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french baguette recipe?

Another excellent book on baking bread is Michael Kalanty's How to Bake Bread: The Five Families of Bread (Peter Reinhart wrote the forward for the book). It is well-written and full of good information designed to be used as a text book in culinary schools, as well as a reference and guide for the home baker. The book was recently given the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Bread cookbook in Paris, France.
The first formula/recipe in Chef Mike's book is for baguettes (lean dough family) and he explains that a higher hydration percentage is what gives the bread larger air holes in the crumb. However, if the dough has too high a hydration percentage, it will be very difficult to handle (think ciabatta or foccacia dough).
As for creating steam in the oven, at his SF demo class, Peter Reinhart used a half-sheet pan (not non-stick), preheated it in the oven (dry), then added about a cup of boiling water (oven door covered with towel) right after placing the load in the pan. He explained that you want the steam for only about the first 5 minutes of baking. He also has started to advocate using an aluminum roasting pan with a baking stone for the crispy crust (works similar to baking in dutch oven).

Mar 19, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

Bread Baking at Home

Correction: Peter Reinhart's new book "Artisan Breads Every Day" is not about no-knead. The bread is kneaded on the first day, then allow to cold ferment in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Reinhart found that he likes the flavor of the bread better when using extended fermentation at refrigerated temperatures.

It is a method used by pro bakers - make the dough the day before, then shape, proof, and bake the next day. It's more a matter of scheduling when you need to have fresh bread available for your morning customers.

Feb 13, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

ISO Zeppole Recipe

Here's a recipe for Zeppole from a class I took with an instructor who was born in Abruso, Italy and is a pastry chef:


● 2/3 cup Hot water
● 5 Tbs Unsalted butter, melted
● 1/4 tsp Salt
● 2/3 cup All purpose flour
● 2 tsp Granulated sugar
● 3 large Eggs
● Grated zest of 1 Orange (about 1 1/2 – 2 Tbs)
Oil for deep frying (see Hints for Success)

Toppings: Confectioner’s sugar, Honey, or Cinnamon Sugar
Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium size pot and cook over medium heat until boiling. Add the flour all at once and mix well. Continue to cook the flour mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture dries and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. This should take about 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the paste into a medium size mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the sugar and orange zest.
To fry the zeppole, heat the oil to 350°-375°F. Dip a tablespoon in the hot oil, scoop out a spoonful of dough, and drop the dough into the hot oil or use a small cookie scoop to drop spoonfuls of dough into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the zeppole until crisp and golden brown, turning as needed to cook all sides. Drain the cooked zeppole on a pan or plate covered with paper towels. Lightly dust the zeppole with confectioner’s sugar, drizzle warm honey over the zeppole, or roll in cinnamon sugar. Serve warm.
Hints for Success with Fried Pastries
• Use oils with a high smoke point. Olive oil with a mild flavor is a good choice. Canola and safflower oils also have a high smoking point. Using these oils allows you to continue frying for a relatively long time before the oil begins to break down and foam.
• Use a large pan for deep frying and fill no more than half way with oil.
• Use low to medium heat for heating the oil. Use a thermometer to check the temperature (350°-375°F). If the oil is too hot, the outside will be cooked and the center may be still raw. If the oil is not hot enough, the dough will absorb the oil and be greasy.
• Make sure the dough to be fried is not totally covered in flour. The excess flour will burn, accumulate in the pan, and cause the fats to break down.
• Have a slotted spoon or wire skimmer and pan covered with paper towels close by when you start frying the pastries.

Jan 31, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

Son's 18th Birthday Cake/Pie....need recipes

What about Oreo Cheesecake?

FYI - I bake the cheesecake on a rimmed cookie sheet or pizza pan since every time I've made it, it has a tendency to leak.

