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Category ... Special Stories

The Evolution of a Special Sweater

Sep 27, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

It's been a whole year since we moved to Hope--a year of construction and massive reorganization. I am grateful that only one thing was lost during the move but why did it have to be a box of my hand knit sweaters! The one I missed the most was spun from cashmere and silk. It was hand dyed and spun by Trish Andersen of Tanglewood Fiber Creations and the color was called Columbia Gorgeous. The yarn was a dream to work with. It was soft with a slight spring to it that when worn felt like an embrace.

After mourning it's loss for the umpteenth time, I decided to ask Trish if I could order replacement yarn and this time in colors inspired by Reima of the book Green Mansions.

Trish sent me photos of the entire process. Not only did it help maintain patience, it was also fascinating to see so I thought it would be enjoyable also to you fellow crafts people and artists.

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DYING

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SPINNING

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PLYING

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DRYING THE YARN AFTER IT'S LAVENDAR SHAMPOO

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SKEINING THE DRIED YARN

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PACKAGING

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WOUND INTO BALLS BY ME WITH A YARN WINDER AND BY HAND

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PROGRESS

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THE FINISHED SWEATER

What I love most about this yarn, called Discovery Forest, is that the colors are different in every light.

If you would like to know more about Tanglewood Fibers check out Trish's site. And to order, contact Cynthia Crescenzo at Knitting Central.

When Pastry Chef's Bake for Each Other

Sep 20, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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Lindsay Stewart, who is the pastry chef at Natirar (90 Acres) in Somerville, NJ, was featured in a recent posting for her fabulous milk chocolate caramel tart. I met her mother Linda at the Belvidere Farmer's Market last year and she told me about her daughter so that is how we met. When I promised to invite them both for lunch for a viewing of the new baker's kitchen, Lindsay asked what she could bring. My first thought was a tub of the lard rendered from the restaurant's farm but then I came up with an additional inspiration. I said that if she would bring the salumi, which I adored at the restaurant, we would make baguettes and a special dessert.

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Lindsay also brought a selection of cheeses, nuts, preserved olives, and her famous cheese crackers.

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We all feasted and chatted for well-over an hour. Linda gave us great tips ranging from getting rid of stink bugs to where to get the best peaches in the area.

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For dessert, Woody and I made a génoise from the upcoming Baking BIble, filled with mascerated strawberries and raspberries and adorned with local redcaps (aka thimble or wine berries) that we picked the day before. We used the juices from the mascerated berries to moisten the cake the night before which also softened the berries a bit so the redcaps added a firmer fresh touch.

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We made a special accompaniment: whipped cream, using Devon Double Cream, lightened with homemade crème fraîche and a tiny touch of sugar.

As a special treat, we opened a bottle of blueberry wine from the nearby Four Sister's Winery. The photo on the label is of Mia, the owner Matty's granddaughter.

Joan Rivers--a Special Story

Sep 06, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

I've long felt a special kinship to Joan Rivers, not because we were both Jewish but because we shared a Jewish sense of humor--no matter how bad things could get, we always found the funny in it. I once told a friend that my cleaning lady said I should be a stand up comic to which she said: "why? Did she ask you to clean the windows?" (She was Jewish too.) The funniest thing of all is that people who know me only through my books think that I am an exceptionally serious person. But the compliment which I hold most dear came from Harold Helmer--a gifted comedian who did demos for the Poultry and Egg Board for over 50 years. He once said: "You are the silliest person I know." But this story is about Joan Rivers who I admired from afar and met on two occasions.

The first time I almost met Joan was on a flight to San Francisco. I was on book tour and, in those hey days of publishing, sat in first class. I had ordered a vegetarian meal, having learned as a food person that when ordering a special meal more effort went into it as it needed to be prepared individually or at least on a smaller scale than the standard meals. Joan was sitting behind me and noticed what I was eating. She asked the flight attendant how she could get a special meal and he explained how it had to be ordered in advance. I wanted so much to talk to her and explain how it worked but, regretably, I was too shy. The second time, however, I found my voice through a somewhat ridiculous incident which I have never had the courage to disclose before, but it showed me what a warm and supportive person Joan Rivers was so now seemed like the time to share it.

I was in the prep kitchen of NBC making pastries for my appearance on the Today Show for the Pie and Pastry Bible. Someone on the show announced that Brad Pitt was to be the next guest so when the door bell rang I stopped what I was doing and went running to the door, opened it, and instead of Brad Pitt it was Joan Rivers! (I hadn't realized that Brad's appearance was being done remotely.) I didn't want Joan to see disappointment in my eyes so I exaggerated my greeting crying out It's Joan Rivers! She entered the prep area and looked at the apple pie I was styling and then went off to makeup. My appearance was to follow hers but when I went into the makeup room she was still in the chair and I could hear her saying to the makeup artist with great enthusiasm: Just wait until you see Rose Levy Beranbaum's desserts! I couldn't believe that she would remember my name or that she would be so impressed by my baking. And I've loved her ever since.

