11 Secrets From a Pastry Maker Who Personally Checks Every Recipe and Shares His Opinion on Sweets From a Pastry Shop
Some pastries contain so many unknown ingredients, that it’d be nice to consult with an experienced pastry maker before buying these sweet products. And Andrey, the star of the channel “Dessertnyi Bubnich,” or Dessert Bubnich (Andrey’s last name) on Yandex.Zen, a popular content feed in Eastern Europe, is the perfect candidate for this role. He conducts numerous experiments with all things pastries. For example, he tries colored coffee, compares cheap and expensive pastries, and feels nostalgic about “that cake from his childhood.” His blog is a real treasure with useful advice and cooking hacks.
We at Bright Side were surprised to find out that we’ve been cracking eggs from the wrong side this whole time and that we could’ve been using a tea strainer for more than just straining tea. As a bonus, Andrey shared a recipe with us for how to make quick and healthy overnight oats.
I tried a sensational recipe for pancakes made in a bottle.
The original recipe suggests that we should put all the ingredients in a bottle and then shake it well until we get a smooth texture. So I did that. But when I started adding flour, I faced a problem: it got stuck in the narrow bottle’s neck. So I pushed it with a stick and got it all in there pretty quickly (some flour ended up on the table anyway).
To mix it thoroughly, the recipe suggests shaking the bottle for 5 minutes. I got tired after doing that for 2 minutes. And when I started making pancakes and noticed lumps in the dough, I ran out of patience and threw the bottle with all the ingredients away.
In my opinion, it’s much easier to cook pancakes the normal way. This recipe wasn’t worth wasting all the energy, time, and especially the food products on.
I learned a new way to crack eggs. This rule is used by professionals.
Most of my friends just crack eggs on the edge of the bowl that they are mixing everything in. And this is wrong. In most cases, the edge of the bowl will “drag” the shell into the bowl. And when you “open” the egg, small parts of the shell are likely to get into your dish.
You should take an egg (as shown on a picture above), and hit it on the table, right in the center of the egg (this is the weakest point), to make it crack. Then gently move your fingers to the sides, and the egg will spill out of the shell without any help.
If some parts of the shell get into the bowl anyway, wet your finger in water and press the piece of cracked egg to the bottom of the bowl. It’ll stick to your finger and you’ll be able to easily remove it.
I bought coffee that was made with a $25,000 coffee machine.
My younger brother’s friends recommended a coffee shop where drinks are prepared using a $25,000 coffee machine. I’m not a big cappuccino fan and I only ordered it because of its pink color, but it was a mistake. It basically tasted like coffee from McDonald’s, but McDonald’s coffee costs $1 in comparison with the $5 that I paid for this cappuccino. Maybe I had to overpay for the color.
I got the impression that the cafe owners prefer to brag about their expensive coffee machine, instead of being proud of and refining the product they sell. But a cool tool doesn’t always mean that the final result will be great.
I found 5 things that make working in the kitchen easier.
I want to share with you which kitchen tools I can’t live without:
- I have a lot of towels in the kitchen. 3–4 towels are always hanging near the sink. I also wear a wet towel on my belt so I can quickly wipe my hands or use it as a potholder.
- A tea strainer is a multi-purpose tool that many people don’t know about. I use it when I need to cover pastries with powdered sugar. You can also use it to add big spices to a soup. Just fill a tea strainer with them, put it in the pot, and remove it when you finish cooking.
- I use whisks to make the dough for sponge cakes and mix jam syrups.
- I use silicone pads and spatulas up to their full potential. I roll out the dough on the pads and bake pastries on them. Spatulas will come in handy when you need to make a jam, mix ingredients for the dough, or turn the products when you’re frying them.
- I buy plastic wrap in big tubes. It can be used for more than just storing products, you can replace a rolling pin with this tube as well. I roll out sticky dough, remove and throw away the upper layer of the wrap, and then I can use this tube again and again.
I tried an overpriced dessert.
This dessert costs $10. It’s called “Mandarin” and it looks like a real citrus fruit. Its “peel” is a thin layer of chocolate that is colored orange. Inside of it is a creamy mousse and a kumquat jelly (they look like small oranges). All this beauty is served on a substrate of chocolate “dirt.”
Being a pastry maker, I know how this dessert was cooked. And if we count only food expenses, this dish is obviously overpriced. But rent, salary, and other factors influence the price as well, so it’s only your income that determines whether it’s too expensive for you or not. I’d definitely love to try this dessert again.
I became a pastry maker and learned how to wash berries quickly, in large quantities, and with the right technique.
A friend of mine decided to make her first black currant jam and presented me with a jar to taste it. But the jam was spoiled because it contained sand from the berries, which weren’t washed thoughtfully enough.
If you don’t want to get into this kind of situation, you should:
- Put the berries into a deep and wide bowl, and pour cool water in it. Leave it for 1-2 minutes.
- Wash the berries with your hands, without taking them out of the bowl. You don’t have to be too gentle with gooseberries because they have thick skin. But it’s better to be careful with black and red currants.
