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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Lavender Mini-Cookies Recipe

Today's recipe is a favorite - it has Lavender in it and we 'heart' lavender ^_^

Lavender Flower

This cookie recipe uses fresh lavender herbs (leaves & flowers), however if you can get dried lavender leaves and flowers as well, you can use them. 

Make sure you use half of the stated ingredients below since dry lavender has a stronger flavor. Hope you love it, we sure did. 
Lavender mini cookies
Ingredients:
* All- Purpose Flour      - 1 1/2 c
* Margarine                   - 3/4 c
* Lavender herbs-fresh  - 2 T (Use leaves & flowers too if you have them)
* Sugar                         - 3/4 c + 1/4 c - for coating

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius or a medium heat. Grease and flour a baking or cookie sheet and set aside.
2. If you have fresh lavender leaves and flowers (if your lavender bush has flowered, they add a nice color to the cookies), wash and chop them up.
Fresh Lavender leaves

3.Measure 2 Tablespoons of the leaves and set aside.
Measure the leaves
4. Measure the margarine in a large bowl, then pour the leaves in the bowl. Cream the two ingredients for at least two minutes. This helps incorporate the lavender flavor better into the margarine.
Cream margarine and lavender leaves
            
5. Add the sugar and cream for another 5 minutes or until the mixture looks white.
Creamed mixture with leaves
6. Add the flour and fold in with a spatula or with your hands (it's easier with your hands). Knead the dough until it's the right cookie dough texture.
Add flour to creamed mixture
Knead with your hands
Make sure it's good cookie dough
7. Divide your cookie dough into two parts and roll each into a log. At this point; for better results; you can wrap the logs in cling wrap and place them in the fridge to stiffen for about an hour (If you choose to use this method, preheat your oven when you remove the cookie logs from the fridge to work on them).
Cookie dough divided into two
Shape them into logs
8. If you don't have enough time, you can still use the logs without refrigeration, just know that the shapes will not be perfect (but they still taste great! ^_^) Pour the 1/4 cup of sugar on a tray and place the logs on the sugar. Roll them around to coat the surface with the sugar.
Pour the sugar for coating

Roll the logs on the sugar to coat surfaces
9. Place the logs each on the surface and cut circular shapes. Each log should yield about 15 pieces each. Place them on the baking sheet.
Cut the log into circular shapes

Place the cookies on the baking sheet
10. Place the sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 15 to 25 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes. Using a spatula, remove them from the pan onto a cooling rack or tray to cool them completely.
Baked Lavender cookies
11. You can serve these cookies when warm or completely cooled. They're good with any beverage, but especially milk.

Enjoy!
Delish cookies and milk!
If you would love to learn how to bake cookies, cakes and how to decorate them; whether for home baking or to start a small bakery business - Sign up for our baking classes.
Visit our Baking Classes page for details.

You can also email at: amaribreads@gmail.com or call/text/WhatsApp: 0701796688

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Delicious Green Cherry Fruit Cake Recipe baked with a charcoal oven

It has been a while since a recipe was posted so we're definitely making sure we remedy that ^_^


Today's recipe is a fruit cake with dried fruits and green cherries. 

The green cherries were left over from a previous order, so wanted to put them to good use. They are the glace kind, just wash them to remove the syrup then chop them up. If you have red cherries, you can use them too, the color will pop better as well. Soak the raisins/dried fruit in a bowl of water; then before use, dry both the cherries and dried fruits with a kitchen cloth.
This time in the recipe caster sugar was used, just to show the difference in the regular and caster sugars. Caster sugar creams better since it's finer. If you don't have caster sugar you can use regular table sugar.

