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Anyone else make Nancy Silverton's Bobka dough?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I made it at Cindy's the other day....not sure if I liked it or not. Her description didn't seem to match my results "can be as satisfying as those made from Crosissant or danish dough" I didn't think it was at all similar. It's not too far from a blitz danish dough recipe in Baking With Julia (chunks of butter left in the dough)....so I gave it a couple turns before using. WAS that a mistake? But it wasn't tough....

I thought the dough was really far more cake like then I'd use for a breakfast pastry.

Have any of you made this? If so what do you think and how did you use it?

I used it very simply just rolling it into a spiral , sliced into individual portions and topped with cheese danish filling. Gave it an simple syrup wash out of the oven and drizzled with simple frosting. I was thinking this might be better used differently.

ALSO I had a dissaster with my danish dough! (Not good, very embarrassing!!, since I've made this many times in the past to rave reviews.......). I used the recipe in Baking with Julia (this is my standard) but they had no lift. When I retarded the dough over night in the cooler the second night after turning it, nothing happened. It's usually puffed, and now tight in the plastic wrap. But I just had a flat package!

Well I rolled it out anyway. I baked some the first day, the outside edge layered/flacked as usual but the inside wasn't baked enough, it remain doughy and unleavened. Then I rolled more and retarded the mocked up danish over night in the cooler. Took them out the next morning, proofed them, nothing again. So I did bake them again, this time for much longer until almost over baked. They were very doughy although baked. Very soft the first day. Ate some this morning and they actually tasted better stale because they firmed up (not as soft).

So anyone want to take a guess on what happened? I'm darn sure I followed the recipe as usual. They tasted the same, other then the texture was wrong. I under proofed them...but at the rate they were going it would have been a proof that never would have happened (in my opinion).

The only conclusion I have lays with the yeast. The butters release of steam gave me the bit of flake and leavening, but that wasn't enough. Seems to me it was the yeast that didn't work. Anyone have a differing opinion? I can't come to any other conclusion.

Thanks
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #2 of 19
I have not tried her Babka. I have done Bernard Clayton's and a new one that will be out soon. In both cases the crumb was half way between pastry and bread. Not unlike challah.
"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
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"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
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post #3 of 19
we made the bobka, too. All i can remember was that i wasnt impressed- it didnt seem like the bobka dough i remember growing up with-
i like a lot of Silverton's recipies- but some dont make it and some just seem to be too complicated for their own good
post #4 of 19
Wendy, sounds like your yeast was dead. What kind did you use?
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Actually I'm not at all familar with bobka dough (as what and where did you get it Linda?)..I didn't know what to expect other then her description. But the photo you posted Kyle looks interesting. What is it....cherry or chocolate filled?

No idea about the yeast age or brand. It was in Cindy's cooler...looked like something she had from home. Oh, well I made more today with another container of yeast....if these don't rise nice I'll have to turn in my chefs coat.

P.S. Good to see you around Linda.......want to go on a bakery run with Cindy and I? We're thinking on a Tuesday...asap. Bittersweet got chosen as most popular bakery...in something I read. Also on the trail of a "very upscale" bakery in Lemont. HEY, when are they going to air your show??????? Don't they know what hot property you are!
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #6 of 19
Wendy- been following your career path with much interest... i hope this venture with Cindy works out-

i'm absolutely ready for our bakery excursion- although im finally shedding some xmas lbs. - after Valentines day will work-

we should each make our lists and then compare and form a plan- this might have to turn into a monthly outing! I think it would be fun to see how the three of us each perceive an item and post our findings here as well.

HGTV has pushed my show to May -ish- though i should be having a write up in the Local Palate next issue

do you know the Local Palate? It's a great free newspaper for foodies- been out over a year now, i think- finds the really interesting new places as well as the well known-there are always some interesting bits- i'll get you a copy

although i dont consider a Jewish deli as any temple of great pastry- the bobkas i remember from there, were usually a flat , rolled yeast coffeecake filled with a brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts
- sometimes chocolate - and very yummy.

i really didnt like Silverton's chocolate version
post #7 of 19
ps where is Lemont? ( you know us city gals)
there's a place i want to check out in Pilsen
post #8 of 19
Is bobka simmilar to kouglof??
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
I don't think of the bobka dough I made as simlar to the Kouglhof. It's been so long since I've eaten K. I can't make a good comparision for you Isa.

Linda, I've never heard of the "Local palate"! I'd love to see it. Is it like the "reader" found free at stores, or a subscription? I did read an aritcle somewhere online about the best bakeries in Chi town. They ranked Bittersweet as #1 ...I forgot how the list went, but Sweethang also got mentioned.

The place in lemont (south suburb, Cindy's from around there so she'll have to get us there) I'm not sure where it's at either, nor do I know the exact name. The owners son and two nephews work with my hubby (1 is his boss). I've heard wonderful things about her baking. I beleive she started out of her home selling to hotels and restaurants. Her bakery is supposed to be VERY classey (an new) according to Cindy's sister whom stumbled upon it accidentally. My hubby's eaten her left overs and says their "WONDERFUL". "As good as yours"......ha, at least he's kind to me......