Special Appearance on Bakepedia

Sep 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Fellow baker, author, and tv host Dede Wilson and I have been friends for 25 years. When she started her baking site, Bakepedia, this year I was delighted that she was planning a profile on me and my upcoming Baking Bible in good part because it would provide a great opportunity to catch up with each other's lives. In fact, this proved to be so true that the one posting she had been planning got upgraded to five!

Here is the first one which tells a very amusing story about how we first met.

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I'm sure you will want to add this site to your favorites as I have.

A Special Wedding Cake Part 2

Sep 04, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

After safely storing the cake in the refrigerator at the farm the next big decision was where to go for lunch. Billiam, the owner of the farm, recommended the Village Tearoom in New Paltz. The owner, Agnes Devereux, greeted us with open arms and immediately began showing us cakes and pies inspired by recipes from my books. I thought lunch, was going to be just the sandwiches we ordered, until Agnes sent out a plate of her home made charcuterie including a delicious
La Bella Duck Prosciutto and a bowl of spicy popcorn. The BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) was the best I have ever eaten, with regional apple smoked bacon, heirloom tomato, and leaf lettuce.

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Agnes brought over three of my books for signing.
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After lunch, Agnes appeared with an array of desserts saying: "You do not have to eat all of these, but here are some desserts to sample." So while we exchanged stories, we sampled cakes, pies, and other desserts. Her honey bee cake, inspired by my honey comb technique in the Pie and Pastry Bible, included a velvety and delicious chiffon layer that turns out to be a top secret recipe which Agnes uses for her wedding cakes.

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After lunch, we enjoyed a much needed walk around New Paltz before checking in at the Maplestone Inn Bed and Breakfast that Paula reserved for us and another couple. (I was already acquainted with the wife Hilary Baum, but Paula told me that her husband Richard Stein and Elliott would get along perfectly, and indeed she was right!) Then off to dinner to a favorite of ours, The Rock & Rye, from last Fall's styling and photography phase for "The Baking Bible".

Saturday morning, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs on hash browns followed by almond-crusted thick French toast stuffed with blueberry compote. Hilary and Richard joined us for breakfast and suggested that we go with them to the Mohonk Park Reserve for a hike. Mohonk offers a wide range of trails including rock climbing and rappelling. I've known Hilary for many years but after this weekend we all became friends for life.

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We arrived early at the farm to check on the cake, which was warming up beautifully in the kitchen, before attending the wedding ceremony and social hour. I finally was able to chat with Paula and stroll about the exquisite lawns and gardens, while the children played games and the adults conversed.

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Continue reading "A Special Wedding Cake Part 2" »

A Special Wedding Cake for Dear Friends

Sep 03, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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I always say after the last wedding cake that I've made, "that is the last one!" The anxiety during all the phases: planning, baking and making the recipes within a short time frame that does not leave much room for error, transporting the cake, and hoping the caterer properly presents and cuts the cake. But when my longtime friend Paula's daughter Sarah asked my advice last winter about a wedding cake for her upcoming wedding, after a few moments of thought I realized that it had to be me. I've known Sarah since she was a little girl, and Paula is one of my dearest and most generous friends. Among other things, she rescued me from the deluge of phone calls generated from the launch of The Cake Bible by answering all my phone calls for several months. And after buy all of my cakes for Gabriel (the groom), he proceeded, along with his mother, to make every cake in The Cake Bible.

This time around, making a wedding cake was somewhat easier since I now have my new baking kitchen and, what was even more important, Woody to help make the cake and give moral support along the way.

Sarah Perlis, and fiancé Gabriel Riley, specified that their favorite flavors from which we chose strawberry and chocolate. Woody and I estimated that we would need a week to organize the components and make the wedding cake though we started several months ahead ordering some of the special items needed.

On Tuesday we prepped the ingredients, made a box for transporting the cake safely, and staged the equipment. Early Wednesday morning we mixed and baked the 12 inch layers of my favorite chocolate cake, the Deep Chocolate Passion, a moist and chocolaty cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. I had only been using my Wolf oven for bread and cookie baking and it was well calibrated after the move when it was converted to propane. So imagine how my heart fell when I opened the non-windowed oven door to see that one of the layers was severely lopsided and unacceptably beyond repair. Fortunately, as I moaned and groaned while finishing up the batters for the 6 and 9 inch layers, Woody stepped in immediately and started putting together the ingredients for a new 12 layer. Woody shimmed the oven rack to ensure that this round of cakes would come out level.

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Once cooled and syruped, I filled each tier with my classic Mousseline Buttercream, flavored with my favorite strawberry butter by American Spoon Food. Next I applied a thin gilding of strawberry butter on top of the filling to heighten the strawberry presence.

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Our grandson Owen's birthday gave me a much needed break in New York, while Woody finished the day by completing our favorite buttercream--the White Chocolate Buttercream from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. made with Guittard white chocolate.

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Thursday was assembly day. Things were going smoothly until Woody informed me that, due to the raised sculpting pattern I was inspired to apply to the sides of the cake, we were going to be short on the White Chocolate Buttercream. Thus ensued another delay, making enough buttercream to complete the cake plus reserve for "just in case repairs."