Hope you enjoy this recipe, we did! It's a soft, rich and slightly spicy cake - promise you'll love it too ^_^
Delish Cherry Fruit Cake

Ingredients:
* All - Purpose Flour - 2 cups
* Baking Powder       - 2 teaspoons
* Cinnamon               - 1/2 teaspoon
* Caster Sugar          - 1 cup
* Margarine              - 1 cup
* Vanilla Essence     - 1/2 teaspoon
* Eggs                       - 2 pcs
* Glace Cherries      - 1/8 cup
* Dried fruits            - 1/4 cup
* Milk                       - 3/4 cup

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius or a medium heat. Grease and flour an 8 inch round cake pan and set aside.
2. Wash the glace cherries and chop them into quarters and set aside. Soak your dried fruit in a small bowl.
Washed whole green cherries
Chopped Green cherries
3. Measure all your dry ingredients and sift them onto a medium bowl i.e. flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
Sifting dry ingredients
4. Measure your caster sugar and margarine into a medium bowl.
Measure margarine and sugar into bowl
5. Cream the two for 5 to 8 minutes until white.
Creaming
6. Add the vanilla and then beat an egg in a bowl, then add to the creamed mixture.
Beat one egg in a small bowl
Vanilla and egg in creamed mixture
7. Beat for a minute, then beat the second egg in a bowl and add to creamed mixture and beat for another minute. Set aside your mixer.
Your ready to put in the flour 
8. Add your flour alternately with the milk, start and end with the flour for best results.
Add flour to creamed mixture 
Fold in your flour
Add milk alternately as you fold in the flour
9. Fold in the cherries and dried fruit gently.
Gently fold in the fruits
10. Pour the batter into a cake pan and place in the oven middle rack to bake.
11. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a skewer or knife inserted comes our clean. Cool for about 20 minutes then remove cake from pan and set on a tray or cooling rack. Cool completely and serve plain.
Your Cake is ready! 
This cake is very rich, delicious and moist, best when eaten plain. However if you really want to, you can frost it.
Slice of Green Cherry Fruit Cake
Bon Apetit!

Try out the recipe and please share your feedback on how your recipe comes out please.

If you would love to learn how to bake delicious cakes such as this one with us, sign up for our Cake making and decoration class. For more information, visit our Baking Classes page for details or e-mail at: amaribreads@gmail.com. You can also call/text or WhatsApp me at: 0701796688

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

BAKING FOR BUSINESS IN KENYA - Types of Raising Agents Used for Commercial Baking

This is the third post on our Baking for Business in Kenya Series.

The focus on this post will be on raising agents used in a small business bakery.

If you want to start or have already started a small business bakery and you want to know which raising agents you should have in your stock, below is the list.

1. Baking Powder

Baking powder is used in most cake, cupcakes and sometimes, cookie recipes. If you have any of those products in your small bakery menu, make sure you purchase baking powder for your stock. Baking powder can be sold in 100 gm packets packet in a sleeve of a dozen, you can also get it in a box of 72 pkts. There is also another package of baking powder that comes in a bag of 4 Kg. It is the most economical way of purchasing baking powder for your small bakery and I highly recommend it. All these packages can be found in your local wholesaler, just make sure you visit them and ask for the available packages and price quotation. The sleeve of a dozen ranges from Kshs. 200 to 230, the box of 72 packets ranges from Kshs. 1200 to 1300. The 4 Kg bag of baking powder ranges from Kshs. 450 to 550. All these prices depend on location and brand. 
Baking powder (Courtesy: kapa-oil.com)

2. Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
Baking Soda (Courtesy:halleethehomemaker.com)

Baking soda is  used in most chocolate cake recipes or any recipe with highly acidic ingredients. If you have such recipes in your small bakery menu, then make sure you have baking soda in your stock. Baking soda usually comes in a 100 gm container and is readily available in supermarkets or shops such as Walibhai Karim. It ranges from Kshs. 25 to 50. 

3. Yeast
Yeast (Courtesy:all.ph.biz.com)
Yeast is a raising agent that is used for baking bread and pastry products. If you have scones, breads, pastries such as croissants, meat pies, cinnamon rolls in your menu, then you'll require yeast in your stock. Yeast comes in 500 gms packets that you can purchase from major supermarkets; they are about Kshs. 275 to 285. For commercial use, you can purchase a box of yeast that comes with 12 packets of the 500 gms pack. It usually ranges from Kshs. 3200 to 3500. Local wholesalers stock the boxes of yeast, you can also request them to order for you if they don't. Make sure to get a price quotation to compare prices.

