Welcome to Real Baking with Rose, the personal blog of author Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Watch the Baking Bible
Come Alive
BEN FINK

Spend A Moment with Rose, in this video portrait by Ben Fink.

Check out my new creations




Rose's Alpha Bakers

Rose's Alpha Bakers for the Bread Bible

RSS AND MORE



Get the blog delivered by email. Enter your address:

Eat your books

Current Announcements

FREE SHIPPING Book Sale anywhere within the continental USA on orders of $25 or more: Contact Woody at woody321@ptd.com for him to email you the information.

Category ... Questions and Answers

Ask Your Questions

Mar 19, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

Please feel free to post comments here if you can't find another appropriate place. The other question entries became too long for some people's browsers to download.

You can access older entries

here

or

here

Refiners Syrup

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

FRED QUESTION

Is refiner's syrup the same as cane syrup? In other words, is Steen's syrup the same as Lyle's Golden syrup? Thanks.

ROSE REPLY

Lyle's Golden syrup is a natural byproduct of cane sugar refining. It is cane syrup with no artificial colors flavors or preservatives.

I'm not familiar with Steen's syrup. Lyle's is the only refiners syrup I know of. Look on the label of the Steen's to see what it contains. A side-by-side tasting is the best test. as they say, the proof is in the syrup -- or was that pudding?!

Barcelona Brownies

Mar 01, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

MARY CARMEN QUESTION

Dear Levy,
I am a spanish woman (from Barcelona) and I read that you made a brownie called Barcelona. ¿Is it truth?. I want, if it is possible a recipt of this brownie. I can't find it in your website. Thank you in advance and sorry for my bad english.
Mary Carmen Artiga

ROSE REPLY

thank you for asking for the recipe. I will post it on the blog this month, along with a little story of my visit to Barcelona.

Challah

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

NANCY QUESTION

Feedback: I followed the traditional challah recipe exactly and caught the mistake to add the 1 tsp yeast to the sponge. After many hours in a very warm environment, the dough hardly rose. I tried it several times with no luck and even switched yeast which is very much alive. There is definitely something wrong with the proportion of ing. I'm an advanced baker and it's gotta be a problem with the recipe. also after making the sponge, do i immediately add the flour blanket or let the sponge sit for an hour first? When the flour blanket is added, can i refrigerate it that way? If so do i taked it out to come to room temp and then mix? I searched the book for answers and was more confused. Please help. I know once its right it will be sooo delicious like so many of the recipes i've made from the cake bible. I'm a diehard baker and have learned more from your books than any other. Thank you.

ROSE REPLY

bread that is rich in egg, butter, and sugar or honey, is very slow to rise. You can speed rising by putting it in a warm environment with hot water in a container, such as an oven without a pilot light but with just the light bulb on. You don't want the temperature to be above 85°. If this doesn't work, it has to be the yeast. I'm sure as an experienced Baker you'll are not killing the yeast with excessive heat. you could also try increasing the yeast. But the recipe as I wrote it works for me.

When making a sponge, I always like to put the flour blanket on it as soon as possible. Then I cover the bowl with plastic wrap to keep any part of the sponge that bubbles through the surface of the flour blanket from drying, and refrigerate it. I do mention in the book temperature the dough should be depending on the different methods of mixing it, for example, if you are using a stand mixer, you want it to be colder when you start mixing then if you're using a bread machine, because the friction of the beater raises the heat of the dough. When using a food processor, I have everything as cold as possible because the movement of the blades creates the most heat. Please look through the book, exact temperatures are given for all methods.

In the coming weeks, I will be offering my new recipe for challah, that incorporates old sourdough starter. It makes braiding dough much easier because of the extra elasticity, and I think the resulting bread is even more delicious. I can't wait to post this recipe -- the picture is so stunning! But I wanted to answer everybody's questions before I posted any new things.

A Lovely Love Note

Feb 23, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose's Books

KATHY COMMENT

Feedback: This seems like a reasonable time to drop a love-note to Rose. Years ago I used to pick up the Cake Bible in bookstores to read and re-read the story of your brother's wedding cake and the snowstorm of 1983. Eventually my husband gave me the book as a gift. The story about your discussion of "sifting" with your (eventual) husband was a gem. It is the stories, I guess, that make me love the book and so, you. The recipes, resource information and photos are the frosting on the cake, as it were. Thanks for all of it. Kathy Mc (devoted fan!)

