3 Yeast Baking Questions Answered

Yeast Baking

 

Yeast Baking

Yeast Baking

Yeast baking is scary for some people but it’s really easy if you know what to expect.  Here are a few common questions about yeast baking that beginners tend to ask.  If you have another question on yeast baking that isn’t answered here feel free to ask on my Facebook page.

Q: Do you think fresh yeast is better than dry yeast?

A: Well it really depends on how much baking you are doing.  Fresh yeast is great because it dissolves easily and it tastes more “yeasty” than dried yeast.  If you aren’t doing a lot of baking, fresh yeast may end up going to waste if you don’t use it all fast enough.  Fresh yeast can also be a bit difficult to find, but you can check in your grocers refrigerated section near the eggs.

Q: I’m afraid to work with yeast. How can I make sure I get a good result?

A: Yeast is easy to work with but lots of people have unfounded fears toward it.  Like anything, it takes practice.  If you have never worked with yeast doughs before, I suggest you try baking a batter yeast bread first.  Batter breads require no kneading, but still give you the satisfaction that you’ve baked something.

Q:  Can yeast doughs be frozen raw?

A: To get an idea what foods can and cannot be frozen, take a stroll down your frozen food  aisle at your local grocery store.  It’ll be a revelation!  There are frozen yeast doughs available for purchase, so you can freeze doughs you make at home.  Some recipes may need a little extra yeast added to ensure it rises the way you want after its thawed out.

Another option, is to par bake or partially bake your dough after you’ve shaped it, then freeze it.  When you are ready to serve the bread, either thaw and finish baking or bake from frozen.

If you are ready to start baking fresh bread in your kitchen, then be sure to get your hands on my free e-Cookbook with over 30 pages of easy bread recipes.

4 No-Bake Pie Crust Recipes

NoBakePieCrust
NoBakePieCrust

NoBakePieCrust

For no-bake pie crusts, you can experiment with just about any crispy ingredient as your base. Pretzels, potato chips or shortbread cookies come to mind.

Before you start experimenting, here a 4 tested and proven to work no-bake pie crust recipes. These no-bake crusts are suitable for cream fillings or fillings cooked on the stove top and cooled before adding to the pie.

Why turn on the oven if you don’t have to? Use these recipes for your summer pies.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

This crust is perfect for cream pies and gelatin based no-bake cheesecakes.

1 cup Graham cracker crumbs

1 teaspoon flour

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.) Crush crackers to fine crumbs in a zip top bag with a rolling-pin. Combine with remaining ingredients and mix well using your fingertips.

2.) Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a pie plate.

3.) Put in the refrigerator to chill.

Almond Cream Pie Crust

1 cup Graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup of toasted almond slivers

1/4 cup soft butter

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 Tablespoon heavy cream

1.) Grind crackers and toasted almonds to fine crumbs using a rolling pin or food processor.

2.) Mix with butter, almond extract and heavy cream.

3.) Press into pie plate and set in refrigerator to chill until needed.

Notes: You can experiment with different nuts and extracts for this crust. Try using pecans or hazelnuts. Toast nuts in a dry pan on the stove top to bring out more flavor.

Cereal Crumb Pie Crust

Don’t throw your cereal crumbs away! Collect them and in a few days, you’ll have more than enough crumbs to make a tasty pie crust.

5 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 cup cornflake crumbs

1.) Melt butter, add sugar and crumbs. Mix well. Press into bottom and sides of pie plate and place in refrigerator to chill until needed.

Notes: Don’t stop at just cornflakes. Use rice cereal, bran flake type cereal or even fruit loops. If you really like to experiment, then try a combination of two or thee types of cereal.

Holland Rusk Pie Crust

Holland rusks are toasted bread circles used mainly for canapes and dips. If you can’t find them in your local area, they can be ordered online or you can use Melba toasts, which are similar.

1 cup Holland rusk crumbs

1/2 cup softened butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.) Mix rusk crumbs with butter, sugar and cinnamon.

