zondag 28 december 2008

Butter Pistol Roll

This is a very tasty variation on hard rolls. It has a certain flakiness and a delicious butter taste. Oops! I told a part of the secret.... How do we get this flakiness into a hard roll? Well pretty easy. We fold butter into the dough. The trick (if you want to call it a trick) is to give the dough two folds (in 3) with butter after the first fermentation.
After folding the butter in, with a rolling pin, we divide the dough into pieces (I use 50 Grams each.) After that we make the roll shape and let the dough ferment.

Recipe :

500 Grams flour
300 Grams water
8 Grams dry yeast
9 Grams salt
75 Grams butter to fold in (divide this into two equal pieces)

Mix water, yeast, flour for about 2 minutes in first speed.
Add the salt when the dough comes together.
Mix for an additional 6 minutes in second speed.
Desired dough temperature : 22°C or 71°F
Let the dough ferment for 20 minutes covered in plastic.

Punch down and roll with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape.
Place the soft (same consistence as the dough) butter 2/3th on the dough.
Fold in 3.
Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.
Roll again in a rectangular shape. Take the second part of the butter and do
the same as mentioned above. Roll the dough and divide into 50 gram pieces.
Make rolls, and slice.

Proof until they are large enough (I guess it took about 45 minutes, I
have a proofer so this might take longer in your kitchen.)

Bake :

230°C (440°F) - 10-15 minutes (Make sure they are well baked! These times are just a guiding line, it might take up to 18-20 minutes to be fully baked depending on your oven.)

Let cool down if you can and enjoy these delicious rolls!!!

vrijdag 26 december 2008

A matter of loaf and death!

"A matter of loaf and death" is the new movie of Walace and Gromit which went on premiere last night on BBC One. I was actually surprised when I read the
title that it would have something to do with baking!
The movie was great! I am a huge W&G fan and as soon as the DVD comes out March 2009 I will get it. Meanwhile check out the amazing W&G site!

donderdag 25 december 2008

Christmas '08

Christmas this year was awesome! I ate some great food (I made delicious veggie goulash!) Also I had a great result baking. I made Stollen, brownies (this was a succes!) and a "Buche De Noel" which was also awesome!
Here are some pics :

Merry Christmas!

maandag 22 december 2008

Soft Rolls (with-without pastry cream)

These look pretty much perfect. Proofing in the proofer sure is a benefit.
I slowly gain control over the new oven, but not for everything. I am kinda
disappointed, because I really seem not to be able to control baking Viennoiserie in it.
This is a real bummer, I think I will use my kitchen hot air oven this weekend to bake the Viennoiserie in. Bummer...

Submitted to Yeastspotting

Recipe :
500 grams flour
42 grams yeast (fresh)
20 grams honey
2 eggs
250 grams milk
7 grams salt
75 grams butter

Mix Milk + yeast + honey + eggs
Add flour
Add the soft butter
Add salt

Knead for about 10 minutes.
10 minutes rest covered with plastic.

Divide the dough into buns 50 grams each.
Make boule shapes.
Rest 10 minutes covered. The ones you want to fill with pastry
cream : take a small cloth, fill with some flour and make a round shape like
a ball. Punch down the dough with it to create a hole to fill with pastry cream,
do this just before putting them in the oven.

Proof for about 20 minutes (this might take longer depending how warm it is in your kitchen), egg wash them and bake.

240°C (460F) for about 10 minutes.

Like I mentioned before on this blog, I usually use cooked pastry cream, but for these ones I made it easy and used a mix. For baked goods that is okay.

donderdag 11 december 2008


It has been a while since I posted so here's a pic of some straight dough breads.

donderdag 4 december 2008


So I managed to get home with the proofer I purchased on eBay (that was the easy part actually). What was not so easy was getting the proofer where it should be installed. It barely could pass through the door opening of the house and we had a lot of twisting and turning to do, even remove the doors to get this giant at it's place.

After that I let it stand for 24 hours to stabilize, as one would do with a refrigerator. Then the most fearing moment, would the proofer and namely all the electric wires have survived the trip and the (difficult) installation?
Yes! I flipped the switch and the red heating light started burning. I poured some water into the reservoir and waited a while. The temperature reader showed the desired (25°C)temperature. All good. When I opened the door I saw the evaporated water filled the cabinet, so it seemed to work okay.

