Matthew and I had a wonderful time at the Brioche class on Thursday!  As you all know, I was a fan of the Mohawk brioche!

Now you will be all set for your wonderful Easter Sunday brunch without making a really sticky mess!  It is sticky, but as Matthew said in the class, he worked on a recipe that is workable at home. Read the rest of this entry »

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Everyone had such fun at the chocolate class!  Matthew had a great time teaching the class, as he does with all of his classes. I was getting a little work done during the class but I snapped a few photos (actually a lot!).

That afternoon, before the class, he made these beautiful molded chocolates filled with nuts and other fillings. He used chocolate chips that we had at home for these and melted the chocolate VERY slowly, don’t let the chocolate get above 94 degrees. That way the chocolate doesn’t get out of temper and will harden again.

We found some individual silicon molds at the a kitchen shop in the Pismo 0utlet center. They worked WONDERFULLY and were so easy to clean, and it was VERY easy to pop the chocolates out.

Read the rest of this entry »

GANACHE for Truffles

10 ounces chocolate, finely chopped
(dark, bittersweet, semisweet, milk or white)

1/2  cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter, sliced and soft
(salted or unsalted)

4 tablespoons liqueur flavorings
(if using extract cut to about 2 teaspoons)


Set the finely chopped chocolate aside in a bowl.

In a small heavy bottom sauce pan combine cream and corn syrup and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Read the rest of this entry »

We are in the midst of the chocolate class and everyone is digging in!  Matthew made some beautiful chocolates this afternoon in preparation.

Here are some photos from our Baking Ciabatta at Home class
on Thursday, January 13!

Click here for the recipe.

Matthew started with mixing a little active dry yeast for the dough.

Here Matthew is turning some rosemary ciabatta dough out onto his board and sprinkling generously with flour. Read the rest of this entry »

CIABATTA

This recipe will make 4 small loaves, 8 buns or one large loaf (depending on the size you want)

INGREDIENTS
Place 1 cup of starter in mixing bowl (click here for directions on making starter)

In separate small bowl mix and let stand for 2 minutes:
½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water

In mixing bowl with dough hook add:
(the yeast mixture above)
1 cup room-temperature water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour Read the rest of this entry »

STARTER

  • You can use any flour, but organic unbleached flour is the best to use
  • Room temperature water

To begin your starter, mix equal parts of water and flour.

Let it stand for three to five days, until you see bubbles and then start feeding.

Starter after 3 days

Feed your starter with equal parts of flour and water to at least 25 percent of the mother starter (e.g. if you are going to feed your mother starter with 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water, be sure you have at least 1 cup of your mother starter). Read the rest of this entry »

Matthew has been busy this week feeding his starter, infusing his flavored olive oils, baking ciabatta, and getting ready for our class on Thursday!

And our cat Bimota is here helping me blog tonight!

Below are the flavored oil concentrates Matthew has made.

Hm, wonder how Matthew will feel about Bimota taking center stage in this post?

His flavored oil concentrates ARE beautiful, and delicious!

In our class on Thursday we will be handing out jars of starter, flavored oils, and lots of ciabatta!

And if you can’t make it, we will blog more on the making of ciabatta after the class, so stay tuned!

– Jill

Holly wrote and asked what kind of container she should keep her starter in and asked if the starter should be covered.

I prefer to put my starter in glass containers. However, you can also use a variety of containers from stainless steel bowls to ceramic or plastic containers (commercial bakeries often keep their starter in large plastic totes) — these will all work perfectly well.

It is good to put a top on your starter to prevent it from drying out. Make sure you leave plenty of room because the starter will grow as fermentation takes place.

I don’t think I mentioned that it is best to keep the starter in the refrigerator after it has started to fement (around three to five days if you started your starter from scratch).

We will be handing out starter at the class on Thursday that is ready to go.

If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

I like to use starter for my ciabatta, and actually for all of my breads.

Starter is a simple pre-ferment consisting of flour and water.  Many recipes will call for poolish, sponge, levain, or biga; these are all starters. Most of these starters are made in the hours before making the bread. A step that you can skip when using a sour starter that you already have on hand.

Starter is a way to produce natural yeast.

Where does the yeast come from? It is in the flour, the water, the air … it is all around us.  You are breathing it now.

To make starter, you mix equal parts of water and flour together. Yeast starts to eat the natural sugars that are in the flour and produces carbon dioxide, which causes the bubbles you see on the top of the starter. As well, the natural holes that you see in bread are produced by carbon dioxide.

Here is a photo of the starter after five days. Note the bubbles of carbon dioxide on the surface. I feed the starter every day with equal parts of water and flour (organic, unbleached is the best).

You will have a usable starter in five to ten days, and you can keep the starter going for many many years.

I prefer to put my starter in glass containers. However, you can also use a variety of containers from stainless steel bowls to ceramic or plastic containers (commercial bakeries often keep their starter in large plastic totes) — these will all work perfectly well.

It is good to put a top on the starter to prevent it from drying out. Make sure you leave plenty of room because it will grow as fermentation takes place.

It is best to keep the starter in the refrigerator after it has started to ferment.

This kind of starter, or pre-ferment, can be frozen. Just be sure you pull it out a day or two before feedings. The longer you have it out and the more often you feed it, the stronger it will become.

Throughout this process you will need to throw out some of the starter.  As you add flour and water it will continue to grow.

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DESSERT DEMONSTRATIONS

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Baking emergency? Call or e-mail any time, any question.

Matthew Mimmack
Arroyo Grande, CA

Phone: (805) 305-9709

E-mail:
mimmack@charter.net

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