it but if it's a choice between a hot storage area and refrigerator i'd opt for the frig! by the way, i know some pastry chefs who freeze their vanilla beans. i've tried this, first vacuuming it in a plastic bag. stay tuned for the results some months from now. i know one thing for sure--they won't dry out!

Substituting Mascarpone for Sour Cream

Jan 06, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

ADAM QUESTION

In your Cordon Rose Cheesecake, can I substitute some -- about 6 oz -- of
mascarpone for an equal amount of the sour crream?

ROSE REPLY

sour cream has 18 to 20% fat. mascarpone a has about 55% fat so it will be richer and also not quite as light, but it should make a very nice variation.

Variations to Shortbread

Jan 06, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

ANNA QUESTION

I have all of your books and am a huge fan. Your teaching style appeals to me, as I am a university math instructor. One of my favorite recipes is your Shortbread. It needs no improving, but I sometimes would like a little chocolate or nuts with them. Have you ever tried putting mini chocolate chips in the dough or finely chopped pecans?

ROSE REPLY

thank you! I haven't tried putting mini chocolate chips in the dough -- -- as you know, it's a very fragile dough. But I have frosted it with a thin layer of ganache, or tempered chocolate. I haven't tried adding finely chopped pecans but I'm quite sure that would work perfectly. also, the nuts and the chocolate would be terrific together!

Cake Strips

Jan 06, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

KIMBERLY QUESTION

I have a question regarding cake strips. I have several sets that I've been using for many years, but they don't seem to be working anymore. I saturate them in icy water, squeeze them firmly and wrap them around the base of the pan, but the cake layers heave and crack and don't stay level. (The oven temp. isn't too hot) Any ideas why my cake strips aren't doing the trick anymore?

PS: I have all of your books and love them all.

ROSE REPLY

thank you! I've used cake strips until they were falling apart and they never stopped working. Recently I learned from my friend and colleague, Dede Wilson, how to make my own cake strips simply by enclosing folded, wet paper towels in a long strip of heavy-duty aluminum foil, overlapped to be the same height as the cake pan.

are you using the same cake recipes that worked well before? are you using all-purpose instead of cake flour? Are you sure the oven isn't hotter? Is the leavening old? That's all I can think of.

Eggs Again

Jan 06, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

someone must've given the hens a good talking to after I complained about the yolks getting smaller!

I made a triple batch of orange curd today and have to report that the 12 yolks weighed exactly what they used to. there was however extra white (1 3/4 cups instead of 1 1/2 cups). When working in larger quantities things seemed to balance out. but I once again have to make the case for weighing over measuring. Someone on the blog was kind enough to G. mail me about a highly accurate and affordable scale. I'm checking it out and will be delighted if I'm able to recommend it! As i'll soon be traveling for several weeks, stay tuned and I'll get back to you about this scale in February after I've worked with it for a while and put it through its paces. I'm optimistic!

You may notice that I'm now capitalizing some words. This is because I'm trying out voice activated software which does it automatically--if erratically. it's pretty fantastic though occasionally it makes some wild errors so I have to proofread carefully until it's more trained to recognize my speech patterns. But it's a lot easier on the hands and fingers. when I do blog entries on my laptop it will be without capitalization as I don't think people will appreciate sitting next to me in public listening to me talk to my computer anymore than they do listening to people talk on cell phones!

on another equipment note: those of you who are as sad as I am about the disappearance of the old-style saran wrap, take heart! I have discovered a viable replacement and will be writing about it in the next few days.

My Favorite Plastic Wrap!!!