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A short walk was in order to get some distance from my concerns and to allow the buttercream to firm up before the critical stacking of the tiers. I am ever grateful to my husband Elliott for suggesting the use of plastic drinking straws instead of the difficult to cut traditional wooden dowels that displace more of the cake.

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Having a second pair of eyes, not to mention large and capable hands, made positioning the 9 and then 6 inch cake tiers much easier. Piped buttercream pearls (to honor the Perlis family) connected all of the tiers.

Then one of the most scary but important phases for any wedding cake that is going to be transported: the staking of all of the layers to keep them from shifting, especially for this trip of almost 150 miles. We had saved the bronze 15 inch rod that was used for staking our good friend, Marie Wolf's, daughter Sarah's wedding cake. With the same precision as before, Woody gently hammered in the bronze rod. This time I didn't cover my eyes or leave the room.

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Now the fun part, decorating the cake. I chose exquisite roses and snap dragons aka sweetpeas, crystallized with sugar and gold dust, to grace the tiers. I ordered these several months before from Coco Savvy in LA.

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Together, Woody and I placed the flowers, reserving over a dozen to finish decorating the cake on site. Then into the refrigerator with the cake to firm up for the long journey the next morning.

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We carefully slid the cake into our transport box and made up a kit for any needed repairs and for attaching the extra flowers. Our cake had a comfortably buffered ride as the box was placed on top of a pillow with another pillow against its side, Woody sitting right next to it, and Elliott making sure to give us the smoothest possible ride.

The wedding was being held at the Liberty Farms, near New Paltz, New York. We were greeted by Olga Moriarty, the party planner, and Billiam van Rostenberg, the owner and manager of Liberty Farms. We were stunned by the beauty of the farm and the setting.

The cake was unboxed and the stake carefully removed so that I could place three beautiful roses on top of the cake.


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Part 2 Tomorrow

Dessert Professional's Annual Top 10 Pastry Chef's Party

Aug 02, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Every late spring, I look forward to the annual Dessert Professional party in Manhattan, in which 10 of the upcoming pastry chefs are honored. This year was no exception for delicious creations and combinations of ingredients to woo our palates and please our eyes. Now that we live permanently in our woodlands home in western New Jersey, coming to events like this is especially delightful to rendezvous with colleagues.

The party started with a social hour while the honored chefs and their teams assembled hundreds of their creations in several kitchens on two different floors.

The first person we met was the charming Amy Guittard from Guittard chocolates, one of the sponsors of the event.

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I was overjoyed to see my long time friends Jean François Bonnet of Tumbador chocolate and his lovely wife Dina Melandez, who is also a pastry chef. Jean François has been honored as one of the top 10 several years ago. They were accompanied by another of my favorite chefs, Tyler Atwell who is now pastry chef at Boulud Sud.

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And what a great surprise to see Cara Tannenbaum, who is a long-time instructor at ICE (Institute for Culinary Education) where the event was being held, and who made all the food for my cousin's wedding some years ago. She is soon to publish her first cookbook!

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I was also delighted to see the renowned pastry chef François Payard who introduced me to Pierre-Antoine Raberin of the famed Ladurée from Paris who just opened a boutique in SoHo, New York City. (I'm not usually a lover of macaron but I adore theirs--especially the caramel ones!)

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I had a great talk with Rick Smilow, owner of ICE, who assured me that next year the very popular and crowded event would be held in a much larger new venue being built in the Wall Street area of Manhattan.

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The Top 10 chefs were announced in a ceremony sponsored by Kitchen Aid, after which Woody and I were off to the kitchens to taste a bit of virtually every creation including some unique beverages.

Amidst the myriad desserts we also discovered an incredible cultured butter from Beurremont with 83% butter fat. At the present time it is only available for on a commercial basis, so we were pleased when invited to take home two pounds of it!

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We tasted and enjoyed innumerable desserts of varying complexities.

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Our top favorite dessert of the event was the one from, not surprisingly, Daniel Boulud's executive pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira. This is the first time that Daniel's pastry chef is a woman and, I must say, she did us proud!

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Woody Plays DJ on WNTI Public Radio

Jul 26, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Woody's Place

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Woody is making himself very much at home in his new location. From working with me, to working at local farmers' markets, he has even made his debut as a DJ. I wonder what comes next!

From Woody:

When I left Minnesota in October, I also left a great public radio music station: "The Current." Fortunately, I came across WNTI public radio broadcasting from Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ one morning on my beautiful daily commute through the Delaware Water Gap to Rose's place. Like "The Current," WNTI "Where Great Music Lives" plays an eclectic blend of current alternative music, classic rock, oldies, local artists, jazz, Frank Sinatra, and just about everything else.
When WNTI had its semi-annual pledge drive, I made a pledge amount, which included being a guest DJ for two hours with the DJ of your choice. I also became a volunteer for their Street Team to assist at station-sponsored events.

