Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Great Drama of the Kitchen

A few years ago I took a pastry class.
Not like pie crust.
Like Pastry Pastry.
Chou, Puffed, and Croissant. 
I even blogged about it. 
I had always planned to try out what I learned that day, but until the other day never had the courage. I was filled with excuses as to why I didn't.
Our apartment was too hot to make the dough.
I would never have the time.
I thought it would take at least two days to complete all of the turns and keep everything chilled.
We would have to open windows in the winter. 
Our crazy chaotic hole of a kitchen.
That was all SO 2012.
We've since renovated the hole.
And after my year long bread project I feel more comfortable with yeast.
So. Instead of unearthing my photo copies of recipes from the Sur La Table cooking class. I turned to my old reliable cookbook for all things bread.
The Joy of Cooking.
I used to use my mothers edition which was given to my parents as a wedding gift in 1970.
Then Michael bought me my own. I have notes in the margins.We use it for muffins, pancakes, biscuits, scones, cornbread, duch babies, the list goes on.
Last night I decided after reading through the entire bread section that I would make danishes for breakfast. Somehow looking at the croissant recipe made me quake in my slippers. As it turns out, the danish recipe is almost identical, the shapes are different, croissant dough has a extra stick of butter, and more flour, and a bit less sugar, but the process is the same.

 After incorporating my butter square and doing at least four turns. I rolled out half of the dough and decided that strawberry filled pinwheels would be what I would try first. I cut and pinched and left them in the fridge over night.
Noah woke up at 5:30am and I pulled them out of the fridge and set them out on the counter to proof.
At 7am I ran out to the corner deli for a box of eggs for the egg wash.We ran out last night.
Argh it's cold. Thank goodness for Bodegas.

At 7:30 they were ready to go into the oven.
So far everything looked right...Sort of. I wasn't sure if I would get the flaky layers, maybe I pressed to hard with the rolling pin, and maybe I didn't do enough turns. It was late last night, and I forgot to keep track.
Twenty minutes I pulled them out of the oven, and eureka! I had done it. It worked! They had the layers, I realized I had pinched the pinwheels backwards, but who cares about that. The LAYERS WERE THERE!!!!

I was so excited that something that scared me to do on my own for so long really was a success.
This year of making bread every week has really make me understand the dramatics of it all. That's how the Joy of Cooking describes yeast bread.
The great drama of the kitchen.
Irma Rombauer talks about bread being one of the oldest and most fundamental foods. She says the satisfaction of transforming flour water into bread is like shaking hands with our history. But as every baker discovers, a return to real flavor, a fulfilling joy. Amazing words from a Missouri house wife. Her cookbook is in millions of households, and probably just as many commercial kitchens. Calling yeast bread the great drama of the kitchen is so spot on and eloquently said.
How can such a simple few ingredients inspire so much fear!?Yeast (it's alive! yikes!)
Water or milk (must be warm but not too warm and not always)
Eggs (Maybe)
Salt, and sugar
So simple yet so many possibilities. I'd better get back in the kitchen and finish up the other half. I'm thinking.... Apple cinnamon filling.

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