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Bread Baking at Home

Here's a chart you can use, it's more accurate than trying to use a formula.
http://www.theartisan.net/convert_yea...

Good luck to you! Baking bread at home has it's challenges over baking in the commercial ovens that schools and restaurants use, but you should be able to create some great breads in your own kitchen.

Apr 22, 2011
housewolf in Home Cooking

Yeast. Whats up with that?

See the chart here
http://www.theartisan.net/convert_yea...

It lists equivalences for fresh yeast, active dry and instant yeast. You'll have to extrapolate a little bit, since 60 grams in in between 2 measurements on the chart, but it will get you close enough. I've seen some formulas but the all use rounding for measuring convenience as opposed to accuracy.

Or you can do your own search for "yeast conversion formula" and you'll find a bunch of them.

Apr 22, 2011
housewolf in Home Cooking

Crack Pie Recipe

Let us know how that recipe turns out for you, I'll be interested to know. I found this to be quite an amazing dessert - VERY rich and decadent.

Jan 25, 2011
housewolf in Home Cooking

Japanese water kefir

I don't know the answer to your questin, but I have recently joined several of the Yahoo groups dedicated to Kefir. There are a number of them, some in languages other than English but those that are in English contain a wealth of information about the subject from experienced (and new) users. Some are more oriented to milk kefir grains and others have more water kefir-makers. Here's a link that will show you the list of groups and you can pick from there. Some require that you join the group in order to read the posts, others allow you to read but require that you join in order to post.

Have fun with your water kefir!

http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=...

Jan 14, 2011
housewolf in Home Cooking

Best Ice Cream Brand

Last Christmas I had a pint of Green & Black's Vanilla and a pint of their White Chocolate Strawberry - wow, were they ever fabulous! Especially that White Chocolate Strawberry... Mmmmmmm.... I found them at Whole Foods on Christmas Eve, nice present for me!

Aug 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

What is your favorite hard to find candy?

Swizzer's black licorice bars. It was a soft, moist licorice, easy to eat and just delicious. I haven't seen it on the shelves for 12-15 years now, really miss it. There's just nothing else around that's as good.

Also Vernell's butter mints. They were soft of an almost-soft, lovely butter mint, commpletely unlike anything that's available today.

Aug 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

Does Flour In Cheesecakes Prevent The Eggs From Curdling?

I don't know whether flour in cheesecake prevents curdling of the eggs or not. I do know that it makes a heavier, sturdier cheesecake that what I like. I've never had a problem with eggs curdling in cheesecake batter. The secret is to use room temperature eggs and beat them in one at a time.

Aug 01, 2010
housewolf in Home Cooking

What's happened to donuts?

Bob's Donuts at the Farmers' Market - and so many other wonderful little eateries in that one wonderful location... you're taking me back about 35 years... it was always such a treat to go there, just loved that place.

Jul 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

What's happened to donuts?

As a kid, we loved Winchell's donuts in Southern California, then I guess they all turned into Dunkin' Donuts. There used to be a So Cal chain that sold potato-based donuts - Sput Nuts - that were pretty good, but haven't had one for years now.

Jul 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

What's happened to donuts?

Unfortunately, I'm way across the country in Oregon, but wow! Oram's look incredible! I love just one on those huge cinnamon roll donuts!

Jul 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

What's happened to donuts?

Maybe that's the case - that I've lost my taste for them. Sad to say, if that's so.

Jul 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

What's happened to donuts?

I'm in Portland, OR but remember DK Donuts from the years I spent in Southern Calif. I don't think I ever got to the Santa Monica store, but others around the area. I agree - yes, they were good donuts.

Jul 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

What's happened to donuts?

That may be the answer... were they yeasted donuts or cake donuts? I never thought about freezing fried yeasted donuts... did she glaze them before freezing, and did the glaze hold up?

Jul 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

What's happened to donuts?

Maybe the issue is that I used to work for a donut shop in a small town in Colorado that made wonderful donuts. They were from a mix, but the shortening was always clean and fresh, and they were very, very good donuts.

I've you've never had freshly-fried stil-warm donut holes with a swirled in a little bit of melted butter... you've missed something!

Jul 31, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

What's happened to donuts?

