Good evening, it’s been a few days since my last post; Work has been very busy with the build up to Christmas and a rush to ensure the stores are stocked for the Christmas last minute purchases we all make!
today I want to talk about the ingredients and Equipment I use, I’m going to start with what I believe to be the most important part of all my bakes;
I use the basic Plain, Self Raising and Bread Flour, when I start a new recipe for first time, but for those special bakes like cake for a birthday I’ll use my Speciality Flour, by Shipton Mill, they’re a great local mill, I’ll be honest at this moment I have used only two of their Flours, the T55, and the Organic Cake and Pastry Flour , I’ve had fantastic results with both, I got such great results from the 1Kg bag I bought I a 25Kg Sack.
I’ve had super soft croissants with the T55 flour, and some very soft and light Cakes with the Cake and pastry flour, I’ve made some great loafs of bread too with the T55 it’s been delicately soft and even aeration.
I’ll use unsalted butter and I’ll buy whats affordable at the time, last month I got Lurpak for £1 for a 250g block but the Morriosons basic was £1.02 so naturally I had to go for the lurpak, but usually I’ll go for the store branded butter. Now when it comes to making the croissants or danish dough I’ll use French butter either President or Beurre D’Isigny they’re the two I can readily buy locally. I do occasionally bake with Stork I like Stork because we can use it while it’s cold and it’s not a hard brick. I’ve even been looking for a supplier so I can get a 25Kg brick or even a 10kg slab but I’m no manufacturing site and can’t find a supplier that will sell to me.
I use Caster Sugar in almost all of my bakes for one simple reason that it dissolves into the mixes better, I will buy about 5kg a month, and it’s come to the point where I am considering getting a 25Kg sack to feed the amount I need. I do bake with other sugars like Muscavado, Brown Sugar, Golden Syrup and Treacle, I have tried Glucose Syrup in a bake before but wouldn’t use it again, I’ve only used it now if a recipe calls for Invert Syrup.
I will be honest I am not bothered about my eggs being from caged or free range, if I am doing a baking like Christmas cake or a birthday cake I will use free range to ensure I get the best I can, but if it’s a test run or new recipe I will use basic eggs, I am sorry if this offends you. the other day my Mum let me try her Ducks eggs and my they where fantastic, I really want to make a cake using them I wonder how it would taste!
On to my favourite ingredient of them all, Having worked in a food factory I know the importance of using different percentage chocolates, like 28% white, 45% milk, 54% Dark and 70% Dark, each on has it’s benefits like the white will melt very easily and the dark not so easily but will flavour your Ganache so well with it’s intense dark Chocolate. depending on what I am making I will but the store Brand but not their basic range, but if I am doing a topping for a bake to take to work for the guys I will use Lindt usually, avoid their 90% bars for ganache it was too bitter and with the chocolate fudge cake it’s self being made with 75% dark chocolate it was very bitter and strong, but my partner loved it so much he loves very dark bitter chocolate.
We use a product called Sweet Snow, I went in search for my own and I found it from a great site Bakery Bits I use their Sugar Snow and Pearl Sugar the best thing with the Snow is it will not dissolve when it gets damp it’s safe to freeze and store in fridge and it won’t melt into the bake. I have used Freeze Dried Fruits too these are very expensive but so well worth it, I use a site called Sous Chef they do many things but I was interested in their freeze dried fruit powders to flavour my bakes, sauces and icings, I’ve bought their Passion Fruit, Strawberry and Raspberry Freeze Dried Powders the only down side to using freeze dried powders is that they become moist and forms a block but it can be crumbled up and used, I also bought freeze dried raspberry crumb from Waitrose.
There are other ingredients I use like Cinnamon and Ginger and many others, but I bought my first Vanilla Pods the other week and wow, I have never smelt something so extremely delightful and so sweet, I made Creme Patisserie with one of the pods and the flavour was superior to the bean paste I have used previously, but this time it set like jelly so I don’t think I made it right that time.
Hopefully I’ll have a new post up before Christmas Eve on the Yule log I want to make, if not have a good Christmas and New Year and ensure you pig out on what ever you want!