4. Eggs
Eggs
Eggs are also used as a raising agent, especially in sponge cake recipes. If you have sponges in your small bakery menu, you will need eggs in your stock. Eggs are perishable, so ensure that you don't over-stock them if you won't use them so often. You can start with 5 to 10 trays depending on your capacity, then as demand increases, increase your stock level. You can purchase eggs at a local wholesale egg supplier or your nearest market. Market days are the best to buy eggs since they are usually fresh stock and at reasonable prices. A tray of eggs (30 pcs) usually ranges from Kshs. 280 to 350 depending on location and quality. Make sure you choose medium to large eggs and ensure they are mostly of a uniform size. 

These are the most commonly used raising agents while baking commercially in Kenya. If you have any questions, comments or additional suggestions on the ingredients, please feel free to comment below ^_^.

If you would like to start a small baking business and want to learn how to bake for business in Kenya, Check out our baking classes and find out which short course you would like to take.
Visit our Baking Classes Page for more information on scheduled class dates.

You can also get our book: "How to Startup a Small Baking Business Successfully" Click here to find out where the printed book is stocked and how to get the E-book.
You can also e-mail at: amaribreads@gmail.com

Sunday, 13 July 2014

BAKING FOR BUSINESS IN KENYA - Types of Sugars used for Commercial Baking

This is the second post of the Baking For Business in Kenya series.

 If you want to start a small bakery in Kenya or you have already started one and need tips while running it, this post will help you. 

This post will focus on the different types of sugars used for commercial baking that are available in Kenya.

1. Regular Sugar

Mumias Sugar (kenyaweeklypost.com)
Sugar is a necessary ingredient for any baked goods. You can use regular sugar for most cake, cupcake & pastry recipes. If you are starting a small bakery this is a necessary ingredient to have in your stock room. Sugar is available in 2 Kg packet bales, but they are not as economical as a 50 Kg bag of sugar. If you can afford it, it's better to purchase the bag of sugar, it will save you on cost. Bags of sugar usually come in 50 Kgs and range from Kshs. 3500 to 5000 depending on the current economy, location and brand. The bales and bags of sugar are sold by local wholesalers, just talk to different wholesale shops in your location to get price quotations. If you have cakes, cupcakes and yeast products in your menu, then ensure to buy sugar.
Buy sugar in bags

2. Caster Sugar

Caster Sugar
Caster sugar is a fine granulated sugar that is used while making sponge cakes. It is imperative to have it in your stock if your small bakery menu will consist of Black Forrest Cake, White Forrest cake, Swiss Rolls/Sponge roulades or any other sponge cake recipes. It is usually found in 500 gm packets that range from Kshs. 100 to 120 depending on location and brand. You can purchase caster sugar in supermarkets or cake ingredient shops such as Walibhai Karim Ltd in Nairobi.

3. Icing/Confectioners Sugar

Icing Sugar (Courtesy: patcoindustriesltd.com)
Icing sugar is also a must for any small bakery since it is used for decorative purposes in bakeries. You can dust your baked products directly with icing sugar. You can also make frosting and glazes to decorate your cakes, cupcakes and assorted pastries in your menu. It is also available in supermarkets or cake ingredients shops. Price ranges from Kshs. 96 to 120 depending on location and brand. 

4. Saccharin

Sodium Saccharin (Courtesy:indiamart.com)
Sodium saccharin is a sugar substitute used for commercial purposes only. It is a chemical that is 400 times sweeter than table sugar and is used to sweeten commercial products such as soft drinks, biscuits, breads, among other things. Some bakeries choose to use saccharin as an ingredient in their baked products for sweetening purposes. It does not have the exact same taste as sugar but it is close enough; however, too much saccharin in your recipe and it leaves a metallic, slightly bitter aftertaste. Saccharin is used by some commercial bakeries to bake scones, biscuits or breads. It is very economical if your focus is not on quality but on quantity. It is sold by industrial ingredients suppliers such as Pradip found on Keekorok road in the Nairobi CBD. It is sold in some supermarkets as well in 20gm to 50gm packets for about kshs. 20 to 50. The industrial ingredients suppliers sell it in 500gms packets and above. P/S: Be aware that some studies have found that there is a possibility that saccharin could be carcinogenic (may lead to cancer-causing activities in your body).

Those are the most used sugars while baking for business in Kenya. Choose the appropriate ingredients for your small bakery in Kenya to stock. If you have any comments to add or questions, please feel free to do so below.

