Archive for December, 2019


I love making cheesecake, its one of the bakery’s favorite desserts. Here is my basic recipe and some tips on making a great cheesecake

Makes one 9″ plain cheesecake

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs or you can use 1 1/2 cups ground vanilla wafers or 1 1/2 cups of ground snicker doodle cookies.
3 tablespoons sugar if your just using the graham crakers
1/3 cup unsalted butter
32 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 eggs (room temperature)

Heat your oven to 325 degrees, wrap the bottom of the spring form pan with foil to help eliminate water from contaminating the batter.

Place the all the crust ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan. Bake for approximately 5 minutes in the oven. Remove and allow to cool
Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla at a medium speed until the mixture is smooth. Begin adding the eggs one at a time at a low speed just to incorporate. (avoid over mixing, this will add air and cause the cheesecake to rise too much and drop in the middle when cooling) Pour over the prepared crust. Place the spring form pan into a larger pan with sides and add hot water to approximately half up. Remember cheesecake is a custard and the water bath with help to cook evenly, avoid cracks, browning and a rubber texture. bake for about 55 minutes. The finished cheesecake should be firm at the top sides and slightly jiggly in the center like jello. (approximately 150 degrees in the center). Remove it from the oven and allow it to completely cool. Place the cheesecake into the refrigerator or freezer for approximately 4 hours. There are several ways to un-mold your cheesecake. I heat up a sheet pan on the stovetop and place the cheese cake on it right from the refrigerator or freezer and allow the heat to transfer for a few minutes then using a knife I can remove the sides and bottom easily. You can also heat a damp towel and wrap it around the pan for a few minutes, then remove the pan.When cutting your cheesecake, dip a sharp knife into hot water then slice, wipe the knife and dip again. Allow the cheesecake to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. You can also top with your favorite, fruit, nuts or sauce.

Chef Brian Klauss

Read Full Post »

Chocolate Babka

Well I am back in Michigan for the holidays and after walking through the bakery I realized how much I miss my customers, employees and baking of course. I decided that today I would work on making Chocolate Babka. This sweet yeast bread is a cross between a cinnamon roll and a bread. The word Babka translates to Grandmother and originates in Eastern Europe. There are many flavor versions, but I decided on making Chocolate. It’s great after a meal or you can slice it and make a fabulous french toast. (Tip on slicing…I freeze the loaf then remove it from the freezer and slice. You can re-wrap the frozen slices and remove them as needed)

Dough (makes 2- 8″ x 4″ loafs)
6 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons orange zest
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon salt

In a stand mixer add the flour (reserve the 1/3 cup to add as needed), sugar, yeast and zest. On a low speed add the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. If the mixture is to wet add more flour, if to dry add a little more milk. Now add the butter a tablespoon at a time and then salt. The dough should be smooth and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough and spray the mixing bowl with vegetable spray. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and flip to coat both sides. Lightly Cover the bowl and let stand in a warm area to proof. (about 2 hours). Place the covered bowl in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
While the dough is in the refrigerator make the filling, egg wash and simple syrup.

Chocolate Filling:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a sauce pan heat the milk and chocolate chips on a low heat until melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Allow to cool completely which will allow you to spread onto the dough.
Egg Wash:
The egg wash will allow you to help seal the dough
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Whisk well and set off to the side
Simple Syrup:
This will be the finishing touch to sweeten the warm Babka
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Mix both ingredients and place into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Allow to cool completely.

Spray two bread loaf pans 8″ x 4″ with vegetable spray
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into two equal parts. Roll each dough into a 14″ square. Brush edges with egg wash and spread 1/2 of the chocolate filling onto each dough square to the egg wash edge. Roll up each dough and seal the ends. Using a knife, split each dough in half and twist together with the cut side up. Place into the prepared bread pan. Lightly cover and place in a warm area and allow to proof, doubling in size.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and bake on the center rack for 30 – 35 minutes. (Cover with foil at approximately 20 minutes into the baking process to protect the top of the bread from burning). You can check that the Babka is done by inserting a toothpick in, it should come out clean.
Remove the bread and drizzle the simple syrup over each loaf while warm.
After 10 minutes remove bread from their pans to on a cooling rack.

Chef Brian Klauss

Read Full Post »