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.

Santa Bread Baby!

I saw a recipe and tutorial on Food.net last week and thought it would be fun to make and take to a Christmas party we are going to. This bread recipe is a little sweeter than my usual making it taste a little like a Danish pastry. Plus two eggs in 4 cups or 500g AP flour yields a Challah sort of flavor.

The Food.net video tutorial was a great help in cutting and arranging Santas parts. (Search for Food.net Santa Bread.

The instructions they provided were spot on. Follow them and you will have no problems.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • Two packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing and serving
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (see Cook’s Note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
  • 20 drops red gel food coloring
  • 2 large chocolate chips
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

METHOD

 

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it just begins to simmer, then remove from the heat and let cool to 115 degrees F. Stir in the yeast and let stand until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the sugar, butter and 2 of the eggs and stir until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium high and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a rimless baking sheet with parchment.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pinch off 1 golf ball-size piece of dough and roll it into a ball for the pompom of Santa’s hat. Pinch off 1 ping pong ball-size piece of dough and roll it into a ball for Santa’s nose. Cut off a 1-inch-wide, 9-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick strip and roll it into a smooth log for the brim of Santa’s hat. Cut another piece of dough into a roughly 2-inch-wide, 5-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick strip of dough. Snip evenly from the bottom (but not all the way up) and spread the strips out slightly to form a mustache.
  5. Roll out the remaining dough into an elongated diamond with the top triangle of the diamond double the length of the bottom triangle. Position the diamond on the prepared baking sheet with the top of the longer triangle hanging over the edge. Working on the shorter triangle, use scissors or a knife to cut 1/2-inch-wide strips of dough up toward the middle, stopping at the imaginary line where the top and bottom triangles meet. Pick up each strip of the beard and twist it, if you like, lying the twists down next to each other naturally so they look like a beard.
  6. Fold over the overhanging corner of dough so that it fits back within the edge of the baking sheet and position it slightly to the right to form the tip of Santa’s hat. Position the dough log across the top triangle where the tip of Santa’s hat ends and tuck the ends under the sides of the triangle; this is the brim of Santa’s hat. Position the golf ball-size ball of dough over the tip and against the brim and press lightly to adhere for the pompom of Santa’s hat. Arrange the mustache at the top of the beard, then position the ping pong ball-size ball of dough above the mustache to make Santa’s nose.
  7. Beat the remaining egg with the cream in a bowl to make an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the entire surface of the dough, including the pompom and brim of the hat but not the body of the hat, with the plain egg wash, making sure to get into all the crevices of the shapes. Add the food coloring to the egg wash, stir to combine, then carefully brush the body of the hat with the red egg wash, being careful not to let it stain the pompom or brim.
  8. Bake until the bread is golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately set the chocolate chips proportionally on either side and slightly above Santa’s nose to form his eyes. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack. Using cut pieces of parchment paper or foil to shield Santa’s nose, face and the body of his hat, dust the beard, brim and pompom with confectioners’ sugar. Remove the paper and serve the bread while still warm with butter.

Caramel on the Bay

It’s that time of year again. No, not a trip to Carmel, it’s time for chocolate covered caramel candies. I made a single recipe and formed it into a block 8”x8”x0.75”.

The block was cut into strips, about 1”x4” and those in turn were cut into small pieces for incorporation into the tempered chocolate. I have several silicone molds that require different sized caramels.

Each well of the mold was filled (about 4 at a time) and a piece of caramel was pushed into the well and covered. Once the chocolate hardened the excess was scraped off.

The extra caramel was cut into small pieces, wrapped in wax paper to be eaten, or given away.

CARAMELS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 pound brown sugar (2 cups)
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup (288g) light corn syrup
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter in 3 quart or larger saucepan.
  2. Add the brown sugar and salt and combine. Stir in the corn syrup, mix well.
  3. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk, stirring constantly.
  4. Cook and stir over medium heat to firm ball stage (245°F) for harder caramels, 240°F for softer.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour into 9×9″ parchment-lined pan.
  6. Cool, cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper.