Jan 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

if only i had known that the old style saran, known as “the original premium wrap,” was going off the market to be replaced by a saran that was no longer air or smell-tight, i would have bought up as many cases as i had room to store. but now it’s too late.

i discovered this sad news by e-mail when some other desperate baker asked “now what do i use to store cakes airtight in the freezer?” after canvassing all the local markets for the old-style saran, with no luck, i tried every other wrap i could find. i knew, from working for reynolds metals company many years ago, that wraps other than saran had microscopic air holes that prevented produce from spoiling, and were not intended for wrapping things airtight in the freezer.

the producer of my pbs show, marjorie poore, shipped me a roll of her favorite plastic wrap called “stretch tight,” that she bought in cosco, saying that i would become so addicted to this wrap i would beg her to send it to me on a regular basis. to my delight she was right! it did indeed cling tightly to the bowl or whatever else i was wrapping but not being impermeable, it too wasn’t suitable for freezing cakes. still, it was the best thing i could find and i wanted more but hesitated to ask her to ship me plastic wrap from the west coast on a regular basis so i called the number on the side of the box and eureka! not only can the wrap be ordered on the internet, they also produce a wrap designed for the freezer called “freeze tite”! not only is it significantly thicker, it is also wider (15 inches wide). the manufacturer assured me that it is almost as impermeable as the old-style saran. now i can stop complaining.
here’s the website:
www.stretchtite.com

Crisp Vs. Chewy Cookies

Jan 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in General

MARCELLA QUESTION

Feedback: sometimes i like my cookies crisp-other times chewy.does substituting oil for shortening(or butter )make a difference or are there other factors?Thanks for any help.

ROSE REPLY
you are right--there are many factors involved so the best thing is to make the type of cookie that is intended to be crisp or the type that is intended to be softer and chewy and store these cookies separately from eachother so they stay that way!

Humidity's Effect on Baking Ingredients

Jan 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

FRED QUESTION

Love your books and just discovered this blog. WOW!

I'm a firm believer in weighing everything, but flour and brown sugar bother me. Since these two ingredients absorb water, how does humidity in the air affect their performance in recipes? In other words, does, say, 1 lb. of flour weighed on a hot and humid summer day actually contain less flour (and more water) than that weighed on a cold and dry winter day? How does a person compensate for this variation other than adding a little bit of flour or water at a time (which seems rather unscientific) as one goes along?

ROSE REPLY

actually the 2 ingredients you mentioned have similar problems as they tend to dry out if improperly stored. they both benefit from airtight storage especially brown sugar that gets very hard when dry. i store mine in canning jars and never have a problem but if it comes in other containers it will dry and then you'll need to put a little foil cup in with the sugar and set a paper towel that has been dampened in the cup and then cover the container tightly. in a few hours the sugar will become soft again.

in very humid or very dry conditions the flour used for bread making will be affected but this can be controlled easily by adding a little flour or water to the dough if the consistency seems to require it. for cakes i don't find much of a difference. i do find a difference in salt that is so hygroscopic some days 1 teaspoon weighs 5.3 grams, other days it weighs 6.6 grams. but even that doesn't seem to make a noticeable difference in the baked product.

in any case, the volume of the flour or the brown sugar will be affected by humidity as well as the weight and weight is always a more accurate way to go because measuring varies from time to time by factors far more significant than humidity!

Soggy Bottom Pie Crusts

Jan 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

SUNSHINE QUESTION

Feedback: I was given "The Pie and Pastry Bible" for my 21st, and have enthusiastically begun pie-baking with your recipes. My mother has always used the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook circa 1950 pastry. I live in Adelaide, Australia, and many branded ingredients are not readily available (including, sadly, sour cherries and concord grapes).

I am having a problem with the bottom crust of my pies, in both single (family recipe of banana cream) and double crust pies (both apple, rosy apple cranberry, and peach - all from The Pie and Pastry Bible). Even when prebaked, and brushed with eggwhite, the crust becomes soggy, and is literally disolving by the time the pie is served. I have been using a baking stone, and a gas oven. Nonetheless, I find my pies have a "collar" of crust around the edges - and as the pastry is my favorite part, any help you can provide would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

ROSE REPLY

how i loved my visit to adelaide. i would feel sorry for you not having sour cherries except that you have so many other fantastic ingredients we don't have here in america. but someday you must taste them!

re the soggy bottom pie crusts: have you tried baking directly on the floor of the oven for the first 20 minutes? i find that helps enormously. for the banana cream pie i would brush the baked pie shell with melted white or dark chocolate that creates an excellent seal for a cream filling.

for the fruit pies, if you are concentrating the juices as i recommend and baking on the floor of the oven for the first 20 minutes and still getting a dissolving pie crust i have to question the flour you are using. flour varies significantly from country to country. when i did a demo of strudel at the melbourne tasting australia event, the bakers there recommended a specific flour they knew would work well. it might be a good idea to ask one of the local bakers what flour they would recommend for pie crust. do let me know. i strongly believe that if a bottom pie crust is soggy and thereby not worthy eating it's better to do a top crust only!