I tested it and the breads I put in proofed okay. Only negative aspect : the top of the dough seemed a bit wet, making it impossible to make a decent slash. I seem not able to control the humidity, so I will need to find a solution.

Here are some pics of the proofer, all in all, it was dirt cheap, 99€ is not that much for this used machine. Proofing conditions will be a lot better than in my house, no doubt about that.

woensdag 3 december 2008

New tools

It is amazing how fast stuff breaks nowadays. I have purchased this machine to cut my slices of bread like a good year ago. It does not work anymore! The Kenwood has died on me. I don't like it. I paid like 40€ for it, which is more than enough and it did last for like a year and some months...
I had been looking to buy a more professional cutter, but the thing is that pro tools cost money, a lot of money! So I told my wife and she mentioned her mum still must have the cutter that her mother used.
She still had it and this piece of equipment is more than 50 years old. It is built to last! I even cut my finger when I cleaned the blade. It is amazing how well this is made. I cleaned it and it looks like it will last for another 50 years! We used it and it works perfect, I could not have been happier with it, just wishing that todays equipment would have the same quality build as this tool from the past.

zondag 16 november 2008

Pistol Rolls - Whole Wheat

Pic of the pistol rolls fresh out of the oven!

Baguettes with pâte fermentée - Hamelman

I just sliced a piece of baguette and was blown away by the crumb. This is my best result so far. I have used and old piece of bread dough that has been stored in my fridge. I made the dough and added the old dough. The result was beautiful I think.
The taste was great too, and the crust was as sharp as a knife. I actually hurt my mouth. It remembered me at the baguettes we used to get at the local baker who is long gone.

Sunday Viennoiserie (Calvel)

4AM this Sunday morning I finished the Viennoiserie. I am satisfied with the result because I succeeded in tweaking the baking with the new oven.
They look pretty much perfect, although the apple slices could have been larger on the ones with apple, but the apple I had was a bit tiny. Like I said, I am satisfied with the Calvel recipe.

I did use a mixture of margarine and butter because I wanted my lamination better. I know this taste would have been better if I used pure butter only, but sometimes one has to make a compromise between the taste and end result, I chose that lamination was more important so I did use half butter/half margarine. Like I mentioned, I think the taste/result was great and next Sunday I will make them again.

dinsdag 11 november 2008

Pistol Rolls - Calvel

I keep on testing the new oven and today I made some pistol rolls. In the past I have made similar ones before (not the Calvel recipe though.) So I wanted to know how this would turn out in the new oven. I am still testing how to steam properly also so I gave it a try.
The dough was very good I thought. One thing I did change in the recipe was changing the milk to water. I don't understand why in this recipe Mr. Calvel uses milk and also adds some milk powder? That does not make any sense to me, besides that I've read that the use of milk should be avoided and replaced by water and milk powder. So I did.

The rolls came out of the oven beautiful, even though I still have a problem with their size. I just seem not to be able to make a decent size roll. I thought I over proofed, but I guess not.

Having good proof conditions in the house is not always easy. I am thinking about getting a proofer, but there are a few downsides. First off all, I don't have the budget to spend on a proofer. They are expensive. I've been looking at the second hand market but some of them are pure overkill, I am a home baker, not a professional baker. Second, I will have to contact the electricity company to get 380Volt in the house. And God knows how much that will cost extra, so for now I want to avoid these extras costs.

But at this moment I think the result was satisfactory and I keep on testing.

zondag 9 november 2008


Just a quick posting of the Viennoiserie I made this night. The lamination was okay, and I wasn't sure if I would post this, because these are the ones that are left over ;-)
but here they are :

Beer Bread (with roasted Barley) - Hamelman made in the new oven

So last night I did some test baking in the new oven.
I made the beer bread with roasted barley by Hamelman. I fired up the oven like more than an hour in advance. I did make some viennoiserie as well and baked that first and that also was an adventure. Just like my first loaf the bottom also did become too dark.
The baking stone seems to be really, really hot. Like I mentioned in previous posting, baking in this oven is nothing like baking with a hot air kitchen oven.
I did test a new technique for steaming, and the way the loaves came out was rather surprising. I did make them slightly larger, using 100grams more dough. So that also explains why they are taller as usual, but the steam seemed to work really well.
Today I am baking a couple of loaves again and hope to reproduce the result. The corn bread is bulk fermenting as I write this posting.
I post a pic of the loaves, please feel free to comment.

zaterdag 8 november 2008

New oven : pic :

This is the picture of my new oven. Like I mentioned : baking stone at the lowest level.
Also a picture of my first bread (a rustic Hamelman loaf). It did come out not as good as I had hoped even though it tasted great. It was okay, but no shiny crust. I did steam but because there are two small vent holes in the inside of the oven this is not ideal for baking bread!