Rose and I baked up an assortment of goodies for me to bring to the studio for Melanie and other station staff. So, with a box filled with molasses cookies from our new book, fudgy pudgy brownies, two yellow cakes as we were testing a cake enhancer, a bialy with onions and poppy seeds, my playlist, CDs, and vinyl records, I was welcomed by Melanie and her daughter Vicky at the studio. (They were going to Coney Island in New York City after the show.) Melanie Thiel's show (6 to 9) is called "Mornings with Melanie Dawnbird." Her sparkling and enthusiastic personality makes her show so much fun to listen to each day, she has a wide following. Sitting on a stool opposite her and the control board, I announced my playlist as she spun my selections.

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While the songs were playing, she tasted everything I brought and was able to discern the differences between the two yellow cakes with the same observations that Rose and I had concluded. My tunes followed my music preferences over the years, from "The Beatles" and other classic rock selections to women artists like Tori Amos, Enya, and Emmy Lou Harris, to alternative and current bands like Radiohead and My Morning Jacket. Rose and Elliott tuned in to hear my guest DJ debut, even though they were unfamiliar with nearly everything I selected. Rose is a huge opera fan and Elliott likes jazz. However, Rose does like Enya, as her new age music has many songs with operatic tones. And Melanie is a huge Enya fan as well. The two hours went surprisingly fast as we played tunes, conversed about them, and had a visitor towards the end.

The owner of Firehouse Bagels, north of Newton, NJ, came in with a bag of his wonderful bagels. He told me that prior to his bagel business, he had another business where he made some of his cakes from "The Cake Bible."

I will be seeing Melanie again as guest DJing was so much fun, plus I had only played a third of my original playlist. WNTI can be listened to as they stream their broadcast. Here is their website link.

Farmers' Market Book Signing

Jul 19, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

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Country living is wonderful, especially spring through fall as it includes farmers' markets offering locally grown organic produce, dairy products, and meats. My dear friend Maria Menegus is chairperson for the Belvidere Farmers' Market as well as selling her family's great organic produce and eggs at the market. We did a book signing last summer and this past June we were invited to do a second one.

Woody and I made a batch of our Fudgy Pudgy Brownies from Rose's Heavenly Cakes for market goers to taste. Woody and Elliott set up our table and display. We greatly enjoyed talking to many of the shoppers. One came all the way from Kansas accompanied by a local friend. I was pleased thinking about Rose's Heavenly soon to be in a kitchen in Kansas.

Woody and I will be at the Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania Farmers' Market on July 26 from 8 to noon. It is located at the town's square, one block north of Main Street, on North 7th Street. Bring your books for signing and we will have more brownie samples and books from Rose's stock for sale as well.


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Our 39th Anniversary Dinner

Jul 12, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

We decided to try a restaurant in NJ highly recommended by my cousins who live nearby in Flemington. The Harvest Moon in Ringoes was indeed a great recommendation. Our favorite courses were the avocado and lump crab appetizer and the perfectly creamy and flavorful lavender ice cream. And as a special treat, as we were leaving, the full moon just emerged from the clouds--perfect synergy!

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A Visiting Pigeon!

Jul 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

When I was growing up on Central Park West in New York City, my grandmother saved all bits of stale bread to bring to the pigeons in the park. Often I would accompany her as she tossed the crumbs from the crumpled brown page, and watched how the pigeons flocked to her. So the pigeons were my friends, and I thought of them as quite ordinary until I visited Italy at 16 and saw how the pigeons in St. Marks square were a national tourist attraction. I must admit that when they took flight at sunset, and the golden sun burnished their wings, they seemed a lot more magical than my old friends in Central Park!

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Years later, when I dated a french chef, he encouraged me to order the pigeon one night at dinner. When I recounted my attachment to pigeons he assured me that the pigeon on the menu was an entirely different breed, so I succumbed. It was quite delicious. I've longed wondered if he had been lying though.

Moving from New York City a year ago I thought I was leaving pigeons behind but low and behold: on a recent trip to the local ice cream store one evening after dinner the pigeon pictured above landed on the ledge right near me and proceeded to walk toward me. He wasn't going for my ice cream but rather for the fall out from other orders, such as tiny little sprinkles which he managed top peck up one at a time.

I admired the pigeon's courage to come so close to a stranger and not even flinch when I took the picture. But then he had to have been a New York bird--I've never seen a pigeon in our area of New Jersey before. And New York birds have attitude.

My Beautiful New Dentist

Jun 29, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

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I realize that you may find it odd to post about teeth on a baking blog but when you stop to consider you surely will realize that when it comes to appreciation of eating, there is little more important.

My mother certainly drove this impression home because she was my first and long-time dentist. In the 1930's, there were very few women in this profession, in fact, she was the only one in her entire dental school. She had been inspired by her aunt Beck who came to New York from Russia with her older brother Saul, both of whom then earned money to bring over the rest of the family. (Beck became a dentist and Sol became the youngest chief of pediatrics at Mount Sinai hospital.)

My mother often reminded me when I was young that my teeth were pearls and that it would be great blessing to have full possession of them one day when I would be old. Of course I had no interest in this message and resisted the four glasses of daily milk she forced upon me. Now I am grateful. I'm also grateful that she married a man who at thirty did not have a single filling. (Between the milk and that man I have very strong bones and teeth.)

