Thursday, June 23, 2011

The French Onion Soup Dilemma

We use a heavy crock at work to serve French Onion Soup in .  A Buttered Toast Round topped with Gruyere cheese and fresh herbs sits on top.  To keep it from getting soggy while it is going out to the dining room it should rest completely on the rim of the dish.  When simply bread in Phx closed down we lost our loaves of bread that you could cut a 4.5" round out of each slice.  We've done some searching and some limping along making do.

We got in these pans to make bread for the croutons.  The stinkers don't fit in the proof box at all.  We had to be creative and make proofing happen in a hot box for holding food.  The process involves:  3 cans 2 hr heat sterno, 1-400 perforated pan, 1 200 pan and a quart of very hot water.  You light two sterno and put them under the upside down 400 pan, the perforation allows the sterno to remain burning. Then you top that with the 200 pan.  Light the 3rd sterno and set it off to the side.    By the time you retreive the water the 200 pan should be nicely warmed up.  Pour the water into it slowly, (too much water or too cold of water doesnt produce enough steam) and close the doors fast.  Resist the urge to check on it multiple times as it slows it down horribly. It's totally redneck and I know it.  It's also stupid to have pans that we know we need to proof that don't fit the proofer, so EH?

We stuck with a lean, low hydration recipe to make the bread rise tall with a crisp crust to hold it's shape after baking.

We work (knead) the dough slightly longer than I usually would to get this shape and to make the regular, close crumb.  If the bread has holes too large it is more likely to crack and fall in the soup crock.

Mostly when they come out of the oven I just want to caress them and sniff them from time to time.  The boys have wild dreams of a really really big mufellta sandwich stuffed with every imaginable good thing.  or maybe a philly with a ton of meat, or maybe...well it changes every hour that the bread is cooling.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Make it Pretty

I got a cake order last month for a "cream cake with fondant and lemon filling, polka dot, flowers, pink and green, feminine"  The lady called to said she 'had expectations' and to 'make it pretty'.   What??  I make ugly cakes?  LOL  I was making flowers for the anniversary cake so I threw down both of them in a couple of slow work days.
Storing them on the counter (my usual method) made the boss very nervous since people wanted to touch them so we ended up locking them up.  It's funny to me that we don't lock up the booze or the expensive meats or the specialty cheeses but we did flowers made out of about $4 worth of gumpaste and a bit of food coloring.  I guess he was a bit scared I would go postal on somebody when they got broken.  Little did he know I broke 2 flowers and a leaf putting the cake together.

The cake was for Sunday so I was baking it off on Wednesday so I could build it before I took Friday and Saturday off for family time.  I had the batter in the pans waiting for the creme brulee to get out of the oven when the F&B director came in and told me that apparently 'the birthday girl was diagnosed just today with celiac and could we make the cake gluten free'.  I had to make a run to Whole Foods for cake mix - since I don't regularly do gluten-free baking I don't have the supplies on hand to whip it out.  Dang am I glad gluten is not on my allergy list since cake mix for 1 - 2" tall 8"round cake is $4.99 (we charge $6.50 a slice for cake in the restaurant so we do 3' - 5" cakes).

Gluten free white cake with lemon curd filling, marshmallow fondant and gumpaste flowers.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy 3rd Anniversary Ben and Ashlee

Ashlee asked me to make a cake for their anniversary this year.  How has it already been 3 years?

Anywho, she wanted it to look like the top tier of their wedding cake.

I think I managed it.

 I know my flower making skills have come a long way with practice, although when I look back at the first picture I don't think the flowers stink.   Pack rat that I am I even had the remainder of the original ribbon packed away in a tote so it matches exactly.