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Baking Tips: Bread Flour

The Baking Tip series is off and running with a tip from our Bread Expert Ian Chin! I’m no where near a bread maker- never claimed to be, I maybe will be in the future, but I always go to Ian with my bread questions.  His bread making is incredibly, incredibly impressive. He knows the weight of ingredients in his head! I’ve told Ian many a time that he should just move down to Texas and become my resident bread maker. He would say- This is your life! and then giggle. Check out his vlog series called the Baking Chin.

Today’s Bread tip@!

Most of the time All-Purpose will do! Ian actually never uses bread flour when making bread! The extra protein in the flour will actually make for a tougher loaf. To get very specific, he says that 11% protein is plenty. You could use it for a weaker dough like brioche or ciabatta, but even then it’s unnecessary because our flours in the US are actually already pretty strong. The equivalent to All Purpose in France, for my French buddies, is Type 55.

So, don’t let flour hold you back from making bread!

Bread Flour


Extra flour tip! When using different flours such as rye or buckwheat you will most of the time add a wheat flour as well to add strength because these flours do not have gluten. If you make a buckwheat loaf, the percentage of wheat flour has to be 80-90%. Rye can be 50/50 rye/wheat.


Ka-Bam! Have a bread question for the bread expert? I know I always have about 20! Post it below in the comments!



30. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: baking tips | 4 comments

Memories of Paris~Running Route

Since coming home from Paris 3 months ago I find that memories will pop into my head randomly about different things that happened over the past year. Maybe it’s my way of holding on to that incredible year or a way to make sure the memories stay alive, but it could be anything from trying a Fisherman’s mint, to the jars of mustard at GDetou, or the big beautiful flowers outside of DisneyWorld that I immediately emailed a picture of to my mom wondering what they were.

Today as I was running under a brilliant pink Texas sky following the kicker of all thunderstorms (man do I love a good Texas storm!), I remembered one of my running paths in Paris. It would start by the Madeline church, my favorite church in Paris, dark with age on the  inside and columns that went on for ages.

Madeline Columns

Then down cobblestone roads to a side street lined with some of the most expensive stores in Paris. One in particular had mirrors above their primly dressed horizontal mannequins, where I’d stop to catch a peek to see if they’d changed.

iPhone Pics 8-29-13 255

Then past those large metal barrier posts and guards that would lower them for only the most special of people to enter the American Embassy. There sometimes I’d wave at the guards, or maybe a nod in acknowledgement (hopefully they didn’t think I was plotting something). ;-) But sometimes I would turn off my music and listen as they quickly reprimanded any tourists that took pictures. tehehe

I would jog to Place de la Concorde, standing in the shadow of the obelisk with the Tuilleries on my left, Arc de Triomphe down a long long avenue a droite, and behind me in the distance, La Madeline a top a flight of stairs covered with flowers.


In the Tuilleries, I’d take to the sides, running lap after lap with other runners. Gravel under foot. Watching little boys and girls push sailboats in large round fountains, gardeners trim rose bushes, and even the odd Tai Chi class. A longing glance at the Amorino ice cream stand and with the song Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons on my iPhone, I turn back ready to brave the 6 flights of topsey turvey stairs to my apartment where I’d stand in front of one of the windows catching as much of a breeze as I could before hoping in the shower.

iPhone Pics 8-29-13 347


25. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: paris, random wanderings in paris | Comments Off

Baking Tips: Fixing Over Whipped Cream

ah whipped cream! So easy to do and a fantastic accompaniment to so many desserts.

Here’s our next baking tip!

Fix over whipped cream by adding a little un-whipped cream! But not if it’s to the almost churned into butter stage. First here’s how to make whipped cream- throw some heavy whipping cream in a mixer with the whisk attachment and whip away at med-high speed! Depending on your quantity it could take between 3-5 minutes.  To impress your friends even more and add a fancy name, add powdered sugar and a drizzle of vanilla at the end and pow- Chantilly. You can do this by hand as well! What does overwhipped look like? The texture will no longer be smooth peaks.

Here’s a great comparison picture from a blog done by Cardamom Kitchen over at the Whole Foods Blog.


The picture above is at the very first stage of over whipping. As it progresses larger clumps will form.

Now! How to fix this, add a little more cream to the bowl, stir or whip in (watching carefully) and voila you’re saved!

Bonus Tip: Using whipped cream in several things? Measure out the total quantity that you’ll need, whip all of it at once and then keep it in the fridge until you need it. Give it a quick whip with a whisk (about 5-6 times around the bowl will work) right before you measure the amount you need. I wouldn’t hang on to it in the fridge more than a day though or it will lose it’s volume completely.

Bonus Bonus Tip: The max amount that you can whip in a normal sized mixer is one liter.

Bonus Bonus Bonus Tip: When whipping a large amount of cream, use plastic wrap to create a shield to protect your kitchen from flying cream! Start at the back of the mixer then around the open space and back to connect.

