I came across the Daring Bakers sometime in May and made my first recipe (the apple danish bread) in June. I found it a little odd that we had to sign up for a website and keep things a secret until reveal day. But, whatever. It was still fun.
But now, it just retarded.
There are way too many rules for just a fun baking/blog group. I don’t understand why it has to be so regulated. Someone will be going around to make sure you follow the rules or else you get kicked out of the group? I call bullshit.
My friend SS looooooves pizza, so as soon as I saw the challenge for this month, I knew he would want to be a part of it.
The dough itself was BEAUTIFUL. It was easily the best dough I’ve ever worked with before. It was soft, pliable, smooth, and wonderful. I just wanted to keep touching it!
Tossing it was a lot of fun. Some people found the dough to be too soft, but I didn’t really have that problem. I did manage to get a video of SS tossing the dough. =)
Click the image to go to the video.
Basic Pizza Dough
“Basic Pizza Dough” from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
I cut the dough into 4 pieces instead of 6.
Awesome! 4.5 stars out of 5. We all wished the crust was a little crispier, but I think that would have been accomplished if I had a baking stone, which is hardly the dough’s fault.
Even though I think I’ve baked everything there is to bake, there’s still always something left out there to challenge me. I had never made crackers before, never made my own salsa, and never made anything gluten-free!
One batch of crackers was topped with coarse kosher salt and the other was topped with sesame seeds. They turned out a little thick, but still very tasty.
The honeydew peach salsa was a little different due to the mostly fruit content, but it was still delicious. Wonderful blend of sweet and spice.
Lavash Crackers with Honeydew Peach Salsa
Lavash Crackers from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
Honeydew Peach Salsa
My gluten-free baking mix (yay Whole Foods!) contained white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, guar gum, and salt. I couldn’t find fresh coriander for the salsa, so I used fresh cilantro instead.
Quite delicious for being vegan and gluten-free! And sooooo easy. 3 stars out of 5 for the crackers and 3.5 stars out of 5 for the salsa.
I had made eclairs before, so I figured this would be an easy Daring Baker’s month. I whipped up my first batch of eclairs (including the super bizarre baking directions) and ended up with flat pancakes for eclairs. Into the trash! For the second batch, I baked them at a higher temperature and nixed the stupid wooden spoon. More flat pancakes! At that point, I realized that it’s probably just the recipe and not me, and I was running out of eggs, so I just kept them.
The pastry cream came together fine and was very delicious. I didn’t quite see the need to make the chocolate sauce, then promptly mix that into the chocolate glaze. I would have rather seen a unified recipe for that, as now I have containers of both sauce and glaze in my fridge.
Overall, these were pretty good. GiR and I are not huge chocolate fans, so it was a bit much chocolate for us. However, for those chocolate lovers out there, this is the recipe for you!
Chocolate Chocoalte Eclairs
“Chocolate Eclairs” from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme by Dorie Greenspan
Good, but too time-consuming (and too chocolatey). 3 stars out of 5.
This month’s challenge was a very complicated, multi-step layered cake. You had to roast, skin, and grind your own hazelnut meal. You had to make your own hazelnut brittle, which promptly got ground into a hazelnut paste. You had to clarify your own butter. You had to make your own whipped cream, apricot glaze, and ganache. Phew!
From a technical standpoint, though, everything came together pretty nice. My cake baked beautifully, my buttercream was delicious (a little chunky, but I didn’t care), my glaze was easily spreadable. I did think the ganache was a little runny, so I put it in the fridge for a few minutes before glazing and it went reasonably well.
I just have to say: NOT WORTH IT! This cake took 5 hours and it wasn’t even that good. I did learn a few things about roasting nuts, clarifying butter, and making hazelnut paste, but you know what? I don’t even like nuts that much. Not to mention the ridiculous cost of supplies. I hope the next challenge is a throwback to Julia Child’s bread: only 4 ingredients which I already have in stock. That would be very kind to my budget.
Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
“Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream” from Great Cakes by Carol Walter
I didn’t get enough hazelnuts, so I made an almond paste instead of a hazelnut paste for the buttercream. I also omitted the rum in most of the steps.
Mediocre taste and a bitch to make. 2.5 stars out of 5.
Posted in cake, chocolate
Tagged almond, apricot, buttercream, cake, chocolate, Daring Bakers, filbert, ganache, gateau, hazelnut, praline
This month’s Daring Baker challenge was a yeasted danish braid with an apple filling. I had actually made something nearly exactly like this in a baking class, so it wasn’t too much of a challenge. I did, however, use real vanilla bean for the first time. =)
Apple Danish Braid
“Danish Braid” from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking
None. I was even able to find cardamom for cheap at World Market.
We had it both warm from the oven and refridgerated the next day. I do have to say it tasted better chilled. 3 stars out of 5.