Category Archives: Baking

Eclair Class at The Pastry School

Eclair Class at The Pastry School

Eclairs are the hottest pastry trend in Paris, or so I’ve been told by many friends who have recently visited the City of Light. I don’t see a lot of variation in the eclairs sold in bakeries in my area, and a quick search of Parisian eclairs was more than enough to rekindle my interest in these classic pastries! I was eager to learn what ... Read More »

What is dried buttermilk powder?

Dried Buttermilk Powder

Buttermilk is a staple ingredient in my kitchen, so I always have it on hand. It lends a great flavor to baked goods without adding a lot of extra fat, and since it is slightly acidic, it also acts as a tenderizer that helps produce a soft crumb in breads and cakes. But if you don’t do a lot of baking, you may not keep ... Read More »

A Visit to Panera Bread’s Small Batch Bakery

panera1

The sign that says Panera Bread outside the Church Street bakery in New Haven, Connecticut, is relatively small, and if you don’t look up when you walk in, you might just miss it and think that you walked into the wrong store. This is because the inside of the store doesn’t look like the rest of the Panera Breads that you’ve seen and it has ... Read More »

What are conchas?

Mexican Concha

Conchas are a sweet yeast bread roll that can be found in many Mexican markets. The pan dulces, or sweet breads, are named for the shape of their topping, which is applied with a shell-like pattern. The dough used to make these buns is a light yeast dough that is typically enriched with eggs, butter or shortening, and sugar. The bun itself is only lightly ... Read More »

What is clear vanilla?

Clear Vanilla Extract

There is more than one type of vanilla flavoring on the market. There is vanilla extract, which is made by macerating vanilla beans in an alcohol solution to extract the beans’ natural flavors, and there is imitation or artificial vanilla extract, which is produced with synthetic vanillin, the same compound that is naturally found in vanilla beans. You can also find alcohol-free vanilla flavorings, if you want to ... Read More »

Tips for Troubleshooting Pie Crusts

piecrust

Pie crusts are intimidating to many bakers because we always hear how difficult and temperamental they are to make. Pie crusts are not that difficult to make, but there are quite a few problems that you can encounter with them and, unfortunately, sometimes you won’t know what is wrong with a pie until after you have baked it, so make sure to read through these ... Read More »

5 Tips for Baking Contest Entrants from a Judge

Nicole and Leslie Judge

I love judging baking and cooking contests. They’re always exciting events, because everyone who attends is psyched up for the competition. Most contests don’t have MasterChef-style elimination rounds built into them, so the competitors tend to be friendly and supportive of one another, even if they all think that their recipe is the best. But I do see some of the same things over and ... Read More »

How to use Greek Yogurt in Baking

greekyogurts

Over one third of the yogurts sold in most grocery stores are Greek or Greek-style yogurt, taking over shelf space where “traditional” yogurts once sat. Greek yogurts are thick and tangy, with a distinct natural yogurt taste that isn’t covered up by too much sugar or additional flavorings. Greek-style, for reference, typically means a thick or strained yogurt that isn’t made with milk that has ... Read More »

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