gingerbread recipe in “Rose’s Christmas Cookies”
Posted: 17 November 2007 03:48 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi

I have difficulty with the gingerbread recipe on page 191 of the “Roses Christmas Cookie” book. This recipe is the almost the same as the one for gingerbread boys except it uses less butter and no eggs. I find the dough much too dry. In fact I get crumbs rather than any sort of dough. I weigh my ingredients. I use organic unbleached white flour .  I live in Canada. Is the flour significantly different here? I am an accomplished baker and I’ve had no trouble with other recipes in this book.
The ratio of butter to flour in the recipe is 4 ounces butter to 15 ounces flour.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks

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Posted: 17 November 2007 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I remember discussions of this sort of thing on other forums, and IIRC, yes, there are differences between Canadian and US flours.

Here’s a link to a discussion I remembered on the Cooking light forums. It’s a few years old, but I’m guessing it’s still relevant.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I read a bit of this recipe, and it seems to be a dough that dries out easily and is difficult to roll—I assume this is meant for a display and not to eat really (although it might be edible), so it is probably pretty durable.  But it sounds like from your post that you can’t even get it to form a dough.  The only other thing I can think of is the dark brown sugar, which contains more moisture that most other types of sugar.  Are you using dark brown and is it fresh?  As brown sugar ages, it loses moisture content.  You might consider replacing it with white sugar and extra molasses just to make sure you have the moisture content spot on.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Did you check the Book Errata page on Rose’s blog?  I don’t have my cookie book in front of me, but it’s possible there might be a correction for that recipe.

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I make this almost daily between Thanksgiving and Christmas - so I remember the recipe. It’s 15oz all purpose flour; 1tsp baking soda, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp nutmeg; 1/2 tsp cloves; 5.5 oz molasses; 6.25 oz dark brown sugar, 1 large egg, 6 oz butter. You mix the butter and sugar, add molasses and egg; then the flour and spices (I may not have the measurement accurate for the nutmeg and cloves).  I multiply this by 10 for the batch sizes we use in the bakeshop.

For me, I roll this out immediately on parchment sheets and store them in the walk in cooler overnight and cut/bake the next day. By rolling on parchment, I can use less flour but I notice that this recipe wants to use more flour on occasion.  I use Gold Medal all purpose for this (I use a lot of King Arthur flour for other stuff, but have the best results with Gold Medal for cookies). The dough comes out beautifully.  The only time I have a problem is with lumps in the sugar or if the butter doesn’t incorporate well at the bottom of the mixer bowl.

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Posted: 27 November 2007 10:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think the dryness may be because you are using unbleached flour. The recipe calls for bleached flour. As Rose and others have mentioned, unbleached flour tends to absorb more water than bleached. I guess you could reduce the flour just a little bit or add a little more liquid…

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Posted: 28 November 2007 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I noticed the original poster has the ratio of butter to flour as 4 oz to 15 oz; it should be 6 oz butter to 15 oz flour.  I am confused about the reference to less butter and no eggs so this could be part of the problem.

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Posted: 28 November 2007 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hi Jeanne,

There are two recipes for gingerbread in the Rose Levy Beranbaum book. The one I am referring to is the one used to make the gingerbread house at the back of the book. It contains no eggs and less butter for structural strength. I believe my problem is that the flour I used was unbleached and therefore contains more protein and the recipe specifies bleached flour.

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