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Baking in France - Page 2


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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 23rd July 2010, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CFrance View Post
e

And that is where I found the baking soda, in with the salt. Might they have baking powder there as well? What would it be called in French? (I was only looking for baking soda in order to clean my glass cooktop.)
Baking powder is "levure chimique" - usually in little pink packets. Don't let the "chimique" label put you off - it's more or less like regular baking powder, only without the baking soda added (thus, "single action" rather than "double action").
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 24th July 2010, 08:41 AM
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You are right he Mais or corn starch they sometimes substitute for a part of flour to make the cake 'lighter' plus leger. The Levure Chemique available at the grocery stores is how they make gateaux, the levure du boulangere is dry yeast, reading the label. I found another more familiar way to make bread without using the yeast; I make San Franciscan Sourdough bread here. The sourdough starter is just flour and water and takes a few days to make. Other than that you add more flour some salt and water.

I am sure there are other more natural leavening agents then the levure chemique. I just need to read up on it. And actually even the yeast the levure du boulangere has an item listed, which does not sound good. IT says the source might come from animal fat, which as a vegetarian I don't like at all. The substance is marked: E491.

Also, about using or eating yogurt; I always wondered why yogurt tasted so good in France, turns out I have been eating full fat ' lait entier' which is probably a litle heavy on my arteries

That's all for now.

Have a good weekend everyone!




Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
Hey, welcome back!

For "quick breads" and stuff like that, you use "levure chimique" - the stuff in the little pink envelopes. It's basically single action baking powder. As it turns out baking powder is "double action" which appears to mean that it's something with baking soda added, which yields the "double" action in the baking process. Some books here say to use twice as much levure chimique as the (US ) recipe calls for. You can usually find sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in small boxes at outrageous prices in the supermarket or get it at the local pharmacy if you want to add it to the levure chimique.

But, the other big issue in baking is that of the flour! US flour is much dryer than anything you can get over here in Europe. French flour contains more moisture, and again the usual recommendation is to use 20% more flour or reduce your liquid ingredients by about 20% if you don't want to wind up with a soupy mess. I've had very mixed results and basically don't use my US recipes for baked goods over here with French flour.

I have it on best authority that even British flour is a different consistency (from US and French - probably something in the middle) and that Dutch flour (for example) is considerably "heavier" than French.

As far as leavening goes, you can usually find yeast (levure de boulangerie) in dry form (little packets near the bread flour and other baking supplies) or cake form (in the refrigerated case, next to the fancy cakes and pastries that have to be refrigerated) at the supermarket. Otherwise, you can buy cake yeast from the bakery.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 24th July 2010, 10:24 AM
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All those substances that start with E are EU grade food additives. Your E491 is sorbitane mono stearate, which can be from either vegetable or animal origin. It's fairly simple to just google the E number food additives and find out what they are and where they come from.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 24th July 2010, 11:52 AM
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Back in the '80s, there were just a few food additives allowed in France. Has that fallen by the wayside?

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Old 24th July 2010, 12:52 PM
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Apparently regulation of food additives now lies with the EU and not with the individual member countries. The EU's page on food additives is here: EUROPA - Food Safety - Chemical Safety of Food - Food Additives - Introduction

Cheers,
Bev

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Old 24th July 2010, 05:53 PM
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Hi There,

I love French pastries, but I also enjoy baking "American-style" goodies. Here are some of my findings which I hope will be helpful.

I've had no problems using French ingredients. But I make my own vanilla extract (French versions I found were McCormick's quality) and had a friend bring me pure almond extract.

I haven't found unsweetened chocolate here. Probably seems like an oxymoron to the French! I don't care for the tiny chocolate chips (pépites). However, I've used Lindt Dessert 70% Chocolate bar (in the candy aisle) as a substitute for semi or bittersweet and it was great. I just bought an 85% bar and can't wait to try it.