Next time I make it around to Kaughmans (can't spell) deli, I'll have to look for Bobka. It's the only good Jewish deli I know of. I've never been to Mannys (but that's on my list of places I want to go too also).

After V. day should be good for us too. I'll e-mail you at work.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #10 of 19
Don't know about the midwest but here in New York if you want really good babka you need to find a Jewish Bakery - it's not really a deli item. The kind of bakery that sells rye bread, corn bread (not southern cornbread), a choice of babka with either chocolate crumb or cinnamon sugar nut filling, rugelach, black and white cookies etc. Look for an orthodox Jewish neigborhood if you cann't get any local leads. Or do a post on chowhound.com in your area and some hound will probably lead you right there.

Another thought is a Hungarian bakery or better yet a Jewish Hungarian Bakery. I have even seen versions in the Polish Stores here in Greenpoint, New York.

I know of a few bakeries in Queens that still produce the old favorites and are not in orthodox neighborhoods.

Traditional babka comes two ways One is like the picture that Kyle showed which is more of a "jelly roll" and the other is a bundt format. In either case, the cake is more bread like, but a sweet yeasted bread, the analagy to hallah is not far off - tho in my mind, babka is somewhat flakier. Personally I love chocolate pecan babka but finding a good one is difficult these days.
Chef Tigerwoman

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Chef Tigerwoman

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post #11 of 19
youre right tigerwoman- they'd be at a Jewish bakery (the delis just buy it from the bakeries)

Wendy- i did a little recon work the other day - there's a bakery in Lake Forest ive wanted to check out ( since i was in Highland Pk- one suburb away, i thought thatd be easy) Not! anyway i finally found it. This place is billed as an "elegant european bakery".

Their tortes, cookies etc were all lovely - but there wasnt a price tag or description in sight-- nor did they have any sort of menu- i dont know about all of you, but i sure am not comfortable asking what everything is, let alone what each thing costs-

i found out the $$ way- a tiny prepacked assortment of cookies was $18.50 ( the cookies being $25.50 per pound) i didnt get around to finding out what their 7" tortes were- i felt i'd asked my question quota- i thought the cookies were tasteless- the three miniature tortes i tried were "nice" at best

I guess if you live in such a wealthy suburb as Lake Forest you dont have to ask the price... but i really think it is customer unfriendly- i think you should provide the customer with as much information as possible - both price and content- it's as much good marketing as user friendly

a great description on a display can create excitement and interest as well as convey info
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
I wrote a long reply and lost it with aol. I have to run.....be back asap.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #13 of 19
The babka I posted was rolled out, covrd with cocoa, sugar, walnuts, raisins and chocolate chips. Then as someone mentioned was rolled up jelly roll style. This one is similar but the jelly roll gets twisted, like wringing out a towel, and then baked in a cake pan.

"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
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"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
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post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Oh my god! It did it again! RURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Quickly....Gerhards in lake forest is just down the street from the club I worked at. I'm pretty familar with it. We can talk details when we get together.......I can't bring myself to write them down again.


But ABOUT PRICE TAGS........it's a subject I feel pretty strongly about. There's another bakery close to my home called Ambrosia and they are just like Gerhards. I understand they want to be 'elite', believe it or not it works with some people. Especially in lake Forest.....I worked for the same people as Gerhards. The more something cost the more they wanted it. If you were priced simply above average that wasn't good enough.

But Barrington where Ambrosia is located isn't that way (I know because I was raised there and catered to that crowd for many years). They rarely have more then a dozen different pastries in their tiny case and no price tags. It really puts me off.

Cindys bakery gets many customers that are unhappy with Ambrosia's high pricing. No one bad mouths their quality, but their prices are as high as a Michigan Ave. bouquet....but people aren't used to those prices in the burbs so they shop out Cindy's place. That's good for her.

As far as quality of taste in products coming out of your cases.........that's a huge struggle. I'm not totally sure we can judge a bakerys quality by whats in their cases (doesn't that sound rediculious). They don't turn over enough product to refresh everything daily....It's a loaded topic, yes they get judged by their case products but if you special order ther quality is much higher. What's a bakery to do????????? I sure don't have this topic figured out! It's really painful to throw out $$ yet you loose customers when your cases are empty.........
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Continued........ I think you (linda) and I have similar opinions about marketing......given your previous line of work and my art school training.


When I did research on wedding cakes and bakeries last year I really found that I had a strong preference for descriptions in menus. It was easier for me to remember a dessert name then a title. Like "chocolate obsession" vs. gateau chocolate. I previously thought wordie descriptions were over-kill. But when I compare bakeries a well worded sumptuous description actually draws me in so I want to buy from them. Like Anna's description of her cakes. It's not over done, it shows me she's creative and took the time to entice her readers and think about her products image.

I hate to look at someones menu and it lists: yellow, chocolate, lemon, marble, white, carrot cakes. It does nothing for me. I'd rather read chocolate chiffon, classic white, lemon butter cakes (as examples). It was about 50/50 for bakeries that wrote nice descriptions and bakeries that just list flavors. I found myself drawn to those with descriptions and just clumped the rest as lower scale bakeries. Maybe that's not fair but that's my reaction. How about you?