As a child It was not a pleasant experience to have my mother work on my teeth but as I got older I realized the virtue of having a dentist who had so much integrity, loved her profession, and also loved me. When she retired, her mission was to find me a replacement. Dr. Stanley Darrow, her excellent choice, became my dentist and eventually my cherished friend for over 25 years.

I had been toying with the idea of finding a dentist closer to where I now live when Dr. Darrow retired though I fully intended to continue going to the wonderful technician Georgia Klamson. Sadly, a week ago today, Dr. Darrow passed away. He had been ill for several months, during which time I chanced to meet Dr. Kellen Mori, one of the members of his dental practice, while having my bi-annual prophylaxis (tooth cleaning--I always giggled when my mother called it by its technical name.) It took all of three seconds to decide that she would be my next dentist.

Dr. Mori told me that she loves to bake and that her favorite cake is the red velvet. So for my first appointment I made her this cake from my upcoming Baking Bible. I feel once again in skilled hands and heart I trust. And I'm certain my mother would have approved.

A Visit to Modernist Cuisine Lab

Jun 21, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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On a short family visit to Seattle this month, for our granddaughters' graduations, Elliott and I had the fantastic opportunity to visit the home of Modernist Cuisine. We were both amazed and intrigued by the work that is being done by Nathan Myhrvold's team. And I had a delightful time exchanging ideas with Francisco Migoya, whom I first met when we were both authors at Wiley Publishing Co. He is such a kindred spirit it was hard to tear myself away.

What to Do When the Temperature is 85°F/28°C on the Porch

Jun 17, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Special Stories

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Make iced capuccino.

Make potato dill bread and let it rise on the porch (no need for a proofer).

Regretfully preheat the oven to 400°F/2004°C; (and bake the bread)

Invite Woody over for an iced cappuccino and to hang the new porch ceiling fan!

Baking Poetry--the Heart and Soul of a Baker

May 31, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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On the road to personal, first there are cookbooks. (If you are what you eat wouldn't it follow that you also are what you make?) When one reads a good cookbook one feels a strong kinship to the author.

Closer to home are memoirs, which give a glimpse into how you became who you are.

And then there is poetry--a window reveal to one's soul. Clearly, publishing poetry requires much courage and willingness to vulnerability. Great poetry is like a swift arrow to one's sensibilities, with the potential to alter one's vision of life.

I first met fellow baker and author Marcy Goldman several years ago on a visit to Montreal when I was attending the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference. She invited me to her home in the suburbs and I didn't hesitate to accept. The moment I stepped into her sunny kitchen, with two freshly baked cakes sitting on the table to greet me, I knew I had met a kindred baking spirit. My first perception of Marcy as a poet followed shortly after, when I saw the cover of her book that was soon to be published. It captured my attention and made me want to know more.

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Marcy told me that she always draws a heart in the flour when she is finished baking for the day. I thought it was the most marvelous cover for a baking book that I had ever seen as it so eloquently expressed the baker's relationship to the foundation of her trade and passion. What could be a more perfect expression than the graceful hand of a baker, the flour on the counter, and the heart drawn in it. And I was reminded of the time at restaurant Bouley, in New York City, when I was moved to draw a heart in the scanty remains of the chocolate sauce on my dessert plate, as a comment to the chef.

I admire Marcy's baking, in fact, she generously gave me permission to include her famous honey cake (which I adore) in my upcoming Baking Bible. But it wasn't until she just published her first book of verse, Love and Ordinary Things, (which I ordered the moment I learned about it) that I got to experience and enjoy her poetry.

Compassionate, clever without guile, optimistic, revealing, and interwoven with symbolic references to food, especially baking, Marcy's poetry deeply touched my heart.

Love and Ordinary Things: Poems from the wheat field, kitchen, dance floor and heart

A Passion for Baking: Bake to celebrate, Bake to nourish, Bake for fun (Hardcover)


In June, "Love and Ordinary Things" will be on a Kindle countdown sale for a few days at half price. Also, Marcy is offering a free 4 month subscription to her website Better Baking if you purchase any one of her books and email her a copy of your online bill at editors@betterbaking.com

With Marcy's permission, here is one of my favorite poems from the book:

Continue reading "Baking Poetry--the Heart and Soul of a Baker" »

How I Became a Bread Baker

Apr 26, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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THE FIRST OLIVE BREAD MADE WITH THE BAGULEY STARTER

It was many years ago, on a visit to San Francisco, that my dear friend Flo Braker invited me to lunch at Scalla's in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, to meet pastry chef and bread baker Kurtis Baguley. His signature dessert, the Bostini (which I featured in Rose's Heavenly Cakes) was based on my chiffon cake from The Cake Bible so Flo thought it would be fun for us to meet.

We started with the bread basket, laden with so many fabulous breads I don't even remember what was for lunch. My favorite of the breads was the olive bread. Not only did Kurtis give me the recipe, he also gave me some starter to take home. It was so active it burst through the zipseal bag in the airplane. I didn't understand starters in those days, so though I fed it with flour and water occasionally, it was not enough. Eventually I realized that although it wasn't moldy, it was no longer viable to raise bread.

