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« February 2006 | Main | April 2006 »

I’m afraid I’ll kill the yeast—can this happen?

Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Yeast that needs proofing (soaking in warm water), such as active dry or cake yeast, will die if the water is hotter than 120°F. (or if the water is ice cold). Instant yeast, also called Rapid Rise, QuickRise, Instant Active Dry, Perfect Rise, or Bread Machine Yeast, can be mixed right in with the flour without soaking it in water first. Store it in the freezer and it will stay alive for at least year.

Making Larger Cakes

Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cakes


I have a question about augmenting your White Chocolate Whisper Cake for use in my friend's wedding cake. Is there a rule of thumb I can go by when converting any of your cakes to larger or smaller sizes?
I hope to achieve the larger volume of the recipes you've designed in your wedding cake section of the Cake Bible. The tiers are slightly higher and more dramatic than the recipes from the butter cake chapter.

Thanks so much,
As always, your devoted fan,


In my new book I plan to work on creating recipes for larger cakes based on favorite smaller ones. It can sometimes taken many tests to get it right. One of the cakes I've planned on is the white chocolate whisper cake! I think that's one that won't require much adjustment. You simply need to decrease the baking powder in proportion to the amount of flour as indicated in the charts in the wedding cake section.

Do let me know how it works for you so it will give me a leg up on my recipe testing!

Cheesecake Containers

Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment


Feedback: Dear Rose,

I am so psyched about this blog, you have no idea. I proudly own all of your books and swear by them. The Cake Bible is my enduring source for my home baking business. What an absolute gem!

Recently, I've been asked to supply cheese cakes for a charity bookstore and I thought you might be able to point me in the right direction for individual disposable baking cups. I had in mind something like what Panettone is baked in? A "waxed" paper type wrapper? I figure this would be cleaner and neater to serve to a customer. And who doesn't love their very own cheesecake?!

Thanks so much for any advice you can offer,


I love those little panettone containers, but I personally wouldn't use them for cheesecake, as I like to bake cheesecake in a water bath so that it's at its most creamy. if you used foil custard cup liners you could still use a water bath.

If you want to get the Panettone containers wholesale you'll need to go to a food show where they have packaging or search online. I don't get them in large quantity so I get mine from la cuisine.

thank you for your appreciation and encouragement!


Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread


Feedback: I followed the traditional challah recipe exactly and caught the mistake to add the 1 tsp yeast to the sponge. After many hours in a very warm environment, the dough hardly rose. I tried it several times with no luck and even switched yeast which is very much alive. There is definitely something wrong with the proportion of ing. I'm an advanced baker and it's gotta be a problem with the recipe. also after making the sponge, do i immediately add the flour blanket or let the sponge sit for an hour first? When the flour blanket is added, can i refrigerate it that way? If so do i taked it out to come to room temp and then mix? I searched the book for answers and was more confused. Please help. I know once its right it will be sooo delicious like so many of the recipes i've made from the cake bible. I'm a diehard baker and have learned more from your books than any other. Thank you.


bread that is rich in egg, butter, and sugar or honey, is very slow to rise. You can speed rising by putting it in a warm environment with hot water in a container, such as an oven without a pilot light but with just the light bulb on. You don't want the temperature to be above 85°. If this doesn't work, it has to be the yeast. I'm sure as an experienced Baker you'll are not killing the yeast with excessive heat. you could also try increasing the yeast. But the recipe as I wrote it works for me.

When making a sponge, I always like to put the flour blanket on it as soon as possible. Then I cover the bowl with plastic wrap to keep any part of the sponge that bubbles through the surface of the flour blanket from drying, and refrigerate it. I do mention in the book temperature the dough should be depending on the different methods of mixing it, for example, if you are using a stand mixer, you want it to be colder when you start mixing then if you're using a bread machine, because the friction of the beater raises the heat of the dough. When using a food processor, I have everything as cold as possible because the movement of the blades creates the most heat. Please look through the book, exact temperatures are given for all methods.

In the coming weeks, I will be offering my new recipe for challah, that incorporates old sourdough starter. It makes braiding dough much easier because of the extra elasticity, and I think the resulting bread is even more delicious. I can't wait to post this recipe -- the picture is so stunning! But I wanted to answer everybody's questions before I posted any new things.

Barcelona Brownies

Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers


Dear Levy,
I am a spanish woman (from Barcelona) and I read that you made a brownie called Barcelona. ¿Is it truth?. I want, if it is possible a recipt of this brownie. I can't find it in your website. Thank you in advance and sorry for my bad english.
Mary Carmen Artiga


thank you for asking for the recipe. I will post it on the blog this month, along with a little story of my visit to Barcelona.

