Friday, May 18, 2012

Rusks on the Black Sea

A few years ago, I was working at the Gelendzhik Bakery, down in the southwestern part of Russia, just off of the Black Sea.

The plant was huge.

H-U-G-E......I tell you.

From what I was told, this building was created to build tanks prior to one of the World Wars.

My interpreter was Jenya, and on one occasion when we walked by a huge wooden cooling rack, my Russian friend asked...

"Daniel, do you like these rusks, they are very popular in Russia?"

Secretly I kinda had to laugh.

Across the globe, often times people view America as a front runner in culinary fields, and maybe with good reason, but one thing for sure...American bakers don't have a naming system for baked products.

How can they? More often than not, any baked good worth eating originated in Europe.

By definition, a "RUSK" is something baked through, something that ends up crisp.

I think the term derived in Spain...was it "Rusca or Rosca?"....something like that.

Technically a slice of toast could qualify as a rusk.

Golden brown,crisp, baked through...and often times...multiple times in the oven.

Although "Rusk" is an unbrella concept, there are many variations.

Russia's is more bread like, kinda like the Swedish crackers or German Zweiback.

In my opinion, the Italians and French have utilized this technology to the hilt.

Of course I'm referring to Bicotti (in Italian terms) or Biscotte (if French).

The Italians seem to get the most credit when biscotti / rusks come up, and you know how much Klecko hates giving credit to the French, but if I were honest.....I think the Frogs are the front runners in this field.

If for no other reason, my French baking friends know the value of incorperating booze into their Biscotte.

One of the best pieces I've ever tasted actually was presented to me right here in Saint Paul. One of the Chefs at an event center gave me a small slice that looked quite plain, but the flavor kicked my teeth in.

Dude laced this stuff with Pernod and I gotta tell was like angels feathers fluttering in my mouth.

Anyways, for those of you who are new to baking...if my industries terminology confuses you, don't worry about it.

I've been doing this a lifetime, and to baker has been big enough, or bright enough to get our industries product descriptions on the same page.

*Don't forget...Klecko has another Blog Site entitled POETS ARE LAME (and other things Mike Finley has taught me) hosted on Blogger.

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