Liquid vs Stiff Starter: Do I need both?

Which type of starter will be most beneficial?

The question of stiff vs liquid starter has recently been bought up here on Yumarama and since it was discussed over on Mellow Bakers previously previously, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to carry that conversation across to the blog as well.

BREAD2AngleSomeone recently asked what the point was between using stiff and liquid levain, specifically in Jeffery Hamelman’s book BREAD. I pondered and, in effect, could not come up with a solid answer for myself, primarily because I haven’t really dabbled with a stiff starter very much. But still, why DOES Jeffrey ask for a stiff starter here or a liquid (he prefers 125%) there? In other words, what are the benefits of each, in his view?

So I figured I’d go to the source and ask.

Hi Jeffrey,

Someone recently brought up a question I was a little confused about and figured I’d go to the source to see about an explanation.

Continue reading

Scones&FrenchBread

CIVI Pro Baking Class, Week One

Finally! Yes, it’s finally Aug 29th and day one of baking class at the CIVI* begin for my 2011-2012 session. I’ve been looking forward to this day with great excitement for a while now and it’s really, actually here.

CIVI

Can I get a “Woohoo!!”*

* What is CIVI? The official name for the baking end of VIU is actually “The Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island” Pretty fancy, eh?

Being that the first couple of days are mostly orientation, we spend the majority of days one and two just going through the basic inauguration into the University: After introductions from our teachers, Mr Martin Barnett and Chef Ken Harper, we meet a few of the important people in the bureaucratic background, taken for a quick tour of the corners we’ll haunt, such as the Food Lab, got our Student Cards, hit up the bookstore to spend more money, etc.. Wednesday we had off (but lots of reading homework) due to the Uni having a “pre-class” staff meeting. Since Pro Baking is starting almost 2 weeks early in order to be ready to pump out breakfast goodies when school officially opens, our teachers are taken away for that day.

At last, Thursday came along and we are now actually, really, ready to bake! Continue reading

Monty would be Proud

As of this very minute, about 4 p.m. on Thursday Aug 25, 2011, the Yumarama Blog has just 24 of them to go before hitting the amazing milestone of

Yes, we’ve now received TWENTY THOUSAND Spam comments! Spam, spam, spam, spam and spam… as Monty Python said so many years back.

This blog started up back in April 2008 and in that time has seen a pretty steady increase of not just spammers but actual visitors as well. Although we’re not exactly Google-ish in visitor count, Continue reading

Changing Courses: Pro Baking on the Horizon

The Yumarama Bread Blog is about to see a slight change in focus. It seems, you see, that I’ve somehow got myself enrolled into a Professional Baking Course at the local university  - Vancouver Island University, a.k.a. VIU, a.k.a The Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island –  which happens to be literally 5 minutes away from home.

What’s the focus and how will it affect what I post here?

The course is focused on a number of baking practices and areas, aside from straight up bread making. The course outline states:

“In addition to theory courses, the program covers artisan and commercial breads, rolls, sweet yeast products, pies, puff pastry, cookies, cakes, decoration, icing and finishing, French pastries, muffins, cup cakes, marzipan and chocolate. Also covered in the program are safety, conventional kitchen skills, sanitation, personal skills, and elementary management procedures. Students will also be trained in the operation and use of our newly built wood-fired brick oven (the first in a Canadian Educational facility).”

Basically, it’s a “full on bakery” education, less emphasis on bread lab (where the primary focus would be delving intricately into specific kinds of breads) and more on learning overall production skills, managing time and creation of multiple types of baked goods. I’ll also be getting back into cakes which I had stepped away from for the last couple of years.

  

The main instructors are department head Mr. Martin Barnett (above, left) and Pastry Chef Ken Harper. 

Continue reading

Luscious Lemon Curd

There I was, left with five naked lemons that had bravely given up their zest for use in last week’s delicious Lemon Pull Apart Bread. What to do with so many lemons, I thought? Lemon curd! Delicious, zippy, tasty lemon curd!.

If you’ve never had lemon curd, don’t be put off by its name: think of it as the tasty cousin of lemon meringue pie filling. In fact, some people use it as such. It’s a soft pudding texture loaded with fragrant and lemony yumminess.

And with just five ingredients, making up a batch is really easy!

After a surprisingly lengthy search and seeing some unusual videos, I located this recipe on YouTube from Larousse Cuisine, Larousse being a hugely respected French Cooking Academy:

Continue reading

Pull Apart, Again. Now with more lemons!

Since the previous run at the Cinnamon Pull Apart - which has the complete recipe details and pics – was such a success (vanishing in about 12.6 minutes), I thought I’d give the Lemon version a go. The dough recipe is the same as the previous post so grab that there; the details of this lemon filling are a little bit further down here. For this post, we’ll catch up with the last part of the process since the basic dough instructions are exactly the same ast those for the Cinnamon version. Here we’ve got the stacked and filled pan. So what was different this time?

The dough itself began the same as the previous dough except this time I used the famed Bertinet “slap it around” Stretch and Fold method. Sort of surprisingly, it worked! What was a very wet, sticky sugary dough in not too much time became easy to handle. And I did it all by hand; no mixer used at all. This is where the Bertinet method really came in handy.

You can see the Bertinet video on the Stretch and Fold page.

Continue reading

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Funky AND impressive looking while still relatively easy to put together, this is a tasty treat you can serve guests or family and pile up the accolades. And it makes the house smell great.

As there are several blogs out there with the step-by-step in photos, I’ll simply leave you to visit them to see the process; I’m adding lots of yummy photos and links at the end. The recipe below should still be a great guide to making this a go-to treat in your own home. I’ve included a gram and ounce conversion based on volume equivalent tables I’ve been able to find online.

Ingredients:

Dough:

Grams Oz Vol
446 g 15.7 oz 3 1/2 C All Purpose flour (2 3/4 C + more as needed)
53 g 2 oz 1/4 C granulated sugar
6 g 0.2 oz 2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast (one pkg.)
2 g 0.07 oz 1/2 tsp salt
56 g 2 oz 1/4 C unsalted butter
75 g 2.6 oz 1/3 C milk
56 g 2 oz 1/4 C cool water
4 g 0.14 oz 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
100 g 3.5 oz 2 2 large eggs, room temp. (weight without shell)

TIP: To get cold eggs from the fridge to room temp quickly, place them in a bowl and cover them with ‘almost hot’ tap water before getting on with other prep. By the time you need them, they’ll have warmed up significantly.

Cinnamon Filling: Continue reading