ROSE REPLY

I'm going to put this up near my computer monitor for inspiration as I work on my new cake book. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Canadian Flour

Feb 23, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

MARION QUESTION

In the Bread Bible you recommend some brands of flour which I can't find in Canada. We have Robin Hood, Monarch, Five Roses and then the generic store brands. I have gone to the brand websites but they do not post the protien count of their flour. Could you recommend some brands that we up here in Ontario Canada can use to make bread?

ROSE REPLY

Canadian unbleached all-purpose and Canadian bread flour perform well in my yeast bread recipes. For quick breads using butter, however, it is necessary to use bleached all purpose flour or the center of the bread will fall and have a gloppy texture on cooling. For more information or specific questions regarding Canadian flour/brands and baking, you can contact editors@betterbaking.com

Macaroons

Feb 22, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Questions and Answers

ZACHARY QUESTION

Do you have any experience with Parisian-style macarons? I've been a huge fan of these for years, always visiting Laduree and Stohrer when I'm in Paris. It's been my "life's dream" (in the realm of my baking anyway) to make the macarons as close to French patisserie quality as possible; I've been working on them lately and have had mediocre success. Main problems: many crack and split open while baking. I've tried the approach of letting them sit out for a few minutes before baking and baking immediately and nothing seems to guarantee consistency. I've contacted Laduree (they have a book now, in French!) to ask if I can visit their kitchen, but they didn't like that idea. Do you know of any secrets to these and getting them as tender and as close as possible to the real things?

Thanks! Zach

ROSE REPLY

Macaroons are very difficult to make at home. but I can give you one tip othat was given to me by a Swiss chef: after piping them, let them sit uncovered overnight before baking them. This helps to keep them from cracking, resulting in smooth tops. as Dorie Greenspan says in her delightful book Paris Sweets, each Parisian has his or her favorite place for macaroons. for this New Yorker its Laduree, but then, I have yet to do a thorough tasting investigation.

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.

Lecithin

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

QUESTION FROM EMILY

Feedback: I was wondering about an additive, such as granular lecithin, which you would add to cookies and scones to improve shelf life? Is there such a thing? Thanks, Emily Veale ( I have the Cake and Bread Bibles WONDERFUL!!)

ROSE REPLY

the king arthur catalogue sells granular lecithin that they claim is "shelf-stable" and the liquid lecithin is available in health food stores. it is a soy product that becomes rancid very quicly so i store any lecithin product in the refrigerater. you will have to experiment with amounts and it does indeed improve shelf-life but can also give an off flavor to the baked goods if used in excess.

Flat Cream Puffs

Feb 07, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Pie and Pastry Questions

JEAN QUESTION


Feedback: I live in Mexico and the humidity is very high. I made cream puffs today. They rose up and were beautiful until I took them out of the oven. They fell flat and felt soggy. Is there anything I can do to keep this from happening?

ROSE REPLY

If you are also at high altitude you will need to decrease the amount of liquid to give more structure to the cream puffs. But for the high humidity it is essential, toward the end of baking after the cream puffs have set, to make a small cut into the side or bottom of each cream puff and then return them to the oven that the moisture can escape.

Sourdough Starter

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

PHIL QUESTION

Rose (I feel as though I know you since reading your book since Christmas),

In making our own starter we followed the directions day by day, my wife and I are both engineers so lists and organized plans are VERY helpful. The starter didn't appear to follow the double a day that you mentioned. This may have happened while we weren't looking and then deflated. At the 5 day point, we decided to keep with the daily routine. At the 10th day, the starter does look a bit more energetic.

Do we need to mature the starter by feeding it every 3 days at room temperature or should it be in the fridge? How much should we be feeding, 60g of flour and water without removing any while it is matured? Should we remove a cup before we start expanding it?

We would both appreciate even a quick response. The description that starts at the end of page 429 "for example ......" confuses us when we follow the instructions in the last paragraph of page 433.

Thank you in advance for the help,

ROSE REPLY

because sour dough is an alive entity it is not something the you can nail down hundred percent.