If you would like to start a small bakery and would like to learn how to bake; sign up for any one of our Baking short courses to learn how to bake. Click here for details and for scheduled class dates.

We also hold monthly bakery business workshops on different topics. Click here to find out when the next one will be, topic covered and pricing.

You can also purchase our book: "How to Startup a Small Bakery Business Successfully" and get lots of insightful information on starting a baking business. Click here to find out where the printed book is sold and how much, as well as the E-book.

Friday, 11 July 2014

BAKING FOR BUSINESS IN KENYA - Types of Flour Used for Commercial Baking

This month we'll start the Baking For Business In Kenya Series. 

We know there are lot of people interested in starting a small bakery or those like us who have already started (yay ^_^) and may need tips on ingredients, equipment or some recipes for baking for business in Kenya. We will cover all those topics in this series and we hope this will help any business bakers in Kenya.

Today's post will deal with types of flour a small bakery requires in their stock, depending on the different baked products in the menu.

1. All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is a versatile flour that can be used for most products, hence the 'all-purpose' name. If you're starting a small bakery business in Kenya, it's imperative to have this flour in your stock. Major wheat flour brands offer all purpose flour in bales, most commonly of 12 pieces of 2 Kg flour packets. Make sure you purchase it in the bales since it's more economical to do so. Get a good quality brand, such as EXE from Unga Ltd to ensure good quality products. This flour can be used to make cakes and cupcakes in your small bakery menu. You can talk to your local wholesaler and ask about pricing and if you will buy large quantities, they can offer delivery to your small bakery. All-purpose flour bales range from Kshs. 1500 to 1700; depending on the supplier, current economic climate and location.
EXE All-purpose flour (Courtesy:homeduuka.com)

2. Self Rising Flour

Self-rising flour is a wheat flour that is added raising agents, ready for use. If your small bakery menu will consist of cookies and/or sponge cakes, this is an important flour to have in your stock. Major wheat flour brands also offer self rising flour in bales of 12 pieces of 2 Kg packets as well. Your local wholesaler can also provide this flour for your small bakery. The bales range from Kshs. 1560 to 1800, depending on the supplier, current economic climate and location.
Self Rising Flour
3. Bakers Flour
Bakers flour is a wheat flour used for commercial purposes for making bread and scones. It has a high gluten content and is therefore ideal for the making of yeast products. Bakers flour is offered by brands such as Premier Millers, Pembe Millers, United Millers, Maisha Flour Mills etc. It comes in a 50 Kg bag and ranges from Kshs. 3000 to 4500. Bakers flour comes in white and brown flour versions. If your small bakery menu will consist of bread, scones or buns; you should make sure you have this flour in your stock. It's more economical to use than all-purpose flour for the yeast products and yields better results as well. If you're not purchasing directly through the millers (they prefer large bulk purchases), some local wholesalers in different areas can order for you. Just let your wholesaler know in advance and they will order for you.
Bakers flour from United Millers (united.co.ke)
4. Brown Bread Flour
This is a whole meal flour used for the making of healthier baked products such as brown bread, brown scones, whole meal cookies etc. If your small bakery menu will have whole meal products it is ideal to have this flour in your stock. If you already have the whole meal bakers flour, you do not need this flour, but if you cannot be able to have large bakers flour stock, you can start with this type of flour for now. It comes in 2 Kg packets and can be sold in bales of 12 packets. Price ranges for the bales are from Kshs. 1600 to 1900 depending on location, economy and brand.
Brown bread flour (Courtesy: foodplus.co.ke)

5. Biscuit Flour
This is a commercial flour used for the making of biscuit products. It comes in 50 Kg bags. If you want to concentrate on selling biscuits in your small bakery menu, you should make sure you have this flour in your stock. Most of the large milling companies offer this flour. It is also used  in the making of pie crusts if you include pies in your menu.

Those are the most important flours required to start a small bakery based on most bakery product menus. Stay tuned for more on ingredients required to start a small bakery in Kenya.

If you want to learn how to bake in order to start a small bakery, you can sign up for our Baking Classes to get started today.
You can also buy our book on "How to startup a small bakery business successfully." Click here for information on where to find it and at how much.
We also offer monthly bakery business classes; click here for information on the topic, dates and how to book our next class.