Many baking ingredients can be found at the health food store, like molasses (melesse) and cornmeal (semoule de maïs). Spices like cloves (girofle) can often be found at the marchés or at Asian/African grocers. Sometimes they're in the "foreign foods" section of a French supermarket.

For baking powder, I buy the packets of levure chimique (poudre à lever). The pink Alsace packets are fine, as are the cheaper generic white ones. The packets hold more than is needed for a single recipe. So I save the leftovers in the original packet and store it in a small tin. No problems using even a couple of months later.

For baking soda, Cérébos is a company that sells salt and baking soda. Each in a cylindrical shaker carton. The baking soda is in an orange package labeled Bicarbonate alimentaire. I bought a 400g carton 2 years ago, still using. No problems. Wasn't expensive.

For flour, the aisle is filled with different types for bread, cakes, crepes. Some self-rising (i.e. contain leavening agents). After some experimentation, I now rely on Type 65 as my all-purpose flour. I think I've been using Type 45 for cake flour, but I'm not sure, it's been awhile.

Happy Baking!
Charlot

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Old 24th July 2010, 09:31 PM
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Thanks for sharing your baking tips. I'll just add a couple comments based on my experience here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlot View Post
But I make my own vanilla extract (French versions I found were McCormick's quality) and had a friend bring me pure almond extract.
There are liquid vanilla, almond and other "extracts" here, but they are water-based and, I think, sweetened. The US style extracts are alcohol based. Not sure how to substitute one for the other.

Quote:
haven't found unsweetened chocolate here. Probably seems like an oxymoron to the French! I don't care for the tiny chocolate chips (pépites). However, I've used Lindt Dessert 70% Chocolate bar (in the candy aisle) as a substitute for semi or bittersweet and it was great. I just bought an 85% bar and can't wait to try it.
There is a form of "cooking chocolate" which is pretty much unsweetened available in the section of the grocery store with the other chocolate bars (i.e. not with the baking stuff). It's basically a 95% bar I think - unsweetened, and you need to add some sort of liquid in order to melt it for cooking. You can use coffee, milk or butter. I did Julia Child's chocolate mousse recipe using the French style cooking chocolate - and it's to die for!!!!

Quote:
Many baking ingredients can be found at the health food store, like molasses (melesse) and cornmeal (semoule de maïs). Spices like cloves (girofle) can often be found at the marchés or at Asian/African grocers. Sometimes they're in the "foreign foods" section of a French supermarket.
Good tip - health food stores have quite a few items. But cloves are normally in regular supermarkets - only in whole form. A mortar and pestle takes care of grinding them up - or you can use a spice grinder.

Quote:
For flour, the aisle is filled with different types for bread, cakes, crepes. Some self-rising (i.e. contain leavening agents). After some experimentation, I now rely on Type 65 as my all-purpose flour. I think I've been using Type 45 for cake flour, but I'm not sure, it's been awhile.
Type 45 flour is considered "basic" flour - normally used for pastries and cakes. Basic bread flour is type 55, and the higher numbers start getting you into the semi- and complete whole grains. Hadn't thought of trying to use a "heavier" flour (like 65) as an all-purpose flour, but that very well could work to counteract the different moisture content here. Thanks for the tip!
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 25th July 2010, 05:50 PM
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Merci bc for your tips as well. I'll look for the cooking chocolate on my next shopping trip.

Ahh, Julia's chocolate mousse. Must make soon. BTW, I substituted Armagnac for Bourbon in a Maida Heatter pound cake. Excellent.

Bon appétit, Charlot

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Old 25th July 2010, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlot View Post
Ahh, Julia's chocolate mousse. Must make soon. BTW, I substituted Armagnac for Bourbon in a Maida Heatter pound cake. Excellent.
Oh yeah, when attempting to melt the French cooking chocolate, you can use rum or any liqueur or alcohol that suits your fancy, too.

Julia Child is a treasure store of great recipes and cooking hints!!
Cheers,
Bev

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