Fear of Génoise -- an Important Lesson

Jan 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cakes

You're going to love this: I've made my first failed génoise ever! And I learned an important lesson in the process.

Genoise.JPG

People have told me over the years that they were afraid of making génoise. I even taught an 80 year old friend of the family in Harrogate England how to make génoise and it worked perfectly. But I haven't made génoise for a while now and what I remembered best was all the fearful statements of others. It never pays to do anything with fear because either one is too tentative or too bold and cavalier. I fell into the latter category. After all, I've made hundreds of génoise and I developed my original recipe for Cook's magazine almost 25 years ago. After all, what did I have to fear but génoise i mean fear itself?! But though cavalier and génoise are both French words the two should never be combined when baking! I could tell something was wrong when I poured the batter into the pan and it only filled the pan half-full instead of the usual two -thirds. Also what was odd was that the top was filled with little bubbles. Predictable, the cake never rose more than 1 inch.

My heart fell. Had I lost the magic? What if I never again would be able to make a perfect génoise? And what went wrong? Does cornstarch have a shelf life after all? (Mine was several years old.) Did I fold in the flour and cornstarch too much and deflate the batter? I felt just like everyone else who's ever asked me to diagnose or sleuth out his or her baking problems on things that always worked before and suddenly went wrong.

I sprang into action whipping up a second génoise before I lost the courage. The horrible thought occurred to me that now I understood the story of the chef who killed himself when his recipe failed-I think it was a soufflé but maybe not. Could it have been a génoise?

It always takes so much less time when you’ve just made something to make it again- all the thoughts are still active on the hard drive of one's mind. I narrowed it down to the one thing I did differently (what I was referring to as cavalier). I made the mistake of thinking: “Why do I have to beat the eggs and sugar for five whole minutes on high when after three minutes they look thick enough and don't seem to be getting any thicker or fuller in the bowl?" So I stopped beating at three minutes, and that was what made the critical difference as to the texture and height of the finished génoise (see photograph for comparison).

So the lesson is clear: Don't be fearful; and follow the instructions in the Cake Bible, especially if you wrote it.

Glorious Bread and a Beautiful Blogger!

Jan 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose's Books

JEN COMMENT

FH_Email: geekyrandomgirl@gmail.com
Feedback: I've been baking bread out of The Bread Bible for a couple of years now, and I wanted to let you know what an important book it has been to me. It was the first book on bread baking I bought, and it was such a great way to start out. My mom/grandmother are spoiled on store bought cinammon raisin bread because of you. Even starting out, the bread recipes from your book were easy to follow and turned out marvelous. I've learned alot from books by other bakers (Peter Reinhart and Dan Lepard are my other adopted mentors), but it seems like every time I learn something from them, I come back to your book, and it was there all along.
So I guess I'm trying to say thanks, because your book started my obsession with bread baking. I hope someday to open my own bread bakery. Do you have any advise for a pretty good amateur baker like me?
Also, I have a food/baking blog, I'd be thrilled to death if you looked at it: http://ratherbebakingbread.blogspot.com/
Thanks again Rose!

ROSE REPLY

i'm deeply touched! and i must say in excellent company. one of these days--sooner rather than later--i'm going to list my version of peter reinhart's struan bread--a bread so wonderful i wrote him immediately after baking it for the first time to tell him how proud i am to be in the same profession as he. i don't know dan lepard but i'm sure i'd like to!
my best advice to you is to continue reading and baking and trust no one completely except your own personal experience. you will eventually create your own vision of bread. i'm sure you will be a great baker as you already are a great person. i can tell. and besides, it's impossible to be a good baker otherwise--the bread knows--believe me!

