The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

It has been a long time since my last post ...

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

It has been a long time since my last post ...

... and some oof the regular posters might have wondered what happened. 

Rather a lot, I suppose.

In terms of TFL - I am still catching up - all those rye posts by the bakers who attended the Hamelman class ...

Let's start with christmas - I received what seems a brain-splitting present: A voucher for a pastry course with Ghalid Assyb at Bertinet's in Bath, this was given inside a book about the DASH diet...

Why the pastry course? I never felt that I would ger a kick out of pastry, but my dear wife was convinced that I would be able to master the sweet things and have fun with them.

Why the diet book? Well, all those carbs ...

The pastry thing is getting me - and the course was a great source of knowledge and inspiration. Watching Ghalid and registering his little remarks gave me an idea about the workings of a Pastry Chef's mind.

Some time before Christmas I started already to look around  for pastry books (due to my wife's nagging) and I got the volumes by Bo Friberg. I tried quite a few recipes (Lebkuchen, Cardamom buns, Black Forest Gateau...) all quite successful and with an authentic taste (being from the Black Forest it is really amazing to find an authentic recipe in an american textbook written by a swedish-american chef).

I then looked at the French edition of Cristophe Felder's Patisserie - the French food blogs are raving about this book. I pre-ordered, and I recieved the English version last week. A truly amazing book.

So, what did I learn / make at the pastry course?

- Puff pastry / laminating  / millefeulle / creme mousseline

- Genoise / Biscuits a cuillere / Fruit Bavarian / Raspberry Charlotte

- Chocolate Financiers

- Fraisier cake

What did I make since the course?

I was always frightened of making croissants and the few attempts were messy and not quite satisfactory.

Today I made my second batch of Croissants since the course, using my newly gained knowledge and the recipe from Felder's book, and voila:

They taste as great as they look, and I am even very pleased with the crumb:

In Felder's book there is a simple variation with croissant dough - Lunettes, which we called "Kopenhagener" or "Pudding Brezel" in Germany - one of my alltime favourites.

Now I am making them myself %BIG SMILE%

Essentially, it is twisted croissant dough filled with pastry cream.

For a charity bake at work I made a Charlotte with black fruit (blackberries, cherries, blueberries, blue grapes), following the recipe from the pastry course:

and for home and friends - and just to try out the formula I made a batch of chocolate financiers according to Ghalid Assyb which were delicious, and I also tried Felder's recipes for chocolate financiers and vanilla financiers (the classic). All very delicious. Here the results of the Felder recipes:

And the diet book you might ask?

Well, we started it 5 weeks ago, maintained it during a vacation with my parents, and I lost around 10Kg since.

I eat a 50g of wholegrain rye bread every day, no other bread, with occasional exceptions - naturally I bake a little less, although it seems that the demand by colleagues and in the community is picking up ...

All the sweet things get eaten, just not by us alone.

The weather kept us busy as well here in the UK, and commuting was a bit of a lottery in those past weeks ...

3 cm of snow and the United Kingdon grinds to a halt (almost).

I have to go and distribute my pastries now ...





clazar123's picture

That was a lovely Christmas gift! The pastries are quite beautiful and mouthwatering!

I'm not familiar with financiers-is that a cookie or cake? It looks like they are made in a pan by the edges on the pastry.

Congratulations on the weightloss, also. I started a weightloss right after I started trying to make bread. It is a challenge but I discovered that if I ate what I liked/loved but in moderation, I could still lose weight (or maintain). If I ate only cardboard food I was more likely to give up and eat too much high calorie food. I guess the trick is to plan and eat in moderation. AND WALK!! That was the key for me.

Post more! lovely pics!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Clazar 123, 

Thank you very much for your comments. 

The Financiers are more on the cake side, you can call them mini cakes, and they can be made in all sorts of shapes. Traditional is a small rectangular loaf tin, the financiers then resemble gold bars (this is one opinion about their genesis).

I used a silicon flexipan.

Search for "Christophe Felder Financier" and you will find the recipes.

With regards to the weight loss - I feel very well now. After my graduation I had a very physical life (split between travelling to perform early music, and kitchen fitting). When I started my IT work I continued with the same calorie intake. Quality food, but just too much of it (I explored Indian cooking at the time)! The nutrition scheme my wife discovered seems to be working very well for us - I just eat enough of my pastries to appreciate texture and taste.