The last paragraph on page 429 of my book referred to an already established starter. The last paragraph on page 433 is referring to one that is not yet mature.if you have an active starter as I mentioned at the bottom of page 433 if you don't plan to use it for several days feed it to double it, let it sit one hour, and then refrigerate it.
as I wrote, for the first two weeks feed it at least three times a week.if you are not feeding it every day you need to refrigerate it between feedings. I wrote that during maturing you need to keep a minimum of 1 cup. In answer to your question how much to feed it, I wrote that you need to at least double it, so this depends on how much you keep. You can do it by a eye, or as I prefer, by weight.

By way of encouragement, everyone who has written to me about problems starting a sourdough starter has, with patience, arrived at a successful one. What follows is one person's very helpful suggestion which I have not tried myself but suspect will work brilliantly:

"... i had a asked for advice earlier about a sourdough culture that was
going flat and not responding to the feeding after 2 days. the trick i had
about using a 50/50 mix of organic rye and bread flour during the next
feeding to reintroduce more wild yeast into the sourdough did the trick of
waking it back up. it responded right away and i just went back to normal
bread flour feedings. i haven't had any troubles since in case anyone in
the future has this problem"

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.

Red Velvet Cake

Jan 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Cake Questions

LIBBY QUESTION

Dear Rose,
I am an avid fan of yours and have been dedicated to the Cake Bible for as long as I have been baking. I've always wished you had a recipe for Red Velvet Cake in your book. I have tried to use your method of incorporating ingredients, but still have not found the success I experience with your recipes in baking. Do you have a recipe and if so would you share it?
Thank you for making me a better baker. Your book is amazing (as is your pie cookbook which I also love).
Most sincerely and with much admiration

ROSE REPLY

thank you dear libby. a red velvet cake is simply a layer cake that uses one bottle of liquid red food color for some of the liquid, so all you have to do is chose any of my cakes (yellow or white) and replace an equal volume of the liquid with the red food color.

RETRACTION i was so wrong and those of you who have my newest book Rose's Heavenly Cakes will see that I have created my version of the classic red velvet cake which I now love so much I even made a wedding cake which is also posted on the blog!

The Cake Bible and the New Cake Book

Jan 15, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose's Books

SHARON QUESTION
Hello,

I am thinking about purchasing The Cake Bible. When is the new book coming out and what will be different? Should I wait for the new one or should I purchase both of them?

I'm a novice to pastry making. Will there be a new pastry book also or am I safe to purchase The Pastry Bible?

Thank you for a very informative site.

ROSE REPLY

i would highly recommend getting the cake bible and here's why: last year i did a revision but the only things i felt needed changing were the chocolate recommendations and the equipment and ingredient distributors. chocolate is now expressed in % of cocoa mass rather than manufacturer and some of the chocolates i recommended no longer exist! the recipes, however, have become classics as the book has survived for close to 18 years now and still going strong. i found there was nothing i wanted to change with the exception of the burnt almond milk chocolate ganache as the chocolate bar used to make it is no longer being manufactured so i replaced it with another delicious milk chocolate ganache (lesson learned not to have a product-dependent recipe!)

the cake bible is filled with explanations about how cake baking works which is ideal for beginning and advanced bakers who want to know more and have more control over what they are doing.

the new cake book will be entirely different with emphasis on the visual (some aspect of every cake will be pictured) and contain all the new ideas that have come about over the past two decades since the cake bible.

re the pie pastry bible, if i ever do another on the subject it will be many years from now! but do check out the new pie crust that's on the blog. it's a variation of the cream cheese pie crust but uses heavy cream instead of water and is more tender and more delicious.

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!

Rusk Crackers, &Baker's Ammonia

Jan 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

HOPSTER QUESTION

Feedback: 2 questions:{1} What could I use in place of Rusk Crackers in a piecrust? as I can't find Holland Rusk. I have a recipe for a custard Rusk pie thats really good,, do they still make them? #2 what is a replacement for baking ammonia? I have a very old recipe for Drop cookies that calls for 3lbs flour 1/2 oz. baking soda, and 1/2 oz. baking ammonia,ect, also what would 1/2 oz. equal in teaspoons? Thank You

ROSE REPLY

can't help with the rusk crackers as i don't remember what they are. maybe someone else on the blog can.
for the baker's ammonia: i used it to make melting moment cookies and got it from sweet celebrations. not sure if there is a replacement for it but i believe it predated modern day baking powder. if they still carry it, 1/2 ounce would be about 2-1/2 teaspoons.

