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Aug 8, 2009 08:12 AM

Baking Supply Store in the Triangle?

I know there is Kitchenworks and Southern Season and they have lots of stuff and I know that there is plenty of Wilton stuff a la Michael's but is there any place to pick up things like proofing baskets or Cloches? Or are such places at the moment mail order or solely for restauranteurs?

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  1. This may be a complete and total long shot, but I noticed today that there's a restaurant supply place on South Sanders. I've not been in, but it might be worth a phone call.

    Also, you might try giving Lionel Vatinet at La Farm a call. I know that they teach baking classes there, and might have some intel on where you could get the supplies you're seeking.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Suzy Q

      United Restaurant Equipment is on S. Saunders, just below the Beltline. They're pretty good on smallwares but they are not a gourmet shop, nor are they trying to be. However, you can come up with some pretty interesting odds and ends there. If you're looking for something specific, give them a call. If you happen to be in the area by all mean stop in for a look around but I wouldn't make a it special trip .

      Michael's and AC Moore are good bets for standard things such as decorating tubes, etc, especially with their 40% off coupons. I use the paper store on Spring Forest near Departure for things like cake circles, boxes, and cheap servingware. Southern Season is very good for more esoteric items such as interesting quins, nut pastes, and flavorings.
      Beyond that, your best bets may be the ever relialble King Arthur catalog, the Sweet Celebrations catalog, and the NY Cake & Baking Supply website (I love their store passionately).

      1. re: Suzy Q

        Last time I was in the store on S. Saunders it was pretty basic restaurant supplies, nothing specialty or gourmet related.

        I have not seen proofing baskets or Cloches in the area. Although I think there was a thread several years ago about a specialty baking supply place in the outlying area. I don't recall the specifics, but it was a surprisingly well stocked place in an unexpected area...I'll try to search! My old computer crashed and it had all my bookmarks, so I'm starting from scratch again....I bookmark because I'm a challenged searcher!

      2. Thank you for the information. I just figure with what seems to be an influx of new restaurants starting to pop up (and more mention of the Triangle places in major publications) that maybe one would open somewhere. I was at Southern Season the other day for a Peter Reinhart class and saw 2 long Brotform baskets up high where they have the Fat Daddio (never heard of them) cake pans. I should maybe check Kitchenworks which is also in University Mall.

        1. Pardon my ignorance, but what is the 'triangle"?

          1 Reply
          1. re: sarah galvin

            The Triangle is Raleigh - Durham - Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

            - The Triad is Greensboro - High Point - Winston-Salem.
            - Charlotte calls its downtown "uptown," for some reason.

          2. I'd also recommend giving Lionel at LaFarm in Cary a call. Also, if you're looking for fresh yeast, Southern Season has it in the case behind the deli where they slice cold cuts. You don't have to get a whole cake. I usually ask for a small slice and can get a couple of breads and half a dozen pizzas out of a small slice for less than $1.00. Bit difference in taste, I think.

            9 Replies
            1. re: yahooer

              I'm just starting out with baking and trying to make sure I've got what I need for breads at the moment. I don't think I can steam my oven (at my apt) and space is a bit of an issue too. I'll stick with the instant yeast before moving on to the cake yeas (or SAF Red). Thank you though for the information. I may actually take one of Lionel's classes having just gone to one of Peter Reinhart's.

              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                There are any number of different ways you can steam your oven, from a spray bottle (don't spray the oven light!) to preheating a cast-iron skillet in the bottom of your oven and tossing in a few ice cubes or some water.

                I would recommend you stick to instant yeast (SAF Red is instant yeast and works great). Fresh yeast is very perishable, has a shelf-life of 2 weeks (you never know how long it's been sitting in the cooler at the store), and near the end of its shelf-life it will appear OK during the first fermentation and then crap out completely. There's a lot of pure folklore about yeast, but commercial yeast in any form is basically the same. Differences in taste, if any, are due to differences in the way the yeast gets handled, not due to any differences between the forms of the yeast you're using. If you have a recipe that calls for fresh yeast, replace it with one third the weight in instant yeast and two thirds the weight in extra water. Dry yeast (not instant) has to be rehydrated, which I don't recommend -- too much trouble, and instant yeast produces identical results.

                If you haven't done so already, find a copy of "Bread" by Jeffrey Hammelman. He's the baker at King Arthur, a former captain of the US national baking team, and his book is far and away the best bread-baking book I've ever seen. And most important, I have yet to find any inaccurate folklore in it -- it is the only bread baking book I can say that about. He is also a very fine teacher (class schedule on the King Arthur website) if you have the interest, time, and finances to travel to Vermont.

                In the end, though, you're going to learn most just by baking. Every batch will be different, and even your failures will be delicious. Good luck!