Refiners Syrup

Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients


Is refiner's syrup the same as cane syrup? In other words, is Steen's syrup the same as Lyle's Golden syrup? Thanks.


Lyle's Golden syrup is a natural byproduct of cane sugar refining. It is cane syrup with no artificial colors flavors or preservatives.

I'm not familiar with Steen's syrup. Lyle's is the only refiners syrup I know of. Look on the label of the Steen's to see what it contains. A side-by-side tasting is the best test. as they say, the proof is in the syrup -- or was that pudding?!

Interview in IACP Food Forum

Mar 02, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Press Mentions

The following is an interview I did with Marguerite Thomas for IACP Food Forum, the publication of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. It was published in the early part of 2006. You can download the 500k PDF here.

Let's start with the beginning, The Cake Bible, the book that made your name when it came out in 1988. The Pastry Bible and The Bread Bible followed. Did you first come up with the concept of a book, or a series, and the "Bible" title, or did you write the first book and then you and your editors worked out that brilliant title?
I had it in back of my mind to do a "bible" sort of definitive book, and though the word "bible" did occur to me, I would never have had the temerity to call it that if, not for [the late food writer] Bert Greene, who was my best friend. He came up with the title entirely on his own. He insisted that I call it a bible because, he said, I was his muse and he knew that's what the book would be because of my approach to baking. I resisted at first, but when everyone at the publishing company starting calling it by this name -- and giving it more respect -- I started to reconsider.

It's hard to imagine not liking that title.
I asked the bicoastal restaurant consultant Clark Wolf, whose opinion I greatly valued, what he thought of it, and he said it would be like sticking my chin out and saying, "Here! Punch me!" This clever assessment helped me to realize that I believed 100 percent in what I was doing and that I was willing and ready to take it on the chin!

Was The Cake Bible your first book?
My first book was Romantic and Classic Cakes (Irena Chalmers Great American Cooking Schools Series, 1981). It was written on an IBM Selectric typewriter, and it was a great dress rehearsal for a larger book. I could never have written The Cake Bible, with all its depth and continuity, without a computer.

(More after the jump)

Continue reading "Interview in IACP Food Forum" »

What is the best flour for bread baking?

Mar 02, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

All purpose flour is fine as long as it is unbleached as bleaching weakens the protein which is needed to give a good texture or crumb to the bread. Bread flour has higher protein and will make a chewier bread. Regional flours may be lower in protein than ones available nationally such as Gold Medal, or Pillsbury. For quick bread containing softened but unmelted butter, however, it is essential to use bleached all purpose flour or the center of the bread will fall and have a gloppy texture on cooling.

Articles by Me

Mar 03, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Publications

May 2005, Food Arts Magazine, Best Bakeries of the Bay Are

April 2005, Food Arts Magazine, a new 100% whole wheat walnut bread recipe to satisfy the new dietary guidelines

Food Arts, May 2004: Article on the new technology in thermometers

March 2005, Hemispheres Magazine (United In Flight Magazine) Bread story (with recipe on their website www.hemispheresmagazine.com, click on cyber bar)

Food Arts November 2003 pages 94 - 102: "Rose's Vanilla Bible"

Bride's Sept/October 2003 pages 169 – 171 Wedding Cakes

What is the best surface on which to bake bread?

Mar 03, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

A preheated baking stone or quarry tiles are ideal. Allow it or them to preheat for a minimum of 45 minutes. Stone retains heat, giving better oven spring or rise to the loaf, and absorbs moisture yielding a crisper crust. To avoid sprinkling flour or cornmeal on the stone, Silpain, or Silpat (both are silicone mats but Silpain is black and has little holes for breathing), or parchment, can be placed directly on the stone.

Are there any tips to getting a crisp crust?

Mar 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Choose a bread that does not have a high amount of fat (or sugar). Spritz the shaped, risen dough with water just before placing it in the oven and steam the oven (using boiling water or ice cubes poured into a preheated pan on the floor of the oven). Leave the oven door partially ajar for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Bake the bread until it is 212°F. so that residual steam inside the bread does not soften the crust on cooling.

