Anyone try any of the recipes from Joanne Chang’s book Flour?
Posted: 12 October 2011 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi, I see that Rose wrote on her blog about Joanne Chang and her book.  Has anyone tried any of her receipes?  Thanks.

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Posted: 12 October 2011 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, I have.  I’ve made:  Pumpkin Muffins (ok), Good Morning Muffins (love!!), Lemon Poppy Pound Cake (bit dry?  overbaked?), Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (really flat and greasy, didn’t care for), Granola Bars (ok..need to eat with fork/plate), Yellow Birthday Cake with chocolate ganache (bit dry…scaled up so perhaps this is why), Vegan Low Fat Chocolate Cake (as cupcakes, pretty good, actually), Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting (ok but wasn’t crazy about frosting), Butterscotch Pudding (really starchy…I will try to bring to boil next time), Marvelous Multigrain Sourdough (excellent—but really dark crust…tasty but would be easy to underbake), golden Raisin Pecan Bread (ok..but not remembering), Heart Healthy Dried Fruit Scones (more like a muffin and a bit tough, but was just using up some ingredients). 

Double check with her website for errata and some baking times seem a bit off…Muffins are very large or can make almost 1.5 x as many slightly smaller ones.  Overall I’m finding the book ok.  Really want to try the Milky Way Tart and Brioche Au Chocolat sometime.

I love that she uses weights!!! Normally, I’d have tried other recipes too, but I was off dairy for awhile and found some of the recipes useful during that time.

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Posted: 12 October 2011 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I made the first recipe in the book, the Oatmeal Maple Scones. Because I was pressed for time, I loved the fact that I didn’t have to bring ingredients to room temperature. It was very fast and easy to assemble. Just some mixing of ingredients, scooping out the batter and baking. Glazing 30 minutes after the scones are removed from the oven. I had read a review mention an issue with the time suggested. Because I was aware of that, I checked my scones at 30 minutes instead of 40 and they were ready.  The glaze was good if you like sweet.

Since then, I’ve only baked one other recipe, the Apple Spice cake. It was dense with apples, raisins and pecans. We liked it but it was more of a home bakers cake than a bakery cake IMO.

I took pictures after I baked them. The apple spice cake has a cider glaze and the scones have a maple glaze.

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Posted: 15 October 2011 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I purchased this book on Rose’s recommendation as I trust her implicitly regarding all things baked. I didn’t realize just how extensively I have baked from it until I started to write this post, so I won’t list all of the recipes I’ve tried, only the ones that I found to be exceptional and the ones I had some issues with.

Raspberry-Rhubarb Muffins (moist and fruity), Addictive Bran Muffins (best I’ve ever made), Good Morning Muffins (very tasty and moist), Famous Banana Bread (fabulous - moist with an intense banana flavour), Vanilla Bean Pound Cake (dry - Rose’s is far better), Brioche au Chocolat (delicious), Milk Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies (new family favourite),  Peanut Butter Cookies (these are crispy and melt in your mouth), Homemade Oreos (I’m not an Oreo fan but I liked these), Homemade Fig Newtons (finished product was delicious but the dough was a nightmare to work with), Yellow Birthday Cake (cake was good, the frosting was fabulous), Super-Pumpkiny Pumpkin Pie (ethereal, mousse-like texture with pumpkin flavour in the forefront), Milky Way tart (delicious but required hours to set), Rosemary and Olive Oil Focaccia (really tasty for a same-day bread; was done in only 25 min); Dried Fruit Focaccia (loved the idea and flavour of this; baked in 25 min).

The other dozen or so recipes I tried were successful but not that special.

Some general comments about the recipes: I love that weights are included; Joanne likes her pastry well-baked ie really brown; recipes for the various components eg frostings, pastry cream, etc, produce the correct amount for the product being made ie no leftover glazes etc; finished muffins, scones and cookies are huge, therefore, baking times must be adjusted if a more normal-sized baked good is desired; the scone, muffin and cookie recipes are quite forgiving, allowing for ingredient substitutions (replacing creme fraiche with low-fat yogurt, using whole wheat flour in place of the unbleached AP flour)

I hope this helps.

