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Master Dough Recipes

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This one is a variation on a dough you see in many Jewish cookbooks. It makes a slightly soft with a shortbread taste and texture. It is delicate and easy to work with and reminds me a bakery or caterer's rugulah. The egg gives the dough a bit more body but it's optional. The subtle taste of cream cheese comes through. The vanilla is optional also. With it, you have a nice scented dough. Without it, the simple appeal of butter and sugar is more pronounced.

Waiting to be filled

I cannot tell you how many ways I make pizza dough and how I like each and every one. But this cold rise pizza dough recipe is about the easiest and most flexible. It also results in a crisp, bistro style pizza. It’s better if you let it sojourn in the fridge overnight but even made the same day and left to leisurely rise on the counter, it’s awesome. It's featured in the Pizza Chapter of my cookbook, When Bakers Cook available on Amazon.


This recipe yields a large batch of easy-to-work pie dough
For eclairs and other filled delights.

The ultimate bread and butter bread - baked up in a springform pan for an exceptional shaped loaf. Perfect for sandwiches, mufeletta or with strawberry preserves. A stunning, puffy bread with a bakery store aroma. Fresh yeast is best but instant yeast is fine. Serve this with a big green salad, boiled corn on the cob, picked eggs, and Picnic Basket Chicken or a mix of cold cuts or vegetarian spreads. This is a perfect bread as a Muffaletta Bread foundation.

Who doesn't love croissants? At hotel school, I was taught to distinguish between "croissants de boulangere" and "croissants de patissiere". The baker's croissants recipe calls for yeast, in addition to milk, water, butter, salt and flour whereas pastry chef croissants are made without yeast, relying instead on the many layers of butter and dough to create flaky pockets. The moisture in the butter turns to steam in the hot oven and "explodes" to form the pockets. This recipe is for the yeast variety. A basic rule to keep in mind, is that the amount, by weight, of the butter and the flour should be roughly equal. Please use unsalted butter only. Do not use shortening or any other fats. The process of folding butter into the dough may appear to be intimidating, but even flawed dough will produce rather outstanding, totally buttery and crisp,croissants. Real butter makes the difference. Make a double batch and freeze some (unbaked) for another day. Bon appétit, take your time and then enjoy buttery, golden, croissants that are the hallmark of classic French baking.

These melt in your mouth. I always say that about my own favourite creations but these really do. I love the combination of cream cheese and sour cream because it makes the ultimate easy to hand but still flaky dough. You can add a touch of vanilla to this dough but it is quite delicious without it and the butter taste is more pronounced I created these when I was a pastry chef in training at hotel school and it is still my favorite. Three very competitive male chefs in my class traded their best and most secret formulas for Gateau St. Honoree, Black Forest Cake, and Tarte Tatin for this recipe. If they are making rugulah at the Ritz Carleton in Montreal these days, guests have me to thank. I fill my Hanukkah rugulah with either softened unsalted butter, sugar and cinnamon or apricot jam, ground nuts and raisins. I have a wardrobe of rugulah and these are my new perfect 'little black dress' of rugulah. There are a ton more in my Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking cookbook, new edition, Whitecap Books 2009. 

This should be called the World’s Best Almost Too Rich But Incredible Rugulah Dough. t is outrageously good (and different). Crisp, pastry that is the richest rugulah dough I ever made but oh so good. I love all sorts of rugulah but let the record show - those made with tons of butter are best. 
Roll this thin (chill a bit before baking if you have time), bake and then count compliments. A wonderful gift recipe.

This is the one to turn to for quick pancakes, scones, and my version of Red Lobster’s famed garlic biscuits. You can use butter in this recipe instead of shortening or half and half but then keep the mix in the freezer. Use famed Saco Buttermilk Blend for these.


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