About dave1y

Dave Oney was born mid last century in Middlebury, Vermont. He received his BS in Chemistry and worked as a polymer chemist in Massachusetts and New Jersey. He became a microscopist (someone who studies little bitty things using a microscope) and photomicrographer (someone who photographs little bitty things) before settling into a 35-year career in technical sales of scientific imaging equipment (the science of digitally recording itty bitty things, sending the image to a computer for analysis.) He designed and created a number of products contributing to this field. He is (was) proficient in several computer languages and is currently working on mastering English. After making a few more paradigm shift career changes Dave and his wife, Fran, retired and moved closer to their children and granddaughters and now live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

A Short Stay at The Parker House

I am sure most of you are experts at making and baking Parker House Rolls, but I saw a recipe from KAB a week before Thanksgiving and thought I would give them a try.

Making the enriched dough is pretty standard, although this recipe calls for 50g of potato flour. Substituted in any yeast bread potato flour increases the moisture content. Along with the egg and milk this results in a smoother enriched dough than you would expect from 55% hydration bread. (100* weight liquid/weight flour.)

Forming the rolls is what makes the Parker House Rolls distinctive. The dough is rolled out, folded and cut into 3” portions. (See METHOD below for exact steps.) Butter painted onto the inside of the rolled dough, plus the additional butter coating the finished product after baking makes these moist, tender and very buttery. Easy to do and delicious.

Parker House Rolls

INGREDIENTS
• 3 cups (361g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
• 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
• 3 tablespoons (39g) sugar
• 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
• ¼ cup (50g) potato flour or 3/4 cup (50g) dried potato flakes
• 3 tablespoons (43g) butter
• 1 cup (227g) milk
• 1 large egg
• 3 ½ to 4 tablespoons (50g to 57g) butter, melted; for brushing on rolls

METHOD

  1. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients (except the 3 ½ to 4 tablespoons (50 to 57g) melted butter at the end), mixing to form a shaggy dough. Note: to speed the rising process, whisk together the milk and egg, and heat gently just enough to remove the refrigerator chill; then add to the remaining ingredients.
  2. Knead the dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (7 to 8 minutes) until it’s smooth.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or 8-cup measure (so you can track its rising progress). Allow it to rise for 90 minutes; it’ll become quite puffy, though it probably won’t double in bulk. Note that the dough takes quite awhile to get going; after 1 hour, it may seem like it’s barely expanded at all. But during the last half hour, it rises more quickly.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface. Divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, roll or pat the dough into an 8″ x 12″ rectangle.
  5. Brush the dough all over with a light coating of the melted butter. You’ll have butter left over; you’ll need it for the other half of the dough, as well as for brushing on top of the baked rolls.
  6. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, to make two 4″ x 12″ rectangles. Working with one rectangle at a time, fold it lengthwise to about ½” of the other edge, so the bottom edge sticks out about ½” beyond the top edge. You’ll now have a rectangle that’s about 2 ¼ ” x 12″. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
  7. Cut each of the rectangles crosswise into four 3″ pieces, making a total of 8 folded rolls, each about 2 ¼” x 3″. Flip the rolls over (so that their smooth non-folded side is facing up), and place them in a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, making 16 rolls in all. You’ll arrange 4 rows of 4 in the pan, with the longer side of the rolls going down the longer side of the pan. Gently flatten the rolls to pretty much cover the bottom of the pan.
  8. Cover the pan, and let the rolls rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they’re puffy but definitely not doubled. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  9. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re golden brown and feel set.
  10. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. Pull them apart to serve.

The Yolks on Me!

After baking something last week that required a lot of egg whites I had about 8 egg yolks left over. Of course, not being one to waste anything I put them in a container and stored them in the fridge. As they will only last a week or so I decided I needed to use them, and since today is my “day off” and remembering Creme Pat uses lots of egg yolks (4) and choux pastry uses lots of egg yolks (4) I suddenly had a solution. Eclairs!

I also watched an old episode of GBBO where Brendan made choux swans I really wanted to try my hand at them.

I made a batch of choux and piped a couple of dozen eclairs. I made about a half dozen of them shorter and thicker. Those would become the bodies of the swans. When cooled, cut the top of the swan bodies off with scissors. Then cut the tops lengthwise to form wings. Use a fine circular piping tip (#8) to pip the swan head and neck. Pipe a thin (5mm) ‘S’ about 5cm high. These will bake in about 10 minutes. If the necks are thinner they will burn. Trust me on this.