It was Kurtis's olive bread that made me determined to delve into the mysteries of bread baking. And the recipe was included in The Bread Bible, using a biga as the starter so that everyone, even without having a sour dough starter, could enjoy experiencing this bread. (A biga is an easy to make mixture of flour, water, and a minute amount of yeast that is allowed to sit for about three days to develop flavor.)

Over the years I have kept in touch with chef Baguley and was delighted to discover, a few weeks ago, that he has finally opened his dream bakery, Pane D Or, in Groveland, Florida. He also sells his breads in farmers markets in the area. Even if you don't live in Florida, I encourage you to check out the beautiful breads and information about bread baking on his site.

Note:
The above photo has been in my kitchen since I made the bread. It was way before digital technology so I had to photo the photo to post it here!

My Birthday Cake at the Lincoln

Apr 04, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

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As so many people asked the inevitable question: who is baking your birthday cake?here is the answer:

To begin with, we had an astonishingly delicious dinner at the Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center. This was my first visit for dinner, having had a glass of wine at the bar awhile back accompanied by an assortment of bread and one of the best olive oils I had ever tasted.

I have to confess that I had made a serious error by reserving at the Smith at Lincoln Center and only discovered this when I called the Lincoln to tell them that after driving 2 hours from NJ we were still caught up in traffic. They had no reservation whatsoever under any of the names I always give (usually just Rose as spelling my last name over the phone is always an exercise in irritation. My cousins Bill and Joy Howe, who were meeting us, also having driven a long distance, were already at the Smith wondering why I had chosen such a noisy and casual restaurant for my birthday dinner albeit they reported that the people there were absolutely lovely--even when they discovered that none of us was staying for dinner!

But the Lincoln came through for me. I could tell that they didn't recognize my name as being in the food profession but they did recognize my sincerity and panic. So we sat down to dinner in the elegant and quiet dining room. Elliott and I chose the special of the evening which was a dry-aged rib steak, the juices and beef marrow added to the panzanella salad accompanying it, along with that above mentioned fabulous olive oil.

The star dish of the evening, however, was ordered by Bill. It was a tian of eggplant and zucchini slices with a tangy tomato sauce that caused Bill and me to turn to each other (after I got to taste it) and pronounce it to be the quality of taste we are always looking for in Italian food. Up until that point I was entirely incognito but that ended when Bill got the idea that if revealing my identity as a food writer we might find out the secret to the sauce.

Chef Jonathan Benno arrived at our table and graciously explained that they used San Marzano tomatoes but that it was the technique that gave it the extraordinary flavor. Then I remembered (from experience) that the secret to its intensity is seriously reducing the juices to the near dry consistency.

We ordered one dessert to share but thoroughly enjoyed the three that arrived. thanks to pastry chef Richard Capizzi. The birthday cake was:

Tortino al Gianduja con caramello al pompelmo chocolate cake, hazelnut praline, gianduja ganache, salted caramel-campari crema, grapefruit variegato gelato

Interesting Article on Bread

Mar 31, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

If you speak Spanish you will enjoy the original of this piece for which I was interviewed recently in the original Spanish publication El Pais Semanal.

If, like me, you require a translation, here it is thanks to google translate--imperfect but still of value. But click on the Spanish version first to see a gorgeous photo of my "Stud Muffin" bread.

It is available in Internet forums, is passed between coworkers, there are even who makes home this matrix of yeast and bacteria. Sourdough traffic grows in Spain and makes the heat of an atavistic practice today charged new meanings : artisanal bread making . A rising phenomenon that originated in the engine and amateur world, although the industry has also sought to take advantage of baker jerk . Ibán Yarza , referent and pioneer of this mixer community knows its evolution: "Four years ago you were a geek . If you wore a braid to a dinner at a friend's house I looked like a fool for having it ferment for 24 hours when you could have bought in China below. Now has prestige . It has grown from a hobby to a fashion like cupcakes , but other grounds . Which is good and evil at the same time . "
Yarza argues , without false modesty , that the chapters of most watched cooking show Robin Food ( ETB) in which it participates are dedicated to bread. But the proof that there is great interest and market is that publishers catalogs start filling meal . In 2010, Yarza translated Handmade ( Editorial El Universal Reader ) , Dan Lepard teacher , and in 2013 , Bread ( Books with Miga ) , by Jeffrey Hamelman . That same year the Basque published his own volume , Homemade bread ( Larousse ), which has already sold 30,000 copies . Now RBA launches Spanish La Bible bread, encyclopedic cookbook Rose Levy that "it is invaluable for both amateur and professional ," according to Goodreads , the community of the world 's largest readers.
Javier Brand started making loaves at home seven years ago " like someone throws a pie to cook ." From the first slice was surprised " by the taste of bread that had that bread" and opened four months ago in Madrid artisan oven Panic. Besides selling offers courses to non-professional : from housewives willing to improve their technique to chemical engineers fascinated by the metabolic process . No single demographic profile , but a universal pattern : who engages test .
Social networks have functioned as a kind of digital dining yeast accelerating this trend and learning their fans
What does that have no bread , for example , lentils or emperor ? Rose Levy believes that appeals to the most primitive in man : humility media , hands in direct contact with the mixture during mixing and, above all , " the magical dimension " of yeast. "We work with a living organism in a latent state that can awaken and nourish so grow and expand to provide flavor and texture. Therein lies its great appeal , "said the cook.
Yarza ensures that even the most experimental chefs are mesmerized . " The bread requires technical , but it has something that no kitchen . Fry an onion and undergoes a transformation but a metamorphosis. Fermentation is a real spectacle vital , "explains Yarza . Levy goes a step further and even talk of his creational symbolism. In ancient Egypt , for example , the word used to describe the bread meant life . "It seems no coincidence that at the wine - another staple that precisely this process arises from chemical - represent the body and blood of Christ in the Catholic liturgy." In Judaism the matzo - unleavened bread used - to commemorate the exodus , and the Puritans represent the divine purity by the so-called white bread of God.
American author collected in The Bread Bible the story of a French diplomat that underpins this theory. During his years of confinement in a Nazi concentration camp , he and his companions evoked with great detail the magnificent feasts and typical of their respective hometowns dishes to keep your spirits. The harder the situation became more simple recipes that were needed to invoke recite happy times , until the end of their captivity, and to ward off despair, a unique food starred his conversations : the bread "and its sublime aroma, crumbs or even the snap of its bark . "

