or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › I love to eat pastries and desserts, but I don't bake!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

I love to eat pastries and desserts, but I don't bake!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi all :)


I just love to eat all kinds of desserts...everything! I love to cook every day, when I'm at home or work...but I rarely bake at all. It's not that I'm against baking by any means...I just don't know where to start.

I know that I could buy a cookbook from Amazon and start on page one. But along with my reluctance to bake I'm also short on inspiration. Not because of a lack of desire, but because I have a effort/reward thing. I don't mind putting forth the effort if there's good reason that I'll get a nice reward.

My results baking have always been mediocre at best...Does anyone have a recipe that will give me some good inspiration/rewards? I'm not all that concerned about the amount of effort put into the recipe to get a result. Just that it can be done and will taste good :bounce:


I hope that I got my meaning across...I was having some troubles finding the right words :blush:


thanks :D
dan <---the un-baker
post #2 of 15
There are lots of good quick bread recipes out there; try a banana walnut bread! Everybody loves that, and it is very inspiring. It will open doors, I promise! I suppose I should post a recipe for you, but I try a different one each time, and I couldn't tell you my favorite. Look at Allrecipes.com and look at the reviews. That's what I do sometimes.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
Reply
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
Reply
post #3 of 15
One of the best recipes I know of, has only three ingredients.
1 a plane ticket
2 cab ride to Panini bakery
3 huge appetite for desserts:look:

I'm currently working on a couple of donated classes. I'm changing up the beginner class. I'm trying to come up with very tasty items and purchasing at least half the mise en place. Like tart shells, phillo,etc. I'll gladly pass them on to you.
pan
remember, baked good and pastries don't all come out of a bakery where these little doughboys are secretly creating masterpieces.
My SIL makes a killer fudge pie, I think the recipe is on the choc.chip bag. Man! some cinnamon ice cream:eek: This is the only thing she can do and I luv her for it.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice Harpua! I do love banana bread ;)


Pan...I would much appreciate anything you could give that would help :) Thank you, Thank you!

Baking just seems so foreign to me (perhaps because it is). While I certainly haven't deemed myself a Chef ;), I have gone thru some improvements of being a self gratifying at home cook (like most of the regular people in the world). Along this way some things just seem to make sense to me. Cooking methods, ingredients, growing herbs and vegetables...on and on.

I'll nearly always have some beef stock, chicken stock, demi glacé etc. on hand. While my methods may not be perfect...it still adds flavor. This is plain for me to see...and taste. But when it comes to desserts...I wonder if there is anything as obvious as with cooking. Even preferred methods of baking. What gets you good results?

I suppose I may have been exaggerating a little above. I have made the occasional dessert from time to time. But I wonder what tips (?) there are to elevate a dessert to the next level.

Are there any recommendations that would be helpful when selecting various ingredients?

While I will do fine with some beef or shrimp, I also wonder what "methods" are preferred to baking or making desserts. Are there any good exercises or recipes that would offer some advice on the method to cook xyz?

I'll stop now (as I really don't think I'm explaining myself very well). Oh well :crazy:



thanks,
dan
post #5 of 15
Dan,
I know you've heard the mise en place thing for the hot side. It is doubly important with baking. I call my recipes formulas. It's best to look at them this way. Never start a formula without reading all the way through. I don't care if it states while the butter is beating yadda yadda. Get everything wieghed out and ready to go. I see so many people start to second guess themselves, did I get the baking soda?
I will think about the best book for you. It will not have formulas so much as it will troubleshoot. I'm thinking Amendola, but I'll let you know. It will also give you information like dry to wet for most cakes and wet to dry for cookies and such.
There is a lot of spookie things about baking. It's a lot of positive thinking. I'm serious, if you're not sure going into the oven, it may screw up.
I will put a list of things I think you should have on hand or in the freezer, like short dough, phyllo, nuts,Bp, BS, a cam of sweetened condenced milk and so on.
pan
I bet you can get a really great list of sundries and product from other bakers here also.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #6 of 15
Good advice above, and try to use formulas that show measurements in weights, not volume. Your results will always be accurate.
Always weigh ingreds. out separately before combining.
Buy an oven thermometer, to make sure it's accurate.
When following baking times in a recipe, be prepared for this to vary. Times are just guidelines, and you need to be able to tell when something is done by look and feel.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice! I know this is basic stuff...but it's helping me to get a frame of mind for the up and coming baking that I'll be trying out :)


I'm still trying to "get to know" my new electric oven. Maybe I'll get a couple of oven thermometers and set them in various places...just to see where I stand.

thanks!

dan
post #8 of 15
is it a conventional or convection or both? one thermometer should do you. The digital thermometers with probs are really affordible. You can grab them on ebat for 10-15 dollars. You can move the probe around in the oven while you read outside. Accuracy is vital but recovery is just as important. This is the amount of time the oven takes to regain it's temp after a door is open. You will soon learn that it's not always best to keep checking. One of my old blodget decks has a fairly long recovery. I can actually count the number of times the door has opened by the rings in the cooking pattern of a cake.
Experiment. open the door for 10 sec. leaving the probe in there. If the temp has dropped 15+ deg. see how long it takes to gain to full temp. This time will also vary depending where your heat is coming from. I switched from gas toelectric at home. I have a couple of KA combos. I love them. The heating elements are enclosed and the are pat on temp. I don't play to much with convection unless I doing some cookies.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
My Ovenis an electric with convection capabilities. The element on the bottom is exposed, so I have a pizza stone located on the very bottom rack in the most bottom position. This gives me a little protection "protecting" anything that drips down from going on the element. It also takes a bit longer to heat the oven up to temperature with the stone in there...but it does seem to help retain the heat for quicker recovery times (at least for us common folk with common type ovens ;) )

I set the oven to 350, opened it for ten seconds. The temp dropped 20 degrees and took just around 90 seconds to come back to temperature.