Tempering Chocolate

Stir constantly during the steps and avoid having moisture from coming in direct contact with the chocolate:

  1. Melt chocolate, in a double boiler, to the following temperatures as measured with a chocolate thermometer: Dark 120°F, Milk 115°F, White 110°F.
  2. Cool chocolate to the following temperatures: Dark 82°F, Milk 80°F, White 78°F.
  3. Reheat chocolate to the following temperatures: Dark 90°F, Milk 86°F, White 82°F.

It is now tempered.

KEEP CHOCOLATE IN TEMPER: Ideal temperatures are: Dark 88-90°F, Milk 86-88 degrees F, and white 82-84°F. If the chocolate hardens, you must start the tempering process again.

WHEAT Blew the Referee’s Whistle

So, as I know everyone does, I was browsing YouTube bread baking video tutorials yesterday while watching college football. As often happens as I spun down the YouTube rabbit hole I did a google search for “light, airy, whole wheat bread” and I found MelsKitchenCafe.com.

Having a few hours before the NFL games start today I decided to give it a try. No surprise, I had all the ingredients in my baking supplies, including vital wheat gluten.

Finished loaf – note low rise and tight crumb.
I followed all Mel’s directions and was pleased when my results very closely matched her pictures. I did find that setting 1 or 2 on my KitchenAid mixer was too slow to efficiently mix or knead the dough, so I used 3. (For my white bread I usually knead at 4 or 6. Oddly, there are only even numbers on the speed scale.) Perhaps I knocked some air out of the dough by using a more aggressive knead.
Shaped loaf in bread pan
I left the dough a little slack hoping the extra hydration would increase the size of the holes and crumb would yields the light, airy bread I hoped for. (It didn’t.) The flavor is excellent and this recipe is worth trying again. Now, if you will excuse me I need to check that the cooled bread is every bit as good as the warm.

Cheeburger, Cheeburger

No Peps, only Coke. We switch.

Given the responsibility for choosing tonight’s dinner I decided cheeseburgers would be perfect after (and during) a day of football watching—what could be better? I know! Home made hamburger rolls.

I received a new recipe designed for hamburger rolls from King Arthur this morning which may have influenced my dinner decision. These rolls are buttery and soft, but with some body which should hold up to a nice juicy cheeseburger. (Cheeburger is a nod to an old SNL skit.) The recipe made 6 rolls, each weighing in at about 135 grams when formed.

I thought it might be a good idea to freeze a couple of the rolls as an experiment so I under-baked them by 5 minutes, removed them from the over and let them cook before double wrapping them and freezing. I will let you know how they turn out when defrosted, warmed and finished baking.

The rolls in the back are the ones to be frozen. The rolls for dinner tonight are in the center and completed baking, and the ones cut in half and smeared with butter are the QC samples, or I should say, were the QC samples.

Total time to make was about 2 hours 20 minutes, which included 2 one-hour rises. If the freezing experiment is successful, it would be easy to double up the recipe and freeze enough for several dinners for two.

KING ARTHUR HAMBURGER BUNS

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾  to 1 cup (170g to 227g) lukewarm water*
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 ½  cups (418g) All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼  cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 ¼  teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

METHOD

  1. Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients to make a soft, smooth dough.
  2. Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 6 pieces about 125 -135 g each. Shape each piece into a round ball; flatten to about 3″ across. 
  4. Roll each bun with cupped fingers to tension the outside. Occasionally pinch and seal the underside seams.
  5. Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.
  6. Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter. 
  7. Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden. 
    1. To freeze rolls
      1. Remove from oven with 5 min left to bake
      1. Cool and freeze
    1. To reheat
      1. Allow to come to RT
      1. Bake at 350 for 5-7 min
  8. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. This will give the buns a satiny, buttery crust.
  9. Cool the buns on a rack.

Straight Down the Middle

As we near the end (of some peoples playing season,) one of my golf buddies invited our foursome and families over for a patio dinner before the weather starts turning cold(er). I offered to bring a cake along to the dinner. This is what I made this morning

It’s my extreme chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

The trees are gum-paste cones made by wrapping thin gum-paste around a form, then set to dry overnight.

Of course, I rarely hit it straight down the middle!!

First Birthday

Well, I was all set for Vivian’s first birthday party on August 10, but due to typical one year old circumstances, it was postponed until today, August 25. This offered no problems, rather a whole new opportunity to perfect (maybe too strong a word) a mermaid themed birthday cake for Vivian.

