My first Daring Bakers challenge… is a fail

Hey everyone,

I hope you had a fun Christmas with your family and friends. Today I want to tell you about the Daring Bakers. If you don’t know what it is, the Daring kitchen website host 2 different challenges each month: the Daring Cooks and the Daring Bakers. I registered in November so December was my first challenge. Unfortunately, it went quite wrong for me.
Here is the challenge in a few words : “Our Daring Bakers Host for December 2011 was Jessica of My Recipe Project and she showed us how fun it is to create Sour Dough bread in our own kitchens! She provided us with Sour Dough recipes from Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley as well as delicious recipes to use our Sour Dough bread in from Tonia George’s Things on Toast and Canteen’s Great British Food!”.

I’m ashame to say that I didn’t even pass the first step which is doing an active starter. Yes, for the sourdough bread, you don’t use yeast or leavening but use the natural one included in whole flour. For that you need to mix water and flour for a few days and let it ferment.

Ok so you want to know what happened to my little starter right, which I named Boris after another blogger’s starter, the name just fit 😉 First, I was a little afraid Boris might not activate because he needed a high temperature and my house is quite cold those days. After 3 days I was more than sceptical that it would work. But on the fourth day, which is supposed to be THE day according to the recipe, HE WAS ALIVE! Bubbling away, smelling not that good, but not as bad as before (it does smell really bad at first, it’s normal, just don’t breath when you feed it/him 😉 ).

I was not sure he was quite ready because it wasn’t really looking like a photo of another starter, but looking back, I think he was. I was ready to begin the first step of the bread when I realized I didn’t have enough Rye flour to do it (it was 11:00 pm so going to the grocery store wasn’t an option). So I decided to feed Boris one last time before beginning the bread and then, well, RIP Boris. I still don’t know why this stopped him from activating, because what I understand is that bread maker feed their starter every day. I lacked the skills to resuscitate him so… This happened on the 23rd so I didn’t have time to do another Boris before today. If only I didn’t ran out of flour 🙁

So I don’t have anything to show you today, but when I’ll be back in January I’ll be doing a Boris the second or whatever his/her name will be 😉

I’m leaving you all the instructions here if you want to try it too! I’m encouraging you to head over to Jessica’s blog if you want more details. Stay tuned for my second attempt! I’m really eager to try it again!

Rye Starter – Day 1:


3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) (25 gm/1 oz) whole (dark) rye flour

1/4 cup (60 ml) water (at 104°F/40°C)

Total scant ½ cup (110 ml) (3 oz/85 gm)


1. In a Tupperware or plastic container, mix the flour and water into a paste.

2. Set the lid on top gently, cover with a plastic bag, to prevent messes in case it grows more than expected!

3. Set somewhere warm (around 86°F/30°C if possible). I sometimes put mine on a windowsill near a radiator, but even if it’s not that warm, you’ll still get a starter going – it might just take longer. It should be a very sloppy, runny dough, which will bubble and grow as it ferments.


Rye Starter – Day 2:


3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) (25 gm/1 oz) whole (dark) rye flour

1/4 cup (60 ml) water (at 104°F/40°C)

scant 1/2 cup (110 ml) (3 oz/85 gm) starter from Day 1

Total scant 1 cup (220 ml) (6 oz/170 gm)


1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 1, cover, and return to its warm place.


Rye Starter – Day 3:


3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) (25 gm/1 oz) whole (dark) rye flour

1/4 cup (60 ml) water (at 104°F/40°C)

scant 1 cup (220 ml) (6 oz/170 gm) starter from Day 2

Total 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons (330 ml) (9 oz/255 gm)


1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 2, cover, and return to its warm place. If you notice it has a grey liquid on top, just stir this back in and continue as normal.

Rye Starter – Day 4:


3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (50 ml) (25 gm/1 oz) whole (dark) rye flour

1/4 cup (60 ml) water (at 104°F/40°C)

1 cup plus 6 tablespoons (330 ml) (255 gm/9 oz) starter from Day 3

Total about 1¾ cups (440 ml) (12 oz/340 gm)


1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 3, cover, and return to its warm place. At this point it should be bubbling and smell yeasty. If not, repeat this process for a further day or so until it is!