Making a Cake in a Different Size Cake Pan

Mar 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs


I wanted to bake your white chocolate whisper cake but use a tube pan instead of the round cake pans. Is this possible and what do I need to know to make this work?


on page 455 of the cake bible is a chart listing the volume of most cake pans. of course if you have an odd-shaped pan you will need to measure the volume yourself by pouring water into it. if it's a two-piece pan first line it with a clean garbage bag.

compare the size and volume of the pans specified in the recipe to the one which you want to use and then either increase or decrease it proportionately.

a cake in a tube pan will take longer to bake than in a 9 x 2 or 9 x 1 1/2 inch pan but use the usual tests of springing back when touched lightly on top and a cake tester inserted in the middle between sides of pan and tube comes out clean.

Sourdough Starter's Need To Breath

Mar 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Sourdough


Feedback: I have been storing my sourdough starter in a crock. Now I read that a wire-bail jar is better. Does starter need a little air, or can it survive air free. I don't want to kill my starter! Thanks.


you would kill your starter if you removed all the air by vacuum but there is enough air in the head space of the container to give it breath even when the container is covered. covering keeps it from drying out.

How can you tell when the bread is fully baked?

Mar 05, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

The only way to know for sure is by inserting an instant read thermometer into the center of the bread. It should read between 180 to 212°F.

How do you keep a crust crisp?

Mar 06, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Allow the bread to cool completely before placing it in a brown paper bag. If the loaf has been cut into, store it in a plastic bag and recrisp it in the following way. Place the loaf cut side down on the oven stone or baking sheet. Turn the oven to 400°F. and check after 7 minutes. The crust should be crisp and the crumb will be warm.

Do you have any other use for excess sourdough starter?

Mar 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Do you have any other use for excess sourdough starter aside from giving it to friends?

Yes! When I feed my starter, if I know i'm going to bake a hearth bread within the next 3 days, instead of throwing out the excess, without refreshing or feeding it I simply refrigerate up to 1/3 cup starter (about 2.75 ounces / 75 grams) per loaf.

Just before adding the salt to the dough, I tear the starter into about 8 pieces and knead it into the dough. The starter dough adds extra depth of flavor and moisture, and also speeds the fermentation (rising) slightly even in a dough using the usual amount of instant yeast. (You should also add an extra 1/8 teaspoon plus 1/16th teaspoon of salt to balance this extra amount of dough--less if using less starter dough.) The starter dough serves as a "preferment" making it possible to use the quicker "direct" method of mixing the dough. (Simply combine the flour and yeast from the sponge or biga in the recipe with the flour and yeast for the dough.)

Barcelona Brownies

Mar 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Travel Adventures

i promised to write about my recent trip to barcelona but that was before i knew that in three days i would be doing 5 demos, 2 newspaper interviews, 2 t.v. shows, and a 5 hour photo session! i never saw much of barcelona but i did eat and drink wonderfully! i'll just have to go back on vacation some day soon.

the visit officially began with a demo in a chocolate museum school, followed by a lecture to the baker's guild of spain. the challenge presented by the demo was to offer a recipe that was chocolate, was uniquely american, didn't take long to prepare or bake, showed off the lékué silicone bakeware--my host--and not be dependent on either flour or leavening. it has been my experience that european flour produces vastly different results from what i am accustomed.

after much deliberation, it turned out that there was only one perfect possibility: the beloved brownie, baked in individual molds. the traditional small ingot shape of the financier mold seemed like an excellent choice. and now that i've perfected this recipe i'll probably never make brownies in the usual square pan again! in the silicone financier pan, the brownies pop right out--each with a perfect shape and size and fine crust all around that keeps them from staling. it's far easier getting the batter into the molds than having to cut them afterwards! You can even use the batter to make madeleines.

this batter can be made ahead and transported as there is no leavening to dissipate.


these brownies are light in texture but get their exceptional moistness from cream cheese and fudginess from the best quality cocoa and chocolate. for extra creaminess optional little plugs of ganache are poured into holes made with a chop stick after baking. it was gratifying to see the students casually pop a brownie in their mouths expecting something ordinary and then watch their eyes widen in glad surprise. chocolate never gets better than this.

Continue reading "Barcelona Brownies" »

Do you have a recipe for 100% whole wheat bread?

Mar 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

I find regular whole wheat flour to be to dense when used as the sole flour for a bread. White whole wheat flour, however, produces a delicously wheaty, crunchy, fine-textured bread. It's especially fragrant when you grind the flour yourself shortly before mixing the dough. Simply replace all the flour in the "Basic Hearth Bread" on page 305 with equal weight white whole wheat flour. The first rise will take about 2 hours intead of 1. (I especially like the "Prairie Gold"hard white spring wheat berries or flour from Wheat Montana: www.wheatmt.com, 877-535-2798.)

