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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Culinary School - Session 39: Sacher Torte and Dobosh

Culinary School: Session 39 (11.14.14)

Sacher Torte and Dobosh 

This is the End...

Of Professional Pastry Arts: Level I, that is. 

Yes, it's hard to believe, but the first of three levels comes to an end next Monday with our Written & Practical Exams on Cakes I.

What remains in the months to come? Plenty! Just look at the remaining units on the syllabus. Advanced sections on Breads and Cakes, Petits Fours, Plated Dessert (yes!)... and then the infamous showpiece sections including two levels of both Chocolate and Sugar. We're really just getting started.

Dobos Torte or Dobosh

Level II? Same old crepe, different day?

Not quite. Level II is not just some arbitrary designation. The fundamentals should be solidly baked by now (a golden brown?). If you're asked to make a French Meringue, no one should have to explain "start by slowly beating your egg whites until they are white and foamy... slowly stream in your sugar..."  It should all be on autopilot.

Level II also means a new Chef Instructor (we'll miss you Chef Toni) and a new classroom (albeit a mere 20 feet down the hall).

As a bit of a celebration, we pulled together a bit of a potluck supper. My god, was there a lot of food!

Class Potluck Dinner

- Ingredients Running Tally -

The end of Level I seems like a great place to "take stock of the stocks," so to speak. The numbers are beyond staggering when you realize that, at this pace, the class will use over 2.5 metric tons of core supplies by graduation. Keep in mind that this figure does not include many other heavily used ingredients such as chocolates, jams, fruits and nuts. Yikes!

Ingredients used to date (11.14.14):
  • Flour: 15,670g
  • Eggs: 9,400g (196x)
  • Sugar: 10,145g
  • Butter: 11,090g
  • Milk/Cream: 9,410g

Implied Run Rate Until Graduation (per person):
  • Flour: 47.0 kg... which is over 100 lbs!
  • Eggs: 29.4 kg (588x)... otherwise known as 49 dozen eggs.
  • Sugar: 30.4 kg... which is the mean weight for 10 year old boys.
  • Butter: 33.3 kg... or about 290 sticks.
  • Milk/Cream: 28.2 kg... actually, surprisingly little at only about 6 gallons.

Implied Run Rate Until Graduation (full class):
  • Flour: 705.2 kg
  • Eggs: 441.0 kg (8,820x)
  • Sugar: 456.5 kg
  • Butter: 499.1 kg
  • Milk/Cream: 423.4 kg

- The Recipes -


Sacher Torte

Well, sort of Sacher Torte... Let me explain.

This chocolate sponge cake, which is layered with apricot jam and sealed in a chocolate glaze, has an extremely litigious history. In the early decades of the twentieth century, the Hotel Sacher in Vienna and the Konditorei Demel Bakery came to blows over who had "The Original Sacher Torte". It's a messy story, complicated by the fact that Eduard Sacher, namesake to the Hotel and the developer of the final recipe, unveiled the product while working at the Demel Bakery. In 1963, the matter was resolved out of court. The Hotel Sacher is the only entity that can sell "The Original Sacher Torte" while the bakery is permitted to produce a similar product with a triangle seal that reads "Eduard-Sacher-Torte".

So, at the risk of a lawsuit, this is a Sacher-like Torte.

Focus Techniques:
- Making a separated Egg Foam. The egg whites are whipped into a French Meringue while the yolks are whipped and folded with melted chocolate. The two foams are subsequently folded together before the flour is added.
- Coating the cake with a boiling Apricot Glaze, sealing the cake for a long shelf-life, similar to a Nappage on a fruit tart. The Apricot Glaze must be boiling in order to pour evenly and smoothly; however, it sets quickly.
- Coating the final cake with a Chocolate Glaze. The chocolate must be warm enough to pour easily but not so hot as to remelt the Apricot Glaze.
- Piping "Sacher" on the top of the cake in melted chocolate. The signature is a hallmark of the original cake.

Sacher Torte Apricot Glaze

Sacher Torte Chocolate Glaze


Dobosh (Dobos Torte)


Sponge Cake, Buttercream, Sponge Cake, Buttercream, Sponge Cake, Buttercream, Sponge Cake, Buttercream, Sponge Cake, Buttercream, Sponge Cake, Caramel!

That's what makes a Dobos Torte a Dobos Torte.

Named after its creator, Jozsef Dobosh, this Hungarian sponge cake was the product of necessity: a cake specifically designed to have a longer shelf life in an era of limited cooling techniques. The layers of soft sponge cake were formulated to be moist on their own, but the addition of Buttercream, a bit of a novelty in the 1880's, and a caramel topping also helped to seal in moisture.

Focus Techniques:
- Making another separated Egg Foam. In this case, after the yolks are whipped, they are folded with sour cream, making for a very liquid base. Even after the yolk mixture is folded with the French Meringue and flour, the batter is very delicate and must be piped and bake immediately.
- Using caramel to coat the top layer of the baked Dobosh. The caramel adds a unique flavor and crunchy texture to the top layer while also locking in moisture (the original function of the caramel).
- Flavoring Buttercream with chocolate. By whipping melted chocolate into Buttercream, the product is completely transformed. The chocolate must be completely fluid to incorporate smoothly; however, it cannot be too warm or else the Buttercream will melt. A darker chocolate, even 100% cocoa, should be used given the amount of sugar that is already in Buttercream.

Layer of Dobos Sponge

Layers of Dobos Sponge Covered in Chocolate Buttercream

Five Layers of Dobos Sponge with Chocolate Buttercream

Top Layer of Dobos Torte in Caramel

Top Layer of Dobos Torte in Caramel and Sliced

Fanned Slices of Dobos Sponge Coated in Caramel

Dobos Torte

Take a look at the full syllabus

Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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