I don't understand because the oven was clearly labeled as a bread oven. So my future project will be close the vents but not permanently. I will close them, but make sure that during the baking process (when the loaves are getting color) I will be able to open the vents. This will ensure steam will be going out through the chimney and the rest of the baking will be done in a dry oven.

The bread was the second thing I baked, the first time I made some hard rolls and the result was rather disappointing! I know I will have to learn to bake with it, because it is nothing like my regular kitchen oven to bake in. My goal is to get loaves as good as using the die cast pot I always bake in.
This should be doable. I will cross my fingers...

woensdag 5 november 2008

New oven.

I finally purchased a new oven. The oven I am currently using is good, but not actually made to bake bread. I had pretty good results baking in the die cast pot.
I have been saving money for a long time and I once spoke about getting a Rofco oven. But since the economy is pretty bad at this moment, I decided to look for something more affordable.

So I got a Fage oven today.
Their site looks pretty bad, but it is an Italian brand that make mainly pizza ovens. They made some bakery ovens too I guess, but the model I purchased I cannot seem to find on line. It has a baking stone at the lowest level and also a baking plate in the middle.
I am hoping I will get good results using it.

Delivery should be tomorrow and I hope to use it this weekend. Seems the weekend is going to be exiting!

zondag 2 november 2008

Finnish Rye

It has been a rather long time that I made the Finish Rye, so I decided this weekend it was time to make a batch. I did use levain instead of the starter which the recipe asks for. Nowadays I always keep like 500 grams of old dough and keep it in a plastic container with lid. I store this in the fridge and keep it there sometimes for a week.
It seems to work even though I am not sure if this is a good method to make bread. Please feel free to comment on this matter.

zondag 19 oktober 2008

Pain au Levain - Hamelman

I've been making the second batch of 'pain au levain' bread because I like working with Levain if I have the time for it. When you are able to make a decent work schedule this is doable. Sometimes I suffer from bad planning.
I adjusted the formula a bit, I did use less water than I should have, this to avoid the dough ball becoming too flat, I had my spouse complaining about this.

In this particular case, I started working on these breads at 7PM. I had a piece of sourdough from my previous batch, and I figured that at 1AM they would go in the oven. Wrong!
At 1AM the loaves were still under proofed.
So I went to bed for less than 5 hours, fired up the oven at 6AM and baked them at 7AM.
So they had this long and slow fermentation, which will have had a good influence on the taste. Haven't tried them yet, looking forward to taste them.

dinsdag 14 oktober 2008

Vermont Sourdough rye - Hamelman

I totally love this bread! I love the taste, I love the firm crumb. This bread is pretty awesome! I have made it a few times past weeks.

woensdag 1 oktober 2008

Dan Lepard - Quick white loaf

I made a variation on the quick white loaf of the Dan Lepard book.
I love it, used some rye in it, and the optional millet he mentions
in the book. Awesome!

maandag 22 september 2008


A while ago I was in France to visit the annual flea market in Lille. We have been there several years before and love to stroll around, and visit some great bakeries and enjoy some awesome French baguette.

While I was walking around I've noticed a copy of this Lenôtre book. The title is :
"Faites votre pâttiserie comme Lenôtre."
It came out in 1975! It has similar recipes inside like the other Lenôtre book I own, slightly more modern though.

What is also cool about this book is that all the recipes are made by chef Lenôtre's daughter and is aimed at the beginner (even though the book warns that some recipes are for the advanced baker.)
Second cool thing about it is that is is used, has stains, has scribbled notes in it, and almost falls apart. That is also something I like about it, the previous owner has used it!

I am a purist, and that is why I like this book so much. It contains all the great classic recipes like : croissants, brioche, pains aux raisins, éclairs, gaufres, Saint-Honoré and a ton more. I took a (crappy) picture using my built in iSight webcam, the quality isn't that great but I admit I was too lazy to take the digital camera and get a decent shot of the book. I hope you still enjoy though.