Can you use more rye flour in a rye bread that suggested?

Mar 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Your rye breads have a very small amount of rye flour in proportion to white. Can you use more rye flour in a rye bread?

My preference is for a light rye flavor and texture so I use just under 18% rye. If you want higher than 20% rye you need to make a sourdough rye because the acidity of the sourdough is necessary to keep the crumb from getting sticky (due to the pentosans in the rye flour).

To make a bread with about 42% rye, convert the sourdough starter to a sourdough rye starter by feeding it medium rye flour instead of bread flour. You will need a few extra drops of water to achieve a smooth consistency. It will take 9 feedings until you have replaced all the white flour in the starter with rye. (You can do the feedings every 12 hours, leaving the starter at room temperature, or more gradually, refrigerating the starter as per the chart on page 437.) Then use this starter to make the Sourdough Rye on page 451.

When making the bread, feed the starter only medium rye flour but in the dough, omit the 3/4 cups of rye flour, and use a total of 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (11.5 ounces/325 grams) of bread flour. The dough will rise much more quickly using this high a percentage of rye flour (about 2 hours after the first 2 business letter turns and about 2 1/2 hours after shaping).

Substituting ingredients: Can you? Sure. Should you? Usually the answer is NO.

Mar 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Baking is a delicate balance and substituting one ingredient for another will almost invariably throw it off and produce something different which may be better but more often than not is not! Things such as water and protein content make a significant difference to texture. If you would like to experiment, change only one ingredient at a time and see the results. It is a great learning experience.

How to get your cookies to come out flat?

Mar 12, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Use butter, high liquid, and higher protein flour such as unbleached all purpose or bread flour.

How to get your cookies to come out higher?

Mar 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Use all or part solid vegetable shortening, chill the shaped dough well before baking, use lower protein flour such as bleached all purpose flour, or use egg with an acidic ingredient such as brown sugar, sour cream or cake flour to set it faster.

Fragile cookies vs. tough cookies?

Mar 14, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

For fragile cookies use low protein flour and high fat, For chewier cookies, use higher protein flour such as unbleached all purpose or bread flour with a little water added before the fat to develop gluten.

How can you be sure the cake will come out of the pan in one piece?

Mar 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

With the exception of foam cakes such as chiffon and angel food where the pan must not be greased, a cake pan should be both greased and floured. Solid vegetable shortening is better than butter unless you use clarified butter. A non-stick vegetable spray with flour is far easier to use than the greasing and flouring method and indispensable when using a fluted tube pan which cannot be lined with parchment.

An additional safeguard for cakes baked in fluted tube pans, particularly chocolate, is to invert the cake immediately after baking onto a flat plate and leave the pan in place. The steam thus created helps to release it from the pan. For standard cake pans I grease the bottom to hold the parchment in place and then spray the parchment and the sides of the pan with a non-stick vegetable spray that contains flour.

The standard 9 or 10-inch cake should cool on a rack for 10 minutes which gives it a chance to shrink from the sides of the pan. Itís also a good idea to go around the sides with a small metal spatula or knife, pressing it against the sides of the pan, to be sure none of the cake has stuck.

Struan Bread

Mar 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

we're off for our 30th annual ski week at what has long ago become our favorite of all ski resorts: deer valley in utah!

a few years ago, my husband had an accident skiing that prevented him from accompanying me on the slopes for the rest of the week. in all these years of marriage, i had never skied without him so it felt very odd and lonely navigating the mountain on my own. i decided to take a short break and check out the food at the snowflake lodge. somehow, inevitably, i found myself in the kitchen and that put an end to any possible loneliness at deer valley! letty flatt, who is in charge of all bakery operations at the many restaurants at deer valley, also took charge of me! on her time off we skied together and she introduced me to double black diamonds that i could handle with ease. on the chair lift we exchanged bake-talk and royal icinged (baker's cement) a lasting friendship.

last year, at a marvelous dinner at mariposa--the high-end restaurant on the mountain--we were served a bread that both my husband and i adored. it was, of course, letty's, but she immediately credited peter reinhart for the original recipe. comparing the two i saw that letty had used 5 times the polenta. i decided to double the original amount of polenta but also added 90 grams more flour. neither letty nor i added the optional 3 tablespoons of cooked brown rice simply because i didn't feel like making rice just to make this bread and found it was so delicious without it i've yet to try it with the rice--but i will.


the first time i made this bread back at low altitude in new york city i e-mailed peter immediately saying i was proud to be in the same profession as he. he graciously e-mailed back thanking me for reminding him about one of his very favorite breads--which is now mine as well. and as toast it is unequaled. toasting seems to bring out the sweet nuttiness of the grains. the texture is--well--perfect is the word that comes to mind. judge for yourselves by the photo. and the golden specks of coarse polenta add a jewel like quality. it doesn't get better than spread with sweet butter but the other night i served it for dinner spread with mustard mayonnaise and filled with sardines sprinkled with lemon juice. it deserved the glass of trimbach frederique emile alsatian riesling that accompanied it. gloriously simple and wholly satisfying.

