Baking Radio Podcast Episode #19: A Simple Yeast Bread

Learn how to create a yeast dough from just five simple ingredients. Chef Sokol will walk you through all the steps to create one of the simplest of yeast breads. Learn how to properly store your bread so you can savor every morsel.



Simple Yeast Bread

Makes one loaf


1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast

3 cups (14 ounces) bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (¼ ounce) kosher salt

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water


  1. In a large bowl, combine the first three ingredients and blend well.
  2. Add the water and mix with a spoon. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more water.
  3. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it until it forms a smooth ball.
  4. Spray a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the ball of dough in it. Flip it over so the greased side is facing up.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for one hour or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Deflate the dough and shape it into a round loaf.
  7. Place the loaf onto a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
  8. Allow the dough to rise in a warm spot for about one hour. It may not double in size.
  9. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  10. With a water bottle, spray the dough a few times to mist it with water.
  11. Using a knife or razor, cut a few decorative slits into the surface of the dough.
  12. Bake the loaf for about 15 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and feels firm to the touch.
  13. Allow to cool.

Baking Radio Podcast Episode #16: Oven Custards

The definition of an oven custard is discussed. Typical oven custards are reviewed, and a simple recipe for crème brûlée is given and how to make it is discussed in detail. Learn how to tell exactly when the custard is ready to take out of the oven.



Crème Brûlée


2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half

5 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup granulated sugar plus more for topping


  1. Heat oven to 325° F. In a saucepan, warm the cream over low heat just until hot.
  2. In a medium heat-proof bowl, beat yolks, vanilla and sugar together until light. Slowly whisk the warm cream into the egg mixture. Evenly divide the mixture into four 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours and up to 2 days.
  3. When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins under a broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. Cook until sugar melts and and caramelizes, about 5 minutes. Chill until ready to serve.


Baking Radio Podcast Episode #15: Stovetop Custards Made With a Starch

The definition of a stovetop custard made with a starch is discussed. The benefits of using a starch when making a custard is explained. Learn why you can bring a custard with a starch added to the boil and not have it curdle. Chef Sokol walks you through a delicious, stovetop custard recipe made with a starch known as vanilla pastry cream. She discusses its many uses in desserts.



French Vanilla Buttercream

Makes approximately 4 cups


1 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

6 large egg yolks

1 pound unsalted butter — very soft (but not melted)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Spray a liquid heatproof measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray to ensure that all the sticky sugar syrup will slide out easily.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring just until the sugar dissolves.
  3. While the sugar syrup is cooking, beat the egg yolks on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whip attachment until the color lightens to a pale yellow.
  4. Immediately pour the syrup into the greased measuring cup.
  5. On high speed, slowly add the hot syrup to the egg yolks, pouring it down the sides of the mixing bowl and not directly onto the whip. Keep beating until the bowl feels cool to the touch.
  6. Gradually add the softened butter, a few tablespoonfuls at a time, until it is all incorporated, blending in each addition of butter thoroughly. The buttercream may appear curdled until all the butter has been incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and blend well. Use at once.


Note: If the mixture is too soft, it can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 hours or placed over an ice water bath, stirring frequently with a whisk until it mounds and is of a spreadable consistency.

Baking Radio Podcast Episode #14: Stovetop Custards Made Without a Starch

Rich and creamy custards are first defined in detail. The science behind how eggs thicken custards is discussed giving the listener an appreciation of the versatility of the egg, especially the yolk. Chef Sokol shares a stovetop custard recipe known as crème anglaise and its many uses.



Crème Anglaise

Makes 1 cup


1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 large egg yolks

3 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Combine milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return custard to saucepan. Stir over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 5 minutes (do not boil). A thermometer should reach 180°F. Strain the mixture into a bowl set over an icewater bath. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Cover and chill. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

Baking Radio Podcast Episode #8: Fudgy Chocolate Cake Using the One Stage Method

The One Stage Method of cake making is discussed. Learn how to make the fudgiest of all chocolate cakes using this simplest of mixing methods. Chef Sokol will show you how to recognize this method just by reading the recipe. An easy and delicious recipe is discussed in detail.



Fudgy Chocolate Cake

Makes 2 9-inch round layers


1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

2 whole large eggs

1 cup buttermilk — well shaken

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease, parchment, and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix at low speed until blended.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Slowly add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients on low speed until just blended. Stop the machine and scrape around the bowl with a rubber spatula. Scrape the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to make sure that all the ingredients are blended thoroughly and there are no lumps.
  4. Mix the coffee powder into the boiling water and pour it into the batter. Blend well on low speed for 10 to 20 seconds.
  5. The batter will be thin. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester placed into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool until lukewarm and remove the two round layers from the pans onto wire racks to cool completely.