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Category ... Equipment

A Few of My Favorite Things

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

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Check out the new presence on our blog home page, left side bar. It is the portal to some of the equipment which I find indispensable for baking and cooking. There are two main categories:

Rose's Family of Products

and

Products I Recommend

I've added links to make it easy to find everything on-line. You will also be able to explore other available products within each product line.

Blissful Baking, Rose

The Rose Scale by Escali

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

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As most of you know, I am a major proponent of weighing ingredients rather than using volume. My first book, The Cake Bible, was the first cookbook for the home baker to use ounces and grams as well as cups. That was over 25 years ago and gradually the wonderfully precise and near effortless process of weighing for baking has caught on.
I knew that it was here to stay when Escali, maker of the finest scales for laboratory and home baking, contacted me about producing a scale with my name and criteria.

The Rose Scale is a beautifully designed scale of the highest quality and durability. Its weighing range of up to 13 pounds/6 kilograms in increments of 0.1 ounce/1 gram which is ideal for baking and cooking.

The scale can be operated by A/C adaptor as well as by battery. When operated by battery, it has an automatic shutoff, but when using the optional adaptor, the scale stays on until it is turned off, which I prefer because the scale doesn't inconveniently time out when I am in the middle of weighing and get distracted for a few minutes. The scale is small and compact, not taking up much counter space.

The Rose Scale's adjustable-angle backlight display is easy to read even when using pans that are larger than the platform, which is easily removable. The display and the buttons are sealed to protect against accidental spills. There is also a tare button to remove the weight of the container and each ingredient after it is added.

Escali Rose Levy Bakeware Digital Scale - Multi-Purpose - Rose

ThermoWorks Open Box Spring Sale til end of March

Mar 26, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

ThermoWorks thermometers and timers are of the highest quality available for the home baker and professional chef.

This private sale is available through this link. I recently posted about the ChefAlarm which works as a probe thermometer both for mixtures for cooktop heating (it comes with a pot clip) and for roasting in the oven. I even use it on the grill.

The Extra Big & Loud Timer is my timer of choice as I can set the sound loud enough to hear from one floor to the next! The huge buttons make inputting so easy and if I get distracted and need a little extra time, it even counts up the time that has elapsed.

The IR Gun is super accurate for surface temperatures which is very useful for finding areas in the kitchen ideally suited for warming or cooling mixtures. I also use it in the fridge to determine shelf temperature and for a quick check when a pan on the cooktop or the oven is preheating.

An Amazing New Probe Thermometer

Feb 15, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Thermoworks, producer of the Thermapen, my favorite instant read thermometer, has recently created The ChefAlarm: an accurate probe thermometer with alarm, ideal for use to determine and be alerted to desired finished temperature of food in both ovens and grills. They've also designed a simple device that clips onto an oven rack and secures the probe, enabling you to use the ChefAlarm as an oven thermometer. It is highly accurate and has a maximum temperature of 700F/371C.

When using the ChefAlarm for a roast chicken, for example, the probe is inserted into the thigh. The probe's cable feeds through the side of the oven door (or grill cover) into the sturdy device that can be magnitized onto the side of the oven or placed on a nearby counter. The device can be set for a minimum and a maximum temperature. An adjustable volume alarm will sound when it reaches the minimum temperature and again when it reaches the maximum.

I love using the ChefAlarm in my gas grill, especially in this exceptionally cold winter weather. As the probe should not be subjected to the direct flame, I turn off the burner under the probe after preheating the grill. I can monitor the progress through my dining room window and stay warm indoors until the alarm sounds and it's time to take the food off the grill.

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The Perfect Pour

Sep 16, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Bob Trinque, product manager of NewMetro Design (of BeaterBlade fame, and my Rose™ product line), has been in the equipment business for years, representing many of the world's top companies. So when he sets out to create a product, it's with one eye toward the original (what's missing and needed) and the other toward the ideal (what would be the best version of it).

The FlexPour, which comes in small and medium sizes, is so well designed it has a permanent place beside my stand mixer. It's not every day a can't live without item is born. This is one of those days.


The medium 5 cup size is available on Amazon. Click here: flexpour

What a Grill Basket!

May 18, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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I've been enjoying 'blackened' string beans since Paul Prudhomme was a little boy and blackened redfish wasn't yet a gleam in his eye! That's because my grandmother once burned the string beans and I found it to be so delicious I always threatened not to eat the string beans unless she burned them.

Some years ago, my dear friend Elizabeth Karmel, renowned grilling author and chef, taught me how to make grilled string beans. She is such a skilled griller only one or two beans ever slipped between the grates but when I tried, I mourned each of several beans that slipped through. I tried a grill pan with holes but had to be very careful as the ones available were all very shallow and didn't have large enough holes to expose enough of the string beans to the flame. This is no longer a problem as Elizabeth has created the ideal grill basket, Elizabeth Karmel's Grill Friends Sizzlin' Skillet Grill Basket. Its curved sides enable you to toss the beans without risk of a single one leaping out. The wire mesh is strong but fine, leaving the maximum open space for 'blackening.'

The grill basket is easy to clean and even dishwasher safe. And it comes with a great-sounding recipe for "firecracker shrimp," which gives new definition to "shrimp in the basket."

I posted the recipe for grilled string beans about three years ago. Here it is again but this time in the basket!

For beans with a little bite, simply toss the washed and trimmed string beans with salt and olive oil and then to toss them in the grill basket and continue tossing them with tongs until they are deliciously browned, partially blackened, and beginning to shrivel.

For a softer texture, par boil the beans in salted water for 3 minutes, drain them, and toss them in the olive oil and salt, though sometimes I use melted bacon fat. Then into the grill basket they go to be browned and blackened as above.

Either way, season with lots of freshly ground pepper.

Note:
The handle is easy to remove for grilling and to replace when removing the basket from the grill, but it is not designed for emptying the beans into a serving bowl as the basket will flip over. Use tongs to lift the beans into the bowl.

Springerle for Spring!

Mar 14, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

Springerle are traditional German cookies which are made from springerle molds.

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Recently I received this beautiful gift box from Patrice Romzick of Springerle Joy who produces the most exquisite molds I have seen.

When I opened the box the first thing I saw was this lovely card with a note explaining that the ornament was made from one of her molds.

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And underneath the card was an assortment of beautiful pastel springerle with designs appropriate for christmas, valentine's day, and yes springtime!

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The word springerle is derived from the German "to jump or spring forth" so why not springerle for springtime.

NewMetro Design New Rose™ Line Has Arrived!

Sep 23, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

It is so new it's not even in the stores or online yet but if you call NewMetro: 800-624-1526, and ask for the New Rose™ Line you can place orders using a credit card.

Alternatively, you can wait until October when it will be available in stores and on line around the country. Here's a preview of the line (You can also check out the site directly for more information):

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BeaterBlade
I consider this piece of equipment to be the most significant invention and improvement to baking since the stand mixer or food processor. Not only does it save time, it also mixes more thoroughly than the standard paddle attachment.

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ZestN'est
This micro grater fits in the palm of your hand and works perfectly for citrus zest, Parmesan cheese, chocolate, and even mincing garlic without retaining odor. I place it on my kitchen scale, tare out the weight, and know exactly how much zest I have for my recipe.