I haven't had a good donut in years. Supermarket donuts are all inedible. Krispy Cremes are too doughy in my mouth and don't taste that great to me. The last Dunkin Donuts I had weren't good, either. I haven't found a good independent in quite a few years.

Is it just me, or do others who long for a good donut find them just as disappointing as I do? They all seem to have a nasty taste to them any more and coat my mouth with an unpleasant coating. I used to think it was just that the frying fat needed to be cleaned. Now I'm wondering if it's the zero-trans fat frying stuff that's being used today?

What do you think? Does zero-trans fat frying stuff impart an icky flavor to donuts now? Or what else might it be?

Jul 28, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

Babka

Yes, proofing is the same as rising - except when it refers to "proofing" yeast before mixing the dough - that refers to adding the yeast to warm water and a little sugar then waiting for 10 minutes or so to make sure that the yeast is good (i.e., starts to bubble) otherwise knows as "proving" the yeast. But when it refers to dough, it's the same as rising.

Jun 06, 2010
housewolf in Home Cooking

Why is the Princess Cake Green?

I saw it in pink before I ever saw it in green. I've also seen them i purple, and yellow, also red at Christmas-time. I think the person who developed the cake chose green and it's farly traditional, but not at all required. I'm not sure why green in considered to be the "traditional color" - perhaps it was the favorite color of the princess the cake was developed for.

Jun 01, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

breakstone sour cream: do you know of any better??

I live in Oregon and recently bought a container of of Darigold's Extra Rich Sour Cream - "all natural, extra rich sour cream. Our European Style Sour Cream has enhanced flavor and performance that will exceed your cooking, baking and taste expectations." Darigold is a farmer-owned dairy cooperative. All their dairy products are made from milk from cows that have not been treated with rbST. Contains Cultured Cream and Milk and enzymes only.

This stuff is incredible. It's unlike any sour cream I've ever tasted before. If you can find it, give it a try.

http://consumer.darigold.com/Extra-Ri...

Jun 01, 2010
housewolf in General Topics

New Cooking Channel Reactions??

I enjoyed a number of them that I had on Monday afternoon - especially the ice cream show that showed all the new high tech methods of making ice cream and all the different ways people are using ice cream. I enjoyed Food Jammers too, trying to make homemade soda pop. "At the Table" with Chef Cat Cora was teriffic. I'm looking forward to more. It's a welcome relief from the Food Network's constant competition shows and and tired cooking shows.

Jun 01, 2010
housewolf in Food Media & News

Chocolate Cookbooks

I've had great luck buying older (and new) books at great prices from both Ebay and Half.com. Many of the great chocolate and bread books in my cookbook library are from one or the other of those two sites.

May 20, 2010
housewolf in Home Cooking

Make Authentic San Francisco Sourdough in Palo Alto?

There are a number of differest sub-species of yeast and lactobacille that have been identfied in sourdough cultures (maybe as many as 20 different lb's, if memory serves.) The SF lb is only one of those, and what's unique about it is that it's only been found in the SF Bay area.

There are other ways of making a more-sour sourdough that are natural and don't require the addition of souring ingredients such as vinegar and acetic acid (the other souring ingredient commonly used in commercial sourdough). The mentods involve the hydration of the starter, the temperature used for activating the starter and certain characteristics of the flour (for instance, you'll get a more sour bread using some whole wheat or rye flour than you will with a all white flour).

There's a whole science to cutivating starters, building starters and making sourdough breads that's quite complex and intricate. A lot can be done at home but, in my experience, it takes a lot of working, experimentation and learning to evolve a base starter into something that completely delights you if you not statisfied with the basic flavoring abililty of a starter. If If you have a scientific bent to your nature, it can become a delightful passion (or maybe even an obsession!).

BTW, I've used the SF starter from Sourdoughs International and just loved it. Unlike you, I don't favor a super-sour bread - rather, I'm more interested in depth and complexity of flavor. I used that starter for a number of years and was totally happy with it. To me, it was worth the money. Like you, I was trying to replicate Boudin's bread. I don't know if I ever got got an exact match but I was making bread that I was totally in love with and got raves from my familly and friends, and, frankly, I thought it was better than Boudin's! I also used a couple of their other starters - I never had a problem getting them to start, I found them reliable and they maintained their flavor - they are true sourdough starters in dried forn, not just flavoring. Some are inherently more sour than others, and some are faster than others. Each has it's own unique flavor (because each has it's own unique blend of sub-species of yeast and lb's.)