To assemble, pipe a good amount of Creme Pat into the body of the swan. I dipped the swans head and edges of the wings in the chocolate glaze used to coat the eclairs. Gently, (trust me again) push the bottom of the neck into the Creme Pat, then add the wings, chocolate edge up. Take a picture. Enjoy.

Caramel on the Bay, Revisited

Do you like soft, chewy caramels, especially when coated with dark chocolate and sprinkled with a bit of Malden Sea Flake Salt? Well, I do!

If you read the past few posts you know I bought 11 pounds of very nice chocolate and am looking for places to use it. Today I discovered it took about 360g, or 12 oz of chocolate to cover 72 one inch cubes of caramel. Now I know..

These are really easy to make, and worth the modest effort. I experimented with coating with simple melted chocolate or using tempered chocolate. Tempering is worth the extra step. The chocolate won’t melt in your hands, but will in your mouth.

Raspberry Scone

Raspberries were on sale here last week so I bought a double pack to add to my Raisin Bran. Unfortunately, the weather changed about the same time and for me Raisin Bran is a summer breakfast. This weather deserves oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar… or perhaps some delicious raspberry dropped scones.

Don’t over mix the dough. If necessary add a tablespoon or two of water to make the dough stick together when trying to make a doughball, which is a snowball made of dough.

These scones are basically a free-form biscuit made by forming the dough into six or seven 200g balls, (each about the size of a small fist) placing on a parchment lined baking sheet and flattening to about an inch thick.

Raspberry Drop Scones


INGREDIENTS
• 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/3 cup sugar
• Zest of 1 small lemon (I used a small mandarin orange)
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
• 150-175g fresh raspberries
• 1 cup heavy cream
• Coarse or turbinado sugar for topping

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and zest. Pulse a few times to incorporate.
  3. Add the cubed butter and pulse to incorporate. The mixture should resemble very coarse sand.
  4. Empty the flour mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the cream and stir until just barely incorporated.
  5. Gently fold in the berries. It’s fine if the raspberries break up a little – it adds a nice pink stain to the dough. The dough should just be moist, not wet, but also not crumbly or powdery looking. If it looks too dry, add a tablespoon of cold water.
  6. Spoon the dough into 12 equally-sized pieces on the parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle some coarse or turbinado sugar over the top, if desired.
  7. Bake for 16-19 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The scones should be lightly golden and cooked through.
  8. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack.

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts

I was shown a picture of a Jack ‘O Lantern cake, found the tutorial and more of less followed it. It is supposed to be one of those plastic buckets used to collect your spoils during Trick or Treat. I am satisfied with my first attempt. The recipe called for chocolate cake, so I used my Extreme Chocolate Cake. I also used my recipe for buttercream frosting and marshmallow fondant.

While a little time consuming, most of the individual elements can be prepared well in advance. I made the cakes almost a week early and frozen them. When thawed they are every bit as good as fresh. Fondant needs to rest overnight and buttercream will stay in the fridge for several days before use.

Mark a 4” circle on the top and the mid-point down the cake. Try your best to carve a half a sphere, evenly around the center of the cake. I put a 4” flat plastic disk to serve as a base. The QC department suggested the top of a round plastic storage container that worked perfectly. Take a deep breath, hold the cake tight and flip it end for end. Repeat the same carving on what will now be the top of the cake, making a perfect sphere, or in my case a slightly distorted, but acceptable, ovoid.

  1. Make the cakes and cool, or if frozen, let warm to room temp.
  2. Mix the buttercream.
  3. Before coloring I set a piping bag full aside to frost some birthday party cupcakes I made.
  4. Frost between the layers, smooth any seepage and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Carve the cool cake and crumb coat, back to the fridge.
  6. Frost the cake and yup, refrigerate again.
  7. Make the marshmallow fondant, break off some of the un-colored fondant and set aside.
  8. Knead in the orange food coloring. Protect your work surface to avoid stains. I like to wear gloves for this.
  9. Knead black food coloring for the face into the white piece set aside.
  10. Find a face you like, or draw your own.
  11. Cut it out, pin it to the cake and cut out holes for the black fondant.
  12. Cut the black fondant to fit the template and fit into the holes on the cake.
  13. Cut a 4” circle on the top about 1/2” deep and line with fondant. (Which ever color you have left over.)
  14. Roll a piece of black fondant out into a long trip. Lay a piece of wire on it and wrap with the fondant, leaving a couple off inches of wire uncoated. Push the clean ends into each side of the top opening.
  15. Place a few pieces of wrapped candy in the shallow hole on the top.
Halloween/Birthday Cupcakes

