An AMA with the BHB

Good evening, friends and neighbors!

So today, I decided to try something new. Tonight’s blog entry would be all about you guys, and your questions! To that end, I hopped on Reddit and spent all evening doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything!)

Here’s some of the best questions and answers that came out:

Hi! I’m an amateur baker myself, although I’ve not had loads of experience with pastry beyond the usual shortcrust and pâte sucrée, so I’m planning on doing a few recipes with puff pastry at some point soon. Basically, do you have any tips for making decent puff pastry? –ManicMetalhead

The best tip I can think of for making puff pastry is keeping your butter as cold as possible, only letting it get as warm as strictly necessary. Puff pastry gets its flaky layers from the ultra-thin layers of butter melting during baking and creating cavities in the dough. If it’s too warm, the butter will melt early, and you’ll get greasy pastry. I’m also guessing you’re talking about classic French puff pastry. If you’re really dedicated to making it by hand (without the use of a rolling machine or sheeter), your arms will want to fall off after the first few turns! There are other formulas for “rough” puff pastry that are just as tasty and don’t require the hellish amount of rolling pin work.

Best book(s) for baking amateurs? – Senorpapagirgio

Several! I heartily recommend the classic “Joy of Cooking” and “Joy of Baking” books. They are indespensible resources for basic recipes and skills. After that, I would recommend “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, “Professional Baking” by Wayne Gisslen, and “How Baking Works” by Paula Figoni for mastering and understanding the chemistry aspects. After those, recipe books for your favorite cuisines! Good luck!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?– Punkdoctor1000

Seriously though, I still see myself running the Black Hat Bakery, likely as a mobile establishment but possibly as a brick and mortar if the opportunity presents. I see myself providing cookies, pies, and tarts directly to the customers who need them.

I also frankly see myself being wide awake and caffeine-addled at 3am, but that comes with the territory.

Hi Matt. I just wanted to vouch that you’re an awesome baker, and an even awesomer person. (That’s a word.) I’ve known Matt since he was a kid, and he baked an awesome cake for my daughter’s birthday.

My question is: with your amazing success at weight loss, do you find it hard to work around food all the time?– Tiredmom14
Awww thank you! The fact is, I really don’t. After spending so much time around sweets, you truly don’t want any at the end of the day. I almost always crave meat and veggies for dinner-MAYBE with something sweet after.

What’s your favorite “secret” recipe? –NorbitGorbit

My favorite “secret” recipe might be my dad’s meatloaf. Unless you’re a member of the family, you can’t make it exactly right.

Thanks everyone who asked questions for the great night! If you’ve got any questions, leave them in the comments, or get in touch through Facebook or tweet me @BlackHatBakery!

Stay Classy,