Q: Can you share a formula for Amerikaners?
L.S., Essexville, Mich.
A: Amerikaners are commonly known in the United States as black & white cookies. The formula provided works great. Baking ammonia can be difficult to find. You can replace it with 20 g of baking powder and 20 g baking soda.
|Sugar, granulated||10.5||300 g||30|
|Eggs, whole||10.5||300 ml||30|
|Milk, whole||1||1.5||500 ml||50|
|Flour, cake||2||3.25||1 kg||100|
|Baking ammonia||1.5||40 g||4|
|Total appr. wt.||5||2.25||2.34 kg||234|
|Method: Mix the sugar and butter well; add the eggs one at a time and incorporate. Sift the flour with the ammonia three times, and add with the milk. Mix until well blended. Pipe onto trays using a round tip No. 10. Bake at 392°F (200°C) with open damper. Cool completely, then cover the straight side with ½ white and ½ chocolate fondant. Yield: 40 cookies.|
Q: How much water does flour contain?
L.F., El Paso, Texas
A: The moisture content is expressed as the percent of total weight of the material. Flour contains between 11 to 14 percent moisture (water), depending on storage conditions.
Q: Pies are popular in our area, and we would like to add pecan pie to our product line. Do you have a pecan pie filling formula?
Patricia, via e-mail
A: This pecan pie filling has served me well.
Pecan pie filling
|Heavy cream||2||3.25||1 L|
|Unsalted butter||7||200 g|
|Brown sugar, light||2||3.25||1 kg|
|Whole eggs||2||3.25||1 L|
|Pecan pieces||1||8||680 g|
|Total appr. wt.||9||13.75||4.48 kg|
|Method: Boil the heavy cream, unsalted butter, brown sugar and glucose to a soft thread/small pearl (221°F/105°C). Cool until the mixture reaches 100°F (38°C). Add the eggs and blend well. Divide the pecan pieces evenly into six prepared pie shells. Fill the pie shells half full of filling, and mix so the pecans rise to the surface. Top evenly with the remaining filling. Bake in at 340°F (170°C) for 60 minutes. Yields enough filling for six 8-in. pies.|
Q: How can we give our decorative bread showpieces a nice shine?
C.O., Honolulu, Hawaii
A: I use a sealer, which creates a film to protect the bread from absorbing moisture and increase the shelf life of the decorative pieces. The sealer is a simple water and gelatin powder mixture. Combine 1.75 ozs. of gelatin powder (or 25 gelatin sheets) with 8.75 ozs. of water over heat, but do not bring it to a boil. Boiling weakens the holding properties of the gelatin. Use a pastry brush to apply the hot sealer to the bread.
Q: What is the ratio of couverture to alcohol when using it to flavor ganache?
Anna, via e-mail
A: I suggest using 5.25 ozs. to 10.5 ozs. (150 g to 300 g) of couverture for every 3.5 ozs. (100 ml) of alcohol.
Q: We are adding ciabatta to our product line. What size ciabatta loaves do you recommend we make?
Sean, via e-mail
A: Many bakeries scale small ciabatta loaves at 5.25 ozs. (150 g), medium loaves at 17.5 ozs. (500 g) and large ones as much as 5.5 lbs. (2.5 kg) or more.
Q: Can you provide a formula for Bohemian kolachy?
Toni, via e-mail
A: These delicacies are traditionally filled with poppyseed, prune or apricot fillings. Here is a formula I particularly enjoy.
|Flour, pastry||2||4||1.02 kg||50|
|Flour, bred||2||4||1.02 kg||50|
|Sugar, granulated||1||455 g||22.3|
|Eggs, whole||1||455 ml||22.3|
|Yeast, instant dry||2||55 g||2.7|
|Total appr. wt.||9||2.5||4.155 kg||203.68|
|Method: Combine all ingredients, and mix as you would Danish dough. Cover the dough, and retard overnight. Sheet to desired thickness, and cut with a round biscuit cutter, indent the middle and fill. The dough also can be proportioned into rounds that are stretched into squares. Place the filling in the center of the squares, and fold the sides to create pockets. Give the dough pieces a ¾ proof, and then bake at 350°F (177°C) until golden brown. Baking time depends on size of dough ball and amount of filling.|
Q: Can you recommend a good gluten-free flour mix we can use to make bread and muffins?
Jittakan, via e-mail
A: I have been successful with the following formula.
Gluten-free flour mix
|White rice flour||4||1.81 kg|
|Tapioca starch||2||8||1.135 kg|
|Soy flour, defatted||2||8||1.135 kg|
|Whey powder||1||455 g|
|Total appr. wt.||10||4.535 kg|
|Method: Blend in a dry mixing bowl, and use as needed for breads and muffins. Use forms to bake the bread, increase the amount of yeast by up to 50 percent, and use carbonated water or beverages instead of tap water.|
Q: I purchased a bakery in a high altitude location. How much do I have to decrease baking powder?
C.H., Sparks, Nev.
A: The following amounts are intended as a guide only. The final rebalancing of a formula for high altitude may still require some minor adjustments.
|656 ft (200m)||No changes needed|
|1,312 ft (400 m)||-10 percent|
|1,969 ft (600 m)||-15 percent|
|2,953 ft (900 m)||-22 percent|
|3,281 ft (1 km)||-24 percent|
|4,265 ft (1.3 km)||-32 percent|
|4,593 ft (1.4 km)||-35 percent|
|4,921 ft (1.5 km)||-36 percent|
|5,906 ft (1.8 km)||-45 percent|
Dr. Klaus Tenbergen is certified as a Master Baker in Germany, South Africa and the United States. He is currently an assistant professor at California State University in Fresno, directing the Culinology® program, which blends culinary arts and the science of food. For more information about Culinology®, or to submit a question, contact Dr. Tenbergen at email@example.com.