Click to see the flecks!

as i now am inclined to do with most of my breads, i've added a small amount of old stiff sourdough starter (the consistency of bread dough) to increase shelf life and add depth of flavor and extra moistness. if you chose not to add the starter decrease the salt by 1/8th teaspoon.

Click to view the recipe

Continue reading "Struan Bread" »

How do I keep the top of my cakes from swelling up in the middle and cracking?

Mar 16, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in General

Rose's Magic Cake Strips (silicone) are available on Amazon and in cake decorating supply places, work very well to keep layer cakes level. Lowering the heat 25 degrees is another solution as is using cake flour or bleached all purpose which have a lower protein content.

When do you use the whisk beater versus the flat beater on a stand mixer?

Mar 17, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

The whisk beater is used to aerate mixtures such as egg whites for a meringue; the spade or flat beater to mix things together. Unless otherwise specified in a recipe, it is generally the flat beater that is meant to be used.

Why do recipes for beaten egg whites warn you about dryness?

Mar 18, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Why do recipes for beaten egg whites always warn you to beat until stiff but not dry and is there a way to keep this from happening?

When egg whites are over beaten, they start to lose their moisture, airiness, and smoothness and break down when folded into other ingredients. The miracle solution here is surprisingly easy: use 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for every egg white (1 teaspoon for 8 egg whites).

Add it to the whites soon after you begin to beat them, when they start to get frothy. Note: egg white will never beat to stiff peaks if there is it comes into contact with any grease, either from the bowl, beater or even a bit of broken egg yolk.

The Infamous Rosemary Focaccia

Mar 18, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

seems to me i've received more correspondence about this bread recipe than any other. some adore it and most find it impossible to make. simple as it is, as the highest water content (hydration) bread in the book it has turned out to be the trickiest. so i'm delighted that my friend jan in san diego recently wrote me how much she loves this bread--which she makes often--along with a photo of what the dough (batter) looks like after mixing!

see how it looks like melted mozarella cheese? nothing like a picture. and be sure to dimple it deeply all over right before baking to get the large irregular holes.

How can you be sure your oven is holding the right temperature?

Mar 19, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Most oven thermometers I have tested are unreliable. The best way is by baking a reliable recipe. If the recipe says bake 30 to 40 minutes and it is done in 25, turn it down 25 degrees. If it takes longer than 40 minutes turn it up 25 degrees. Occasionally oven thermostats become erratic and do not hold temperatures no matter what the setting. This requires professional calibration or a new thermostat.

With all the specialty flours on the market, how can you tell which to use?

Mar 20, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

When a recipe calls for cake flour, it is best to use cake flour but be sure it does not contain leavening. You can substitute bleached all purpose flour: for 1 cup of cake flour use 3/4 cup bleached all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons corn starch. For pie crust, pastry or bleached all purpose makes the most tender crusts. A national brand bread flour is usually best for bread but a strong (high protein) all purpose flour gives very similar results.

Is it really necessary to sift flour?

Mar 21, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Not if you weigh it. Sifting makes it easier to measure consistently. It does not, however, evenly incorporate dry ingredients. Whisking them together by hand, beating them in a mixing bowl, or whirling them for a few seconds in a food processor does a far better job of mixing.

What is the difference between 1 cup flour, sifted, and 1 cup sifted flour?

Mar 22, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

There is a big difference in the weight or amount of flour. 1 cup flour, sifted means you put the flour into the cup and then sift it. 1 cup sifted flour means to set the cup on a counter and sift the flour into the cup until it mounds above the top. Then, with a metal spatula or knife, level it off. Be sure to use a cup with an unbroken rim, referred to as a dry measure as opposed to a liquid measure which has a spout. With this second method you will have the least amount of flour because the flour is aerated. Do not be tempted to shake the cup or tap it as that compacts the flour.

Why not just use a cake mix?