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JuiceLab
This juicer has the perfect shape for easily extracting maximum juice. It also has precise built-in measurements both on the container and the storage lid.

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MixerMate
This rose bowl is the ideal ergonomic shape for using a handheld electric beater or whisk. It
whips cream at record speed with no need to chill the bowl or beaters.

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CaramelPot
I designed this 1.75 quart pot to be perfectly sized and shaped for making caramel, sugar syrups, and sauces. The chemical-free light grey ceramic based nonstick coating is environmentally friendly and does not pose the risk of emitting toxic fumes. It releases all food more easily than any other cooking surface, which ensures maximum release of caramel and other sticky syrups.

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Double Boiler
This 2 quart double-walled pot, with an internal water chamber for safely heating and keeping water at a gentle simmer without steam, is my pot of choice for making lemon curd, cream sauces, and even for melting chocolate.

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Cook & Store
If you only had one saucepan in the kitchen it would have to be this one. The flared sides of this durable 4 quart saucepan facilitate reduction of liquids and the airtight cover makes it ideal to store the contents after cooking and cooling.

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Crêpe and Pancake Griddle
I use this pan for so many things especially sautéeing, it has a permanent place on my cooktop. The ceramic nonstick surface is so smooth and slippery I don't even need to use butter or oil to prevent sticking.


The MixerMate from NewMetro Design

Jul 28, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

Hector Wong sent me these great photos of how he uses the MixerMate with the hand mixer for which it is designed. I love the MixerMate for beating whipped cream as the shape of the bowl creates a tornado-like action bringing the mixture to the beaters and whipping cream with record speed without having to chill the bowl and beaters.

Hector's photos illustrate how well it works for cake batter too. I'm especially impressed with the different positions in which he rests the mixer in or against the bowl which shows off its stability.

The Rose Line includes the bowl in rose! I can't resist calling it "the rose bowl"! The shape of the bowl is ergonomically inspired to enable one to pour from both sides and to grasp it easily but it also reminds me of the shape of a rose petal. Lovely!

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Bravo Breville--The Perfectly Even Oven!

Feb 04, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

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Can it be--an oven that is perfectly even?! Over the years I have baked in many an oven. I even drove several hours deep into Connecticut, with cream puff pastry ready to pipe, to try out a Gaggenau oven that promised to be perfectly even. It was from top to bottom but not from front to back. Resigned to this disappointing fact that ovens are just not perfectly even, I have written solutions into recipes, such as turning a cake two-thirds of the way through baking, or bread half way through baking, but when it comes to cream puff pastry or sponge type cakes such as génoise, opening the oven door to move the pan would spell disaster as the baked item would deflate like a balloon stuck with a pin.

A few years ago I happened to speak to someone at the Breville company about another one of their appliances and the representative told me about their Smart Oven saying it was "an oven with a brain," and that I had to try it. I was intrigued and then disappointed when it never arrived. Many months later I met Julia Leisinger, the delightful manager of Sur La Tabla Soho store, and noticing that they sell the oven, asked her what she thought of it. She told me that she has one and that not only is it even, its size makes it ideal for small apartments. Julia is a baker so now I was really determined to try the oven so that I could know whether I could recommend it.

A year passed and to my surprise and delight I heard from Julia that she had met with the Breville people and reminded them of their promise to me. Shortly after the oven arrived and then, I must confess, sat reproachfully on my dining room table for months while I waited for my schedule to clear to approach this promising new appliance.

FInally I bit the bullet and gave it my standard acid test: I piped a spiral of cream puff pastry on parchment set on the 15-inch pan that comes with the oven, placed the rack at the bottom position as recommended in the booklet, and set the oven on bake, convection, but using 425˚F/220˚F for the first 10 minutes of baking instead of lowering the temperature the usual 25 degrees for convection baking. Then I lowered the temperature to the usual 350˚F/175˚C and continued to bake for the usual 15 minutes. As you can see from the photo, the proof is in the puff--it was perfectly, effortless, evenly golden brown.

Next I piped little 1-1/2 inch cream puffs. They blossomed from 3/4 inch high to 1-1/2 inches and again were perfectly evenly golden-brown.

This is a beautifully designed little oven that does just about everything except microwave. I moved it into permanent position in my apartment. How many ovens do I have? Four are in NY and 2-1/2 in Hope, NJ. (The half is the GE toaster oven I've had for 44 years and still performs perfectly for toast, baked potato, and other small items, taking up minimal space on the counter.)

As a cookbook author, it is important to test recipes in different types of ovens as the oven is the common denominator of success or failure in baking.

Here is my recipe for cream puff pastry which can be filled with whipped cream, or ice cream (profiteroles) or a savory filling. And as promised, this is the first in a series of monthly postings featuring Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs.

Continue reading "Bravo Breville--The Perfectly Even Oven!" »

Yogurt--Better Than Store-Bought

Dec 17, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Savory Cooking

My old friend from India, Madhu Trehan, told me many years ago that she would never buy yogurt as home-made is so easy and so much better. She added that all one has to do is save a little from the present batch to start the next batch.

I've long been intending to try making my own yogurt but somehow never got around to it until inspired by my new bread proofer! I wanted to be sure that it would work so I purchased some freeze-dried yogurt culture from Integral Yoga--a store in the West Village in New York. Yogurt culture is also available on line.

In the space of one afternoon I produced 4 half pint jars of deliciously creamy and flavorful yogurt--ever so much better than anything I have ever tasted that was store-bought. I received some excellent guidance from Michael Taylor, producer of the bread proofer. He also gave me moral support when, after about 3-1/2 hours I could detect no thickening. But sure enough, after about 4 hours I could see it was beginning to 'take.'

Michael said he uses commercial yogurt as a starter and to check on the container to make sure it says live culture. He uses 1/4 cup per gallon of milk. (I scaled it down to 1 tablespoon for 1 quart of milk. Now I wish I had made more but it's a simple matter to make a new batch.)

Michael's basic technique is as follows:

Pre-heat the proofer to 115˚F/46˚C with four empty quart Mason
jars inside to get them warm. (This keeps from cooling down the milk when poured into the jars). After heating the milk to 180˚F/82˚C and cooling to 120˚F/49˚C, remove 1 cup of milk, add 1/4 cup of fresh organic yogurt, then stir it back in. Immediately pour the milk/yogurt starter into the jars. The temperature drops to about 112˚F/44˚C. Put all the jars (covered) back in the proofer at 115˚F/46˚C for an hour, then turn down to 110˚F/43˚C. (As the temperature didn't drop after pouring the mixture into the jars--and was 115˚F/46˚C I used 110˚F/43˚C for the entire time.) The total time once the mixture is in the jars and in the proofer is about 4-1/2 hours but if you want more tang leave it in longer.

Michael writes: Incredible! Creamy and luscious with the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. I entirely agree!

I may stop buying crème fraîche as well now that I have the perfect place to incubate it! All you need is 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of buttermilk. Ultra-pasteurized cream will take as long as 36 hours but plain pasteurized cream at 90˚F/32˚C usually takes 12 to 14 hours. I'm going to try 110˚F/43˚C. No need to heat the cream and buttermilk mixture before placing it in the jar(s).

My Favorite Waffle Makers

Nov 05, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cakes

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photo by Scott Hewitt

I love the ease of using an electric waffle iron but my one complaint has always been that the browning was uneven. Not any longer! I've discovered the Chef's Choice waffle irons and my waffling will never be the same again!

