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Why Real Baking?
Posted: 03 February 2010 12:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have been reading (okay studying) a lot of the older posts on this forum.  On Rose’s blog she reveals she grew up without a baking tradition and first attemted with a cherry pie.  What started you?  What was your journey?  How did you arrive here? 

My grandmother was a great baker.  I watched her when I was young, but had few lessons. 

I started baking cookies in 6th grade.  Most of my learning came from cookbooks.  I own a ridiculous amount of them.  I do not remember when I started cakes but not more than 15 years.  I primarily did cookies, pie crust and yeast rolls.

I am famous among friends and acquaintances for my five flavor pound cake, sweet potatoe cake, carrot cake, and chocolate cake.  People actually purchase them.  I have had The Cake Bible for many years mostly doing the Mousselline buttercream.  My ambition is to do a beautiful wedding cake…because as a former bowler that is like scoring a 300.

I am so obsessed with baking especially cakes and this site is fueling my addiction.

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 01:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I hardly had any people who could cook in my family, forget about baking!! 

When I was a child, there were no cooking channels, and certainly no internet.  There were only a few cooking shows on TV, all on PBS, and they were only on early in the morning on the weekends (they may have been on during the week as well, but I wouldn’t know because I would have been in school during that time).  I would always try to wake up early and beat my siblings to the TV on the weekends so I could tune into those cooking shows before they got up and started watching cartoons.  I was completely fascinated with very aspect of each show, most especially when the chefs would bake something (which was NOT very often).  I grew up in NYC, my parents didn’t drive, so we walked everywhere.  I loved walking past the food markets and the delis - they were such a treat for the eye.  But the bakeries… be still my heart, the bakeries were the BEST.  All those pastries and cookies and cakes…. it was breathtaking to me! 

Fast forward a few year to Jr. High Home-Ec class (this would be about 27 years ago).  The first semester of Home-Ec was sewing; the second cooking.  The sewing semester was a breeze since my mother, a talented seamstress, had already taught me to sew.  I remember counting down the days until the cooking semester began.  I had tons of cooking and baking knowledge from watching TV, but I had never had an opportunity to put that knowledge into action.  Needless to say, I was probably the most eager student that semester, and I loved every single minute of it.  Class time was less than an hour, so we only made very simple things like hard boiled eggs and cookies, but it was all I needed to inspire me to experiment at home. 

A couple of years after the, I told a friend that I wanted to make a cheesecake, but I didn’t have a recipe.  We were 16.  She was so sweet to write down a recipe from on of her parent’s cookbooks for me.  I remember going to the grocery store with my shopping list of ingredients that I paid for with my own money (spring form pan included).  I probably read the recipe 20 times before I had enough courage to actually make the cheesecake.  It turned out perfectly, and I’ll never forget how shocked my parents were when they tasted it.  From that point on I was hooked.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I started baking when I was 12-13 years old. But as I began to work when was 17, I stopped untill last year.  That was 25 years of interruption!!
The curious part is that I simply don’t know why, but last year I felt an irresistible desire of start baking again.
Then I discovered the world of fondant and gum paste (which did not exist when I was young) and I started watching videos and more videos on the net. At first, about fondant, then about how to make gumpaste flowers. One day I saw a video in which a lady decorated a cake with blue and lilac buttercream, and (pardon the lack of modesty) I knew I could do it, because just by watching I was sure that I could repeat everything. And thus I made my first cake after 25 years. Two months later I made my first fondand and gumpaste flowers cake. Then I bought the CB and started to focus on the dough quality, and also to research about new fillings and frostings. Then came my mother 80’s birthday cake (which I shared with you on last December).
Well, it is a little mistery to me, but here I am, looking everyday what is going on here, interacting with other members, and very HAPPY that I can practice again something that was very valuable to me when I was a teenager and is now much more.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 03:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Be still my heart with your life introductions!  I started by watching on tv the noon cooking show, which was nothing like today’s mtv drama styles.  This only during summer breaks. Loved to cook since my Mom let me in the kitchen, but I was never allowed to bake since the oven was gas and lighting the pilot light was quite an ordeal.  Mom was a great baker, she made ALL chinese pastries, including pork buns and moon cake!

Mom also baked all our birthday cakes, was either an orange chiffon or a biscuit.  Whipped cream and fresh fruit.  When I was 8, she allowed me to make chiffon.

The same cooking show had a lesson on poured fondant and pastillaje.  That striked me.  Mom made my first communion cake such way.

Then I discovered boiled meringue icing from a wilton magazine my aunt imported.  That worked well instead of buttercream which we always sought as too buttery and fat.

When I was 15, I made my brother’s wedding cake.  That was the very first Hector’s undertaking.  The same year I made my green lasagna and clearly remember hanging the sheets on the clothes laundry lines.

