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two products made me a better baker-- to my chagrin!

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Mrs. Smith Dec 14, 2004 04:59 PM

Well I've done less baking than usual this holiday season because we have a new baby in the house, but I have done some.

And I'm just floored by the effectiveness of two products.

One is the DoBoard (you can get it at Cooking.com). It's a squre board you can adjust the border to to automatically create an even-sized well. Then roll the rolling pin across while it's resting on the border, and you have evenly-rolled-out dough. How easy can it be! It's very easy to get perfectly even-thickness cookies with this product. My only critique is that I wish it were larger. See link below.

The other product I'm almost reluctant to admit. I feel ashamed. I feel sad almost. It's true -- the All-Clad Gold Standard bakeware DOES make better stuff than regularly-priced bakeware. It's sad because the Gold Standard stuff is RUINOUSLY expensive. It's even more outrageously priced than the All-Clad cookware. This is one time that money really makes a difference. The 80$ cookie sheets I have (yes, you read that right 80$ for a darn cookie sheet -- and it doesn't even have rims!) make the best cookies ever. They are perfectly flat. I didn't know how a cookie sheet with even a tiny bit of warp could cause cookies to bake unevenly. Well, it does. And these heavyweight perfectly flat sheets will not warp. And they brown better and more evenly. And they are less likely to burn. And they have good non-stick poperties without the darkness of traditional nonstick. And they clean up easily. And And And..... It's just sad you have to spend so much money to get such a good product. I baked the same butterscotch refrigerator cookie last year on my Martha By Mail rimmed baking sheets (very heavyweight, and, I thought, perfectly flat) using a Silpat, and then this year on my Gold Standard sheets using no Silpat. The difference in the cookies is incredible. They are crisper, with more defined edges, and a deeper butterscotch taste. SAME EXACT RECIPE. Jeez. They look beautiful and taste better.

Also, using the Gold standard loaf pans (also 80 bux or so) has made me a better loaf-cake and bread baker. There really isn't a comparison. My fruitcake baked more evenly. My white bread has a crisper crust. My wholewheat bread is moister but still fully baked.

Sigh.

I wish it didn't come down to equipment so much. Now that I'm converted, I'm going to save my pennies and buy everything in the Gold Standard line. I just wish it were cheaper!

Link: http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...

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    anli RE: Mrs. Smith Dec 14, 2004 05:23 PM

    Wow, I just viewed the baking sheets online. There is a 20% discount if you buy before yearend on cooking.com but the larger cookie sheet is out of stock. Time to throw away my 25 year old aluminum sheets...

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      Caitlin McGrath RE: Mrs. Smith Dec 14, 2004 08:36 PM

      I can offer alternatives to these items that are under $10!

      1. With the caveat that I haven't actually used this prodect (though I intend to buy it and try it out), I have seen, most recently in Bed Bath & Beyond, a set of what are essentially rubber bands of different thicknesses for your rolling pin, for around $7. You choose the thickness you want your dough, and put a band of the appropriate size on each end of your pin. When the pin meets your rolling surface, your dough is the correct thickness.

      2. Cookie sheets that are perfectly flat and do not warp: commercial-grade aluminum half sheet pans, available at your local restaurant supply store for $5-6 each. This is what bakeries use. They are light in color (aluminun) and THICK. They're not nonstick, but that's what your parchment paper or silpat is for. These do not warp no matter what, as they're designed for large restaurant ovens. Five hundred degrees for an hour may smoke up your kitchen, but it won't warp these pans. You will have them forever.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
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        galleygirl RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 14, 2004 09:51 PM

        I can vouch for the pans...SOMEONE left one of mine under a broiler, filled with lamb grease...It caught fire, burned til we shut the oven off...Got stained(eventually wore off), but NEVER warped...Took a while for the broiler to return to normal, tho....

        Link: http://www.bistrodraw.com

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
          c
          Candy RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 15, 2004 02:25 PM

          I've used the 1/2 sheet pans from restaurant supply for almost 30 years. They work beautifully and I've been using the same ones that long. I do have some air-cushion cookie sheets and with something delicate I prefer them because the bottoms are less likely to burn on them. I did learn the hard way that puff pastry will not puff on the air-cushioned pans. It needs that blast of heat on the bottom to get it rising.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
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            jennyantepenultimate RE: Caitlin McGrath Dec 16, 2004 09:35 AM

            I managed to warp my commercial-grade aluminum half sheet pan this Thanksgiving when I put two pies on it to bake at the same time. Of course the pies only took up two circles on the preheated sheet pan and the crusts were pre-rolled and then frozen until ready to go so after about five minutes of baking, I heard a terrible warping pop sound. Never a good sound to hear. So take heed, folks, those sheet pans are good but not magic.

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