Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Last week I was given an incomplete recipe for pastries, so yesterday I tried to figure out what were the proper amounts of the ingredients. Welllllll, four dozen later I had it figured out. The last batch seemed the best to me so I took them for judging to a tough audience, the half dozen or so elderly ladies who meet most afternoons at a neighborhood café. I got a passing grade and lots of advice, all of it contradictory.

I also discovered another problem with my stove. I’ve known right along that the oven temp is several degrees cooler than what is shown on the dial so I always use an in thermometer. But I noticed in the last batch only the pastries in the last row were of the flaky consistency I wanted. I suspect the oven heats unevenly, probably due to not sealing properly.

Baking as intimidated me but I love being in the kitchen so much that it gives me another outlet. Meals can be expensive to make and usually need to be served when ready and it can be hard to cook for one. But baking is relatively cheap and it’s pretty easy to give away the leftovers.

February is over and I’m on the road again. I leave for Dublin this morning, with Glasgow and London to follow. I checked with Gavin to see if he wanted to get together on Friday and he suggested that I stay the weekend.



Blogger Garrison Steelle said...

Hmmmm ... is it a gas or electric oven? If it's gas there are some things you can do to even out the flow.

Be safe traveling, please. :)


2:26 PM  
Anonymous Jezebel said...

Eek! Well, I have the opposite problem with my gas stove. It overheats by 25 degrees so I always have to compensate and even then I can't leave anything unattended for too long.

I know here in the States (and should be in France also) there are repair people who can come out and 'tune' your oven to regulate it. I don't know how you'd go about finding said professionals, but they do exist.

Safe travels!


10:09 AM  
Anonymous Chloe said...

Oh dear, I’m beginning to feel grossly inadequate. Both you and Olympia seem to be culinary wizards – all this oven-talk of which I can’t relate. Most of my kitchen utensils find their way into my studio. At present, my crock pot is full of wax for bronze casting. But who am I kidding, I never purchased it with the intent to make something edible!

BTW, have you come to any further decision in establishing a career in the arts? I’d be interested to hear your impressions of the fine arts community in Paris.

All the best,

4:37 PM  
Blogger Cath said...

Indeed a common problem with many ovens is the uneven temperature distribution. Routinely rotating what you are cooking is the best solution.

I find that baking is the only REAL sort of cooking to do - maybe it is because it is not just assembling and tossing ingredients, it actually involves you to get hands on. Sort of like chemistry, magic and cooking all mixed in together.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous David said...

From my experience a lot different things can also affect baking times. Cooking time also depends on air temperature, relative humidity, the freshness and temperate of your ingredients and the baking vessel. The only way that you can really tell something is done is by looking at it. Baking time is only a very rough guide. That's what makes baking an art.

5:23 PM  

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