Admittedly, they are somewhat pricey - but they were much less money when I bought them and to me, they were totally worth the money.

May 19, 2010
housewolf in Home Cooking

Juan-Carlos Cruz arrested for murder plot - anyone remember his food network show?

Yes, that was it. It's been a few years ago, now, since he was on the Food Network, and he is no longer connected to them in any way.

May 17, 2010
housewolf in Food Media & News

favourite cake books?

I'll second Indirect Heat's picks - RLB's "Cake Bible" and "Heavenly Cakes".

BTW, if you get your hands on a copy of "Heavenly Cakes", be sure to try Rose's "Whipping Cream Cake" with some really good whipping cream - it's out of this world!

Many libraries have these books if you want to check them out before buying.

May 17, 2010
housewolf in Home Cooking

Sandra Lee could be the next first lady of New York?

Wow, I had no idea. I often wondered why, on her shows when she invited guests for a meal, she never had a companion. She had a very hard early life and has managed to turn her skills and gifts into a raving success. I don't cook semi-homemade style, but wish her well. I guess becoming the NY Governor's wife would get her out of the kitchen!

May 15, 2010
housewolf in Food Media & News

Juan-Carlos Cruz arrested for murder plot - anyone remember his food network show?

Interesting! I took a pro-pastry course from him in LA in the 2001 or 2002, this was when he was losing weight. I like him and he was a good teacher. Then he got the "cut the calories" religion and did the Food Network program, which I didn't find too interesting. Never would have believed him possible of doing something like this, though! I'd love to know what the back story is.

May 15, 2010
housewolf in Food Media & News

Need Sourdough starter recipe.

I've actuallly sent ziplock bags of starter batter through the mail quite a few times. I'd put maybe 4 oz of fully active starter in a bag, seal it up, stick it in an envelope and send it on its way. It's worked great! You want to use fully active starter so that there's not much new carbon dioxide production that would blow up the bag.

I did write "sourdough starter" on the envelope in case any postal employess were concerned. A small Priority Mail box would work well too and provide extra protection. My only caveat would be to send it before the weather gets too hot.

May 15, 2010
housewolf in Home Cooking

A Good Electric Mill for Grains

I used to hang out with folks who ground grain for bread and the most popular model that almost everyone loved was the Whisper Mill. It was beloved because it milled the most fine grain, was the quietest and was fast. It's now been re-named the "Wonder Mill."

http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Mill-Won...

It's not cheap, but if she's serious it would be worth considering.

May 11, 2010
housewolf in Cookware

Overpriced, or Worth It?

I love to bake and wouldn't want to live without a stand mixer. The only thing I use my hand mixer for is when I whip up small batches of whipped cream - like a 1/2 cup or so. I've owned a KA, a Magic Mill DLX, a Bosch and a Cuisinart stand mixer. I love them all and while I've found that each one does something better than the others, my go-to machine is the Cuisinart. It does a great job on everything even very small quantities. Stand mixers just do a much more efficient job than hand mixers.

May 10, 2010
housewolf in Cookware

Creme Brulee

Oh! Those are gorgeous! and such a beautiful presentation.

Congratulations to you, what a wonderful success.

Thanks for sharing your picture.

May 07, 2010
housewolf in Home Cooking

Chocolate pot de creme recipes?

If you subscribe to the Cooks Illustrate web site, they have a teriffic recipe for Chocolate Pots de Creme. The standard method for making Pots de Creme is to mix the custard on the stovetop and then bake in a bain marie in the oven. CI's new recipe eliminates the baking in the oven step and it truly is as rich, creamy and smooth as the traditional method.

www.cooksillustrated.com

The quality of your pots de creme will depend on the qualitiy of the ingredients you use - use high-quality chocolate and cream, and you'll turn out a luscious, cloud-like dessert.

May 07, 2010
housewolf in Home Cooking