My favorite is the Taste-Texture Select Belgian Waffle Maker 850 because it enables me to make 4 waffles at a time and at record speed. It is also possible to adjust the setting to iproduce different degrees crispness. I love the crisp exterior/moist interior setting!

Chef's Choice M850 Taste-Texture Select WafflePro Belgian Waffle Maker

I also recommend the Classic Choice 852 pictured above which makes two waffles at a time.

Chef's Choice 852 Classic Wafflepro 2 Square Waffle Maker


Here is my newest waffle recipe I created for the holiday season.

Orange Waffles with Burst of Cranberry Topping

Serves: 4

These are the most ethereal waffles ever! I like to use the setting on the waffle iron that produces crisp exterior and moist tender interior. The waffles freeze perfectly and reheat in just a few minutes in a toaster or oven preheated to 300˚F/150˚C.

Burst of Cranberry Topping

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

volume

ounces

grams

water

1 cup

8 ounces

236 grams

sugar

1-1/2 cups

10.6 ounces

300 grams

cornstarch

3 tablespoons

1 ounce

28 grams

fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed

4 cups

14 ounces

400 grams

In a medium saucepan, stir together the water, sugar, cornstarch, and cranberries. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stop stirring, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 minute, swirling the pan occasionally. The mixture will be thickened but pourable. Keep it warm or reheat it before serving.

Waffle Batter

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

volume

ounces

grams

unsalted butter, softened

8 tablespoons

4 ounces

113 grams

bleached cake flour (or bleached all purpose flour)

2 cups (or 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off

8 ounces

227 grams

baking powder

4 teaspoons

.

.

salt

1/4 teaspoon

.

.

orange zest

1 tablespoon

-

-

2 large eggs

3 fluid ounces

3.5 ounces

100 grams

buttermilk

1 cup (8 fluid ounces)

8.5 ounces

242 grams

whole milk

1 cup (8 fluid ounces)

8.5 ounces

242 grams

Turn the oven to low (150˚F to 200˚F/65˚ to 95˚C). Heat the waffle iron to the desired temperature.

In a small saucepan over low heat, or microwave safe container, melt the butter. Allow it to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest until evenly blended.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and whole milk until well mixed. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a fork just until all the flour is moistened. Stir in the butter just until evenly blended. The batter should be lumpy.

Cook the waffles and remove them to the oven racks to keep warm until serving. Serve with the hot cranberry topping.

The Perfect Caramel Pot

Jun 18, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

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Those of you who are familiar with my work already know that caramel is one of my top favorite flavors and I try to work it into many recipes components. So it won't be surprisingly to learn that I have long been in search for the perfect caramel pot. And here it is! Scanpan Classic Ceramic Titanium 2-Quart Sauce Pan with Lid

It is the ideal size for almost all of my recipes. I wouldn't mind having a 1 quart as well as there are times when I make only a small quantity of caramel or sugar syrup.

Here is what I've been looking for in a caramel or sugar syrup pot:

A non-stick lining that can withstand heat up to 380˚F/193˚C--the maximum temperature to which I bring caramel. (ScanPan is safe up to 500F/260C!)The non-stick lining is important as sugar syrups and caramel risk crystallizing if scraped out of the pan. The scan pan releases every last smidgen of the sticky syrup.

A pouring spout on both sides of the pan for left and right handed pouring.

A pouring spout designed so that the syrup pours precisely where you want it to land without dripping onto the sides of the pan.

The ScanPan has it all!

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Aeroccino 3

Jun 06, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment


This is THE perfect milk foamer. The newest model not only foams quickly and perfectly, it is a breeze to clean and the jug is waterproof (though not dishwasher safe). My first review of an earlier model complained about the heated milk sticking to the base and burning in spots, but not this one! I'm so happy to abandon my hand held milk foamer so now I don't have to run back and forth to my microwave to heat the milk--it's all done automatically in the aeroccino. (My hand held foamer will be reserved for whipping small quantities of heavy cream.)

This is coming along with me together with my travel Nespresso pot to our upcoming trip to Lake George! Cappuccino Nivrvana!

My Favorite Cake Pan

May 28, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

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Recently, I was invited to talk about Bundt cakes on Martha Stewart's Serius Radio Show: Everyday Food with Sandy Gluck. As this is a subject dear to my heart, I'm sharing some of my thoughts with those of you who may have missed the show.

The word bundt, trademarked by Nordic Ware, comes from the German word meaning group. The original Bundt pan was cast iron and I actually saw it when I visited Nordic Ware in Minneapolis. A woman, coincidentally named Rose Levy, brought it over from Germany! She asked Nordic Ware if they could produce more of these pans and the rest is history. Nordic Ware fluted tube pans, aka Bundt, are made of cast aluminum. The ones I use the most often are the 10-1/2 cup size which comes in innumerable shapes. My top favorite is the Heritage pan with its graceful pinwheel-like swirls.

The word Bundt sounds rather heavy so many assume Bundt cakes are dense and weighty. But even a gossamer génoise can be made in this pan. The beauty of the pan is the center tube, which conducts the heat evenly from the center as well as the sides. The center tube also offers extra support making it possible even to use unbleached flour without risking collapse or dipping of the center of the cake. In short, it is a very forgiving pan.

Another major advantage of the Bundt pan is the beautiful decorative shape it imprints on the cake making it unnecessary to do anything more in the way of enhancement than a light glaze or sprinkle of powdered sugar or cocoa. When the cake is cut, the fluted edges make a lovely design and the slices can be cut thin and fanned on the plate for a spectacular presentation.

Yet another advantage is the depth of the pan if you want to bake a cakethat you can tunnel and fill. Deep pans without center tubes don't bake evenly so a Bundt pan is ideal.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for using a Bundt pan to its best advantage:
How to prepare the pan: Baker's Joy, which contains grease (lecithin) and flour, is ideal as it enables the cake to unmold with all the fancy designs intact. Spray an even coat into the pan and use a brush to remove any excess. Alternatively, coat the inside of the pan thoroughly with solid vegetable shortening, dust well with flour, preferably Wondra, invert the pan and knock out any excess flour.

How to get the most attractive top crust after unmolding: Dollop a third of the batter into the bottom of the pan and use the back of a large spoon to press it well into all the nooks and crannies. Then scrape in the rest of the batter.

How much to fill a Bundt pan: Fill it no more than 3/4 full (no more than 1-inch from top).

How to turn your favorite cake into a Bundt cake: Most recipes for butter cakes (not sponge cakes) will require 2-1/2 to 3 eggs. In place of 2-1/2 whole eggs you can use 2 eggs and 1 yolk. Another rule of thumb is to use a 2 to 2-1/2 cup flour formula. You can either adjust the recipe mathematically or just use the whole recipe and bake any excess batter as cupcakes.

How to prevent a dome from forming in the top of the cake: If you are adapting a cake that is designed for a layer cake pan you should increase the baking powder by about 1/2 teaspoon. This will help to level the cake. The reason it may dome is because the center tube offers more support to the cake's structure, but adding more baking powder will weaken it and result in a more level cake.