My family moved to the USA when I was 19 and I became a wilton and cake bible fan.  1989.  I remember mailing a “SASE” letter to each vendor listed on the equipment and ingredients section of cake bible.

Mom and Dad died in early 2000 and instead of mourning I baked away.  In 2006 I found Rose at realbakingwithrose.com asking her my first question:  about panettone.  I succumber to read her repplies and even wrote saying “are you Rose or are you her assistant or some automated repply database.”  The rest you know as it is written on this blog.

Without planning it or thinking of it, I became the blogger with the most postings as written on Rose’s Heavenly Cakes!

I have a secret to confess:  I have never met Rose in person, nor spoken on the phone!  We are saving that moment for a special ocassion, or it should never happen because I do feel she is my fairy angel and communicates with me more clearly than any words exist.

I look forward to read your story on this great forum title.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wow, what beautiful stories!

My baking passion developed more recently, though the seeds were planted in childhood. 

After the strawberry cupcake fiasco of my daughter?s fourth birthday (I added puree to a scratch yellow cake recipe and mixed the batter with a spoon), I knew I would need to make a respectable birthday cake once a year for a number of years, so I checked the Cake Bible out of the library and bought a mixer.  After renewing the book multiple times, I realized that I had to buy it.  It was the science of the book that hooked me, my Dad taught that subject and I’ve inherited a love of science-y projects from him.

In addition to my Dad’s influence, his mother’s handmade wild grape and blueberry pies were the culinary highpoint of my childhood.  I was seldom allowed to participate in the baking, but all the kids at her summer cottage were enlisted to pick the wild fruit.  And my maternal grandmother excelled at Key Lime and banana cream pies, both made from fruit trees in her yard in the Florida Keys.  Not surprisingly, the Pie and Pastry Bible was my first Rose purchase. 

I stumbled across this site several years ago when trying to learn more about flour… hooked again!  I’ve enjoyed scaling the learning curve and have loved having you all here to help me.

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Brød & Taylor Test Kitchen:  Peanut Butter Cups, All Grown Up

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Posted: 03 February 2010 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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From the time I was a small child there was always some baking going on in my house…and in my Grandmother’s house…none of it good.  My Grandmother, who was a Polish immigrant, was quite a good cook.  (The perogi were amazing, unfortunately, that recipe died with her) but the baking?.....not so good.  There were these cookies that she made…well, my sister liked them, but my Aunt used to say you could break your teeth on them (they were a little on the hard side).  Mom would bake an occasional cake, but always from a mix. Although she definitely had the skill and knowledge, she didn’t really have the time or the patience to do anything more elaborate (working mom of 2…job, kids, house to clean…etc)..and well, that was baking to me.

One year around Christmas time we had dinner at the home of one of my Dad’s employess (he owned a store in brooklyn, NY).  She served the most delicious cookies I ever had.  It turned out that they were indeed home made and she happily agreed to come to our house to show us how to make them.  With recipe in hand, she come over a few weeks later and we made these cookies (I was probably about 10).  We made the cookies from SCRATCH.  I was hooked.  I didn’t, however, really start baking with any regularity until about 8 or 9 years ago.  I got a kitchen-aid stand mixer as a combined birthday, christmas, house warming gift from my Sister (who worked at bed bath and beyond…yeah for store discounts). My first outting was to find the recipe for “a perfect chocolate cake”.  Every saturday for months, I tried a different recipe. Recipes from the back of the sugar box, recipes from the joy of cooking (My only cook book at that time), recipes that patient’s gave me…none were really good.  The frostings in particular weren’t good.  After about 6 or 8 months of this…and many many many bad chocolate cakes later, I was talking to a collegue who said “My mother swears by this book called the cake bible…you should try it.”  I don’t have to say anything else.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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From the time I was given the job of cleaning the mixing bowl - that delicious dough and of course icing!

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Posted: 03 February 2010 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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These are great stories.  Seems everyone had a seed planted when a child.  Noone can appreciate these stories as much as other passionate bakers!!

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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When I was growing up, my mother was the predominant cook and baker at our house since she was a stay at home mom.  She is from the east coast, PEI to be exact, and we used to go down there every summer for 4 to 6 weeks to visit.  My meme was a wonderful cook and baker.  Everything we ate was homemade.  Absolutely no packaged foods.  I can still remember her homemade blueberry cakes and pies and her famous biscuits.  Up until she passed away in 1994, she did all of her baking and cooking on a wood cooking stove.  To this day,  I think everything tasted so much better when she cooked or baked on that wood stove.  I didn’t really get into baking until about 6 years ago when I took my first three wilton cake decorating classes.  I was hooked after that.  But up until maybe a year and a half ago I was baking my cakes with a mix.  Then I found the cake bible and I haven’t made a cake mix since.

