Check out Facebook page of Massimo Vitale. Recently he posted what is known as a "ciambella Romagnola," which sometimes translated as a ring cake, reminds me of a torpedo of dough. Massimo posted to enjoy it with white wine, specifically moscato. He's right. Enjoy.
This past weekend I took a class with James Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. The class was labeled as "Three breads, one dough," and based on Lahey's now famous no-knead dough technique. The class was quite simple in theory, but I walked out filled with techniques and ideas. James is a great teacher, story teller, and believer in craftsmanship.
Creating a "grigne" (aka "ears) in a bread can add real panache to the sight of a bread. And creating a double grigne to give a bread opposing "ears" is relatively easy. But the process can also be "double edged sword." You may think aesthetics important in baking, but it's all about fermentation, hydration and timing. So when you pull out a double edged goodie from you oven, before you pronounce victory, you need to slice into the loaf.
Because that's when you find out whether loaf made "the cut." This loaf , ears/grigne and all,but sliced open, it didn't make the cut.
Just the other day I recieved a 5 kilo bag of Skura, from Atalanta corp., through the auspices of my friend Domenico Bianco.Antonino Esposito who developed it for Molino Pivetti uses it to make pizza nera, with the smokey toasted grano arso. Skura is a a mixture of "00", semola rimacinata, and grano arso a toasted wheat from Puglia. I've tried some bread and even croissants with it so far, a learning curve to understand the properties and first there was pizza! Success's and failures will be shared!
Michele Forgione, chef partner of Impasto in Montreal, is someone I call "fratello" (brother). And when he recently asked for some baker percent lessons from me, he shared his mama's recipe for taralli, welcoming me to his family. Lucky me.
I did make some adaptations, like avoiding the traditional semola rimacinata, forgoing fennel seeds and substituting kamut, as the former is difficult to find and the latter is its cousin. But I did use wine, a tradition in making it. Here is my first batch traditional Taralli. Thank you Mama Forgione. And son!
To make it, I quartered down quick puff pastry recipe, filled it with some frangipane made of almond paste, and then did a free-style shaping to get a somewhat puffed dough. The end result was a delicious solve for my sugar hit!
Stollen, Christstollen,and Dresdener stollen are childhood memories from Germany. I never equated them with Christmas, the little mounds on top symbolizing the baby Jesus. Like the Büche de Noel, they also harken back to pagan tree culture. Whatever you believe, I am in tune with the tasty flavors and fun of making this fruit-and-nut studded sweet bread favorite. Here is my latest
Many years ago when I went to cooking school, the method of learning a core group of formulas was to memorize the ingredients, known as "bon d'économat." Recently I was asked to make a cake impromptu style. I didn't have my handy formula sheet for Genoise. It's a classic cake in the French repertoire that is made with eggs, sugar, flour as well as a bit of butter and. Working with my dust-covered memory, I managed to summon up amounts for a chocolate genoise which includes cocoa and cornstarch! Can I blow my own bugle? Here goes. It worked! The cake was airy and absolutely what I remembered from school.