                1. re: JepJonson

                  Thanks Jep.. I realized my misconceptions with flavor and the SAF Red, but lost network connectivity to do anything about them. I realize that flavor is both the materials (type of grain) used and the time in fermentation. My cast iron skillet (though preseasoned) needs to be seasoned. From what I understand, even the preseasoned Lodges need additional seasoning before using.

                  However, I thought I couldn't steam my oven due to it possibly messing up the heating elements or causing the door to crack. I've looking into cloches thus the start of this thread.

                  As far as books, I thought I'd start out with the Bread Baker's Apprentice which seems not too Professional and not too amateurish. Am I wrong in that assumption and the the assumption that Hammelman's book may be a bit too much for someone starting out with breads?

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    As long as you don't spray or splash water directly on the heating element, the door, or the light bulb, you should be OK. The big advantage of cast iron is that it has a lot of mass to hold a lot of heat -- if you don't want to wait to season your skillet, spray the sides of the oven and the tops of the loaves, or splash the water on the floor of the oven.

                    The Bread Baker's Apprentice may be a little more accessible than Hamelman, but I don't find it as thorough or as accurate. A couple of examples: Reinhart advocates a full window pane test (p.58 in my edition); Hamelman explains why "[a]ppropriate gluten development does not necessarily mean full gluten development.," and discusses how overmixing may increase gluten strength, but at the cost of flavor (p.8). Reinhardt still refers to the degassing procedure as "punching down" (p. 66), which is misleading and a term not used by any serious bread bakers I know. Hamelman uses the current, more accurate term ("folding") and gives clear, explicit instructions (pp. 15-16). Reinhardt's discussion of how to score the loaves prior to baking (pp. 90-91) is general rather than specific, and the baguettes in the photograph (p.90) are badly scored. Hamelman's discussion (pp. 78 - 81) is far more detailed, comprehensive, and accurate, and the line drawings illustrate the process of scoring as well as the finished score. In drawing "A" at the top of p. 80, the first example of what not to do shows the problem with the baguettes in Reinhardt.

                    If you follow Reinhardt, you will still make fine bread -- but you will also pick up bits of misinformation (these are what I refer to as baking "folklore") that may keep you from making bread as good as you might otherwise. And I have found that once you learn these things, it's hard to unlearn them. This is one of the reasons I'm so high on Hamelman's book -- he contradicts much of the baking folklore I've read in books and was never able to duplicate in practice. It's easy, when you see something written in a book that doesn't jibe with your experience, to assume the book is right and you're doing something wrong (ie. mixing to a full windowpane). Hamelman validated many things I had observed in baking that ran counter to the received wisdom of other baking books.

                    I have seen comments that Hamelman is too technical, or inacessible to beginners. Since I had been baking a long time before I read Hamelman, I'm probably not the best judge of this, but most of the really technical stuff he puts in side bars, which you can read when you feel you need that specific information. I find his prose to be very clear, even when discussing technical information in detail. And his is the only bread baking book I know of that shows what it means to think like a baker -- the decisions you make at each stage of the process that accumulate to make huge differences in the final loaf.

                    Another book to consider is Baking with Julia (written by Dorie Greenspan) , the companion to the PBS TV series. It's not as detailed as Hamelman and Reinhardt, but covers an impressive range of baking (pastry as well as bread) in a surprisingly condensed format. It is written specifically for home bakers, and it favors how-to instruction over molecular chemistry (I don't remember much discussion of enzymes). If you learn to make just the basic doughs at the front of the book, you will already be a pretty accomplished home baker.

                    1. re: JepJonson

                      Baking bread could be a whole site unto itself (as the fresh loaf and other will decree). I have looked also at KA's Bread Book which is easy access and straight forward. I have not looked at either Bread Bible books that are out there nor the La Brea Bread Bakery book that is in my library. All things being said, I just have to find the time, space and then willing subjects ;-) The latter should be less hard to come by than the first two.

              2. re: yahooer

                Beware the Southern Season "fresh yeast". We used it for our favorite bread recipe a few weeks back and it ended up a hockey puck. Didn't rise whatsoever.

                1. re: TerryG

                  Terry, I am amazed. I've been using it for at least a year and had no problems. But I only buy a little bit at a time. I hope you told SS about your experience so they can watch their stock better.

                  1. re: yahooer

                    I used it the day after I bought it. A real dud. Kept meaning to alert SS, but feel bad that I didn't. Weird. This also happened at Whole Foods but with one of their packaged brands. It happened twice to me with the same brand which I forgot and bought again with the same sad results. That time I did complain. Funny. Fleischmanns seems to work fine.

                    1. re: TerryG

                      SAF Red kept in a zip-lock in the freezer. Always works for me.

              3. I was just in La Farm yesterday and happened to see a Cloche for sale. It was in a box on top of the cooler where the to-go things are.

                What's it used for?

                1 Reply
                1. re: cackalackie

                  My understanding is that it creates a hearth environment for baking bread to get a crisp crust. The cover helps create steam within the cloche which in turn allows the dough to expand while backing and gives it a nice crust.