- During the washing, you’ll see that leaves, twigs, and other light debris start to appear on the water surface. You should gather this up with your hand and throw it away.
- Remove the berries from the water using your hands. This way, all the sand will stay at the bottom of the bowl.
- Put the berries in a colander and let the excess water drain out.
What is the difference between $1 eclairs and $30 eclairs?
I decided to conduct an experiment and bought a package of inexpensive eclairs that cost $1 for 3 pieces. The list of ingredients was pretty long, and the eclairs contained vegetable fats, emulsifiers, preservatives, and artificial flavors. These eclairs looked very messy, as if someone was in a hurry to make them. But the taste surprised me. They weren’t overly sweet, unlike most pastries that contain vegetable fats.
The expensive eclairs had simple, but neat, packaging. They looked similar to each other and the glaze looked like it was applied with a ruler. I didn’t get the sense that the eclairs contained any vegetable fats or artificial flavors.
My conclusion is that the cheap eclairs are edible, but you won’t be impressed with their taste and their list of ingredients isn’t the healthiest. And the expensive eclairs brought us real pleasure. My wife and I enjoyed them for 2 days. We cut off a small piece and savored it.
5 easy desserts, that consist mostly of sugar
I gathered them all together and want to share them with you:
- Burnt sugar or a dry caramel. You probably made these candies in your childhood. You just have to take some sugar and heat it in a spoon. Pastry makers call this dish a dry caramel.
- Liquid caramel. You should melt sugar in a little bit of water, and then you should add warm cream and butter. This caramel is used to make Snickers, Mars, and many other chocolate bars.
- Toffee. If you keep on heating liquid caramel up to 302-320°F, you’ll get a viscous substance.
- Honeycomb caramel. If you add some water into the already heated caramel and then sharply decrease its temperature, you will get a honeycomb caramel.
I figured out how to peel a kiwi quickly and easily.
I start with washing a kiwi under running water and then wipe it with a towel. Using a sharp knife, I cut off the edges of the kiwi and get a teaspoon. I gently pry the peel away, insert a spoon under it, and move it along the kiwi, separating the flesh from the peel.
If the kiwi is too large, you will need to turn it over and repeat the procedure. After that, I put the kiwi on the table and pull the peel off with my fingers.
My father-in-law brought us colorful cupcakes. I refused to eat them.
We had a family celebration and my father-in-law took out these cupcakes from the refrigerator. He wanted to show me what sweets he was presented with at work. When I looked at this pastry, I was terrified. The cupcakes were covered with a protein glaze with so much artificial coloring, that it even dyed my fingers when I held one of the cupcakes in my hand.
At that moment, my wife’s brother, Dima, came into the kitchen and confirmed my concerns. His son had eaten a couple of these cupcakes without getting his parents’ permission first. And the next day, forgive me for the details, his poop was colored.
I don’t mind artificial food coloring, but I try not to use them if I don’t really have to. I don’t know what they’re made of or what they can do to our bodies, so I only use them if a customer asks me to. In other cases, it’s possible to add some color with the help of natural ingredients like dried raspberries or mangoes.
Why we can’t buy a cake that tastes like the one from our childhood.
I recently went to visit my parents in my hometown. On this occasion, I decided to pay a visit to a local bakery. As a child, I loved their products. And now, I didn’t like the composition of their cakes and pies at all. They contained too many preservatives, stabilizers, and substitutes. I wouldn’t buy this pastry for my children, even despite the very low prices. I’d rather cook it myself.
When I think about some desserts from my childhood, I remember that they were insanely delicious. But if I cook them now, they’ll taste different. This happens because we love to exaggerate everything in our memories. Sometimes, the taste was influenced not only by the pastry ingredients, but also by the atmosphere in which we ate that dessert. That’s why it’s impossible to buy a cake that tasted exactly like it did in our childhood and that’s a pity. But there is always an opportunity to discover new dishes and new tastes.
Bonus: I started to cook overnight oats. Now I can sleep longer in the morning and keep my wife happy.
In the morning, I don’t eat anything but oatmeal. But my wife wants variety sometimes.
So I remembered how we cooked oatmeal when we went camping. We covered the oatmeal with cold water in the evening and left it overnight. But that camping oatmeal had a significant drawback — it wasn’t tasty at all. When you’re making it at home, you have an opportunity to add products that will enhance the taste of the overnight oats. This time, I had flax seeds, dried cranberries, bananas, and a red currant jam on hand.
I took a 50-oz glass jar with a screw-on cap. I filled a third of it with oatmeal, added some Greek yogurt and other dry ingredients, and finished with putting bananas on the top of it. I added some liquid red currant jam and filled the jar with milk almost to the brim. I stirred the ingredients well and left the jar overnight in the refrigerator.
In the morning, the oats were ready. My wife liked this dish and especially the fact that, this way, you can come up with different flavor combinations.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you like to experiment in the kitchen or do you usually buy pastries at the bakery?