Glorious Bread and a Beautiful Blogger!

Jan 09, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Rose's Books

JEN COMMENT

FH_Email: geekyrandomgirl@gmail.com
Feedback: I've been baking bread out of The Bread Bible for a couple of years now, and I wanted to let you know what an important book it has been to me. It was the first book on bread baking I bought, and it was such a great way to start out. My mom/grandmother are spoiled on store bought cinammon raisin bread because of you. Even starting out, the bread recipes from your book were easy to follow and turned out marvelous. I've learned alot from books by other bakers (Peter Reinhart and Dan Lepard are my other adopted mentors), but it seems like every time I learn something from them, I come back to your book, and it was there all along.
So I guess I'm trying to say thanks, because your book started my obsession with bread baking. I hope someday to open my own bread bakery. Do you have any advise for a pretty good amateur baker like me?
Also, I have a food/baking blog, I'd be thrilled to death if you looked at it: http://ratherbebakingbread.blogspot.com/
Thanks again Rose!

ROSE REPLY

i'm deeply touched! and i must say in excellent company. one of these days--sooner rather than later--i'm going to list my version of peter reinhart's struan bread--a bread so wonderful i wrote him immediately after baking it for the first time to tell him how proud i am to be in the same profession as he. i don't know dan lepard but i'm sure i'd like to!
my best advice to you is to continue reading and baking and trust no one completely except your own personal experience. you will eventually create your own vision of bread. i'm sure you will be a great baker as you already are a great person. i can tell. and besides, it's impossible to be a good baker otherwise--the bread knows--believe me!

Humidity's Effect on Baking Ingredients

Jan 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

FRED QUESTION

Love your books and just discovered this blog. WOW!

I'm a firm believer in weighing everything, but flour and brown sugar bother me. Since these two ingredients absorb water, how does humidity in the air affect their performance in recipes? In other words, does, say, 1 lb. of flour weighed on a hot and humid summer day actually contain less flour (and more water) than that weighed on a cold and dry winter day? How does a person compensate for this variation other than adding a little bit of flour or water at a time (which seems rather unscientific) as one goes along?

ROSE REPLY

actually the 2 ingredients you mentioned have similar problems as they tend to dry out if improperly stored. they both benefit from airtight storage especially brown sugar that gets very hard when dry. i store mine in canning jars and never have a problem but if it comes in other containers it will dry and then you'll need to put a little foil cup in with the sugar and set a paper towel that has been dampened in the cup and then cover the container tightly. in a few hours the sugar will become soft again.

in very humid or very dry conditions the flour used for bread making will be affected but this can be controlled easily by adding a little flour or water to the dough if the consistency seems to require it. for cakes i don't find much of a difference. i do find a difference in salt that is so hygroscopic some days 1 teaspoon weighs 5.3 grams, other days it weighs 6.6 grams. but even that doesn't seem to make a noticeable difference in the baked product.

in any case, the volume of the flour or the brown sugar will be affected by humidity as well as the weight and weight is always a more accurate way to go because measuring varies from time to time by factors far more significant than humidity!

Crisp Vs. Chewy Cookies

Jan 08, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in General

MARCELLA QUESTION

Feedback: sometimes i like my cookies crisp-other times chewy.does substituting oil for shortening(or butter )make a difference or are there other factors?Thanks for any help.

ROSE REPLY
you are right--there are many factors involved so the best thing is to make the type of cookie that is intended to be crisp or the type that is intended to be softer and chewy and store these cookies separately from eachother so they stay that way!

Shine on Royal Icing!

Jan 04, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose in Ingredients

i just consulted with my friend hans welker who is head instructor of the bread baking kitchen at the french culinary institute and he said that a little glucose (which is a thick syrup, thicker than corn syrup) would do the trick as well as gycerine but if you can't find glucose, use a little corn syrup.

Rose's Chocolate Baking Essentials on Craftsy

EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Sign up for Rose's newsletter, a once-a-month mouthwatering treat!

DATE ARCHIVE

Featured on finecooking.com