Monday, January 25, 2010

Baking Science & Theory wk1

The Best Banana Bread
From: Cook's Illustrated

When asked to prepare “The Best Banana Bread” from Cook's Illustrated, our teams worked together to measure and assemble the ingredients before they were poured into the pan and baked. We were also instructed to go ahead and grease the sides of the pan as well as the bottom, to insure the finished loaf would pull free of the pan without breaking. The final product was critiqued to have great flavor and texture overall, but was still underdone in the center of the loaf. It was suggested that the bread could have been baked longer. The loaf had been pulled prematurely from the oven due to a fear that it would burn on top. To remedy this in the future, our team was advised to cover the top of the loaf loosely with aluminum foil. This added step would protect the loaf from over browning, while still allowing the bread to bake until it was cooked through. I believe that is an excellent solution, which will provide more favorable results in the near future! I would also greatly benefit from further instruction of how to properly work the mixers, scales, and ovens. Also, this banana bread recipe differed from the one I usually employ when baking banana bread, most notably in that it lacked the addition of Crème of Tartar, and was improved upon through the addition of a cup of plain yogurt. I look forward to preparing and sampling both recipes side by side one day.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

            The “Cheddar Bay Biscuits” are my new favorite bread product to prepare for just about any savory meal!  I was particularly thrilled to receive the recipe for a typical “Biscuit Mix”, since my family has always purchased such a product in the past.  The ingredients for this menu item came together easily and almost effortlessly, and resulted in a very tender, flaky, chewy, crumby, savory delight to eat!  The real cheddar used in the dough made the biscuits delectable and irresistible.  The glistening melted butter and fresh parsley sprinkled on top was the perfect finishing touch.  The final product was visually appealing, and textually addictive, with a full bodied flavor throughout.  The product was critiqued to have great flavor and texture overall, and was completely eaten.  The only thing I would do differently with this recipe in the future will be to double it since there were certainly not enough to feed the incredible appetite for these cheesy delights!


Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

The recipe for the “Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins” is my new favorite muffin!  The final product was moist, tender, and had a nice crumb and mouth feel.  The additional instructions to lightly flour the blueberries after they were rinsed, made all the difference!  This extra step gave the blueberries a bit of texture, and allowed them to be fully integrated into the batter, and prevented the tendency for the heavy berries to sink to the bottom of each muffin.  We were also advised to use a larger grain sugar crystal for sprinkling on the top of each muffin, which added a notable sparkle and a bit of crunch to the texture, as well as pleasing the visual pallet before consumption.  The finished product was critiqued to have great flavor and texture over all, and that the product was not over mixed. We were also praised for following instructions with the blueberries, so that they were evenly distributed throughout the finished product.  If there were anything we could do to improve upon this in the future, it would be to bring the butter to room temperature before beginning production.  Since we lacked the time for that luxury, I cut the butter into small chunks, and worked them through with the mixer, until they were the proper consistency to cream with the sugar.  This was properly executed, and provided a nice texture to the finished product!