baking, nerd

Baking, Bitches!

April 24, 2007

So… I’m holding it down until K-Kit comes backs from France. Sadly, because I have other things on my mind, and all around lazy, this is the first post I’ve made in several months. But seeing as that I had a wasteful, shitty, out in the street no less (I have on of those days at home, thank you), I need to write, not to mention warm up for my poetry assignment for tomorrow.

Now you’re probably thinking, what can an opinionated, smart-ass writer and poet contributed to a blog about pastry and baking? Seeing as that I’ve eaten my fair share of baked goods, I think I can offer a little insight.

Me? I’m a home baker, and the many times where I feel a creative block, or just need a creative jump start, I bake. Because I’ve trying to lose weight, I haven’t been doing as much baking lately. However, a few days ago, I tried out a few recipes in Baking Illustrated One was for Buttermilk Biscuits, the other, Quiche Lorraine. Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve made biscuits. My first ever attempt was…okay, honestly, opening up a can of Pilsbury biscuits and calling it a day. When that got boring, I tried Bisquick drop biscuits. Next, a recipe courtesy of Good Eats. Sadly, the didn’t come out too great, ( a little dig at the ego, since most of the stuff I bake comes out fine).

Last weekend I decided to take a crack at making biscuits from scratch again. The recipe in Baking Illustrated, while I’m sure you can roll out the dough and cut shapes, is more like a drop biscuit dough. Still, after all the ingredients are put together, they suggest that the dough is cut into halves, quarters; thirds, then shaped into balls ASAP so the butter doesn’t get warm (natch). Even though I followed the instructions perfectly, I had some dryness issues. I don’t have food processor so I cut the butter and mixed in the buttermilk by hand. The dough started to have layers, and I tried my best not to do this but I probably worked it more than it called fore because it was on the crumbly side. Still, I got it together, baked them off, etc. All in all, they came out pretty good, and tasted a little like a soft saltine at first bite, but they got better after a while.

The next baking foray was Quiche Lorraine. I had a yen for Quiche over the past few weeks, however, frozen pre-made pie crust taste like ass. Therefore, I had to bite the bullet and make a pie crust from scratch.

Except for a food processor, I have all the tools to make a crust. I followed the crust and the quiche recipe from Baking Illustrated. The butter I used was not only cold, it was friggin’ frozen, which is a good thing because I took a tip from the book and grated the butter into the cold flour, and blended it with my fingertips. I kept everything as cold as possible, even putting the buttered up flour back in the fridge if I suspected warmth.

Then came the time to add ice water (4 TBS + 1 extra if needed). Even after I added the extra tablespoon of water, the dough was still dry. I read in the book that the less water you add, the more tender the dough. I tried to kneaded it as little as possible just to get it together, wrapped it and put it in the fridge until it was time to make the quiche. Since the dough was dry, and had the same layered effect as the biscuits, it was hard to roll, even when I let it sit “until malleable.” The recipe for the filling is great, easier and better than the Putnam Market recipe I saw on $40 a Day. I added some onions to the recipe too because I like bacon, egg, and onion together, hence the dark bits on top of the quiche. One of the things I noticed was that the recipe called for 1 cup each whole milk and heavy cream. The reason was to get a balance for the right amount of butterfat (20%) total. Instantly, I thought, why not use light cream. So after doing a Google search about the percentages of fat in dairy, lo and behold, light cream has 20% fat.

Back to the crust. As per the directions, I blind baked it; a good suggestion in the book is use coins instead of beans because they conduct heat better (B.I.’s first choice is ceramic pie weights). Naturally, the crust top was done first, and because of a little bit of shrinkage, there was a hole on the side. While I *hoped* this wouldn’t happen, some of the filling escaped through the whole and got into the sides, thus, and egg ring baked around the quiche, causing sogginess on the side and bottom. I think the top crust might have been overdone because it started to buckle a little after it cooked.

Still, that shit was good, but I guess even an experienced home cook needs practice on even the most “foolproof” recipes.

Look, I was hungry, okay?

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