How long do Bundt cakes usually bake: For recipes requiring a 350˚F/175˚C baking temperature, most cakes bake between 45 to 55 minutes. If using an instant read thermometer it should read between 190˚ to 205˚F/88˚ to 96˚C.

Weigh to Bake Revisited--The Perfect Scales

May 03, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

I've already made my case for why weighing rather than measuring is so much more desirable and enjoyable. I know some people resist partly because they don't know which scale to choose, a good scale can be very expensive, and even relatively expensive scales designed for home use lack some important features of the professional laboratory scales.

Several years ago, a fellow blogger contacted me regarding a scale that he found more reliable and affordable than one I had mentioned on this blog. I promised to check it out and here are the happy results:

The MY WEIGH digital scales are the answer! the 3 scales most appropriate for baking are


and the i201 for weighing minute quantities such as baking powder, citrus zest, or yeast, and weighs up to 200 grams/7 ounces.

The KD-7000 and KD-8000scales weigh from 1 gram (0.1 ounce) to 7000 grams/7 kilograms/15.4 pounds, or 8000 grams/8 kilograms/17.6 pounds. (The model number refers to the maximum number of grams the scale is capable of weighing.)

The scales vary in price from $35 to $65.

Here's a company that invites consumer response and suggestions. The result is that there is finally an electronic scale for the home baker that can be operated by adaptor as well as battery and, what is most important: The automatic power-off can be disabled so that it doesn't inconveniently time-out when you're in the middle of weighing and got distracted for a few minutes (don't you just HATE when that happens!)

So many nice features: The scales are small and compact, not taking up much counter space; an adjustable-angle backlight timer with option for how long to stay lit; a hold option for large boxes that hide the display; and of course a tare option (removes the weight of the bowl and last ingredients added).

When I asked the owner of the company how they could keep the scales at so affordable a price and yet maintain such high standards of quality and exacting accuracy his answer was : "The prices are low because we believe in lower margin, higher volume sales. We also keep our costs extremely low by producing and distributing the scales ourselves!"

If everything in life were designed with such thoughtful integrity it would indeed be a perfect world.

check out www.myweigh.com
be sure to go to the section on how to select or choose the right kitchen scale to compare the features of the models i mentioned.

Plastic Wrap and Wrapping Dispensers

Mar 26, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in New Products

The one activity that I perform all day long in the kitchen (not including cleaning up) is wrapping or covering ingredients and baked goods with plastic wrap. I also use plastic wrap for myriad other things including rolling pie dough, and covering cookie dough when rolling it to keep it from cracking. I use thicker freezer-weight plastic wrap for storing things in the freezer to prevent freezer burn.

I've written on this blog about my favorite plastic wraps, stretch-tite and the wider, thicker, freeze-tite.

The stretch-tite company also offers simple slide bars that slip onto the cutting edge of the plastic wrap boxes to make cutting off a piece of plastic wrap in one smooth piece safe, and easy.

If counter space is at a premium, and you prefer to keep your plastic wrap in a kitchen cabinet drawer, there is now a brilliant solution! Blogger Wendy C. recently posted about a terrific new device, cleverly called Wraptor Teeth. It was designed by Hank Elash and marketed by him, his wife Sandee, and family out of Vancouver, BC.

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Wraptor Teeth is a one-piece molded plastic bar with teeth on the top that quickly, easily, and securely slips onto the side of a cabinet drawer varying from 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4". It accommodates a standard size box of plastic wrap and makes it possible to leave the box in the drawer and to use two hands to pull out a sheet of plastic wrap, which helps to keep it flat. It also works for wax paper, parchment, and foil. The plastic teeth are sharp enough to cut through the wrap but not so sharp as to cut your fingers.

Check out their site and YouTube Video and, like me, you probably won't be able to resist purchasing a set of two or more.

Little Did I Know.....

Feb 19, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

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KitchenAid KHB100ER Hand Blender, Empire Red


When I received the Kitchen Aid immersion blender several years ago, I'm sad to say it suffered the same fate (albeit temporary) as did the Cuisinart 34 years ago. It's so easy to take the lazy route and stick with the familiar rather than to learn new skills. So I hung it from the door where I'd be sure to see it and inevitably it became part of the scenery. I forgot about it for several years thinking if ever I wanted to purée soup in the pan I'd bring it forth. But this past week, when testing a one quarter recipe, and needing to whip just 1 egg white and 1/2 cup heavy cream I suddenly realized just how ideal the immersion blender would be for small quantities. I was so delighted to see that in addition to sharp little chopping blades, it came with two whisk attachments so I wouldn't have to worry about thoroughly washing the one used for the whipped cream before beating the egg whites. I also was so pleased at how easily these attachments fit into the silverware basket of my dishwasher.

The immersion blender is now set in a place of honor reserved for indispensable kitchen tools. And I know what I'm going to reach for next time I have to chop fresh herbs.

After something like the 10th test of a new recipe I decided to do a really minute amount requiring only 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Light bulb moment: my favorite device for foaming milk for capuccino: the aerolatte! An added bonus here is that when the cream thickened perfectly the increased thickness caused the aerolatte to stop, ie no risk of over-whipping and turning the cream to butter!

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Aerolatte 1 Stainless-Steel Deluxe Edition Frother with Stand, Chrome


This could start a new trend in looking at all my equipment with a "what else could it do?" mind set!

Cook's Illustrated Seal of Approval

Dec 19, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

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I'm pleased to report that the January/February 2011 issue of Cook's Illustrated, page 25, listed my Rose's Heavenly Cake Strip as their "pick."

Seeing Through Things!

Dec 18, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

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The Glass Bottom Pan

Everyone loves springform pans for baking cheesecake and other cakes that require higher than 2-inch high sides. The main advantage of a springform is the ease in unmolding a cake thanks to the clamping mechanism that can be released to open up the sides of the pan. However, we have encountered two problems with the majority of springforms relating to removing a clean slice of cheesecake:

1. Most springform pans have lipped bottoms which makes it very difficult to slip a knife or spatula between the crust of the cakes and straight across the surface of the pans' bottoms.

2. Most springform pan bottoms have pebbled or diamond-like surfaces which cookie and graham cracker crusts will conform and adhere to during baking, preventing them from releasing when serving.

Wilton has solved both problems most elegantly and effectively with their Avanti glass bottom springform pans. The pans have their Everglide non-stick 2-3/4 inch tall metal side rings with perfectly flat 9 by 1/8-inch thick glass bottoms. These class bottoms are interchangeable with all five series of spring form pans in their line. Another advantage to the glass bottoms is that cakes can be left on them for serving which makes for a lovely presentation.

Woody and I tested the Avanti using both dental floss and a thin sharp knife to cut the cheesecake. Woody baked a marble cheesecake in a waterbath as my method treats cheesecakes as custards for the creamiest possible texture. A double layer of heavy-duty foil prevented any water from leaking into the pan. The chilled cake was then sliced and plated.

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DENTAL FLOSS EASILY CUTS TO THE GLASS BOTTOM

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SPATULA CAN SLIDE UNDER THE CRUST

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A SLICE AFTER CUTTING WITH A KNIFE

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CLEANLY SLICED MARBLE CHEESECAKE

Wilton's Avanti pan worked beautifully for slicing with the dental floss and for serving clean slices. Even though it has a glass bottom, Wilton recommends the same baking times as for a pan with a metal bottom, rather than the usual lowering of the heat by 25˚F (glass transmits heat more rapidly). This is because the water bath equalizes the temperature and when baking without a water bath, it is always recommended to place all springform pans on a metal baking sheet to prevent leaking. In this case the metal baking sheet will also serve to conduct the heat in the same manner as a pan with a metal bottom.