Mar 23, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in General

Cake mixes contain emulsifiers which give them what is known as tolerance, i.e., the ability to keep their texture despite additions of various extra ingredients. These emulsifiers result in an unpleasantly metallic after-taste. The flavor of a cake baked from scratch is incomparably superior.

Why is butter better for baking than margarine or other fats?

Mar 24, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Butter is the fat that melts closest to body temperature so there is no perception of greasiness on the palate. Not only does it offer its own lovely flavor, it also enhances the flavor of other ingredients.

What is the best chocolate to use for baking?

Mar 25, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Generally cocoa (Dutch-processed) gives the best flavor impact in baking. In ganache (heavy cream and chocolate) or chocolate cream pie, where the chocolate is the main ingredient and does not get subjected to long heating, bittersweet chocolate is a good choice.

Brand of chocolate is entirely a matter of personal preference. What tastes good by itself will also taste good when mixed with other ingredients. You be the judge!

What is the best way to stabilize whipped cream for frosting a cake?

Mar 26, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Whipped cream tends to water out slightly after beating so to keep this from happening I use a small amount cornstarch which does not affect the texture.

It will not hold up well at room temperature but in the refrigerator will stay well on the cake for 24 hours! Many people have reported that this recipes has saved their lives!

For 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, use 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (if your cream is very low in butterfat use 1 1/2 teaspoons), and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
Refrigerate the mixing bowl and (preferably whisk) beater for at least 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan place the powdered sugar and cornstarch and gradually stir in 1/4 cup of the cream.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for just a few seconds (until the liquid is thickened). Scrape into a small bowl and cool completely to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla.
Beat the remaining 3/4 cup cream just until traces of beater marks begin to show distinctly.

Add the cornstarch mixture in a steady stream, beating constantly. Beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

Why do baking recipes call for unsalted butter and then add salt?

Mar 27, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Why do so many baking recipes call for unsalted butter and then salt is added anyway?

Because the amount of salt in salt butter far exceeds the amount you would add. Also, unsalted butter has a fresher, more delicious flavor.

My New Favorite Traditional Challah

Mar 27, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread

When packing for a business trip I love to start a large bread for my husband to eat while I'm away. Challah is one of his favorites and since it's one of mine as well, I usually manage to eat a few slices myself before slicing, wrapping and freezing the rest.  This is the one I made before leaving for Barcelona in February. It's similar to the one in "The Bread Bible" with one wonderful difference: I've discovered that adding some old stiff starter instead of the vinegar does wonders for elasticity making it much easier to braid. It also increases the moistness and shelf life and adds depth of flavor. And because it so exceptionally moist for a challah, the ends of the braids hold together well.

If you want to make this recipe and don't have any starter, add 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar when adding the oil and use the lower amount of salt.

Continue reading "My New Favorite Traditional Challah" »

Can you use those new low water higher butterfat butters in all baking?

Mar 28, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Not without making changes to the recipe as it will throw off the water balance and make pie crusts and cookies too fragile without adjustment. These butters are ideal for puff pastry, Danish, clarifying butter, and, of course, for spreading on bread.

How can I keep a pie crust from shrinking when I prebake it?

Mar 29, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in General

A pie crust that shrinks a great deal is also one that is tough. This is a result of too much water, too high a protein flour, and or overhandling of the pastry. My cream cheese pie crust in The Pie and Pastry Bible is one that shrinks very little.

But it will help any recipe to allow the dough to relax after rolling and lining the pan for at least 1 hour, covered and refrigerated. Lining the crust with parchment and dried beans or peas until it has set also helps to keep itís shape. A coffee filter, the sort used for coffee urns, is just the right size and shape to line the pastry.

What is the ideal thickener for fruit pie?

Mar 30, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

The three most common starches used to thicken the fruit juices of a pie are flour, tapioca, and cornstarch. I prefer cornstarch because I find that it actually enhances the flavor of the fruit.

But as any starch in excess dulls the fresh fruit flavor and can make the texture gummy, I like to let the cut fruit sit with sugar for at least 30 minutes, drain the syrup that forms, reduce it by 1/2 to 2/3 or until very thick (I like to use the microwave but be sure to use a large liquid measure sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray to keep it from boiling over) and add it back to the fruit filling.

This way only about 1/3 the usual amount of thickener is required, the pie is just as juicy, and the bottom crust crisper.

What is the difference between condensed and evaporated milk?

Mar 31, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in FAQs

Condensed milk is both thicker and sweeter than evaporated milk.

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