Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chocolate Conference

I was lucky enough to attend a chocolate conference a week ago. There was a wide range of people there from professionals to about-to-be-professionals to beginners. I definitely fall towards the beginner end of the spectrum. We molded chocolates, made several ganaches and piped caramel fillings, airbrushed, painted and made custom transfer sheets by painting and screenprinting, dipped, tasted, ate and drank all weekend. My group in particular made a Madras slab ganache with curry and coconut, a raspberry black pepper butter ganache, and a passionfruit piped caramel filling. We also made nougat to dip (which I totally overcooked) and an almond butter crunch toffee, which was LBK's favorite thing. Here are some pics:

Almond Butter Crunch - aka Crack

My failed attempt at unmolding my chocolates
My tablemates

Our fearless leader demonstrating silkscreening with colored cocoa butter to make custom transfer sheets

You can read lots more and see more pics here.

*** Update on the Girls' Brunch - My friend's hubby accepted a job offer! Whoo hoo!

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes

I've done a bunch more reading about this bread baking method. I ordered the book today because it has a wide variety of breads, not just the basic boule that you can find everywhere online. This is the second time I tried this bread. Some people are combining the No Knead Bread technique with this recipe. I have only read them second hand, but last night I mixed up some dough and baked today.

The dough is very wet, with a 2 hour room temp rise, then a long refrigerated rise. I baked my boule at 425 in a stock pot for lack of a dutch oven which was preheated on a baking stone. I let the dough rise on parchment, slashed with scissors, and used the parchment to lower it into the pot. I removed the cover after 20 minutes. Next time, I'll bake a little longer to get a slightly darker crust, but I'm very happy with this boule.

Here's the crumb:

New Doors

The installers came today to put in the new doors. They only were able to do one, due to the weather and some complications on the install. If I ever doubted the value of having this type of work done by professionals, today convinced me again it's worth it. They ended up removing a whole section of siding and putting it back, custom cutting some trim because things weren't square and a myriad of other details that would have made this an impossible DIY job. Luckily, they started with the pretty door first. The basement door is hanging out in the laundry room. It will be a couple of weeks before we are able to have them back to install that one. And the storm door has a dog door! They are afraid to use it still, but Quincy has been shoved through it once or twice.

To Do list? What To Do list? Never heard of it.