Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The "Egg-ssential" ingredient

Lets face it, eggs are an essential ingredient in baked goods. Whether you are using egg whites only or the whole egg, they can both be incorporated into your recipe in several ways. Today I had someone come to me at the bakery, and they said they tried making a cake for their husband and it came out flat :0( I talked with her, and by deducting a few things, came up with it must have been the egg whites.  When we read a recipe we just assume it is written correctly, and if we do the steps, no matter what, it should work,… right?....well I used to think that way, until I went to culinary school that is. I also took a technical writing class which went over how recipes are written, and how they actually should be written! Even with some of the directions you get with a bike, for example, on how to put it together, are not always written the best way for consumers to understand, and we sit there as parents trying to figure out why we ended up with way too many left over nuts and bolts and various other pieces??? Augh….. so anyway, here are a few simple tips and tidbits from me on using egg whites:

~Unless called for differently, I always use large Grade A eggs. Most recipes that just call for “eggs” are referring to this size. BUT, size does make a difference, so if it calls for a different size, make sure to use that one.

~Use immediately once egg is cracked, or store any leftover whites in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freezer for up to one month. Fresh eggs are always best when using in your baked goods, but if you need to use frozen egg whites, use in recipes where the egg is not the only leavening ingredient.

~Use only very clean utensils to beat your eggs. If you have any kind of oils/fats residue on your bowl or whisk, you will not obtain the correct texture, and remember not to use plastic bowls for beating your egg whites, as plastic can attract oils and greases. Copper bowls are often recommended, but honestly I use stainless steel in my bakery for everything and it works great (and much more affordable!)

~When cracking the egg, and separating the yolk from the white, it is usually easier to do when they are very cold. You don’t want any of the yolk to get into the white, as this will also keep you from getting the right texture when you beat them. The proper way is to use your hands. When you use the shell you take a chance of contamination because the shell is actually the most dangerous part of the egg when it comes to salmonella. Once separated, let the egg whites sit until room temperature before beating them, (like 30 min) that helps them whip up to a greater volume.

~Stiff peaks, and soft peaks.
When your recipe refers to “peak”, it’s talking about the part of the beaten egg white that sticks up from the rest when you pull up your beater or whisk. When hard, it will stand up on its own, and when soft, it will fall almost immediately.  This is key in your baking process if it calls for either of these to be done correctly. Don’t over whip or under whip, because then you will not have the right amount of air incorporated into them to work correctly for the recipe you are using. If your recipe is wanting you to do this, it is using your eggs for leavening, which is very important for the rise and texture of your baked goods.

~Folding…take care when folding your egg whites into heavier ingredients. Always gently fold the egg whites into the heavier mixture. DO NOT mix the batter or dry ingredients into the egg whites. Fold quickly and avoid over-stirring which will deflate your egg whites, and make sure this is done right after you finish beating them as beaten egg whites start losing their volume almost immediately.

~Always have your pans prepared and oven ready, so once this process is complete you can bake it immediately. Always, when using egg whites, it needs to get into the oven right away, or again, it will start to deflate, and you will end up flat.

Egg whites appear in so many baked goods, and especially in meringues and cakes, so its crucial to know how to use them correctly.

Happy baking :0)

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's been awhile.....

OK, yes I know, it has been quite awhile since I have taken the time to sit down and post. Life just got in the way I guess :0) I have something new and exciting to share though, so here goes!

So, the hubs and I have been introduced to a new product that we absolutely love.

I cant describe how excited I am about this product. For those of you that know me well, know how much coffee I drink. On a normal day I literally drink like 1-2 pots of coffee a day. With each cup being like 135 mg of caffeine, I don't even want to begin the math of figuring out how much caffeine I was getting!

I was skeptical at first, I mean I considered myself a coffee snob. I love grinding my own beans, and the smell of a freshly brewed pot made my mouth water. The idea of mixing my coffee up like an instant?? ...what?...no way! ....But our Sunday school teacher is the one that brought this coffee to us, whom we both trust and respect him, so we decided to try it, especially after doing our own research as well and hearing about the health benefits of Ganoderma.
 I work crazy hours and have a crazy schedule, and I drink two things, coffee and water....and lots and lots of coffee to keep me going. Frankly, I'm addicted, and to be honest the only reason I would ever go without coffee would be a major medical procedure  So back to Tuesday (a few weeks ago by now), by 3:00pm when I realized I had had only one cup of coffee and still had energy, clarity, felt wonderful, happy and hadn't bitten anyone's head off, I thought it was a miracle!! To this day, I now drink 1-2 cups of Organo Gold coffee a day. Each prepared cup of Organo Gold coffee has about 9mg coffee which you can see by simple math how much I was getting before to how little I take in now. That alone was a huge selling point for me, and then there are the other benefits I haven't even begun to mention:
Each Cup of Organo Gold Coffee is made with 100% Ganoderma Extract. If you haven't heard of the Ganoderma mushroom yet, you are missing out! Let me enlighten you just a little :0)

Organo Gold coffee is a blend of roasted 100% Arabica coffee beans and the red mushroom extract Ganoderma Lucidium, which has been used for centuries in China for it's health benefits. Ganoderma Lucidium is grown in the wild and is touted as a safe and natural alternative to coffee that can treat diseases, insomnia and depression.

The high amount of antioxidants in the Ganoderma mushroom strengthens the immune system, enabling it to fight viruses and bacteria, which these properties can also lower high blood pressure, stimulate the liver, alleviate lung problems, and support circulatory and respiratory systems, degenerative conditions, and inflammation. It also acts as a preventative against certain diseases, such as diabetes, lung disorders, heart disease and even cancer. The elements of Ganoderma help the flow of oxygen to the body which can increase enegry, vigor and reduce stress without the side effects of caffeine. So, no spikes or crashes!.... I could go on and on, there are so many but I will let you google Ganoderma and see for yourself :0) But the best way is to try it for yourself! 
Ok, so all that being said, I don't take it all lightly, I didn't sign up for this to make tons of money, I already have a Bakery that I am busy enough with as it is.  I just really love the product, and it has done some amazing things for us, I have to share just like any other herb or special ingredients I post about on this blog........So, Im not filling you up with a bunch of fluff, it's awesome!
If you want to try a cup, I can get you a sample, or you can go direct on our website:
So, check it out! www.kirbycafe.organogold.com