Babka Bliss question
Posted: 06 October 2010 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Dear Friends
I have made Rose’s Babka Bliss recipe twice. (Actually it’s Marcy Goldman’s.) I have a VERY small oven, the smallest they make, something they put into trailers and RVs.

I put the dough into 2 9-inch loaf pans (I don’t have a 10 inch) and two things have happened twice already:

1. The dough rises so high that it expands around the edge of the loaf pans til it almost reaches the bottom of the pan. That’s ok.

2. But the top has burned both times. The sugar carbonizes and the oven starts smoking. That’s how small the oven is.

I have sliced off the outer crust and the rest of the babka is absolutely delicious. So I want to keep this recipe and make it work.

So the suggestion I’ve received so far is:

1. As soon as the top starts to brown, cover it with alluminun foil.
2. Reduce the heat by 25 degrees.

It seems like the best solution is to make the babkas into little babka rolls. Coil them into little snails and bake them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

If I do that, do any of you have suggestions regarding:
1. The oven temperature. Right now it is set at 350, but once the top begins to blacken, the oven temp zoomed up to 450, and I would move the oven dial to 300 and still the oven would be at 400.
2. Should I still consider tenting the babka-snails with aluminum foil?
3. How long should these—something like breadrolls in size—bake in the oven?

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

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Posted: 06 October 2010 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Shokat, it sounds like you have a lot of oven issues to work around!

I love your idea of making these into coiled buns.  Whether you go with loafs or coiled buns or cupcake-sized rolls, you probably need to use a smaller pan and bake up the smaller pans separately.  There should be plenty of room for air circulation on all sides of the pan.  You could consider mini-loafs, little ramekins, a six-cupcake pan, etc.

You can make a batch of dough and, when it’s time to take it out of the fridge and layer it with the filling, only take half (or even a third) and put the rest back in the fridge until the first half is baked and unmolded.

I also wonder if something is going on with your thermostat, it sounds like your oven is rising to 450 even though you have it set at 350, so the oven is burning the babka.  Do you keep an oven thermometer in the oven at all times while baking?  This could help diagnose the problem and alert you to rising temps before your babka is totally burnt.

As for baking times for the smaller pans, they should bake to about 190F in the center (use an instant read thermometer).  I would start checking ramekins or cupcakes at 15-20 minutes, loafs at 25-30 minutes, and a sheet pan or cake pan with rolls at 30 minutes.  I’m just estimating on these times, based on times for sticky buns, etc., but it’s where I would start once my oven temp was normalized.

Tenting is only necessary to keep them from over-browning.  If you work out your oven temp and overly large pan issues, you may not need to tent.  You can watch them and tent part way through, if necessary.

Good luck!

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Posted: 06 October 2010 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dear Julie
thank you for your advice. Gosh—where to start.

Yes, I have an oven thermometer, and it is clear the oven is not calibrated and heats up wildly and then wildly cools down. Nothing I can do about the equipment (I’m renting).

About the pan size:
so what would you suggest:

I could make these as coils and put them on parchment paper

or are you suggesting something with sides?  I didn’t know you could use ceramic ramekins for baking bread

or shall I try cupcake tins? I do have muffin tins.

What would be the virtue of free-form baking versus holding in the sides with cupcake tins?

And again, with the muffin tins or parchment on cookie sheet, shall I keep it at 350 degrees still?

Shokat

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Posted: 06 October 2010 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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OK, point taken, ceramic probably isn’t the best choice for oven spring!

Mostly I was trying to think of pans that would be small enough both to allow the bread to bake quickly (before your demon thermostat burns them!) and to allow plenty of air circulation in a small oven.  I have baked filled brioche rolls in cupcake (muffin) tins, it worked well.  But with any small cake/bread, you have to watch them carefully as they are easy to overbake.

Let’s see, the advantage of baking them in something with sides is that the shape will be taller.  But I think the more important factor is which pan will allow enough room for the heat to circulate in your oven?  A sheet pan will take up a lot of space.  Could you consider small loaves?  Or muffins?  If you decide to put the coiled buns in a round or square or rectangular pan with sides, it will bake up like Rose’s sticky buns- they form a single unit that easily breaks apart into the separate buns.

It does sound like your thermostat is shot, perhaps the landlord will consider getting it fixed as a fire safety issue?

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Posted: 06 October 2010 11:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dear Julie

hm hm more ideas. I guess I’m going to try the muffin tins.  And keep my eye on it. 
Thank you!
Shokat

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