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Archive for July, 2009

I had a saying…

when I was an English teacher. One of my monitors said after a class, “You’re really quite strict with the children, aren’t you?”

“Yep. As far as these kids are concerned, I’m Kaiser effin’ Wilhelm, and they love me for it.” As if to prove my words, at that moment, the next wave of kids came tumbling in the door, and even the kids who weren’t my students ran to me, squealing, “Teacher! Teacher Sam! Hello Teacher!”

Every time I make Kaiser rolls, I think of that.

Now if only I could get the rolls to OBEY and LOVE me as well as my former students did.

P.S. Confidential to the person searching for “pie crust recipes using butter”: you don’t want to go with just butter. You can for a quiche, but really shouldn’t for a tart or pie, since it’ll be too soft and soggy, you do need the extra bit of shortening to make a strong, flaky crust. However, if you insist, this one should do.

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Crust III: Crostata

Blueberry peach crostata, infused with vanilla, using the other half of the tart crust we made the other day.

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All right, so technically speaking, we should use a pâte à croûstade, but Tante Julia says that the pâte brisée fine is appropriate for quiche as well. And she is The Final Word on these matters…

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Pie and Tart Crust

This morning, I was just about to make short crust for tonight’s dinner (it’ll be quiche, thank you) and remembered that a couple of people had requested what has turned out to be the Perfect Tart and Pie Crust recipe. So here it is, after the cut…

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And yes, of course I’ve had a taste already, and it’s fantastic. Thanks, Clotilde!

(This makes up for my slightly less than brilliant execution of her chocolate caramel tart a few days ago.)

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Chocolate & Zucchini

Excuse me for a moment whilst I get all fangirly on you…

Clotilde’s site been one of my favorites since… three computers ago. I think she does some of the best food photography and writing on the whole Internet. This year (in case you haven’t been paying attention), Clotilde’s been providing a desktop calendar for her readers, as well as defining edible idioms.

She’s not an undiscovered secret (anymore), other people thought she was great and gave her a book deal. Although I’ve put quite a few of Clotilde’s recipes on the table, there’s nothing quite like having an actual book to refer to and use. My co-blogger gave me Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen for my birthday, and I’ve just spent the weekend nibbling my way through it. Twice in the past few days recipes from the book have ended up in front of my roommates, and another one will hit the table tonight.

Ah, nothing quite like curling up with a good book, a glass of wine, and a cat — just be careful it’s not a book that inspires you to get up and start cooking at 2am.

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Pain de Tradition

As part of my ever-expanding project to increase my bread repertoire, I wanted to try something new, so I scanned through recent postings at The Fresh Loaf and found something old-ish.

This certainly looks interesting, and the formula is written in a way that’s new to me, so I get the benefit of a new technique and a different presentation.


We begin with a sodden, lumpy mess. I think at this point, I should have realized that my dough was just a wee bit overhydrated. What can I say, I don’t usually measure water in grams. Millilitres and ounces, no problem, but wtf with “400 grams” of water? I had to put it on my SCALE, people.


A little sticky and gooey after the first fold. I’m used to this, but I’m also used to oh… adding a load of flour when I do this too, so this was very very different.


Fingers considerably less in a Rolling Stones-type state after the second folding.


It grew quite a bit between the second and third folding. It was also developing a lovely yeasty aroma at this point.


Again, quite a bit of growth in that hour before the fourth folding. Lots of good, hearty gluten development, very stretchy and resilient. But, in my opinion, still too wet. Next time I’ll have to experiment with the water amounts.

I don’t have a basket for bread baking, nor a clay mold, so I really just had to go with a free form loaf.


A less hydrated loaf would have brought me a better bloom.


And fresh out of the oven, a nice internal temp of 200 degrees, the whole house smelling of fresh bread? Oh yeah, we’re golden, baby.

And this crust did sing for ages.

Can’t wait to have it with dinner tonight, and to see how the crumb came out.

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