Crumbly Cornbread

Jan 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

MARY QUESTION

Feedback: I hate to admit that I'm 75
years old and just now
wondering why my cornbread is all of a sudden so crumbly. My husband gets really "disturbed". It's
happened the last few times
I've baked it. What am I
doing wrong?

ROSE REPLY

as i illustrated in my génoise posting, when something has worked for years and suddenly doesn't, it's always bc one is doing SOMETHING differently. think hard what that could be.

generally speaking, cornbread is crumbly if there is too high a proportion of cornmeal to flour. you need the gluten in the flour to hold it together and also enough moisture. if it is too high in fat it will also be too tender and crumbly. i don't know what ingredients you are using but you could try using a higher protein flour if you are using a cake flour or soft southern flour such as white lilly. try a bleached all purpose. hope this helps.

Recipes from My PBS Show Baking Magic with Rose

Jan 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

BENNIE QUESTION

I saw your show on Channel 13 PBS today. You were baking a banana cream pie. Is this recipe available online or what?

ROSE REPLY

please contact the producer marjorie poore for recipes from the show (marjorie@mpptv.com)

Bread Ovens

Jan 12, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

MONICA QUESTION

Feedback: Hi Rose! Do you have any recommendations on bread ovens? I am looking into buying a separate oven just for baking bread (and if it had steam injectors, I'd be thrilled!) Have you looked into any of the products that are out there?

ROSE REPLY

i haven't actually tried it yet but kitchen aid has a new built in oven with "steam assist" that sounds very promising! it's projected to come out in 2007. meantime it has a duel-fuel range with steam assist.
http://www.kitchenaid.com/catalog/product.jsp?src=RANGES&categoryId=115&productId=897

Don't Miss This!!!

Jan 12, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

SUNDAY JANUARY 15 NY DAILY NEWS
www.NYDailyNews.com

watch for a great article by Isabelle (Liz) Forgang that's been scheduled for appearance in the NOW SECTION. it features simple tricks that chefs do to basic dishes that make a difference in the finished dish. home cooks can emmulate these tricks easily so that they too can cook like a four star chef.

The article features Daniel Boulud of Restaurant Daniel and his famous short ribs; Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin with a great fish dish, and Moi with a lilting buttercream. i know what my special "tricks" are but i can't wait to see theirs and plan to try them asap!

Fresh Fruit Purees Added to Cake Batter

Jan 12, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

RUBYMARTHA QUESTION

I would like to bake a cake with fresh purees. Such as peaches, strawberries, etc. I cannot seen to find a recipe with puree, I did find a couple using cake mixes but I want a scratch cake. I absolutely am an avid reader/owner of your books. I attended SCSCA in Pasadena in patisserie but have learned more from your books that I am sorry I made the expense for the school. If you can help me I would so appreciate it.

Thank you,

ROSE REPLY

thank you--i'm very moved by your compliment. i must share another moving experience i had in pasadena when i was on tour for "the bread bible" 2-1/2 years ago. a woman named rose came to my book signing bringing her grown daughter as well. she reminded me that she had brought her daughter as a little girl to my signing for ""the cake bible. now she was returning to buy "the bread bible" for herself and another "cake bible" for her daughter to have now that she was living on her own. it was a very beautiful way for me to mark the passage of time!

now for the fruit purees. i'm sorry to disappoint you but i found even when adding fruit juices to cake it seemed to disturb the ph balance of the batter and give it an off texture. cake mixes have emulsfiers and other things that give it what is known in the industry as "tolerance." this means that all manner of additions can be made and the cake will still work. as you've probably seen in "the cake bible," i do add purees to buttercreams with great results. perhaps another person on this blog has had a more positive experience adding it to cakes?

