Anyone who knows me knows that I love to bake. Imagine how thrilled I was to learn about Rose Levy Beranbaums Alpha Bakers and their intent to bake through her entire Baking Bible… I had to be a part of this amazing journey.
Lucky for me, Marie said yes, and well…here we are.
It's amazing that so few ingredients can produce such a fabulous pastry!
I'm not kidding, this KA had everyone in my family and even a few friends begging me to make more. (Hee hee...Little do they know I've hidden two just for the Souffléed French Toast Variation Rose kindly included at the end of the recipe). That's for another post though.
BTW, have I said that Rose nailed this recipe and instructions to a tee!!!! On first glance, it may seem a bit daunting for a beginner baker, but I promise, if you follow the instructions exactly (get your ruler or tape measure ready :) you will have a beautiful pastry to share with your family and friends.
To show you how easy it can be, I've included a plethora of pictures detailing my journey with the KA.
Combine the ingredients...this won't take long as there are very few. Make sure you use a dough hook if doing this with a mixer.
This dough is amazingly soft and quite easy to mix and work with.
Continue mixing until it's combined and clears the bowl. Rose gives much more detailed instructions that will make any novice baker feel like a pro.
Now it's time to be meticulous. This suits me fine as baking somehow sheds a positive light on my OCD!! In fact, that's why I love baking so much, it' scientific, precise, and art all rolled in one. Seriously, what could be better? ;)
To obtain the proper layering needed for this fantastic pastry, the dough and butter really need to be measured exactly as Rose outlines in her instructions. I know I said it before, but don't worry, Rose's directions are so precise; you'll know exactly what to do! And yes, I do keep a tape measure and a few rulers in my kitchen just for baking. Doesn't everyone??
Now, I'm going to get on my soapbox for a moment....using the proper butter is absolutely necessary. European butters have a higher fat content, and frankly in my opinion, they just taste better, which means a better tasting pastry. I know they have a tendency to cost more, but if you can swing it, I wouldn't skimp in this area. Just sayin....
This method of rolling the dough is new to me, and I have made a few laminated doughs in my time, but it worked beautifully. And....here's the dough and ruler again. As you get deeper into the instructions, don't slack off on measuring, it really does matter. Trust me, the end product will be worth every minute you spend being precise.
The rolling and measuring may seem endless at times, it does with every other laminated dough out there, but the instructions are so precise (there's that word again!), you'll have no problem achieving the desired results Rose describes.
I always have a million things, well maybe 2 or 3 and a 7 year old distracting me, so I always score my dough with my finger each time I do a roll and fold. This is something I learned early on and it has stayed with me for years. It has literally saved me when I've been the phone and can't even remember what I planned to do next let alone how many times I've turned the dough.
I had a terrible time finding 4-inch rings! How could I not find any in the San Francisco area?? No worries, Rose had instructions for such a scenario. I'm not kidding, she has thought of everything!!! I went a little crazy with the nonstick spray, which worried me at first, but it didn't seem to affect the final outcome. Whew, huge sigh of relief!!!
Using a ruler, squares need to me measured precisely. Never fear, we're almost to the end!
The KA's are folded into a beautiful shape and placed in the ingenious homemade rings.
My house was too cold last night, which caused the proofing process to be slow and a bit challenging. I tried to warm it up a little by placing the pan on the stove top, and turning the oven to 200 degrees. Unfortunately, I think it heated them too much.You can see all the butter in pan while they were baking. I fretted over this the entire time they were in the oven, but alas they tasted and looked wonderful anyway. Crisis averted!!
If you've made it this far with me, you must buy the Baking Bible and make this recipe immediately! How have I made it this far along in life without tasting this pastry?
Stay tuned...I'm going to try the Souffléed French Toast next!!