I only wish I had more time to bake.  Working full time, shift work and on call and being a full time mom doesn’t give me alot of time left over to try some of the more elaborate recipes.  But the ones that I have made have been wonderful.  I read Rose’s books like someone else would read a novel. lol!!  I am slowly building up my repetoire of good quality cake pans and ingredients, so that whatever I bake will be wonderful.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Liza - 03 February 2010 02:38 PM

When I was growing up, my mother was the predominant cook and baker at our house since she was a stay at home mom.  She is from the east coast, PEI to be exact, and we used to go down there every summer for 4 to 6 weeks to visit.  My meme was a wonderful cook and baker.  Everything we ate was homemade.  Absolutely no packaged foods.  I can still remember her homemade blueberry cakes and pies and her famous biscuits.  Up until she passed away in 1994, she did all of her baking and cooking on a wood cooking stove.  To this day,  I think everything tasted so much better when she cooked or baked on that wood stove.  I didn’t really get into baking until about 6 years ago when I took my first three wilton cake decorating classes.  I was hooked after that.  But up until maybe a year and a half ago I was baking my cakes with a mix.  Then I found the cake bible and I haven’t made a cake mix since.

I only wish I had more time to bake.  Working full time, shift work and on call and being a full time mom doesn’t give me alot of time left over to try some of the more elaborate recipes.  But the ones that I have made have been wonderful.  I read Rose’s books like someone else would read a novel. lol!!  I am slowly building up my repetoire of good quality cake pans and ingredients, so that whatever I bake will be wonderful.

That’s funny, I told someone I read cookbooks (especially The Cake Bible) like a novel….they laughed like I was crazy. Now I have RHC….so much fun.

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Glad to know I am not the only one that does that.  I have a list on my fridge that contains all of the cake pans, ingredients and accessories that Rose recommends.  I am slowly aquiring them all.  Obssessed.  Not me!!! lol!!!  I have just replaced all my old cake pans with magic line cake pans and I am thrilled with them.  For birthdays and Christmas I just give my list out and I usually end up getting something from it.  My 40th birthday is in May this year and I really want a chocolate tempering machine.  I have tried to temper chocolate so many times and it always fails.  I am going to have to give some hints to my husband I think.  Last year he bought me my stand mixer for my birthday.  I don’t know what I did without it.  It was a wonderful birthday gift.  My son thinks I am strange because I get so excited when I get a new baking product.  He said and I quote “I thought girls liked perfume or jewelery for presents.”

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Posted: 03 February 2010 01:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Dear Friends
I’m glad people are also talking about *reading* cookbooks, which I adore . Somehow when I sit down with a cookbook, I really can imagine doing the work with hands and eye, smelling and tasting. It is a rather different experience than baking itself.  I just want to pipe up and saying that READING a cookbook is a lovely soul-restoring activity all by itself.

Shokat

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Posted: 03 February 2010 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Liza - 03 February 2010 05:19 PM

Glad to know I am not the only one that does that.  I have a list on my fridge that contains all of the cake pans, ingredients and accessories that Rose recommends.  I am slowly aquiring them all.  Obssessed.  Not me!!! lol!!!  I have just replaced all my old cake pans with magic line cake pans and I am thrilled with them.  For birthdays and Christmas I just give my list out and I usually end up getting something from it.  My 40th birthday is in May this year and I really want a chocolate tempering machine.  I have tried to temper chocolate so many times and it always fails.  I am going to have to give some hints to my husband I think.  Last year he bought me my stand mixer for my birthday.  I don’t know what I did without it.  It was a wonderful birthday gift.  My son thinks I am strange because I get so excited when I get a new baking product.  He said and I quote “I thought girls liked perfume or jewelery for presents.”

Good idea ...making a list and putting it on the fridge..not everything is available on Amazon.  A chocolate tempering machine?? I have never heard of that….(another google to do).  I think giving hints is good idea so money is put to best satisafaction.  I just LOL at your son’s comment.

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I also read cookbooks…wonderful reading.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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My love of bread came from my grandmother. My grandparents lived in Livingston,MT a small town near Yellowstone park. Grandma’s small kitchen had a tiny breakfast nook with bench seats. She would sit me in the nook and give me a slice of freshly baked bread. On the table was always a jar of butter. Soft fluffy butter churned by my cousins who kept a few cows on their land outside town.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 03:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Lisa, I just read your post and, out loud, said “Oh no,” when I read that you wanted a chocolate tempering machine!  Please PM me if you want to hear my about experiences and I’d be happy to help you get perfectly tempered chocolate every time (with no special equipment).

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