Wednesday, January 20, 2010

paczki eating contest

Man, been a while! I feel we are returning to a more "Normal" schedule after the holidays. I've remembered how we spend our days, without focusing on things that are only red and green. It is a welcome thing, this month of January. It's a nice change of pace, getting home before the streetlights are on. Although we are running a good bit ahead of last January.

Last Saturday, the 16th, we had our first "Winter market". The theme was "For love of the game". They had a lot of game producers there and a nice menu of chef demos. We had a great spot, right inside the door, on the first floor. The market occupied three floors of the Notebart Nature Museum. We were sold out at 10:30. We'll be better prepared on February 13th.

This is the third day of our "White sale". Been going well. I made the first batch of "White" pound cake, on Saturday. I wanted it cooled well enough to cut, and wrap, Sunday. Came out really nice. Old school, Chicago pound cake formula. Made with hi-ratio shortening, no butter. I tried making the second batch, replacing part of the shortening with butter. Not such a good idea. The loaves lost a lot of volume in the oven. So much for trying to improve things! Scratch cake mixes need to be in balance, very important. To make cakes sweet enough for American palette, they must contain more sugar than flour. To dissolve the high amount of sugar, it takes more liquid. There are emulsifiers added to the "Cake" shortening we use, to allow better adhesion between the liquid and the fat. There are limited amounts of lecithin in butter, as well as egg yolks, but trace amounts. So by replacing emulsified shortening with butter, the mix started to almost separate.

The biggest news is our upcoming Paczki Eating contest. We are going to do it on Saturday the 13th of February. We are planning on eight, two man teams. We are holding it as a fundraiser for Hatian relief, thru the Red Cross. We've got one team secured. Info is going to the sororities and fraternities on the Northwestern campus today.

Oh, almost forgot, our pretzel dipper has been shipped from Germany! Coolest news is the response I got from the goods that we sent to them. I sent a stollen, some florentine and some springele to both the folks that made the dipper and the young lady that acted as our pretzel dipper trafficker. The fellow that builds pretzel dippers is a baker. He had wonderful things to say about our stollen. I will post his letter tomorrow.

Gotta run, got "White sale" goods to bake.


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