And walking - yes, I made a vow to myself to walk to the station in the mornings instead of taking the bus (Needs more willpower than avoiding overfeeding on croissants...).


dabrownman's picture

Your pastries are just gorgeous.  I would need stomach staples to handle those beauties.  The cake almost made me cry.  Half of my family supposedly came from somewhere around Mecklenburg which my Grandmother claimed was near the Black Forest.  So, one of the two was very wrong!  Her maiden name Doerschlaht seems German enough even if she was geography challenged :-) 

Nice pastries Juergen!

hanseata's picture

Uhoh, your Grandmother must have been a bit geographically challenged (I am, too!)
But Mecklenburg is in the Northeast of Germany, bordering the Baltic Sea and Poland. And the Black Forest in the Southwest.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

are probably more appropriate.

Mecklenburg and Baden are as far apart as you can get in Germany (think Florida - Oregon). And Doerschlaht  is definitely not a name you would find in the Black Forest. Looking at it from an over-the-atlantic-ocean perspective, Stralsund and Freiburg are quite close together, and so are Freiburg and Venice ...

Since Earth has been recognised as a sphere the whole geography thing has become more complicated ...

SylviaH's picture

Congratulations on your pastry classes.   Beautiful and very tasty looking examples of what you have learned.  Thanks for sharing!


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Sylvia, Much appreciated.


dmsnyder's picture

(The diet, not the pastries.)

Gorgeous stuff, Juergen! I must be content with admiration. Emulation would be too hazardous, unfortunately.

It's great to see you posting again.


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Nice to hear from you, David.

We have tried a few things diet wise, but none worked for both of us.

This one seems to have a good medical track record and is balanced, mainly reducing carbs. I feel this is fairly easy to follow. I am rarely hungry, and didn't feel a negative impact at work as I did with other diets. Our meals have become smaller and much more varied (more like on dabrownman's great photos)

Our aim was to reduce weight (I was just at the obese border) and long  term to reduce the other health risks of too much weight.

With this plan we feel we have a good handle on nutrition while being able to enjoy the occational bread/pastry/restaurant dinner/...

Of my batch of croissants I had the equivalent of 2 croissants over 3 days. 

Thanks again for your admiration,


Franko's picture

Really Really nice Juergen! All of your pastries are gorgeous but that Charlotte is truly a knockout. Looking forward to seeing more of your fine pastry work in the future. :^)


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

went down a treat at our company event. 

I am not quite sure what pastries I will try to tackle next.

There is so much to learn for me: Chocolate work and caramel work,to name the biggest blank spots...

Nice to hear from you,


pmccool's picture

the world will be a very dangerous place!  Absolutely, sinfully delicious, no doubt, but very dangerous to anyone in the vicinity.

Lovely work!


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, Paul.

I realised what a dangerous individual Hansjoakim is after I had read his duck-post. Just thinking about it activates my saliva glands ...

By the way - I very much enjoyed your posts about your baking classes.


hanseata's picture

That must have been a wonderful experience. Great pastries, Jürgen.


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

The Bertinet Kitchen is a wonderful place, the staff very friendly, helpful and supportive, and our teacher very competent and inspiring. 

Thank you,


lumos's picture

They are so different from your usual baked stuff, but still they all look wonderful! Especially very impressed with the croissants. Not quite sure how making those high-calorie goodies and being on diet go together, but how cares! :D

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

You are right, lumos.

A featherlight charlotte couldn't be further away from a wholegrain rye than Mecklenburg from the Black Forrest ...

Different challenges, but the first thing Ghalid said: Everything needs its time. During the day it became very apparent that the principle "Watch the dough, not the clock" is of similar importance in the world of fine patisserie. That was kind of unexpected.

Making pastries is clearly fun, a fun result of the diet is being able to whizz up the escalators in Holborn or Victoria station without losing breath. 

Best Wishes, Juergen

isand66's picture

I just took a short 3 hours course yesterday on how to make croissants and I think I have a long way to go before mine look anything like your beauties!

Congrats on losing the weight and how you managed while baking pastries I will never comprehend!


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Ian, Nice to hear from you.

To me the tactile experiences are the most valuable I take home from courses.

Coming home then I studied txfarmer's and andy's croissant posts and started to understand ...

Thanks a lot,


merlie's picture

My copy of this book has just arrived (english version) I found it on for $34 & free shipping What a book !! I don't know which recipe to try first...... there are 3,200 step by step coloured photographs.....for the moment I just can't put it down!  I have one question though - there are four different recipes for Gingerbread and not one of them contains ginger !! WHY ? Has there been a mistake ?


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Merlie,

There is no mistake. 

I believe Ginger is very much a spice used in the Commonwealth country and not so common in continental Europe.

There are many spiced biscuits in Europe, different forms of Lebkuchen, Leckerli etc, and because of the lack of a better word they're translated as "Gingerbread".



merlie's picture

Thank you for your reply Juergen - now I understand !

Best regards, Merlie.