Hand Pies and Pan Au Chocolat

So, I had some puff pastry left over from the torsades last week, AND I had a half pint of fresh raspberries left over from my breakfast cereal. What am I to do?

I know! I can use some of my 11#s of chocolate for Pan Au Chocolat and puff pastry and raspberries for some hand pies. I posted both recipes and methods elsewhere in this blog so won’t bore you with repetition.

Twist and Shout – With Chocolate

In a continuing search for places to use chocolate I found Chocolate Torsades. The name derives from the French ‘tornado’ for ‘twist.’

There really isn’t a recipe for this. I used my creme patisserie recipe from the eclairs, (I had some left over.) I also had a leftover sheet of puff pastry, and of course lots of existing chocolate. (Still trying to exhaust the old stock.)

French Chocolate Torsades (Puff Pastry Twists)

INGREDIENTS
• 4 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of flour
• 1 1/2 cups of milk
• 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla
• 1 tablespoon of butter
• 1/4 teaspoon of salt
• 1 sheet Puff pastry (270 g)
• Chocolate chips dark or milk
• 1 egg for egg wash
• Sparkling sugar

METHOD
For the custard

  1. Whisk eggs and milk together and add to all other ingredients (except vanilla) to a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil whisking constantly
  3. Cook until thickened (it will look lumpy, its ok)
  4. Sieve lumpy mixture into a bowl and add 1 tsp vanilla, mix thoroughly
  5. When incorporated, cover with plastic directly on the cream and cool.

    For the Chocolate Torsades
  6. Preheat oven to 410 degrees (215 Celsius)
  7. Roll out puff pastry about 14 inches long or just use the store bought roll
  8. Spread a thin layer of the vanilla custard on top
  9. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top
  10. Fold in half and cut into strips
  11. Twist each strip a few times to create the twist
  12. Whisk one egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of the twists with the egg wash
  13. Place chocolate torsades on baking sheet with parchment paper
  14. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar
  15. Bake at 400 degrees (215 Celsius) for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Hint ‘O Banana Soft Bread

I saw a video for this bread on Cookist. I found a recipe and a comment at the bottom said it was not very bananaee (my word) and they were correct. Hence, Hint ‘O Banana. It is a very nice soft loaf and easy to make. I am wondering if I upped the amount of banana in the dough if it would increase the bananaee flavor. It really is a good bread just the way it is, but if you were expecting overwhelming banana flavor, like in a traditional banana bread, you will be disappointed. Definitely NOT your, your Mama’s or your Grammies’ banana bread!

The bread has a very mild banana flavor. I wish I weighed the banana before mashing it into the dough. It was a small one. Next time I will try two small ones or one large one and adjust other liquids. I think I will modify the method to incorporate a tangzhong. Stay tuned.

Banana Bread Loaf

INGREDIENTS
• 350 g Bread Flour
• 30 g Caster Sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 Tbl Milk Powder
• 1 very ripe banana
• 1 egg
• 70 ml milk
• ½ tsp yeast
• 40 g unsalted butter, cubed.

METHOD

  1. Sift flour into mixing bowl of stand mixer and add dry ingredients and mix
  2. Mash banana and add to mixing bowl
  3. Whisk egg and milk together then add to bowl
  4. Add yeast
  5. Mix on medium with dough hook until stiff dough is formed. Add additional milk if necessary
  6. Add cubed butter, a piece at a time, continue on mixing speed 2 for 20 min
  7. Knead by hand, form into a ball, tension surface
  8. Let rise, covered for 60 min
  9. Knock down dough, flatten into an oval and divide in half
  10. Flatten, do envelope fold, turn 90 deg and repeat envelope fold
  11. Form into a ball, tension surface
  12. Cover and let rest 15 minutes
  13. Butter bread trays
  14. Roll each ball out about 6-8” long, roll up into a batard, pinch seams and ends closed
  15. Roll under curved fingers slightly to tension. Don’t apply pressure.
  16. Cut into 1” wide pieces, but not all the way through, keeping loaf together Should be about 10 pieces
  17. Pick up carefully and place into bread pan
  18. Cover and let rise 60 minutes
  19. Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes until internal temp is 195-200F
  20. Coated with melted butter
  21. Loosen bread to release from pan
  22. Tip out and pull apart to enjoy.