Jan 22, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

Homemade Pizza Sauce

I use a recipe from Diane Morgan & Tony Gemignani's Pizza cookbook. The recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups, enough for 4 large pizzas. (I usually make a 1/4 batch for a single large pizza, 14-16"):

Tony's Pizza Sauce

4 - 6 oz cans tomato paste
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 Tbs table salt (or 2 1/2 Tbs kosher salt)
4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

In large bowl, using wire whisk, combine tomato paste, water, and olive oil. Add sugar, salt, oregano, dried basil, and garlic powder; whisk until well combined. Stir in fresh basil.
Use immediately or store in tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in freezer for up to 2 months. Bring to room temperature before using.

Jan 16, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

Tips on making croissants?

Although this is an old article, this is the recipe that we got in last year's croissant class:

I was so impressed with the results in class, I made a batch of dough that afternoon and we had fresh croissants the next morning.

Jan 16, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

My croissants have issues

I took a class on making croissants last year. The instructor had to find a recipe that would work in a 2.5 hour class. Here's the one she gave us:

I was so impressed with the results in class, I went home and made the dough that afternoon. The next morning, we had fresh baked croissants. Yummy!

Jan 16, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

Why Chill the Dough?

Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen explain some of the chemistry/physics as well as results of their recipe testing. The story behind the vodka pie dough recipe (the only one I use now) is very interesting.
Also, Alton Brown's show Good Eats and his books go into the chemistry & physics of cooking. I know he's done a show on pies and has a book on baking.

Jan 12, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

reinhart bread books?

I found the recipes in Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible very involved, "fussy", and rather complicated for my tastes. (That's the advantage of checking the books out from the library to decide if you want to add them to your own collection.)
Another option to learn more about breadmaking is to see if there are any local classes in your area to get some hands on experience with someone to guide you. It may be just enough to give you the confidence to try more on your own.

Jan 03, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

reinhart bread books?

Both books have very good pictures and information. One comment I read about Artisan Breads Every Day called it Bread Baker's Apprentice "lite". You might want to go to the bookstore and compare the two.
Just be aware that many of Peter Reinhart's bread recipes require multiple days (start on one day and finish the next). So if you are looking for a book for bread recipes that you can make in a day, you'll probably want to look elsewhere.
Personally, I passed on Bread Baker's Apprentice and got the new book. I had hoped to bake at least one batch of bread while I was off work for the holidays, but unfortunately got sick with an intestinal "flu".
FYI - Peter Reinhart is doing a US book tour with demos to promote this latest book (tour schedule is listed in his blog). I'm registered to see him in March when he comes to the SF Bay area.

Jan 02, 2010
RikkiMama in Home Cooking

Hanamaru (sushi), Sunnyvale

We haven't found a sushi place that we like as much as Sushi Maru. Hanamaru is okay, but not as good as Sushi Maru was. We haven't been to the Milipitas location yet. One of my former coworkers is thrilled that Sushi Maru is now near her. She and her son go there regularly. Sad for us. :(

Marukai opening in Cupertino

Good news! Marukai will be opening this year, after all. However, there won't have a kitchen/food court.

From the article:

Marukai, a Japanese chain grocery store, will open at Marketplace Shopping Center in Cupertino despite the opposition of neighboring residents.

The city council on Jan. 8 unanimously upheld the appeal of Marketplace's owner, Evershine Group, reversing the planning commission's denial of Marukai's application. The council approved Marukai's use permit under certain conditions: that there will be sealed new trash compactors, a hotline will be set up to address residents' concerns and the council will review the case in a year.

Hanamaru (sushi), Sunnyvale

With the closing of Sushi Maru, we tried recently tried Hanamura. It wasn't as good as Sushi Maru was, but not bad.

It's now run by a new owner who took over about 6 months ago. The new owner has done some remodeling, making the place a little nicer than it was when this review was first written. The little rubber ducks are still on the boats, but the boats are not as barren as they were at the time of this review.

It may be worth a second look.

Sushimaru Sunnyvale is Moving

We stopped by yesterday and discovered they had closed.

They are supposed to open in Milpitas on July 9, according to the sign posted on the door.

Are there any other decent inexpensive Japanese/sushi places in or near Sunnyvale?