The Avanti springform pan is dishwasher safe. It is available on the web and at several retailers. Wilton Avanti Everglide Metal-Safe Non-Stick Springform Pan with Glass Bottom

Blue Bottle Coffee Comes to Brooklyn!

Dec 17, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

You may remember my posting on my favorite coffee in San Francisco and the marvelous party Caitlin and James Freeman held last April for my new book and their new roastery in Oakland, Ca. Well, now this amazingly wonderful coffee has come much closer to home! And this past Tuesday was the opening of the pastry café adjoining the roastery. Tuesday happened to be the coldest day of the year with temperatures in the teens. But this didn't seem to keep the residents of Williamsburg, Bklyn away. Here is the youngest fan who is enjoying the wonderful smells of coffee brewing.

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Caitlin has the most exquisite taste, both visually and gustatorially! I've always found s'mores too sweet but not these.

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The sweetness of the marshmallows was tempered by "Moonshine Whiskey" from a local distillery. And the graham crackers were made with local whole wheat and local honey. I broke off a piece of one just to taste and ended by eating the whole cracker. Here's Caitlin doing the same!

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James made me a cappuccino using an antique coffee maker from Italy that he unearthed in someone's basement. The coffee was as usual: perfection!

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He also will be making coffee using this special drip apparatus from Japan.

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I noticed a customer purchasing a ceramic coffee/spice mill Caitlin had told me about, saying that the entire mill can be put in a dishwasher and retains no odors so it can be used for both coffee beans and spices. Of course I had to have one! This Hario Skerton Hand-crank Coffee Mill also comes from Japan.
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The Freemans are flavor missionaries, always seeking out the best quality ingredients and the results show it. I peeked at the milk container and sure enough: my newly discovered in upstate NY Battenkill milk!

If you live near by you are most fortunate but for Manhattanites it's just a short subway ride--the first stop in Bklyn on the L line, and for visitors to NY it's well-worth the pilgrimage. Williamsburg has become a destination and Blue Bottle will have a happy home here: 160 Berry Street, corner of 7th in Williamsburg.

Be a Better Baker!

Nov 08, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

Weighing is my much preferred method of measuring ingredients rather than volume measure. I have advocated this for many years and it is how we test all of our recipes.

Several months ago, the manufacturer of the Eatsmart scale offered to send me a scale that he was confident would meet my needs for accuracy and affordability for my bloggers. Always ready to investigate new equipment Woody and I put the scale through its paces. Although our first choice is still the My Weigh KD8000 scale (see below for reasons) we want to encourage people to weigh ingredients and if the tipping point is affordability then we also whole-heartedly recommend the Eatsmart.


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PROS: Although small in size it can weigh up to 11 pounds/5 kilograms in ounces, pounds, grams, or kilograms. It tested accurate to 1 gram even when weighing above 7 pounds. It also features easy two button operation.

Other features are a tare function as well as a 3 minute auto-turnoff. The scale's compact size makes it convenient to stay on the counter or tuck into a drawer.

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CONS Its drawbacks compared to the My Weigh scale are: its compact size can make it hard to read with a large mixing bowl or cake pan, non backlit screen, and only battery operation. The auto-turnoff function can be a nuisance if you are weighing multiple items and you forget to touch the scale before each 3 minute deadline to keep it active.

Priced at most stores and websites for under $25.00, this scale makes it very hard to justify measuring by volume rather than weighing, which will help to make you the best baker you can be.

THE Best Cookie Cutters Bar None

Feb 27, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements


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Those of you who have seen my Christmas Cookie book know how much I value my collection of amazing cookie cutters from Hammer Song. These cookies are so exquisitely crafted they even reside in the Smithsonian.

Recently, Betsy Cukla of Hammer Song sent me a photo of some of her new cookie cutters with Easter themes illustrating the imaginative way one can decorate them. Under the photo is written: "cookie cutters to make you laugh, cry, giggle or remember" Yes indeed!

Betsy also offers cookie decorating classes. e-mail her at: hammersongtin@centurytel.net

You an also order the cutters directly from her.

My Favorite Essential Baking Tool

Dec 26, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

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Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (Pink) Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking

Wondering how best to spend your holiday gift money? Let me make a suggestion!

Recently, I have given many press interviews on the new book and one of the questions that pops up with great frequency is: what is the one piece of equipment without which I could not bake well? My answer is always that it must be two. On a regular basis, I talk about my strong preference for weighing ingredients as opposed to measuring them by volume, and my favorite scale which is the MyWeigh.

http://www.myweigh.com/scales/medium-scales/kd7000-professional

---But in a pinch I could bake using measuring cups (perish the thought!) However, when it comes to the all-important temperature control of ingredients and mixtures such as syrups, I cannot live without a thermometer and it must be an accurate one.

I have found the fastest and most reliable thermometer to be the Thermapen.


And they have recently come up with a new model that is even a faster--3 to 5 seconds, and is also accurate to 0.7˚F/0.4˚C--whereas the original model and only brands read to only whole numbers. The new Thermapoen even comes with a certificate of calibration.

Another important improvement is that it is now "splash-proof"--desirable in a kitchen environment.

In instances where you are working with a very shallow liquid, this thermometer requires a mere 1/8 inch immersion to read accurately. (Inexpensive candy thermometers can require as much as a 2 inch immersion even to approach accuracy.)

If you love to bake you deserve this thermometer. And treat it as the jewel it is, i.e. don't toss it into your kitchen tool drawer--gently and reverently place it in a spot where it doesn't get knocked around and is always at the ready.

Heavenly Cake Strip in Canada

Nov 13, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

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Forgot to mention on the Montréal posting that the cake strips are carried by Ares:
http://www.arescuisine.com

Brown Rice Pearls

Sep 05, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Savory Cooking

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I have long loved the nutty flavor of brown rice but preferred the firm unexploded texture of white. I suspected/hoped that if cooked correctly, the texture of brown rice could approach that of white. (I never expected it could rival it!) This has led me to a many month-long exploration of different cooking methods and in the process I have actually seduced/converted a passionately resistant Chinese devotée of white rice—our very own Hector Wong.

I promised him brown rice “like pearls with each grain exquisitely separate.” How could he resist trying? Here was his immediate response: “It is really pearly heaven, each kernel pops between my teeth like popcorn, so fun. I love brown rice NOW, you have converted me. It is like having fried rice but sans all the frying oil and soy sauce!”

Before posting the method we wanted to make sure it would work in all types of rice cookers. We both went through pounds of brown rice trying every variable we could think of, verifying that indeed it is the case that different rice cookers produce different results. Not to worry—it’s mostly a question of adjusting the amount of water to suit your taste. (Please note that Hector pointed out if increased the recipe the water should not be increased proportionately, i.e. if doubling the rice, the water should be increased by perhaps 1 3/4 times instead of double but he is working out a more exact amount and will post it.)