Long Chocolate Buns

I saw a picture of an elongated bread roll, like a hot dog roll, but slashed with a lame and the slashes were filled with lemon curd before baking. Well, I couldn’t find the recipe so decided to create my own. This is the first time I have stepped out of my chemist-trained-recipe-following comfort zone.

I also decided, since I don’t really care for lemon curd, I would instead roll chocolate ala pain au chocolat but using an enriched bread dough instead of puff pastry. This was also an excuse to use some of the 11# of chocolate I bought a couple of weeks ago.

The QC department suggested a less bitter chocolate (64% cacao) and sparkling sugar topping (good suggestion.) QC will have to live with 64% as I do have 11 pounds. Manufacturing suggested no chop the chocolate so small. Something the size of chocolate chips should melt fine and be easier to handle.

Chocolate Filled Bread Buns

INGREDIENTS
• 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1 cup barely warm milk
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoons salt
• 2 eggs, one for dough, one for egg wash
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
• 165g, about 1 cup (4-6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chopped fine (pulse in a food processor)

METHOD

  1. In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter, sugar, salt, egg, and orange zest. Stir until blended and fragrant.
  3. Add 3 cups of flour and mix until the dough comes together. It will be sticky! On a lightly floured surface knead the dough until soft and elastic (about 8 minutes), adding more flour to keep the dough from sticking if necessary. Do not add too much flour! The dough will become more workable the longer you knead. Or, if you have a standing mixer, knead the dough with the dough attachment for 5-7 minutes, or until elastic.
  4. Transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm area until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
  5. Punch dough down, divide into 12 equal portions, and shape each portion into a round ball. Flatten into an oval then roll to ¼ “ thick rectangle.
  6. Place a stripe of chocolate ½ “ from long end of rectangle. Roll to cover chocolate and place a second stripe of chocolate. Roll up and seal edges and all seams.
  7. Place rolls a on baking sheet coated lightly with cooking spray. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for another 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Slash diagonally 4x with lame.
  10. Brush 1 egg wash over the rolls. Sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar.
  11. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Un-Hasty Pudding

Well, it ain’t instant pudding, but is sooooo much better!! I made this pudding a couple of times before, each time seemed better than the previous.

If you have read some earlier posts you know I have an 11 lb bag of new chocolate just waiting its turn. I decided to use some of the 70% I had opened (finished it!) to make this home made pudding. It takes a little time and most of it is hands on, but it is so worth it. If you like chocolate and if you don’t mind whisking constantly for a few minutes, try this. It’s delicious. I forgot where I found the recipe and frankly, I don’t care.

A dab of whipped cream would have helped the picture, but we couldn’t wait.

Chocolate Pudding from Scratch

Makes 4 cups; serves 8

INGREDIENTS
• 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
• 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 3 large egg yolks
• 2 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Use a serrated knife to chop the chocolate into fine flakes; set aside.
  2. Whisk the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt together in a large, heatproof bowl. Slowly whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until you have a smooth mixture.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks into the cream and cornstarch mixture.
  4. Pour the milk into a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan. Add the sugar and warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Watch for the surface of the milk to vibrate and for bubbles to form around the edges of the pot.
  6. To temper the eggs, slowly pour most of the hot milk into the bowl of cream and egg yolks. Whisk until well-combined, then pour everything back into the pot.
  7. Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. (It should look like lava boiling up!) At this point, the pudding will look much thicker.
  8. Cook for 2 minutes more, whisking constantly and vigorously. Get your whisk into all corners of the pot.
  9. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Add the chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate is fully incorporated.
  10. Transfer the pudding to a storage container and press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto the surface of the pudding. Cover with a lid and refrigerate.