This weekend I made the brioche dough from the book and it was delicious. I also made a loaf containing dried fruits soaked in Rum and that gave a delicious flavor after baking. The alcohol evaporates and the taste stays inside the loaf. Great!
I also made some small rolls and a large brioche.

I know it might be impossible to find this book (which is totally written in the French language) but I highly recommend it to anyone who likes to see how some classic pastry/bread was made like 30 years ago. Highly recommended!

zaterdag 6 september 2008

Dead or alive?

Is this blog dead? It has been a very long time since I posted on this blog. Reason for it all is that my work schedule is changed and I don't bake as often as I would like to.
I only make bread during the weekend, making like four loaves and put them in the freezer. Most of my breads I made before. I made beer bread last week which was quite delicious and also the West-Flanders bread I have made many times last month.
I post some pics of our daughter's birthday party. One of them is a close up of the 'Princess' cake I made.

zondag 20 juli 2008

Remy's Party

Yesterday morning our daughter woke up and said : "Today is Remy day!" She told us that she wanted to do something special. She asked me if I could bake a cake for Remy's birthday. Well, baking a cake was going to be difficult, because I wasn't exactly prepared to do it, also it would take too much time.

Then I had an idea! What if I used this cake mix that we got a while back for free and was sitting there in my storage closet anyway taking up space.
Our daughter liked the idea. We would do our best to make the cakes real beautiful with cream and some chocolate and sugar pearls.

One thing I have to get of my chest is the fact that I hate these mixes. I am an artisan baker and believe that using honest ingredients gives superior results. I don't like artificial flavor, sugar, and all the other chemical additives you often find in these products. The taste is most of the time flat and all the same. I don't like it at all! If I did not have this cake mix, I would have baked cakes just using butter, flour, eggs and sugar. The way my mum used to do it, the way I learned it in culinary school.

We had a great time making the cakes, actually I just had to add some milk and shake to finish the batter. Then fill the bake pan and bake it.

Decorating the cakes with whipped cream and sugar pearls was actually the funnest thing to do, especially for the smallest member of this household, who managed to drop a bunch of them on our kitchen flour. :-)
I personally went on an adventure by removing a cylinder in the center of the chocolate cake and filling it with egg-nog liquor.
Eating them was even more fun, lot's of stuffed animals were invited!
One of the best b-day parties ever!

donderdag 17 juli 2008

Pane Siciliano - Peter Reinhart

Mmmmm, Pane Siciliano made with a pre ferment and semolina flour. This is a golden, sweet, very tasty loaf!!! It took 3 days to finish but the result was awesome. You will like this, that is a promise.

Was there anything I did not like about this loaf? Well, staying overnight in the fridge benefits the taste, but I have to be very careful : the plastic that I use to wrap the dough in always sticks to the top of the loaves. That is why you will see flour on top of the Pane Siciliano, it has sesame seeds also (which are awesome on top of this loaf.) But like I mentioned, I need to use flour to avoid the plastic sticking too much to possibly deflate the loaves when I remove it.

I did enjoy making these, I guess I haven't made that many loaves that take 3 days from start to finish before, but it was worth it.

zondag 13 juli 2008


So I was in Paris yesterday once again. I love it! We checked out the first arrondissement and visited some cool stores. If you find yourself being in Paris and love to bake - and chances are you might, because you are reading this blog- :-) make sure to visit :

G. Detou, 58 rue Tiquetonne, 75001 Paris
It's a store where you will find a ton of professional baking supplies available.
Very cool!

Also Dehillerin. If you are looking for anything to use in your kitchen, or baking equipment make sure to visit this store, it has a huge selection and left a deep impression on me.

I love Paris, because we always seem to stumble upon something we did not know was there, or even existed. I can't wait for my next travel to Paris again.

Hope you all enjoy the pics.

donderdag 10 juli 2008

Bake Marathon

I have been extremely busy! I baked a ton of stuff yesterday. I made :

Two Finnish Rye breads.
A batch of Bialys.
A batch of rolls.
A batch of rolls filled with pastry cream.
A cluster of rolls.
A flan tart.
and choux pastry.