Rusk Crackers, &Baker's Ammonia

Jan 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

HOPSTER QUESTION

Feedback: 2 questions:{1} What could I use in place of Rusk Crackers in a piecrust? as I can't find Holland Rusk. I have a recipe for a custard Rusk pie thats really good,, do they still make them? #2 what is a replacement for baking ammonia? I have a very old recipe for Drop cookies that calls for 3lbs flour 1/2 oz. baking soda, and 1/2 oz. baking ammonia,ect, also what would 1/2 oz. equal in teaspoons? Thank You

ROSE REPLY

can't help with the rusk crackers as i don't remember what they are. maybe someone else on the blog can.
for the baker's ammonia: i used it to make melting moment cookies and got it from sweet celebrations. not sure if there is a replacement for it but i believe it predated modern day baking powder. if they still carry it, 1/2 ounce would be about 2-1/2 teaspoons.

I'm Awed and Humbled

Jan 14, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Notes

HEIDI COMMENT

I'd like to thank you for publishing The Cake Bible.
As someone who always loved baking but never went to culinary school, I read many highly rated cookbooks but grew increasingly frustrated when recipes were excellent (or not) but failed to explain what was going on. Your book answered so many questions! You should have seen me devour it from beginning to end so many years ago.

Here is what I've done since then:http://www.mirabellecatering.com/

That is your lemon curd in those pictures, your genoise, your mousseline, your ladyfingers, your meringue swans, your pistachio marzipan (heavenly!), your raspberry sauce (ditto), your chocolate leaves, etc etc etc.

Though I certainly reference other books now as well (I'm sure you recognize some of Alice Medrich's creations, and Martha's) and sometimes use their recipes, the vast bulk of what I do is still from your book (second volume - the spines break in no time!) And I would not approach those other sources with the same confidence, had I not absorbed such a basic understanding from you.

I'll have plenty of questions to send in the future, since discovering this blog, but for now just wanted to say thank-you with all my heart.

ROSE REPLY

this has to be among the most validating letters i've ever received. and encourages me all the more as i submerge deeper and deeper into my first new cake book since the cake bible so many years ago. your work is exquisite and i've put in a link so everyone can see it. if i can take any credit for making your imaginative artistry more delicious i'm very proud indeed. and icing on the cake is that you acknowledged the empowerment of information and how it makes it possible to absorb so much more when you have a base of understanding. it is a life-long process and an undying thrill.
thank you heidi!

Mini Cheesecake Pans with Removable Bottoms

Jan 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

PATRICIA QUESTION

Hi Rose,

I have used your 12 cup Muffin Pan with great success.

Do you know where I can get 12 mini cup pan with a removable base ideal for individual mini cheesecakes?

I had to get the above muffin pan in Boston as we do not have them here.

Thank you, in anticipation,

ROSE REPLY

they're produced by chicago metallics and i've seen them at williams sonoma! great pans!

The Cake Bible and the New Cake Book

Jan 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose's Books

SHARON QUESTION
Hello,

I am thinking about purchasing The Cake Bible. When is the new book coming out and what will be different? Should I wait for the new one or should I purchase both of them?

I'm a novice to pastry making. Will there be a new pastry book also or am I safe to purchase The Pastry Bible?

Thank you for a very informative site.

ROSE REPLY

i would highly recommend getting the cake bible and here's why: last year i did a revision but the only things i felt needed changing were the chocolate recommendations and the equipment and ingredient distributors. chocolate is now expressed in % of cocoa mass rather than manufacturer and some of the chocolates i recommended no longer exist! the recipes, however, have become classics as the book has survived for close to 18 years now and still going strong. i found there was nothing i wanted to change with the exception of the burnt almond milk chocolate ganache as the chocolate bar used to make it is no longer being manufactured so i replaced it with another delicious milk chocolate ganache (lesson learned not to have a product-dependent recipe!)

the cake bible is filled with explanations about how cake baking works which is ideal for beginning and advanced bakers who want to know more and have more control over what they are doing.

the new cake book will be entirely different with emphasis on the visual (some aspect of every cake will be pictured) and contain all the new ideas that have come about over the past two decades since the cake bible.

re the pie pastry bible, if i ever do another on the subject it will be many years from now! but do check out the new pie crust that's on the blog. it's a variation of the cream cheese pie crust but uses heavy cream instead of water and is more tender and more delicious.

