Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Book #10: The Tante Marie's Cooking School Cookbook by Mary Risley

I received this book a few years back as a gift from my mom.  Since it did not have the eye candy photos that I have come to drool over, I put it aside for a bit.  Without photos, I must imagine how the foods would turn out...and while I can do that to an extent, my imaginings would just never be as delicious to be in any way motivational.  I need all sorts of help to encourage me to get off my duff and make something.  Those pictures are crucial!

Anyways, last week I received a KitchenAid mixer as a much anticipated early Christmas gift.  Being that I've recently started working at an unnamed, hoity toity culinary store (ahem with a hefty discount) we had to jump on it before they figure out my ulterior motives and kick me to the curb!  So with this new purchase, I looked for a fitting start to my mixing career.  
As I perused my cookbooks for bread recipes, I found this book.  I realized then that I had missed that it was from a cooking school ( a secret longing of mine), and not even so far away, in San Francisco!  Much to my dismay, my research then showed me it had recently closed.  So I'm a little late to this party, but nonetheless, the recipes should still be good!  Although...if the school is closed...?  Just Kidding Tante Marie!
For this recipe, I attempted the walnut bread.  There is a walnut bread I adore at some store (Trader Joe's?) so that is the vision I had in my mind as I began the bread.  The first batch was going well until I noticed little gray bits in the batter.  My mind went back to mixer reviews of oil leaking into the batter.  I picked out the flecks and kept going.  A couple more...ok, that has to be about it.  I finished the dough, turned it off.  And then three fresh dots.  And I finally found the source of the oil in one of the screws above the dough hook!  At that point I decided I had no idea how much oil was in the dough, and decided to scratch it. 
But not without a little experimentation!  At that point, I was thinking I should add more flour, but was on the fence.  So I decided to live on the wild side, and skip adding more flour and see what happened, since I didn't plan to eat it anyways.  It was super sticky, suggesting it really did need more flour.  It went through three raises and it did rise well! One of those raises you are supposed to add more walnut oil.  Rather than waste costly oil, I then pulled the experiment even farther--I have a lot of molasses hiding out in my cupboards, so even though it's nothing like oil, I thought maybe it would still add moisture, so in it went!  (Please, no comments on what molasses would do to dough and why that was a silly choice, sometimes you just gotta find out for yourself, you know.  Ok... I still don't know.)
The Blob

This was certainly the silliest looking loaf I've made.  It seemed a bit like the blob.  I figured it was inspiration from the movie of said name.  I worried my dough-blob would glide right off the cookie sheet before it set enough in the oven.  Once baked, I just tried a teeny bit so as not to die from unknown oil ingestion, and honestly can't remember much about it, but it was a bit hard, without the standard airy texture.  To the trash it went!  Please note the blackness is probably just molasses.
Ahhh bread.

The next batch was completely different.  Ahhh, that's what dough is supposed to be like!  A nice squishy ball.  How I love dough!  It was a seamless operation.  In addition to not adding enough flour the first time, I suspect that I may have over-kneaded the first batch (since no self-respecting person would read a manual before using a new product).  While there was huge improvement over the first loaf, I did still find it too oily (you will be glad to know I kept my eye on the oil leaking screw hole so that I can vouch that the oily was all walnut and none of that machiney oil).  My hub on the other hand was ecstatic with the finished product.  Maybe he was trying to make up for his lukewarm response to the kung pao chicken from the other day?? :/
Why is there a finger in this photo.  Really?

I see now the sub-title of this book is "More than 250 recipes for the passionate home cook."  Passionate home cook, eh?  Passionate eater, yes.  But passionate home cook?  That sounds like I'm going to have to work a lot!  If I were to base it on this recipe I would agree.  This one had three rises, which just seems excessive.  Let's just do one and be done, okay?  I'm not sure I'm that passionate.  What about "occasionally inspired home cook"?  Or "passionate eater that would rather someone else cook"?  Either of those might be a more apt title for a book that calls to me.