:)
dan
post #10 of 15
Dan,
You are ready to go. Way ahead of me on the stone. Common folk, my kitchen aid are far less nifty then that stove.
The down side to the enclosed elements is just as you state. My old oven was gas. I went to used rest, equip. and picked up an old stone/deck from a pizza oven. Free, cus it was cracked. Had it cut, and I now miss that. Having to make pizza at the shop, not like the old days. I use a realy slack dough, and I have not found anything for these new ovens that will get hot enough.
What type of things do you want to start with?
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
I appreciate you taking the time to help me along the path of sweet delights :)


Could we start with a Sfogliatelle or other Italian pastries? or whatever you feel is a good starting point???

Also..could you include some common mistakes that people make when doing the above (XYZ) recipe?


thanks,
dan
post #12 of 15
Gentlemen,
Would you mind if I audited this class? I am a complete baked dessert beginner. The sum total of my experience is less than a dozen batches of Tollhouse cookies. Dan confessed to exaggerating his inexperience but I assure you, I am not! On the plus side, I like formulas, take direction well, promise to turn my homework in on time and am not opposed to bribing the teacher.
Dan, I covet your new stove. With the dial of mine set at 325, the temperature ranges from 341 to 365 in approximately ten-minute cycles. About half way through the cycle, with the temperature at 356, fully opening the door for ten seconds caused a plummet of 54 degrees to 302. The ambient heat from the oven walls and stone returned the temperature to 330 in less than a minute but the element did not kick in until 2 minutes and 15 seconds after the door opened. It took 4 minutes to get back to 350.

I had been keeping a 15 inch round pizza stone on the floor of the oven. The top of stone was ¼ inch below the exposed element. To perform Panini’s experiment, I moved it to a rack in the lowest position. The thermometer probe dangled from a rack in the top position with the point one inch above the stone.

I hope you will forgive my intrusion and I look forward to your future posts.

By the way, my name is Bert.
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
Reply
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
Reply
post #13 of 15
>>Could we start with a Sfogliatelle or other Italian pastries?<<

Greetings from a home baker :) 10 or 12 years ago I begged for, and received, a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for Christmas. Then I realized it was a baking tool and I didn;t know how to bake! Like you I was pretty good on the cooking side, but had never baked anything that didn't come out of a Duncan Hines box. Rather than let the mixer collect dust, and feel like a dope, I taught myself how to bake.

90% of what I bake now are breads. I think some of the same learning principals apply. THere was a poster here some time ago named TheBigHat. He advised me to 'Go deep before you go wide'. He meant that I should learn a basic white bread really really well before I started venturing into ciabatta and other more challenging breads.

Sfogliatelle, and other mouth watering pastries, are very tempting. But they can be very chalenging. I might start simple, like with cookies or brownies. These 'simple' things will help you learn and master baking techniques like creaming, develop good mise en place habits like Panini suggested and learn more about your new oven. If you are anything like me, a little early success with cookies will feed your desire to venture further.

Just one man's opinion :)

Kyle
"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
Reply
"At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals." D. Barry
Reply
post #14 of 15
Dan,
Sl, as long as I can us the abbreviation, a big welcome to you as anyone else including my friends with all the experience who might have a minute or two to add.
My prayers were answered by my long time friend Kyle. I've been racking the old pine nut trying to figure how to say what he said ,without any negetivity. Sfogliatelle, I believe would be setting us up for failure. I used to sneak out of bed on Sat. nights to go help my grandma with her prep for after church goodies. Sfogliatelle was my favorite especially since she always needed help streaching the dough.
If it's ok, I was thinking alond the lines of something for am and pm. Like a good scone that you can also freeze and cook as needed and maybe something chocolatety like a upscale brownie. If we move into other things slowly, this will give me time not only to scale my things down, but also find proper ingredients. I love almond. So I'm going to have to see if the store bought paste is ok for the formula. Mainly because mine is directly out of a container and I usually but 6 42lbs. cs, min.
What do ya think?
I would also like to check with Nicko, to see if this is going to be ok to keep such a lenghty thread going. I;m going to be reading for a wjhile so this may be fun.
It is also Spring Break here and this week, trying to give my son as much hours as possible.
Pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
Reply
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi SkilletLicker :) Great to have another rookie aboard!


KyleW, Pan...

Very good advice. I suppose I was thinking with my belly rather than my head. I'll ask Nicko if he minds this thread taking whatever form it may. Whatever form it takes...I am certain it will be most helpful to many of us rookie home cooks.

Starting with some easier recipes sounds like the way to go. As Kyle and yourself had said...it will certainly develope good practices for us to refer to in other recipies.

Any time you can afford to give us is appreciated. So...whenever your ready is the perfect time...and have fun with your son on his break! Also, don't feel bad if you need to be a bit blunt, if you can't find the right words. Its not a problem at all.


thanks to all!

dan
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › I love to eat pastries and desserts, but I don't bake!