Have you heard of "fat Witch" brownies?.....just the name draws me to check them out. How about Death By Chocolate? All his titles are great, I like see fun creative thoughts either in a title or in a presentation.
This months Chocolatier, on the last page the advertisement was a chocolate company (I forgot their name, it's a ladies name) but as I was reading it last night just as Foodtv's Bobby Flay was featuring this chocolate company. Anyway my point with this company is their style. The owners hubby is an artist and he designs her transfer sheets for her chocolates....then sends them to J. Torres who produces her product. I'll never remember the name of all their chocolates but I instantly remember the look of each one. They were very colorful, artistic and even some were humerous.

I suppose I think too much about all the visuals but they really draw me in. I don't mind a cutie z place either...I just need some sort of style some sort of originality with some prices and some descriptions. heck, with how easy it is to make anything on a computor theres no excuse for not having names, prices and descriptions in your cases.

But I'll never get the no prices listed issue. Even in the wealthiest areas there are wealthy people who want to know how much something costs and people that patronize your business that don't live in that imediate area..........no??????????? I just don't get the no price tag angle, it puts me off.

P.S. Gerhard's has a small website.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #16 of 19
Wendy - your message reminded me of a catering seminar I once went to where the speaker joking said he got an additional dollar per descriptive adjective.

Names do draw people in and they also serve to make you stand out from the crowd. Of course, you need to back that up with the either unusual or extremely outstanding product or just be in the right place at the right time and know how to market well.

It's often frustrating when you know your skills and product exceed the marketplace but you cann't seem to figure out how to get "joe public" to acknowledge that (in terms of successful business). People in type of creative business are usually very passionate about what they do - the hours are long and hard but the reward is partially in the results - the smile on someones face when they take that first delicious bite or see how beautiful your creation is. Unfortunately then there is the economics of it all. Making a viable and financially successful business in "food service" is more than art.

Your comment about certain people not wanting or trusting something unless the price is outrageous is also valid. After many years of corporate catering, I find that if it is too cheap or not expensive enough (some) people don't trust it - it's just a ***** to find the acceptable level. And another point is that shopping and spending money for some people is a way of making themselves feel better - a placebo, if you will, for what is missing in their lives.

and in an industry like the bakery business it is also an "affordable luxury" You may not be able to really afford the big ticket car, house or boat, but you can manage the smaller expensive stuff. Oh the analysis could go on forever and there are lots of segments.


Rule of thumb is what is your niche and then market like **** to that niche, forget about everyone else (not really but don't concentrate on them)

One more point (I am not promising), not everyone can appreciate fine taste - sad to say there are those who prefer the box junk out there - or it's enough if it looks good. They are still a market, just not the one you neccessarily want.

I still use names as a marketing tool. I no longer am a pastry or dessert chef, but in reality a caterer. But my dessert section of the menu usually reads... Dessert, the final indulgence...
I use names like Eurotrash Quesidilla - which is a delicious combination of fresh spinach, gruyere, carmalized onions and sauteed mushrooms grilled in a flour tortilla. The name gives me a chance to highlight the item and talk about it. I talk about how I had to argue with my European born and trained chef, about how people find it so funny, and how in the end how delicious it really is. Most customers end up "choosing" a quesidilla station. Names are also a way to set something that sounds somewhat ordinary apart and to show your creativity, which is alot of what you are selling.

Ok I am rambling. Back to work now I have some proposals to write. Actually I am racking my brains for some really outstanding ideas for a high end summer party - raw bar, sushi, chocolate dipping pond, banana flambee station, etc.
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

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post #17 of 19
regarding descriptions...

the one thing i cant stand is when people use the "anthropomorphic"? phrases- ie "these will make your tastebuds sing" or "one bite will transport you to heaven and back" etc - i want to know what it's going to taste like- not where me or my tastebuds are going!

tiger- i like your statement about marketing like **** to your niche- the temptation is great to be everything for everyone

we struggle with this all the time- we have a definite niche- we are a destination for this niche- we really dont get our business from the neighborhood that we are located in ( yes, i should be in a different neighborhood- but that's another story)

but we try to make some things to bring in more neighborhood folk- but then just end up throwing it away

Valentine's Day is the great equalizer- everyone needs something for V Day-

what i find hard is how to plan production for a one-day holiday-
how soon do you put out your Valentine's products (ive seen some bakeries with heart shaped cookies for weeks now) and how long- if at all- do you leave them after the holiday -since they are immediately dated then
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Planning for Valentines is one problem........now their predicting snow to make things more interesting.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #19 of 19
had killer babka from Bob's (blue and white lable) (zabars)
a cross between croissant and chocolate fudge swirl. Not a powerful yeast flavor.

very thin layers of "dough" and chocolate.

breadster, i used to work at a bakery called patisserie ravinia. i lived next to highland park and also worked at deerfields bakery as a kid.
congrats on the write up by the way!!!!
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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