• During the rising stage, never let the bowl become more than comfortably warm to the hand.
• When making wheat bread, add 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon of ginger; you’ll get more volume from the yeast.
• When freezing unbaked bread, add 1/3 to ½ more yeast.
• For a crustier crust, spritz water in the over after putting your loaves in.
• The biggest problem is overmixing (when you start trying to roll it, it won’t roll). When crust is overmixed, you just have to start over.
• Another problem is not adding enough liquid, which will make dough dry, crack when rolled, and fall apart when transferred to a pan. To fix, ball it up, add more liquid, and gently work it in (to avoid overmixing).
• If dough is too soft: refrigerate dough disc (about 1 ½” high and formed into a flat circle) for 10-15 minutes until a little firmer. Don’t feel the need to refrigerate for much longer.
• When making pies, bake 6-10 and freeze them. If company drops by, reheat in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Voila! Instant dessert!
Have you ever added salt to a recipe instead of sugar? Forgotten the butter or (heaven forbid) added a cup too much? Cooking is like a ticking time bomb—it begs to humble even the most experienced and fastidious of chefs. The Lion House Bakery is not exempt.
Like anyone, they sometimes overbake a batch of rolls, or, as recently happened several times in a two-week period, forget to add the yeast. But in Lion House terms, that’s 150 pounds of flour, 18 pounds of butter, and 960 rolls that have no other destination but the trash. “When we make a boo-boo, it’s a big, huge mistake. It’s not like burning twelve cookies in your home oven,” says Hopkin.
One Christmastime the bakery added salt instead of sugar to the pecan pies—48 of them, most of which were bound for company Christmas parties. Luckily, only 3 were lost forever.
So next time you get down on yourself for a ruined cake or bread loaf, take comfort in knowing: it could be a whole lot worse.
On the Windowsill
Hopkin’s recent pie book, Lion House Pies, is filled with scrumptious pies for all times of the year—from the summery Tropical Isle Pie to the perennial favorite Coconut Cream Pie. Try this Very Berry Pie (Hopkin’s absolute favorite Lion House Product) to add some festive color to your winter spread.
Pastry for two 9-inch double-crust pies
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen boysenberries, thawed
1 (8-ounce) bag frozen blueberries, thawed
1 (8-ounce) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cornstarch
Roll out pastry for 2 bottom crusts and line 2 pie pans. Roll out pastry for 2 top crusts; fold each in half and cut three ½-inch slits through both layers of both crusts, then set aside. Pour thawed berries and all their juices into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch and pour on top of berries. Mix well with rubber spatula.
Fill crusts. Moisten edge of pie crust with water. Add top crust and seal. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 2 pies.
For Lion House Pies, click here.
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