And there you have it! A four in one!

Have a cool baking tip you want to share? Let me know and I’ll feature your tip in an upcoming post!

23. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: baking tips, whipped cream | Comments Off

Baking Tips: No Forgotten Body Parts

I’ve started writing down general tips and tricks while I’ve been baking. I’ll be sharing a couple here every once and awhile! I was also thinking about interviewing some baking friends about their best tips- let me know if you would be interested!

Here’s the first tip- It might sound a little silly and a little obvious, but I needed a reminder of it.

Don’t forget that you have two hands. Now this is more of a speed factor tip than anything. But I can’t tell you how many times I would lean on the counter top, hanging out, maybe whistling a tune while I transferred one cupcake at a time from muffin tin to drying rack. I might have done this exact same thing at my stage (minus the casual leaning/tune whistling) and was very quickly reminded that two hands, meant half the time/half the work. Dépêchez-vous!

Raspberry Cupcakes on Tray

Bonus Tip: To help muffins/cupcakes cool, angle them sideways in the muffin tin when they come out of the oven. This would probably help with condensation developing- no soggy bottoms here! or ever!


16. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: baking tips | Comments Off

Potato Pizza?

What’s this you ask? Potato in a pizza? I did once have potato slices on a pizza! You remember that time Jen? In Paris while we were studying abroad in college. The Egyptian Pizza Boys? wahaha I think it was a rainy night and we were eyeing Domino’s as we were walking back from class but had to refuse and go with Egyptian Pizza Boy’s pizza. We were hanging out while the pizza was cooking in the itty bitty restaurant talking about French. And I remember it because at the time I didn’t know any French except Bonjour and Au Revoir. But somehow the phrase “je ne comprends pas” slipped off my tongue maybe from a movie I’d watched. I had no idea what it meant but loved the rhythm the words made. The streets were completely vacant except me and Jen and two Egyptian’s that made pizza. The streets were wet with fresh rain. There was a eerie glow from the street lamps. It could have been the start of a very weird movie. Maybe one where we ended up in Egypt. But instead we left with a pizza that happened to have sliced potatoes and a fried egg on top (I think I did the ordering). 10 years later and I still remember it- maybe it was the circumstance or eating it huddled around the pizza box in a tiny hotel room but I remember it being damn good.

Over Mother’s Day weekend, it was Italian week at Central Market. A few Italian wines had made it into our kitchen (including a Chianti I had fallen in love with) and Lidia’s Italian was on PBS making a potato pizza. The next day it was on the menu for lunch. This pizza, unlike the one I’d had, did not have sliced potatoes on top but actually inside the dough for the crust. Much like a loaf of potato bread. Completely homemade pizza can take hours when you think about how long it has to rise. But this can be made start to finish in about 2 hours including 35 minutes of baking.

Now here’s something interesting and really important to note (especially for non-potato lovers) – you actually can’t taste the potatoes in the crust. Instead the crust is light and chewy (slightly spongy) but crisp on the bottom, different from your regular pizza crust. I think it’s because the potatoes help retain the moisture.  Potato Pizza

I couldn’t get a picture of this before two slices suddenly vanished. It smelled SO good!


Potato Pizza

I strongly recommend doubling the dough recipe and sticking half in the freezer for another night. It’s absolutely that good! The toppings are simple- fresh mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes, with oregano and Parmesan, and olive oil drizzled on top. I added caramelized onions and once it was cooked, a good amount of fresh basil. Have fun with it! Absolutely break it up and do a couple of small pizzas or add on other toppings. To bake it, we happened to have a pizza pan (way cool!). A baking sheet works too!

Adapted from Lidia’s Italian.

1 pound russet potatoes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to roll out the dough

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

12 ounces fresh mozzerella

cherry tomatoes (halved). about 6

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup grated oregano

1/4 cup caramelized onions (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


Start a pot of water to boil, with enough water to cover potatoes by a couple inches. If you’re using large russet potatoes, cut them into smaller pieces (3-4 inches in size). This will help speed up the cooking. Boil potatoes about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain, allow to cool, and then peel. Press them through a ricer. If you don’t have one- try grating the potatoes or mashing them like crazy with a potato masher or fork.

In a bowl, mix together the mashed potatoes, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the egg to form a smooth dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a 15×10 baking sheet with olive oil. Roll out the dough to be the size of the baking sheet, using flour to keep it from sticking. Transfer the dough to the sheet.

Top with slices of fresh mozzerella (leave a couple centimeters in between because the cheese will spread as it cooks). Add a couple halved cherry tomatoes and the caramelized onions (if using). Sprinkle with as much oregano and parmesan as you want and add any additional toppings. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake about 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown on the bottom and cooked through. Top with fresh shredded basil, cut into squares and by-golly you’ve got a pizza!





01. June 2014 by Molly
Categories: main, pizza, savory | 2 comments

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