Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Flour by Joanne Chang

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I first heard about this book from a Weekend Cooking post at Beth Fish Reads.  The book sounded so good, I knew I had to check it out and immediately requested it from my library.

Flour is a cookbook based on the recipes used at Flour Bakery in Massachusetts.  I dare you to check out their website, unless you are trying to lose weight.  Then run far far away because once you see the pictures of their desserts, you'll be wanting something yummy to eat.

Once I got the book, I started flipping through it and was in love. I loved the photo's and the recipes sound so yummy.   I loved that there was a section on ingredients and on some different techniques.   In fact, a day or two before I read the section on ingredients I was talking to my friend about baking cookies.  She asked me if I used salted or unsalted butter and which was recommended.  I mentioned that I only bought unsalted butter.  I had never read anything about which is right, but one day on a whim I decided to buy unsalted and baked with it and never noticed a difference so I've never changed back to salted.   Well, this book says to always (unless otherwise specified) use unsalted butter.  This way the salt used when baking is correct and you don't have more salt due to there being salt in the butter as well as what you add as an ingredient. we know!  I'm glad I've been doing it right. haha!

After hanging on to this book for a couple of weeks, I had marked over half the recipes as ones I wanted to try.  I ended up returning the book to the library and the following week Borders had a 50% off coupon and I used that to buy it. 

I have since only made one recipe but boy was it good.  Husband and seen the book out and flipped through it one day and decided he wanted chocolate eclairs.  One day I walked into the kitchen and the book was out and held open on the chocolate eclair recipe.  I can take a hint. 

The recipe itself wasn't exactly hard, but there were a lot of steps to it.  It's not something that a non-baker would want to try right away, in my opinion.  I won't say I'm an awesome baker, but I do enjoy it and love to try new things, so I was up for the challenge.   The pastry part didn't puff up like it should have and I think I know where in the steps I went wrong, but that's the only issue I had.  I was still able to make them, they were just rather flat.    I have to say, they were really really good.   Husband really liked them, even took them to work for dessert.   We gave one to my FIL and he enjoyed it too and said it tasted like one he had at a restaurant recently, only mine was a tad better because it was fresh. 

definitely recommend you check this one out at the library or flip through it at a book store.  I don't think all recipes are going to have as many steps as this one did, some are bound to be easier and some harder.  

Husband has decided that I should bake him something every weekend, so he has dessert throughout the week. So far this hasn't worked out as well as he had planned.  I have no willpower and if we have desserts and I like them, I'm going to eat them too. I don't want to eat them every day, which means I'm not baking him something every weekend.  haha!  However, this does mean that I'll be trying more recipes from this cookbook as the year progresses and I'll be sure to keep you updated on what happens.  I'll also plan on taking pictures (when things turn out correctly). 


bermudaonion said...

I've always bought unsalted as well since I have high blood pressure and try to watch the salt.

I love to bake but we don't eat baked goods fast enough and too often I end up throwing or giving the food away.

Ladytink_534 said...

I may have to participate in this meme. I wish my husband would eat all the desserts I make! He's not a big sweets eater at all so more often than not, if his family or our friends don't come by and grab some goodies then they go in the garbage.

WonderBunny said...

Hmm... I've used both salted and unsalted butter. When I use salted, I just don't add salt.

Although, with shortbread cookies, it is better to use the unsalted butter.

Kris said...

It sounds like a lot of us have the problem of not being able to eat a baked item fast enough! lol! I tend to take it to work and share so I don't have to throw it away. Even with Husband and I both eating it, we sometimes can't finish something.

I also find it funny that so many of you already use unsalted butter. Growing up, my Mom only bought salted. It took several years for me to pay attention to the fact that there was an unsalted option and then to try it.

Beth F said...

I'm glad you liked this book. I do too. Mr. BFR would have dessert every single night if I baked that often. Instead, I limit myself to a couple of times a month --

I always buy unsalted butter because I love the fresh taste and I like controlling the amt of salt in a recipe.

Kris said...

Beth - I think I'll probably only bake something a couple times a month too. Glad to see another person who uses unsalted butter!