The cake was comprised of two 12″ round merengue white cake layers and three 9″ chocolate layers. Each were crumb coated and refrigerated. Meanwhile, I made marshmallow fondant and colored portions a shades of “ocean green” colors. The entire 3 layer chocolate and 2 layer vanilla cakes were covered with fondant.Then used some of it to punch out circular “scales.”

A variety of sea “creatures” were molded from both chocolate, white chocolate (tinted pink) and gum paste. The purple “sea weed” was made from gum paste and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. These were actually made over a month ago and were fine to use today. The chocolate sea creatures were made three weeks ago and stored in the fridge.

The cakes were stacked this morning and the “sea creatures” and mermaid tails were attached using Dab-And-Hold edible adhesive.

My critique: the design and execution was good. The chocolate cake was outstanding, the meringue white cake tasted good, but was a bit dry. I am still looking for an acceptable recipe. Marshmallow fondant is too sweet, but the little figurines need to be a fixed to a smooth surface. I may give rolled buttercream next. I also found a recipe where I can substitute the cocoa ingredients to create a vanilla cake with similar crumb and moisture to my chocolate cake recipe. More experimentation!!

Extreme Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Grease and flour the two Wilton 3D Egg cake pans. 
  3. Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.
  6. Stir in the boiling water by hand.

Meringue White Cake

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup butter (softened)
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 3 cups cake flour* (345 grams spooned & measured carefully)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 cup milk (2% milkfat)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup egg whites plus 3 tablespoons (160 g)

METHOD

  1. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they are stiff and form peaks. This may take a minute or two. Pour the egg whites into another bowl and place them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add them to the batter.
  2. Using the same bowl that you used to beat the egg whites, place the softened butter in and cream the butter for about 2 minutes (using the beater blade attachmenuntil it is white in appearance.
  3. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until fluffy (about another 1-2 minutes).
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour (measured carefully*), salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  5. In another bowl, combine the milk and vanilla extract.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
  7. Add the stiffly beaten eggs to the cake batter. Fold the egg whites in gently. Do not overmix at this point. If you do, your cake will become more dense.
  8. Grease and flour 2 9″ round cake pans. Pour the cake batter equally into the prepared cake pans.
  9. Bake the cakes at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes or until the top bounces back when you touch it.
  10. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and remove them from the pans to a wire rack, allowing them to cool completely.

Marshmallow Fondant

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g marshmallows
  • 1000 g confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp white vanilla
  • 2-3 Tbl water

METHOD

  1. Grease (well with Crisco or equivalent) a heat proof microwavable bowl
  2. Place marshmallow in the bowl and sprinkle 2-3 Tbl water over the marshmallows
  3. Heat in a microwave in 30 second increments until the marshmallow is melted and smooth. Don’t overcook and burn.
  4. Grease (well) dough hook and stand mixer bowl and add melted marshmallow.
  5. Add confectioners sugar a cup at a time and stir on medium until incorporated.
  6. Add the vanilla during one of the sugar additions.
  7. Reserve about a cup of sugar to use during hand kneading
  8. Grease (well) your workspace and hands and turn the fondant out.
  9. Cover with sugar and begin kneading, adding more sugar as necessary until the fondant is smooth and not sticky.
  10. Use a greased rolling pin and roll the fondant out to required size. For this cake I rolled it out to about 24″ x 24″. Once kneaded and no longer sticky I folded it into quarters to make it easy to pick up and drape over the cake. Be careful. If not adequately kneaded, it will tear.


Peace on this (and all) Shabbats

Most synagogues host an Oneg after Shabbat services on Friday night. The name Oneg Shabbat means joy of the Sabbath in Hebrew and usually refers to a celebratory gathering held after Sabbath services, often with food and socializing.

Our synagogue, Temple Or Rishon, invites each family to host an Oneg once a year and many do so, often joining efforts with other friends or families. We have baked desserts for the Oneg we host with friends every year. This year I made eclairs and chocolate chip/raspberry bit/ganache covered brownies. These have been favorites of the synagogue membership. The recipes for both can be found at eclairs and brownies.

I made two dozen eclairs.

 

And three dozen brownies. This year I topped them with ground cashews. Last year one friend said they would have been the best brownies he ever had, if they had some nuts on them.