Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Remembering the Worth of Baking School

Notice how I said, "baking school" and not "pastry school?" The program was actually called, "Baking and Pastry" and yes, there is a difference. Honestly, I am much more for the baking (breads, doughs, cookies, scones, pies, tarts, etc...) than the pastry (decorations, tiny fancy restaurant desserts, arty show pieces, etc...). So much, in fact, that once someone called me a "non nonsense baker." And I know just what she meant. I am in no way willing to sacrifice taste for looks. That show Ace of Cakes
on the food network, although tres inspirational, often bugs me because half of the cake is not actually edible.

Now on to that mouth watering photo of that beautiful roll. This, and other rolls, is (are?) on the cover of February's Gourmet Magazine. I was so excited when I got mine in the mail, and this is an issue I would encourage you to go get. You really don't have to go to pastry school, baking school, or any school to be able to make bread. What I did learn in my baking school was how to give bread some TLC. And I do love it. Baking bread is my absolute favorite thing to do. I love the smell of the yeast, and watching my Kitchen Aid mixer hook kneading a floury mess of ingredients into a tight little elastic ball (no, we bakers don't knead by hand. Too much work). I truly feel a rush of joy when I come back to my dough 2 hours or so later and it's become a puffy, happy little loaf from the partying that the yeast has been doing. And nothing, I tell you, beats the small of fresh bread when it's done.

Being busy a lot make baking your own bread take a back seat, but when I saw the cover of the magazine all these feelings and memories rushed back to the front of my mind, and I just had to bake! I am not going to give you the recipe for the rolls pictured above, that's how much I want you to go buy this issue. But I will tell you that they were as good and better than the picture may lead you to believe. When it comes down to it, you don't really need any more time than mixing a batch of cookies. The lengthy part the dough does all by itself. And be grateful to the dough, because it works very hard for you. Love your dough!

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