Klecko, Saint Agnes Baking Co.
How did you discover your passion for baking?When I entered junior high school in 1976, my 7th grade class was the first class that had to take both industrial arts and home economics. All of us boys protested about this and the whole issue became heated within our community. But on my first day, I had cooking during period six with Mrs. Williams. That afternoon I ended up baking apple crisp with three girls. I loved it, and haven't left the kitchen since.
What baking trends are you most excited about heading into 2013?I am betting that one of the trends you will witness next year is that many bakers will utilize alcohol more often to enhance flavor. In years past, spices, extracts and emulsions have been the main source. However alcohol is unique because it offers a different "flash point" while baking, so if that booze is paired properly with an interesting fat like sour cream or goat cheese, not only will your flavor be wonderful, but the crumb wall of your product will create new textures. Also the inclusion of a top shelf alcohol also creates countless marketing options for your products.
What role does honey play in your bakery?Next to flour and yeast, honey has become the backbone of our bakery. In addition to extending shelf life and creating flavor, it's the purist of all sweeting agents, and rates well with all spending demographics.
Which one of your products made with honey is your personal favorite?I have many favorite recipes that contain honey, but if I could only pick one, I would have to select Honey-Red Wine Jelly. The thing that is so intriguing about this is that the flavor is unprecedented, I've never had anything quite like this, and the texture is unusual as well.
You can use this as compote filling on a cheese crown, or blend it together with a cream cheese and fill your turnovers.Whatever option you decide on, you won't be disappointed, this recipe is quite decadent.
HONEY - RED WINE JELLY
- 2 cups of dry red wine (I like a Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 1 3/4 oz pkg regular powdered fruit pectin
- 3 1/2 cups honey
- 1/4 tsp butter
Combine wine and pectin. Stir over a high heat until you come to a boil. Add all the honey and return to a boil. Add butter and continue stirring while boiling for 2 minutes. Then remove from the heat and skim off the foam. Pour into jars and cover with plastic wrap and cool completely and store in the fridge. You should have a 2-3 week shelf life.
You mention on your blog that you have 41 tattoos; are there any plans for the addition of a honeybee in the near future?Actually I think I am up to 43 by now, but that sounds like a dare. If I were to get a honey bee or a plastic honey bear tattoo, would the National Honey Board promote my commitment? Either way, I will say "YES" and if you have any specific image you'd like to see, send it my way.
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