Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A flute without holes is not a flute...

...and a doughnut with no holes is a Danish. At least according to Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) in Caddyshack."

But my version of a Danish is pictured at right. We finished these today, along with a few other things. The Danishes you see here are finished off with an almond flavored pastry cream, topped with either an apricot or a Mirabelle plum. The danish dough itself is very similar to croissant dough, and the process of "laminating" the dough is essentially the same. A laminated dough is dough that is layered with butter, such as puff pastry, croissants, and danish. In the picture, you can actually see some of the layers on the edges of the danish.

Today I also finished the Kugelhopf, which is a traditional Alsatian bread, baked in a fluted mold. The dough contains golden raisins soaked in kirsch (surprise, booze in french cooking...), with a ring of almonds atop the fluted edge. Immediately after removing the bread from the oven, you submerge it in an almond syrup, which is soaked into the bread, keeping it moist but not soggy. Once cooled, it is sprinkled with sugar. The Kugelhopf turned out to be a class favorite.

Legend has it that the Kugelhopf was named after an Alsatian baker with a wooden leg. The Three Wise Men, on their way to see the Baby Jesus, stopped in at the baker's house to spend the night (because you know that Alsace is right on the way to Bethlehem...) Supposedly, the sound of Mr. Kugel's wooden leg on the floor made a "hopf, hopf, hopf" sound, and the Three Wise Men named the bread that he gave them, Kugelhopf. Seriously, that' the story.

Finally, we baked french baguettes today. The process to start the dough was a little different than the baguettes we made last week, giving a much more tasty bread, and I think the texture was a lot better too. Plus, I learned how to make the cool design in the picture.
Sorry I have not been able to post for so long. I had a nice long post almost completed the other day and lost it, and I just didn't have it in me to go back and re-write it all. But I will, maybe this weekend, sometime between one of the two Badgers' upcoming NCAA victories. I have lots to say that, so I'll let you know when I can post about what you've missed, in case you're interested.

To my brother Dave, the Spartan, condolences on the Spartan loss in the Big Ten Tourney. But you'll be happy to know that I was close enough behind the Spartans' bench to count the pinstripes on Tom Izzo's suit. Good luck in the Big Dance. Go Green.

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