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Posted: 16 October 2011 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wow, these recipe reviews are so helpful!  Would you all consider adding a sentence or two on Cookbooker?  It’s a recipe review site that Rose promo’d a while back.

Here’s the page for Flour:  http://www.cookbooker.com/title/14115/flour-spectacular-recipes-from-bostons-flour-bakery-cafe

I am slowly making my way through writing reviews for Rose’s recipes, but I only write one a week or so- eventually I’ll get to them all smile

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Posted: 16 October 2011 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Wow, Julie, I am tripping!  I never knew that site exists!  I am definitely going to try to contribute, also! Thanks!

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Posted: 16 October 2011 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thank you for the link, Julie, it looks as though it could be a great resource. I think I will add some recipe reviews to the site.

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Posted: 17 October 2011 08:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Awesome link, Julie!  I wanted to add that I just made the Bran Muffins from Flour—I scaled the recipe down so that I used a cup (240 g)  of creme fraiche (that’s all I had)—good news, it was the perfect amount for 12 large muffins—the muffins must be huge if made as written!  Also, since I love cranberry-blueberry bran muffins, I omitted the raisins and added about 3/4 cup of each and a tsp. of vanilla (also sliced cranberries in half as per Rose) and they were yummy! I didn’t use the bird seed topping—seemed unnecessary today, but if I do the raisin version I will definitely do that. 

On an aside, my 3 year old, who refuses to eat parsley because it’s “too spicy” liked the fresh (aka: unsweetened, awfully tart) cranberry I gave him.  There is no reasoning with a toddler :S

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Posted: 18 October 2011 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Sherrie - 17 October 2011 11:23 PM

On an aside, my 3 year old, who refuses to eat parsley because it’s “too spicy” liked the fresh (aka: unsweetened, awfully tart) cranberry I gave him.  There is no reasoning with a toddler :S

I have one like that, too, only she’s now ten.  Lemons, cranberries, super-sour candy, she loves everything tart!  Cranberries are her favorite part of Thanksgiving.


Anne, I thought of you re:Cookbooker today- no one has reviewed the chestnut sand cake yet!

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Posted: 18 October 2011 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks everyone.  Now I know what recipes to try.

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Posted: 19 October 2011 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’ve made many recipes from Flour as well.  I don’t have the book in front of me, so here is goes by memory of ones I can recall.  Recipes we’ve loved: Oatmeal Maple Scones, Currant Scones (only on first day), Chocolate Hazelnut cookies, Milky Way tart, Banana Bread (I add chocolate chips), Raspberry Rhubarb muffins (never made with raspberry, but I’ve changed the fruits around making just Raspberry, Blueberry, and Cherry Chocolate Chip), and Carrot Cake.  The Peanut Butter Cookies were only OK. I’ve made better.  People on this site will appreciate this, but I LOVE making homemade Creme Fraiche! Joanne Chang’s recipe is similar to Rose’s recipe.  I find that the creme fraiche taste makes a difference in a better tasting end product.  I’ve also made the Meringues and Coconut Macaroons.  I will say that I’ve gotten some beautiful food pictures from the things I’ve made. smile

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Posted: 19 October 2011 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Anne, I thought of you re:Cookbooker today- no one has reviewed the chestnut sand cake yet!

Well, I done fixed that beastly situation!

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Posted: 19 October 2011 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I forgot the Brown Butter Rice Krispy treats.  I can’t believe how much of a difference the brown butter makes.  Yum!

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Posted: 19 October 2011 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Chocolate Pudding was amazing!

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Posted: 20 October 2011 08:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Anne in NC - 19 October 2011 08:08 PM

Well, I done fixed that beastly situation!

Great review!  Now that they’re in season, I must try that- I want to see what the texture is like.

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