Continue reading " Brown Rice Pearls" »

A Great Source for Bannetons

Aug 06, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

My wonderful friend David Shamah, who over the years has introduced me to all sorts of culinary treasures, has unearthed this terrific source for an often hard to find item for bread baking.

Bannetons, also called wicker baskets, are used for shaping bread dough while they are rising to give them extra support. I prefer the ones lined with coarse woven cloth.

Here's the link: http://www.sfbi.com/baking_supplies.html

Terrific New Discovery Just in Time for the Pie Baking Season

Jun 06, 2009 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

We all know that they best way to keep pie dough from sticking to the surface while rolling it out is to keep it cool. But unless you have a refrigerated marble top, chill down your marble or granite counter, or use the Kuhn Rikkon plastic box like device into which you can insert ice packs, the chances are that it will soften to some degree while rolling.

The best temperature for the dough is 60 to 65˚F/15 to 18˚C. Colder and it cracks, warmer and it sticks so speed is of the essence here.

I’m always looking for the ideal way to prevent sticking and avoid adding too much extra flour to the dough. Up until I discovered the "magic dough mat" I swore by the pastry cloth and sleeve into which you rub flour allowing the to dough pick up only the bare minimum it requires.

When I saw the dough mat described in an industry equipment magazine I was skeptical but ordered one to check it out. I was stunned to discover that unless the dough really softens it virtually prevents sticking.

Note: It’s always a good idea when rolling the dough to move it from time to time to ensure that it will release and if it seems to be getting a little resistant, to sprinkle on a little flour. I prefer Wondra, as it’s slightly coarse texture makes it wonderfully slippery and less is needed.

The dough mat has a slightly adhesive bottom surface, which keeps it from slipping on the counter. The top surface has all manner of useful information such as guide rings for different size doughs and lots of metric equivalencies including volume and temperature. It rolls up for easy storage.

The dough mat is carried by some cookware shops or can be ordered on line from http://www.cooking.com or directly from the manufacturer for about $20 plus shipping.

http://www.magicslice.com Put the words dough mat in the search box.

Eating Crispy Cumulous Clouds

Aug 19, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Savory Cooking

That’s what they look like to me—those little implosions of corn kernels.

There is a child-like magic when watching the hard little yellow kernels pop and change form and color. It makes me think of all the great things that come in small packages that hide beautiful things within like buds that overnight become leaves or flowers, eggs that in moments crack open to reveal little baby birds. And in the Cuisinart popcorn popper you can witness the miracle through a clear plastic container. At first the simple wire device on the stirring plate moves the kernels slowly around and at about 3 minutes the first kernels start popping. They all pop in less than 7 minutes. If you don’t finish all the popcorn in one sitting, it can be recrisped in a 350ºF/17ºC. oven for about 10 minutes and it’s just like fresh-popped.

Continue reading "Eating Crispy Cumulous Clouds" »

My Rescue Pot!

Mar 22, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

Two of my favorite neighbors have just moved but in the process have left me a real treasure. One day when I was emptying the trash in the incinerator room I found a discarded cast iron Dutch oven that clearly had been used for many a camping trip. It was rusted in spots and had layers of encrusted baked on scuzz on others but i quickly scooped it up along with its equally dismal lid and brought it to Hope for a new life.
I followed the very good instructions on the Lodge website: www.lodgemfg.com to reseason it, first using steel wool to remove the rust. After the first treatment the pot was still not as black or smooth as I had hoped so remembering how I preheat my cast iron pots at 450ºF/232ºC for an hour before baking the "no knead bread" and how beautifully seasoned the pan becomes I decided to give it a second go. The results were spectacular as you can see for yourself!


Purchasing My Products

Nov 14, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose's Products

There have been many requests regarding where my products can be found.

U.S. Orders:
If you purchase from Amazon, a small amount of the purchase prices goes directly to me:
Rose's Heavenly Cake Strips
Rose's Perfect Pie Plate
Rose's Sweetheart Crème Brûlée Set

These also will be permanent links on the main page of the blog under equipment.

International Orders:
If Amazon carries an item, they will ship out of the U.S., but if Amazon is temporarily out of stock, and routes you to another purveyor, it is unlikely that they are set up to ship abroad at the present time.

Rose’s Heavenly Cake Strip

Jul 25, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

I’m thrilled to report that after working extensively with the wonderful silicone bakeware of Lékué I have come to understand the advantages of its properties so well I was inspired to create my first silicone product—a silicone cake strip! It works like a charm and it’s everything I wanted it to be.

The strip fits a 9 inch round or 8 inch square pan. It is quick and easy to attach—NO PREPPING—You simply turn the pan upside down and slip it around the sides. It then works to insulate the sides of a metal cake pan, slowing down baking at the sides of the cake. You can even use it for a 10 inch round pan if you run the strip under hot tap water or wave a hair drier over it to make stretching it easier for the larger size pan. it will return to it's original size on cooling.

It produces better cakes:
* more even
* less doming
* less shrinking from sides
* less browning and drying of sides

Other advantages:

* it stays like new for years
* is dishwasher safe
* is oven safe up to 500°F/260°C.

(Do not subject to direct heat such as a flame or broiler)

Harold Import Company is the distributor for the cake strip. It will be in retail stores by Fall and I will list an on-line order site as soon as it’s available.

Coffee Mystique

Jul 15, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

those of you who have read my postings about coffee will already know that it ranks as my all time top beverage and that i devote an unusually great proportion of my time to making it, drinking it, and thinking about it.

there is something that coffee, tea, and perhaps wine have in common: even with the same exact ingredients and equipment, they do not taste the same in different locations!

my husband noticed this with tea when he first came from toronto to ny. when i was revising the cake bible for the UK edition i adored the tea in london so much i stopped drinking coffee . i brought the tea back to ny and it just wasn’t the same. my husband even had brought back the water from toronto so though that seems like the obvious common denominator of tea quality failure—it wasn’t.

when it comes to my beloved coffee, i’ve tried many machines plus ny water, and my favorite brands of coffee and it was never the same (i.e. as good) as drinking it in ny.

so the question remains—is it something in the air? can it be that i require a deep inhalation of ny pollution to achieve coffee nirvana?

Continue reading "Coffee Mystique" »

Hector Was Right!

Mar 31, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

hector posted an interesting idea regarding the aeroccino milk foaming device i recommended in a former posting, and i finally got around to trying it. the BEST foam i've ever achieved and such a simple solution as the best ones usually tend to be:

put the device in the frig to chill before foaming the milk! yes!!!

and now for a little science along with your capuccino:

cream needs to be high in fat and cold to whip well and stay stable without watering out, the firm and well-dispursed fat molecules support the foam.

heated milk for capuccino, however, foams most effectively with low fat milk, as when warmed the fat softens and weighs down the foam, preventing aeration.

I Flipped My Lid

Jan 22, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose in Savory Cooking

Having fallen in love with my new cast iron pots with the intended use of baking bread, I found myself gazing admiringly at the lids when inspiration struck. Why not cook on the inverted lids ?! And why not borrow the technique of preheating them from the no knead bread recipe?

So I preheated the lid with the oven to 450ºF./230ºC. tossed some quartered little potatoes and a few mushrooms with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

The lid handle fits right through the opening in the oven rack keeping the lid stable. After about 30 minutes, turn the potatoes and remove the mushrooms. Sprinkle the potatoes with chopped garlic and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are browned and tender.