Russian Rye Bread – Step 1: Production Sourdough


1/4 cup less 2 teaspoons (50 ml) (50 gm/1 ¾ oz) rye leaven (starter)

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons (250 ml) (150 gm/5 ⅓ oz) whole (dark) rye flour

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (300 gm/10 ½ oz) water

Total 2½ cup (600 ml) (500 gm/17½ oz/1 lb 1½ oz)


1. Mix everything into a sloppy dough. Cover and set aside for 12-24 hours, until bubbling. Set aside the remaining starter for further loaves – see the Notes section for tips!

Russian Rye Bread – Step 2: Final Dough


2 cups (480 ml) (440 gm/15 ½ oz) production sourdough (this should leave some (½ cup) to become your next loaf of bread!)

2 1/3 cups (560 ml) (330 gm/11 ⅔ oz) rye flour (light or whole)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm/.2 oz) sea salt or ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (2½ gm/.1 oz) table salt

3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons (200 ml) (200 gm/7 oz) water (at 104°F/40°C)

Total 5 cups plus 3 tablespoons (1245 ml) (975 gm/2 lb 2oz)


1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. With wet hands, scoop the dough up and put it in a well-greased loaf tin.

2. Put the tin inside a large plastic bag, blow it up, and seal it. This should make a good little dome for your bread to proof inside. Set aside somewhere room temperature to warm.

3. The dough should be ready to bake with in anywhere between 2-8 hours, depending on how warm it is. I proof mine by a sunny window in about 4 hours. If the dough was halfway up the tin when you started, it will be ready when it reaches the top (i.e. almost doubles in size).

4. Preheat the oven to very hot 470°F/240°C/gas mark 9. For a large loaf, bake for 50-60 minutes, reducing the temperature

to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 after about 10-15 minutes. If baking in small loaf tins, bake for 35-45 minutes, reducing the temperature after 10 minutes. If you are unsure

about whether it is done, give it a few minutes longer – it is a very wet dough, so the extra time won’t hurt.

5. Leave to cool on a cooling rack, and rest the loaf for a day before eating it.

Cake pops fail

Mini-bite size cakes

Happy weekend everyone!

I did promise you some Halloween treats for the weeks to come, but I’m sure you know that baking is not always about success stories. I think you get where I’m going with that (and I helped you with the title!)! I was all excited about doing cake pops for the first time, Halloween cake pops moreover! Here is the story of my failed attempt to cake pops!

Once upon a time (yesterday), a wannabe baker (yep that’s me!) wanted to try some nice cake pops she saw in a great book written by Bakerella, the cake pops fairy. Everything was going just fine, the cake, the crumbs, the cakes balls, but then there was the evil coating. Here is what went wrong for the wannabe baker:

 Bad melting. Very bad melting: if you want to be safe use a double boiler and not the microwave.

 Bad consistency: the candy coating was too thick so it was hard to dip the cake balls (Later I saw in the book that you can add some vegetable oil to the coating to liquefy it)

 At this point, I had no more orange candy coating to achieve great pumpkin cake pops 🙁

 Cracked pops: After coating the cake balls, the chocolate cracked. There is 2 hypothesis here, either the cake balls were too cold and the coating too hot, or some expansion needed to be done and they had no space to do it. Poor thing.

So if you want to do cake pops, I really recommend you to go to bakerella’s website or buy her book, because I’m NOT going to tell you how to do cake pops, considering that, obviously, I can’t do them myself!


However I can tell you how to do those cute cake mini-bites. Strange enough, all the problems above didn’t apply for these (except for the microwave probleme, which was resolved by then).

Follow Bakerella’s directions to do cake balls and melt candy coating.


For the shape:  flatten a big cake ball to the height desired. Cut a circle with a round cookie cutter. Then, cut the circle into 8 pieces.

For the decoration: Dip into pink candy coating and put on waxed paper. Let it set. Drizzle a little ganache over the cake and add sprinkles.