2.) Press into bottom and sides of pie plate and chill until needed.

Notes: You may need to double this recipe for deep dish pies.

 

Almond Crescent Rolls

This recipe for almond crescent tools is a slightly sweet take on crescent rolls.  Those crescent roll that come in a can may have their time and place, but these almond crescent rolls deserve to put on your Mother’s Day table for brunch.   These pillowy rolls would also be perfect for a baby shower or Sunday brunch buffet complete with a glazed ham and peach prosecco.

This recipe uses biscuit mix which can be purchased, or you can make your own.  If you want to make your own biscuit mix, you can find the recipe here .

Almond Crescent Rolls Ingredients

1 package active dry yeast *

3/4 cup warm water

3 cups biscuit mix

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup almond paste

Almond Crescent Rolls Directions

1.)  In a bowl, combine the yeast and the warm water.  Allow the yeast to activate before adding the rest of the ingredients.  You’re looking for tiny little bubbles.

2.)  Add the biscuit mix, sugar and egg and mix everything to combine.  Turn dough out on a work surface sprinkled with flour and knead until smooth. it shouldn’t take more than a minute.
3.)  Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle and spread it with almond paste. Make sure your almond paste is warm so it spreads easier.  Cut the dough into 16 wedge shaped pieces and roll up each wedge beginning at the wide end.
4.)  Place rolls on a baking sheet and cover them lightly with plastic wrap.  Let them rest in a warm place for about 1 hour.  Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or until golden brown like this.

*I use red star yeast that I buy in 1 # packages.  If you purchase yeast in bulk, use 2 1/4 teaspoons when recipes call for 1 package.

Shop the Almond Crescent Roll Recipe

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Silpat Baking Mat

 

 

 

 

 

pref pan

Medium Perforated Baking Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

Mixing Bowl

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Saf Instant Yeast (on Amazon)

How to Make Almond Paste

Almond Paste
Almond Paste

Almond Paste

I use to work at a French restaurant that made almond croissants from our day old croissants.  The almond croissants were delicious. I would always grab one for myself to eat later in my shift because we made a limited amount every day.

The main ingredient was the almond paste.  We didn’t make the almond paste in house.  It came in an industrial sized bucket and was scooped out by the night pastry guy as needed.

I love almond paste because depending on what you do with it, it can give you two textures.  Used as a filling for the croissants, it stayed soft, gooey and sweet.  Spread on top of the croissant it added a crisp crackly crust after a few minutes in the oven.

Some good almond paste recipes can be found here, here and here.

After reviewing the recipes, I decided on powdered sugar vs granulated sugar so the filling would be less grainy.  I also used butter to make the mixture more soft and pliable.  One complaint about store-bought almond pastes is that they are too dry and brittle.

I like lots of almond extract but you can lower the dosage according to your tastes.   Don’t be cheap here with dollar store extract.

Side note:  Why does Barefoot Contessa always say use a “good extract” or a “good chocolate” or a “good fill-in-the-blank food item?”  Can you just tell us what brand you use?

Ok.  Now that I got that out of my system I use Watkins extracts as well as Penzys extracts.  I find that in both brands are very high quality and don’t have an alcohol-y  aftertaste like some cheap-o brands.  A little goes a long way in most recipes.

The biggest time saving tip is that you should start out with almond meal or almond flour.  Just make sure you buy blanched almond meal/flour.  It’s the one that doesn’t have flecks from the brown skin of the almond.  You can blanch and skin your own almonds if you want to.  After skinning the almonds, you can grind them into flour yourself but almond skinning is a time consuming process. You’ve been warned.

Almond Paste Ingredients

2  cups almond meal

2 cups powdered sugar

2 egg whites

4 Tablespoons butter, softned

1 Tablespoon almond extract

Almond Paste Directions

1.)  Put everything into a medium mixing bowl and using a handheld blender, start mixing on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2.)  Store is a tightly sealed jar for up to 1 week. If you know you won’t use all of the mixture within a week, wrap it, label it and freeze it.