My Favorite Plastic Wrap Now in D'Agostino's!

Jul 28, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

how wonderful--no need to pray for a cosco to open in new york to get stretch-tite: it's now being carried by d'agostino's.

At Last: A Terrific Affordable Thermometer

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

When it comes to baking, the three most critical factors to ensure the best results are the quality of the ingredients, the quantity of the ingredient (I prefer weight to volume) and the temperature. For the latter, it’s often useful to have a thermometer but if it’s not an accurate one it’s better to use none at all. You can get away without one for most baking but when it comes to sugar syrups it is almost essential. And it’s reassuring when baking bread to know for sure when it’s reached the proper internal temperature. For roasting or grilling I can’t begin to imagine doing without a thermometer.

Since mercury thermometers for use in the kitchen were banned by the FDA I’ve been searching for a viable replacement that would be both accurate and affordable. I love infra-red for surface temperature such as the inside of the oven, the freezer or frig, but have not found the ones that also include probes adequately reliable for internal temperatures. For these uses I can now recommend the CDN Pro Accurate™ Quick Tip™ Digital Cooking Thermometer on a Rope Model Q2-450 that I’ve been testing since the Chicago Housewares Show a few months ago. I’m pleased to report that tested against my old reliable mercury thermometer it is as accurate and possibly even faster. This is now the one that I pull out with the most regularity, probably because it’s so handy in design and so extraordinarily easy to use. Since I’m not working with large volumes, I especially appreciate the “quick tip” feature--the sensor is in the tip of the probe so it doesn’t require the usual deep immersion to get an accurate reading (No more tilting of the pot!). There are so many useful features I’ll list them here:

Temperature Range: -40 to 450˚F, -40 to 230˚C ±1/2 ˚
Waterproof
Self calibrating
One button operation (easy to turn on and off but auto turn-off after 10 minutes)
Big digit readout
Data hold (locks reading on display for use in low light conditions)
Hangs on a rope
Suggested retail price under $20

The company also offers a 23-page booklet on “temperature and thermometer tips” at www.cdnw.com or by mail if you send a stamped self-addressed envelope to:
CDN Customer Service
PO Box 10947
Portland, OR 97296

Check out their site for other useful thermometers such as one specific to grilling. I haven’t tried it out yet but the outdoor grilling season is just beginning so stay tuned!

The Two by Four of Cake Pans

Apr 29, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

We’re all familiar with the concept and it’s so omnipresent we’ve all but accepted that when a piece of lumber is called a two by four it refers literally to what it once had been and NOT what it is now. Just in case you don’t know, it’s not bigger, it’s smaller. And having succeeded in gaining the mute acceptance of the American public, other areas of industry have followed suit. Think of all the money this is saving them, shaving off pieces of wood. It’s become a metaphor for clever merchandising (read cheating the public and getting away with it).

Although I detest the concept on principal, it doesn’t directly affect me when it comes to many things but when it comes to cake pans, my most vital piece of equipment for cake baking, it makes me MAD.

When I create a recipe for a 9 inch by 2 inch high pan whose volume is 8 2/3 cups and people find 9 inch pans that actually are 8 1/2 inches at the bottom and just under 9 inches at the top, the recipe will overflow the pan. I’ve taken to saying how much to fill the pan (with most batters no more than 2/3 full). Also a slope-sided pan is an extreme inconvenience when you stack one layer on top of the other and hope for even sides to ice.

So when you go shopping for cake pans (or pie plates for that matter) carry a tape measure with you. Being the daughter of a cabinet maker my first toy was an industrial wooden fold out ruler, and I still remember the cute little bronze mini measure that slid out from the end—of course it was my favorite part. I would never leave the house without my own purse size version.

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.

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.

Making a Cake in a Different Size Cake Pan

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

DIANNE QUESTION

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?

ROSE REPLY

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.

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.

Cheesecake Containers

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

IRINA QUESTION

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,

ROSE REPLY

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 to mind from la cuisine.

thank you for your appreciation and encouragement!

Using the Right Size and Type of Pan

Feb 11, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

JULIE QUESTION

Feedback: The last few times I've tried to make lemon bars they come out all wrong. Instead of a pale yellow soft filling, I get a brown crusty thin layer.

Is it because I'm using a glass pan? The pan is 9x9 instead of 7x11, but I can't see that making such a huge difference.

ROSE REPLY

this is an excellent question julie because many people think that the exact pan size and type aren't important and you have demonstrated perfectly just why it is!

first: when a recipe that has always worked suddenly stops working you must think hard about what you are doing differently or what might have changed. in this instance it is the pan type and size. and here's why it isn't working:
glass is transparent so heat enters it more quickly. therefore when using glass bakeware, set the oven temperature 25 degrees lower.

but what is equally significant, especially to the lemon curd topping, is that since it is a slightly larger pan, there is a thinner layer of the lemon curd so this also causes it to cook faster and the sugar in it is carmelizing and turning brown.

Silicone Baking Pans

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

JEAN QUESTION

Dear Rose,

I have an older copy of your "The Cake Bible" that was written before
the advent and proliferation of the silicon baking pans. In general,
what changes to the baking process should I consider if I use these pans?

Thanks,

ROSE REPLY

There are actually very few changes necessary. It is important to realize, however, that no substance on earth that I know of is 100% non-stick. Because silicone happens to be the most nonstick substance, if it is prepared properly (with oil and flour) it will release the cake perfectly with no crust stuck to the pan.

It is best to allow the cake to cool in the pan on a rack until warm or room temperature before unmolding it.

Deep fluted tube pans, as they are now, do not conduct the heat well to the center of the cake and may require as long as 20 minutes extra baking. But this is a relatively new technology and is continuing to evolve. For small cakes and the standard 9 x 2 inch cake I feel silicone has no equal. The cakes rise more evenly, with no need to wrap the sides of the pans with cake strips, and the texture is lighter and more even though the actual height of the cake is slightly lower.

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

Layer Cakes Rising Higher Than the Pan

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in General

GUY QUESTION

Hi rose! I love your book.

The issue I'm having is that in your Book The Cake Bible, you say to use 9 inch x 1 1/2 inch round pans for making the All Occasion Downey Yellow Butter Cake. I followed your instructions to the letter. The layers rose above the tops of the cake pans. Did I do something wrong? Should I just be using the 9x2 inch pans instead?

Thank you!

ROSE REPLY

It's okay if layer cakes rise a little above the sides of the pan as the structure can still support it. The real indication is if the finished height after unmolding is the same as I specified. The batter may be a little too much for the 1 1/2" high pan but it is not enough for the 2 inch high pans.

Small Measuring Spoons

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

JENNIFER QUESTION

Feedback: Hi..how do you measure 1/4 and 1/8 teaspoons without a scale? I have the bread bible and wanted to make something that has 1/4 teaspoon yeast.Is there a place where i can buy odd size teaspoons, if so where? Thank you...p.s I love your work.

ROSE REPLY

The one quarter teaspoon measure is available as part of the standard set but the one eighth is not usually. There is however a delightful little set of measuring spoons called a pinch, a dash, a smidgen. It's available at Crate and Barrel.

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!

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

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

A Clever Idea for Weighing Ingredients

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

WOODY COMMENT


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.

ROSE REPLY

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!

