Apple Tart from Baking by Hand

BBH book

Having received the review copy of the book Baking By Hand, I decided to give their Classic A&J Apple Tart a go, since our apple trees have given us a fair number of apples to use up. This would also let me have a quick look at how well the recipes are explained in the book.

I will post a deeper review of the book in a separate entry.

The thrust behind the book, as you can likely tell from its title, is to make and bake tasty treats without the use of machines, making these recipes available to everyone, regardless of their KitchenAid mixer ownership status.


The Classic Apple Tart uses their “Lazy Baker’s Puff pastry” for the tart shell, a quick puff pastry that can be used for many other tasty applications (the recipe is in the book). The apples they suggest are Cortland; however, I have no idea what types our tree produces. And finally, it gets a crumb topping, something akin to a streusel, to finish it up. The whole thing can be made start to finish in just a couple of hours.


We start by making the puff pastry for the crust. Our ingredients are AP flour, unsalted butter (cubed), sour cream – a little unusual – baking powder and salt. All these ingredients need to be cold, so I popped the flour, salt and baking powder together in a plastic tub and into the freezer for 30 minutes, the butter and sour cream go into the fridge, as does the glass mixing bowl. Continue reading “Apple Tart from Baking by Hand”

Baking By Hand Give-Away! is happy to offer our readers a chance to score a copy of the book Baking By Hand:


The authors, Andy and Jackie King, run a bakery, A&J King Artisan Bakers in Salem, Massachusetts, where they create a delicious and extensive line of hand-made breads and pastries.

Here a brief description of the book from Amazon:

Keep your mixer in the closet as Andy and Jackie King teach you long-forgotten methods that are the hallmarks of their exceptional bakery. In their book Baking By Hand, they’ll take you through all of the steps of making amazing bread, from developing your own sourdough culture, to mixing by hand, traditional shaping techniques and straight on to the final bake. Most importantly, you’ll learn the Four-Fold technique—the key to making the kind of bread at home that will simply be top tier in any setting.

BBH book

Continue reading “Baking By Hand Give-Away!”

Working at Riso

It’s been a long while since I posted actual baking pics so here’s a set I snapped of a recent Saturday morning bake at Riso where I work.


A typical work day looks something like this:

Most days, I produce about 20 sourdough loaves, 16 country white loaves, 10 seeded whole wheat, 3 egg breads, 6 cinnamon pull-aparts, sometimes a “bread of the day”, and whatever deserts are needed. These include a crazy yummy chocolate-orange gluten free cake (yes, “yummy” and “gluten-free” can co-exists), cheesecakes, carrot cake, Nanaimo bars, cookies, tarts and occasional puff pastries.

My days start at around 3:30 – 4 a.m. and go through to 12 or 1 p.m. The routine is usually to take the doughs prepped the day before out of the cooler and bake the sourdough loaves in the pizza forno that is still hot from last night. Once the sourdoughs are done and on the displays, I use one of the four Berne brot doughs I also pulled from the cooler to make the cinnamon pull-aparts. These are then proofed with the regular Berne loaves and baked in the ol’ Doyon convection oven.

While those are getting baked, I start up the country (yeasted) dough to make the bread for the front as well as for service. With these under way, I start up the seeded whole wheat, also yeasted breads. By then the country loaves are in the convection and baking while the whole wheat is proofing.

About this time I mix up the required pizza dough, then ball them up. When they are panned, the whole wheat is ready to bake. Soon all the bread is done and out on the front display. I can then turn to any deserts that are running low. This may be pecan pie, carrot or chocolate orange cake, cookies, bars, etc. along with the attendant buttercream, pastry cream, tart shells, lemon curd, ganache, roasted nuts and so forth as well as any catering special orders. Oh, and let’s not forget the dishes; always clean up after yourself!

By the time this is done, I can now start making the sourdough for the next day. and, while it is proofing, get the poolishes set up for tomorrow’s country bread. With the sourdoughs bulk proofed, scaled and shaped, they go into the back fridge for their overnight stay, along with the Berne brots needed for the next day.

A final sweep and wipe down and that’s a typical 8 to 9 hour day.

Video: Bread and the Baker

Here’s a short preview of a project currently looking for some crowd funding.

I’ll let their own description explain:

Mike Zakowski, Baker Extraordinaire“This experimental documentary will explore the craft of baking what it takes to produce a high quality loaf of bread.  It will also focus into the world of competitive baking and the process of what it takes to sustain an olympic mindset.  As a part of the 2012 U.S. Baking Team, local craftsman baker, Mike Zakowski [the bejkr] competed in the Coupe Du Monde De La Boulangerie (World Cup of Baking).  Now in an individual effort, Mike is headed to compete in the Masters de la Boulangerie representing USA in the bread category in Paris, France 2014.  The story will be told through the use of innovative film technique and the documentation of the burgeoning localized slow food movement in Northern California.  In contrast, it will focus on the fast paced competitive baking scene worldwide.”

Here’s a promo video for the project:

If you would like to help out with a small (or large!) contribution to see this film developed, hop over to the Bread and The Baker’s Indogogo page and drop a few bucks, pounds or euros towards it. As little as $5 will help them out (and you’ll get a nifty bread sticker!)

The crowdfunding effort runs Aug 8 to Oct 7, 2013.

Video: Secrets of Sourdough

A quick (8 minutes) video that delves a little into the wonders of sourdough bread.

It includes a very brief but handy explanation of the differences between regular yeast bread and natural yeast bread, as well as an interesting look at a typical day in a small bakery.