The Finnish Rye breads were perfect! Also the choux pastry was delicious!!
Enjoy the picture!

donderdag 3 juli 2008

Pain a L'ancienne - Peter Reinhart

Pain a l'ancienne : the dough was kinda too wet to shape in a decent baguette style, so I made it more like a ciabatta style bread. I did not use 100% white flour though, I added some whole wheat. I do like just plain white bread, but I love some bite/crunch in it, so that is the reason why I altered the recipe. Also, it is way better for your health.

No large holes in the crumb here. I still need to manage to get a decent crumb with these flat breads, but the whole wheat might also be the reason why there are no large holes in the crumb. I do like the taste though, overnight retarding is always beneficial to the flavor.
I ate waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy too much of it today. I ate one loaf myself... I know, too much, but so delicious!

Hope you'll enjoy the pic, I am off working out now, that is the downside of eating too much, need to burn all those calories right now!

dinsdag 1 juli 2008

"Ana, damn 'er!" Anadama bread - Peter Reinhart

This bread has a very strong flavor, my household did not dig it at all. I kinda did, but I must say the bread has an outspoken taste because of the black molasses I used.
Peter Reinhart suggests using the lightest you can find.
Interesting bread, because I never used cornmeal. If I ever find Golden Molasses I will make this one again.

zaterdag 28 juni 2008

Maxi Bialys

Like I mentioned in the previous post I would make the Bialys many times more.
Yesterday when I came into the kitchen I discovered the "Maxi Bialys" during bulk fermentation :-D

vrijdag 27 juni 2008

Beer Bread (with roasted Barley) - Hamelman

Sometimes, bread recipes have ingredients that are hard to find or take some time to prepare. I am not a big fan of those recipes because it just takes too much of my time to search them on line or check out different stores.
I did find some malted barley though and used it in this recipe. Also in this bread was some organic beer. The result was okay. I do like the light sweet taste of the bread, and because of the whole wheat it has also some bite in it.

maandag 23 juni 2008

Bialys - Hamelman

These were fun to make and no doubt about it I will bake them many times more. Bialys - Hamelman : made from stiff dough, bulk ferment about 2 hours, divide and shape into rolls. After that about 2 hours proofing, shaping and filling with onion filling and bread crumbs. Bake them for a short time about 8 minutes in a very hot oven.

I ate two of them even though I was not hungry at all and it was after 11PM already. I just could not resist. My spouse came into the kitchen and was like "OMG!" Looks like she will have a delicious breakfast tomorrow moring! ;-) Guess what? Me too!

zaterdag 21 juni 2008

Pain Rustique (again) - Hamelman

Slight variation on the pain rustique. Added some whole wheat flour. I did also use some olive oil and rosemary herbs on top of one of the loaves (let's say I got adventurous here.)

Pics are the unshaped (rustic) dough pieces, while baking in the oven and the final product.

Interesting is that the breads baked in the pot or glass cloche are slightly taller that the one baked on the plate. I looking forward to see if there is a difference in crumb structure.

vrijdag 20 juni 2008

Whole Wheat & Whole Grain - Hamelman

This is the whole wheat & whole rye bread. I think I made this before. I did bake it in a pan when I made this before but now I decided to make a boule. I do need to work on my slashing because even though it looks okay I think that the cuts could have been a bit smaller.

woensdag 18 juni 2008

Tarte aux riz

Oh boy! I cannot believe so many weeks have passed with no posting at all on this blog. I made some tartelettes aux riz. I love eating these and to be honest I never have made them at home. When I was still working at the bakery this was one of my regular jobs each Friday. I made the riz au lait yesterday, and today I made quick puff pastry and pastry cream to make the tartelettes. Baked them at 200°C for about 40 minutes.
Enjoy the pics :

dinsdag 20 mei 2008

Country Bread - Hamelman

Uh! It has been like ages since I updated the blog. I still have been baking though, most of the time breads I already made before, so I was thinking it was kinda useless to post them again. And there is a lot of stuff going on in the house these days so updating the blog was not always possible.
Here is the country bread from the Hamelman book. My spouse liked this a lot. She said the smell reminded her of bread she used to get at a local bakery back in the days.

donderdag 8 mei 2008

Bloch-Bruine Provence

I made this bread with organic whole wheat. My personal opinion is that there should be some bread flour in the dough to support the dough strength. The taste was great but I found that the slices crumbled because the whole wheat (100%) did not seem to have enough gluten. I guess using different whole wheat might solve this problem.