Bread Flour

Last week I attempted the two recipes in my cookie throwdown that require bread flour.  I figured this would be a good comparison in texture, and therefore, kept all of the other ingredients the same.  I didn’t want different butters or chocolate chips impacting my taste test.  

First I made the Alton Brown recipe.  It was a soft, melty batter that was difficult to work with.  As the recipe suggested, I refrigerated it for a couple of hours before baking.  After reading the reviews on his website, I tried to head off some of the common problems.  First, I heeded the advice of many and baked at 350 instead of 375 and for only 12 minutes instead of 15.  Didn’t matter.  My cookies burned.  Next I lowered the temp to 325.  I followed that with another batch at 350 and then one at 375, both for 7-9 minutes.  It didn’t seem to make much difference what I did, the cookies spread to thin, flat disks.  They fell apart when I put them on the cooling rack.  Even cooled, they fell apart when I ate them.  That said, they tasted good, chewy like he promised, although a little lacking in substance.  I actually liked them better the next day than I did fresh.  The rest of the dough is currently in the freezer where I have been cooking off two at a time.  My results are still the same.  

The other batch I tried was the NY Times adaptation of Jacques Torres’s recipe.  Due to time constraints, I only refrigerated those for 24 hours (on the short end of the 24-36 hour suggestion).  They looked and tasted like professional cookies – much like the lovely little treats we used to get at Mrs. Fields at the shopping mall when I was a child.  These were definitely better fresh, although they did hold in a sealed container for two days.  The second half of that batch stayed in the fridge for 72 hours and then was relocated to the freezer.  Like the others, I bake up two at a time, with consistent results.

Overall, I like the NY Times cookies, but they are a fussier recipe to make, and because they call for a combination of bread and cake flours, and at least 24 hours of rest time, they are not my go to recipe.  

Two side notes:

1.  I also used this recipe for non-chocolate-chip cookies, simply baking up some batter without adding the chips for someone who has a chocolate allergy.  They were delicious sugar cookies!  They earned rave reviews from 4 different tasters.

2.  I used Trader Joe’s chocolate chips in both recipes, which an internet search tells me are actually Callebaut chips and are 50% cacao. (Because of this, I went a little light on the white sugar in the NY Times recipe since it called for at least 60% cacao.)

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Gone to the hips…

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