Silicone Pans

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

KAY QUESTION

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

ROSE REPLY

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.

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.

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:
i am so entranced by silicone that i now represent (am spokesperson for) Lékué silicone of spain. the cake layer is 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.

How to Get a Crisp Brown Bottom Pie Crust

Nov 20, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

RONI QUESTION

I love to bake and have done so successfully for many years. The one thing I can't seem to do is to get a bottom pie crust to brown. I have used a Pyrex pie pan, a Pampered Chef ceramic pan, a French ceramic pan and a shiny metal pan. I have tried a number of pie crust recipes, too! Please help..Thanksgiving is coming, and I always make an apple pie. Thanks

ROSE REPLY

i feel strongly that if a bottom pie crust is soggy there is no point in having more than a top crust on the pie! i addressed this in my book "the pastry bible" where i give the technique for juicy pies of letting the fruit sit with the sugar to leach out the juices and then reduce them and return them to the fruit. this way you only need to use about one-third of the thickening agent which results in a more pure fruit taste and you won't be left with a pool of fruit juices on the bottom of a soggy crust after baking the pie.

but this alone will not brown the crust. to achieve this, i bake the pie directly on the floor of the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking and then raise it to the bottom shelf. different ovens bake differently so you may need to leave it on the floor of the oven for a longer time. the best way to find out is to use a pyrex plate the first time you do this so you can see through it and gauge when sufficient browning has taken place. if your oven is electric and has coils on the bottom, the best alternative is to use a baking stone on the lowest shelf and preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes to ensure that it is heated fully.

i have recently designed and produced a special pie plate that is ceramic with deeply fluted sides to create a beautiful border effortlessly. it also does a great job of even browning of the bottom crust. it also has my favorite pie crust recipe decaled permanently into the bottom inside of the plate.
you can view it on www.laprimashops.com

Preventing Bread Dough from Flattening During Baking

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

HARRIET QUESTION
Your book has turned me into a regular baker of bread. I now make all the bread we eat. Your recipes are clear and I learned and enjoyed reading about the process. Thank you for such a wonderful book.

My question: The free-form breads rise well for the initial rising. When I shape them, they spread rather than rise and the finished bread tastes wonderful, has good crumb but is wider than it is tall.

What can I do to make the breads tall? It's too late for me to be tall but it would be wonderful if my breads are.

Thank you for any help you can offer. I'd like to know how to make my free form breads tall rather than wide?

ROSE REPLY
thank you harriet--i also can't imagine ever buying a loaf of bread again except, perhaps, out of curiosity.

free form breads do have a tendency to spread sideways after the final shaping. the advantage to making them free form however is that they will have a more open crumb. if this is what you desire, you will need to have a soft, moist, dough which will tend to spread more than a stiffer dough.

to help counteract this problem, bakers use special floured bannetons or even colanders lined with floured towels which give the dough support during the final shaped rise. to keep the dough from spreading further in the oven, it is important to use a baking stone and well-preheated oven so that the dough has what is called "oven spring." one final suggestion is to use the la cloche bread baker which restricts the spreading of the dough as it contains it but you'll need to make a large enough loaf to fill the container. oh--you might also try using a higher protein flour. of course you'll get a chewier crumb but it will also be stronger and spread less. for really tall breads try the stud muffin which bakes in a soufflé dish that supports the sides, or a bread baked in a loaf pan.

Hope this helps and delighted by your success.

Appropriate Mixer Speeds for Bread

Nov 19, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Bread Questions

Hi Rose,

I am an experienced home cook (actually a "foodie"), but not a baker, who is finally ready to tackle yeast breads. Over the years I have avoided yeast breads due to lack of time and patience. Truth be told, yeast dough intimidates me! I have purchased a new Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer (5 quart). I've also armed myself with your recent book, "The Bread Bible" and am ready to venture into the area of dough using starters or bigas.

However, I do have one initial concern and that has to do with the speed at which the dough is mixed. On page 50 in your book, you recommend using speed #4 on a Kitchen Aid for kneading dough (speed #2 if a stiff dough). The instruction manual which came with my KA mixer states in several places NOT to go beyond speed #2 when mixing yeast dough's.

So my question is: With your vast experience, is it possible to indeed mix yeast dough at speed #4 or should I follow the instruction manual and never exceed speed #2? Secondly, what qualifies a "stiff dough"? Kitchen Aid doesn't seem to qualify, i.e., the manual offers the caveat for mixing "yeast dough" in general not to exceed speed #2.

I've read your book through, now I look forward to using it as intended. I've also enjoyed your PBS series in its entirety, "Baking Magic with Rose Levy Beranbaum". You are, indeed, a wonderful instructor and a great source of inspiration. I hope to make beautiful baguettes with your help. Thanks for all you do.

Sincerely,
Penny

dear penny,
this is a very important question that several people have asked since the book first cake out. It is my understanding (and practice) that kitchen aid recommends no higher than speed #2 because if the dough is stiff it wil, over time,l wear out the motor. for many doughs, however, using speed #2 would require extremely long beating in order to develop the gluten adequately--maybe as long as 20 minutes, during which you should never walk away from the mixer as it could fall off the counter. I think it is necessary to trust one's judgement here. a bagel, for example, is a dry, stiff dough, and if you used a high speed you would actually hear the motor straining. if ever you hear this sound you will recognize it and should immediately lower the speed.

I hope you enjoy your adventures in bread baking. as I'm working on a new cake book, I am enjoying baking cakes but sneak in an occasional bread just because I love making it so much.

best baking,
rose

Weigh to Bake

Oct 27, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Notes

i can't imagine life without a counter-top scale to weigh ingredients!. if i wrote books or recipes just for myself i wouldn't even include cup measurements. while I'm going out on a limb i might as well admit that given my druthers i would use only the metric system. it's so much easier, faster, and more reliable. can you imagine how crazy-making it is to create and proof all those charts in my books that list each ingredient in volume, ounces and grams! but i've got to cater to those resistant to weighing because as far as i'm concerned, it's better to bake by volume than not to bake at all. and baking makes me happy so i want to share it with everyone.

bakers are born, not made. we are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection. the rewards of this discipline go beyond providing absolute sensory pleasure. there is also a feeling of magic and alchemy that comes from starting with ingredients that don't remotely resemble the delicious magnificence of the final result.


Continue reading "Weigh to Bake" »

Product Line: Rose Levy Bakeware

Oct 15, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose in Equipment

I'm pleased to announce my association with Harold Import Company. Harold Import is distributing my new line called Rose Levy Bakeware™.

Rose Levy Bakeware™ represents my vision for the ideal bakeware that has been brewing in my imagination for years. I'm proud to offer these new design concepts for you to enjoy in your home.

Rose's Perfect Pie Plate
Rose's Perfect Pie Plate is the first product to be developed and I am very proud of it. It has a deeply scalloped border which effortlessly creates a beautiful crimped crust. Also available is Rose's Sweetheart Crème Brulée. Recipes for my favorite pie crust and three variations of crème brulée are below.

If you are a member of the trade, please contact Harold Import. If you are a consumer, look for Rose Levy Bakeware™ at fine kitchen and gourmet food stores near you. It is also available on line at CyberPantry.com, Fantes.com, and LaPrimaShops.com

Continue reading "Product Line: Rose Levy Bakeware" »

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