There were two large projects that I participated in during this year of 2014 that I really enjoyed. One was a baking project for Eising Studio/StockFood. This took place during late winter and early spring. The second was my Artisan Bread Baking class during the Fall semester at York County Community College. Both of these projects tested my skills and knowledge as a baker.
I learned a lot and had fun with my classmates. I also had some kitchen disasters, but that is what learning is about. There are things I became more aware of and am sharing: First, a calibrated oven is important for baking. As consumers we just go out and buy a stove or wall oven and start to use it. I discovered the hard way in using my Viking oven for baking that it needed calibrating. The large convection oven used at school also needed calibrating and adjusting – that became apparent as we had to move our breads around to bake evenly.
Pretzels baking in the convection oven at school = uneven baking
Second, use a scale for weighing ingredients. Weights and measurements matter in baking. Example: Measuring cups and scales are not interchangeable for dry ingredients. A scale is easy to use and available in every kitchen store. These are things the home cook does not think much about. Incorrect measurements and poor equipment leave you wondering why your cake didn’t bake properly. Just like any professional, in any business, you must have the proper equipment to do your work. Maybe I’m just weird, but I don’t think of cooking or baking as work – I think it’s fun. Lastly, use your nose and fingers. When you smell a cake, it is close to done. When you tap a bread loaf or top of a cake, you can tell if it’s done.
Digital measuring cup – 1# flour and a digital scale with 3/4 oz. kosher sale
Here are images from my baking projects this year. I love cakes!
Devil’s Food Cake
Chocolate Cake -Red Frosting-Heart Shaped Vanilla Cake
Pictures by Susie Eising/Eising Studio/StockFood
As for the Artisan Bread baking class at the local community college, I offer the following: Artisan Bread is a bread that is handcrafted rather than mass produced and uses a small amount of ingredients, no preservatives…warm water and yeast, flour, salt and a sweetener of some sort. I love bread! Here are some of our class projects from the Fall semester.
Challah and Basic White with egg wash
Brioche dough, rich with eggs and butter pulling away from sides of bowl-adding chocolate swirl
Brioche -petite chocolate swirls with knot on top
Classmates-wheat breads, bagels, bialys and French Bread
Lemon Loaf, Blueberry Muffins, Apple Streusel Cream Cake
Parmesan Pepper Scones-savory taste and Pistachio Oat Bread-my favorite
Pita Breads puffing up in oven and baked (need to practice my shaping)
Pizza dough- assorted and delicious pizzas we shared!
Cheddary Cheese Rounds and Swedish Limpa Breads
Pretzels – water dipped, baked and salted (need practice with my shaping)
Underground Chocolate Surprise Muffins (disaster-no rise & choc sunk) and Classmates’ Beautiful Muffins
Olive Rosemary Foccacia breads for my final exam – (using yeast). I think I did ok…
and, Honey Cornbread with a little bacon and hot orange pepper! (non-yeast)
3 cups cornmeal
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
2 2/3 cup milk
Place dry ingredients in bowl, set aside. In smaller bowl, whisk the oil, honey, milk and eggs. Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk lightly, just until batter is moistened. Do Not Over Mix. Scrape into a greased 9 x 13 pan (or muffin tins) and bake at 330 convection, 20-25 minutes for pan, or 20 minutes for muffins – using low-fan for the muffins. If using a standard oven, bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Test top by tapping and watch for browning. This is a nice light and sweet cornbread. Throw in some chopped pre-cooked bacon or a jalapeno for more flavoring.
…well, not quite. A few parting words for my friends, blog readers and classmates. I am setting aside my blog, for now. It is time to explore other things and remove my fingers and eyes from all the screens and electronics I am tied to everyday. I’m not retiring, just stepping back a little. I have enjoyed sharing my passion, my family, my stories and recipes. I hope that you, my readers, have enjoyed reading and trying some of the recipes that I have shared. I sincerely thank you for your time and support. I would be happy to hear from you through my blog site; and, as I understand it, all content will remain here under RespectYourFood.me. I leave you with one final picture from my baking experiences of 2014. This is a professional shot (Eising Studio) of a cake that started out with the thought of just gobbing on the frosting and drizzling with caramel…why not throw sea salt on it too? This is what professional photography, along with food styling, can offer. Thank you again.