Sunday, February 10, 2013

getting better (banana.and.dark.chocolate.pastry)

despite unemployment and other unfortunate circumstances taking its toll, i should acknowledge the few that are getting better ... such as ... stiff neck is getting a lot better, still a little ache, it should be completely healed in another week (i must make it heal), so far, baking is better than when i started, needs a lot more baking though, hopefully what's ahead is better too.

also, his feedback so far for the italian bread was, "its good" , however, when i got back at the apartment, i chose to leave the bread on the counter (room temperature) on a winter season, the bread was moist and soft for about two days, i intentionally left two slices for the third day, unfortunately, it was hard the next morning, and inedible. it is actually advisable to freeze bread, and then thaw it at room temperature to lengthen shelf life of the bread (i just felt bad freezing bread that took me several hours to prepare for baking).

regarding the reason behind putting a bowl of water on the last layer of your oven, well, i stumbled on a website "artisanbakers" that explained the technical reasons (it is actually the steam that makes the inner of the bread moist and soft while the crust becomes crisp), read through this website, it gives straight forward facts (so, that did not take several years!)

and so, i decided to use my time on a sunday baking banana.and.dark.chocolate breadish-pastry, based on Jane's Sweets & Baking Journal - Banana Cake-Bars with Dark Chocolate Chips (and Spelt Flour!) - but made some minor changes on mine.

the changes i made were to use:

- self-rising flour ( instead of spelt flour and all-purpose flour, that's why i called it "breadish-pastry" )
- only 1 cup of light brown sugar ( not too sweet )
- 1 tsp of white granulated sugar with the chopped dark chocolate
- baking bowls (i don't have baking pans)

using self-rising flour gave this pastry a light-breadish texture (but a little more moist) but not like a cake either. i also noticed that with the oven i am using, putting a bowl of water on the bottom layer actually leads to better baking results, so, for this recipe i also used a bowl of water for steam, the crust of the pastry was lightly-crisp and inside was breadish-moist. that's right, i made two batches, and gave one freshly-baked-batch to a neighbor, while the pastry was warm and really moist! hopefully they like it! (i'll know once i ask for my baking dish back =D)

i took a slice while it was still fresh out of the oven, below is how it looks like when it's sliced. warm, with melted dark chocolate on top! with freshly brewed espresso! (on a chilly afternoon!)

although i know baking is not the profession for me, it is essential to learn even the basics (that goes the same with cooking!) and i find it very beneficial, therapeutic and fun, my greatest respects to those who are naturally talented and have the passion for the culinary arts. by the way ... i watched a show called "iron chef america" and just wanted to note that, tomato sauce with tuna and pasta layered over fresh ricotta is really very savory and has this mild cheese flavor, a very sumptuous spin instead of using the common parmesan (though i use pecorino)