The Australian Method of Cake Decorating

Jan 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

MARC QUESTION

Feedback: What is the Australian Piping method and where can i find good information on the internet about it

ROSE REPLY

it is extremely intricate royal icing piping and often lace work on cakes that have been covered with rolled fondant. i don't know where on the internet you would find information about it but there are many wonderful books. sweet celebrations carries them.

Red Velvet Cake

Jan 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

LIBBY QUESTION

Dear Rose,
I am an avid fan of yours and have been dedicated to the Cake Bible for as long as I have been baking. I've always wished you had a recipe for Red Velvet Cake in your book. I have tried to use your method of incorporating ingredients, but still have not found the success I experience with your recipes in baking. Do you have a recipe and if so would you share it?
Thank you for making me a better baker. Your book is amazing (as is your pie cookbook which I also love).
Most sincerely and with much admiration

ROSE REPLY

thank you dear libby. a red velvet cake is simply a layer cake that uses one bottle of liquid red food color for some of the liquid, so all you have to do is chose any of my cakes (yellow or white) and replace an equal volume of the liquid with the red food color.

RETRACTION i was so wrong and those of you who have my newest book Rose's Heavenly Cakes will see that I have created my version of the classic red velvet cake which I now love so much I even made a wedding cake which is also posted on the blog!

Sunday's Daily News Feature

Jan 16, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Press Mentions

PAGE 32 IN THE NOW SECTION

This is a link to the article where I give tips (and give a recipe for) buttercream icing (PDF, 1 MB)

Travelling

Jan 17, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

UP-DATE TO DEAR FRIENDS

i'll be out of the country until feb. 6 so won't be able to answer questions until my return. if you post them as comments on the blog it will make it a lot easier to respond when i return rather than sending a g mail.

there'll be lots to report from my upcoming trip to barcelona where i'll be visiting the lékué silicone company and giving a lecture/demo to the bakers' guild of spain at the chocolate culinary academia in barcelona. it promises to be a great adventure.

just returned from the fancy food show in san francisco. highlights were fran's smoky fleur de sel milk chocolate covered caramels (www.franschocolates.com), a wide variety of beautiful and delicious salts from saltworks (www.seasalt.com) and a refreshing yet soothing ginger drink appropraitely called ginger soother (www.gingerpeople.com).

also exciting to me was the source atlantique booth where they were debuting the new packaging of my beloved lyle's golden syrup with my picture and favorite pecan pie on ever bottle!

of course there was lots more wonderful food products but i wanted to stay at my booth (harold's kitchen) where i was showing my pie plate, crème brûlée heart-shaped molds, and lékué's silicone bakeware. it was fun seeing a steady stream of friends, relatives, and new acquaintances pass by. (i was thrilled, by the way, that before the show started i got to spend a day with my brother and family and my soon to be 8 year old niece mariella asked me to bake cakes with her in the little silicone molds i had brought for her to play with. and she was thrilled that she could unmold them herself as the silicone edges are cool enough to handle within moments of coming out of the oven. her favorite was the teddy bear shape!)

as predicted, dinner chez daniel patterson, formerly of restaurant elizabeth daniel and frisson, and his fiancée alexandra was a delicious joy. i'm thrilled that they invited me and my ca. family to their home since his upcoming restaurant won't be opening til march. (lucky san franciscans!--and lucky us!!!) i fell in love with their new great dane lucy and was surprised that despite her size she was more timid about meeting me than i her! my 91 yearr old father sat quietly through the long dinner but as he was departing he turned to daniel and said: "if you cook this way at your new restaurant you will make millions!" (sweet moment)

another memorable meal was at delphina in the mission district. dungeness crab pasta was fantastic--all the dishes were unusual in unexpected but delicious flavor combinations.

for breakfast every morning i walked a mile to the ferry building with my dear friend elizabeth karmel (author of the newly published "taming the flame") to enjoy the amazingly good food at boulette's larder.

home for 3 days to straighten things out and get ready for the trip to europe. also squeezed in a roast chicken and a large challah for my husband--recipe to follow on my return.

until soon!
best baking wishes,
rose

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