But aside from anthropological concerns , the rise of homemade bread in Spain responds to more prosaic reasons. The first is that , in these times of cuts , an alternative economic , recreational practice that generates immediate gratification. To make a baguette , for example, only needs a furnace , water, yeast , a pinch of salt, about 40 cents of flour and the secret ingredient, as Brand: the chair. " Waiting is fundamental. The slower the process more flavors develop , "says Baker . Yarza was devoted to the bakery after becoming unemployed and occasionally teaches unemployed . " Some have three weeks without leaving home because they have to make a paste and cool plan , suddenly the hollow bread covers them they did not expect ."
Furthermore, according to the expert , thanks to online communities and social networks the learning curve of new panófilos " has exploded as a space rocket ." The author acknowledges feel some envy. " People hang pictures of her fifth pan -stopping and I remember that even my 200th bar got do something respectable . But in 2005 who was going to talk about how long you had to have the dough in the fridge , "he jokes . From bread forum , created in 2010 to the Facebook page Friends of homemade bread, with more than 5,000 followers , through groups of Instagram or pages Webosfritos , the Network has functioned as a sort of digital yeast expanding this gastronomic trend by Spain .
Fans are exchanged tricks , answer questions, and delivered to endless discussions about whether the longevity of the sourdough determines its quality. "It's like people , why be older 're better or smarter ? Well, not always , " Brand sentence .
Levy For this return to artisanal bread is part of a much wider power : the growing concern about the quality and sustainability of food in developed countries. Increasingly consumers want authentic products so tired of prefabricated and packaged food . In this context , home baked connects with local shops and seasonal cuisine.
The preparation of homemade bread is part of a wider current: one that seeks sustainable , quality food
"In an increasingly homogeneous world , bread is still a great way to express individuality " delves U.S. . Front and standard bar mold , that the same can be found in a table that bar Chicago Albacete , many panarras themselves - as the native - looking claim while researching recipes from around the world . Although Mark Levy and warn about the thin line between pretentious ambition . "Just that once happened with gin and tonics , breads now check them all : nuts, carrot , pistachio . It's the easiest way to hide that you do not know anything , "says Baker .
Collateral damage have gone from " raruna hobby " to fashion Speed 2.0 . Yarza fears that something as simple and accessible instrument be a snob . "I worry that the same thing happen that happened with wine . An elite that says ' we are the ones who know who you are and you buy the muffin in the Mercadona " arises.
The benefits of becoming a trend : the bread universe long ninguneado , best values , and the emergence of the erotic ( new) baker. " Yes , pretty binds " says laughs.
Making bread with hands also represents a paradigm shift in the consumer society. According Yarza , many people are discovering that spend Sunday with friends in the kitchen and preparing your own food is quality of life: "There is a return to the simple pleasures in them and eating is very important."

four keys
sourdough
"It is a term that refers to the masses of boot created from wild yeast (Saccharomyces exiguus ) . Can be kept alive for long periods of time, even centuries , and its ingredients are organic rye flour or whole wheat flour and pandera mineral water " , says Rose Levy in The Bread Bible (RBA ) .
Getting Started
The range of courses and classes is vast and varied . Since the six-week cycles of Babette 's Kitchen ( www.lacocinadebabette.com ) in Madrid , to informative workshops on marriage or decoration Turris and Xavier Barriga ( www.xavierbarriga.com ) in Barcelona , passing days With Galician moita crumb ( conmoitamiga.org ) .
A hand or machine
Kneading is the process that arouses more curiosity and respect among beginners . That's why many opt for bakery use . Rose Levy For both options have pros and cons. " With the manual method is very easy to go with the meal , but the machines tend to heat the mass increasing faster than desired volume ."
myths
The Iban Yarza specialist ensures that the bread made with sourdough is not necessarily better than the classical containing yeast. "It depends on the recipe and the result that we pursue . The only good bread is dense and acid. A Burgos cheese may be delicious but much softer than afuega'l pitu . Quality is doing things right .

for the Love of Beach Plums

Mar 22, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Not Only for the Birds

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For those of you who have not read my story about beach plum preserves in Rose's Melting Pot,I am offering it here and also a source for one of the best vinaigrettes using beach plums I've ever tasted: Beach Plum Specialties of Cape May: Michael Craig 609-425-9057: beachplumspecialties@gmail.com

Here's the story from which is now 10 years old:

I had been hearing about this for years: the annual family expedition to the beach around Labor Day to harvest the native beach plums that most people are perfectly content to leave on the bushes for the birds. Last year, though, Cousin Marion gave me a jar of the resulting thick, deep garnet, glistening preserves and after the first fruit-tangy taste, just perfect as a counterpoint to rich flavorful fowl such as goose, duck turkey, squab or Capon. I resolved to join in the annual tradition. So we met last year, three generations, which included Aunt Margaret, her daughter Marion, and granddaughter Alexandra. We met in a parking lot and all piled into one car. Aunt Margaret guided us down the morass of winding roads leading to her special site by the bay and there were the beach plum bushes hung with clusters of the small purple orbs, resembling Concord grapes in size and shape. After two hours, we had each picked at least five pounds of beach plums developed appetitites for lunch and caught up on many stories.

The next day I started the pitting process. It was slow--averaging one pound of beach plums an hour--so I called Marion to catch up on some more stories while squeezing the pits from the fruit. I was awed to realize that I, who during the rest of the year can't seem to spare five minutes for relaxation, was spending five hours pitting beach plums and loving it. Precious preserves aside the real fruit of our harvest was the intimacy and connection this time-honored activity provided.

Addendum: Our preserves used a little more than half the weight of the pitted fruit in sugar. The labels on the Beach Plum Specialties of Cape May jam and jelly lists sugar first (which means there is more sugar than beach plums) but still has that unique flavor of beach plum.

Aunt Margaret is no longer with us; Cousin Marion has become a grandmother as Alexandra now has a little girl of her own.

Aroma Enchantress

Mar 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose in Epicurious

Mandy_Aftel.jpg

I have always been led around by my nose. I still remember the enchantment of my first aromas: freshly ground coffee, honeysuckle, the ocean air, and bread baking. And I was always passionate about what I ate. When I was a very little girl, I experienced flavors so intensely that my young palate could not tolerate most of them. But as I got older I began to delight in many foods and was intrigued to discover the importance of smell to taste.

The first time I heard of perfumer Mandy Aftel was many years ago, when eating at Daniel Patterson's first San Francisco restaurant Elizabeth Daniel. One of the courses was accompanied by a tiny vial of an exotic essential oil that we were encouraged to smell as we tasted the food. The blending of the aroma and taste was surprisingly sensational. Chef Patterson went on to coauthor a book with Mandy which was published by Artisan 10 years ago: Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Foods and Fragrance.

I was so impressed by the groundbreaking creativity of these two artists that we became lasting friends. When Daniel got married I was inspired to fly to the west coast and create a wedding cake that became the most beautiful and unusual of all the cakes in my book Rose's Heavenly Cakes. And Mandy, from time to time, sends me samples of her extraordinary essential oils and sprays for experimenting in my baking and cooking. It is amazing how a drop of essential oil of basil, or a tiny spritz of cepe, transform and enhance a dish. And a drop of her essential oil of vanilla on a sugar cube, stored with a cake after baking, infuses into the entire cake.

Just as one of the major secrets of great chocolate or coffee producers, is access to the rare and limited supplies of the best beans, Mandy's access to the sources of her aromatic ingredients gives her the special palate with which to create and blend her aromas. She has been featured in several magazines including a major feature in Vogue Magazine, and is the author of several books on the subject of aroma.

Last year Mandy created a perfume for me combining two of my favorite aromas: sandalwood and jasmine. I couldn't imagine how the two would intermingle but that is the magic of her exceptional talent. And recently She created a multi award winning perfume to which I became completely addicted: Cuir de Gardenia Extrait. I start each day with a drop rubbing it between my wrists and can still smell its lingering fragrance at bedtime. If my taste can be defined by one essential aroma, this is it. Words cannot do it justice but the closest I can come is: alluringly ethereal floral notes perfectly balanced by an elegantly exotic warm base. It suggests the promise of wonderful secret discoveries. And I want to live in this smell forever.

When I asked Mandy why she named the gardenia essence 'cuir' which means leather in french, she explained that is is because it has beaver castoreum which has the smell of leather and had been used for hundreds of years in perfume but is now rarely used.

Mandy is a poet, a philosopher, an alchemist, a magician, and a beautiful friend. For more information, go to aftelier.

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