Social Media in the Pastry World

It is undeniable that social media has become our main source of communication nowadays. This is a fantastic opportunities for businesses or individuals to jump on the bandwagon and try going viral with their creations and attract new customers.

In the span of a few seconds we can see customer reviews for any place we are thinking of going; the first thing I do when trying a new place is google it and see what comes up. Between TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, and google reviews, I can get a snapshot first impression of a place before even clicking their website or Instagram page. This can be dangerous for some businesses, especially if one bad review taints their image. However I strongly believe having such harsh, revealing critics online at all times will put pressure on businesses to uphold a high standard of quality goods and services. We must respect the power of social media and use it to help us succeed.

Whenever I travel and we’re looking for somewhere to eat, I always google “best restaurant/cafe/bakery near me” and it’s amazing how fast you can get an idea of what’s popular. I like to use TripAdvisor while traveling because it seems to have the most honest reviews. As an example, when we search bakeries in Edmonton and sort by ranking, we get a list of great bakeries with honest reviews, Duchess being in the #1 slot.

Many people use social media as a way to discover new trends in the pastry world. For example, when mirror glaze cakes peaked in popularity, Instagram user Olganoskovaa gained a huge following for her gorgeous cakes.

Home bakers are constantly finding inspiration in gifs and videos all over Facebook, with the most popular being Tasty by BuzzFeed. These sped up, easily digestible videos are popular because of their visual representation of recipes in a short time frame.

My all time favourite social media platform in the pastry world is YouTube. I love watching how-to videos that are detailed and commentated with great visual aids. I watch them for learning and on my free time. YouTube is especially useful for cake decorating videos, a few of my favourite channels are Rosie’s Dessert SpotCupcake Jemma, and Greggy’s Digest. Having a YouTube channel as a part of your business is a brilliant marketing strategy; good quality videos with likeable personalities will spike curiosity about the business and gain a worldwide customer base. Cupcake Jemma has been so successful with her shop that they recently opened a new location, and I believe their YouTube channel success had a big role in growing their business.

Social media will undeniably be a huge part of our future, and as aspiring pastry chefs we can take advantage of it to help advance our careers.

Happy websurfing!

~ Tierany


Simple Cocoa Brownie

Hello there, welcome to my blog. today I wanted to post something I made the other night that  everyone should try to bake someday when they have time.

First things first to say is that I was never much of a brownie lover in my life till baking with this recipe.

Recipe can be found in the link right here 

Now the steps on simple to follow for this recipe, way to easy that can create something so good, just by pretty much placing all the ingredients in 1 pot and mixing.


Perfect for eating at anytime of day, a soft and moist brownie that takes less then an hour to make that can also serve many others by adjusting the recipe.


History of Choux Paste

Choux Paste is a cooked Paste made mainly with water, butter, flour and eggs. It is also to base for desserts such as eclairs and profiteroles. The Paste has had a lot of modifications  over time to get where it is today.

choux-pastry-step5The paste was first invented in 1540, seven years after Catherine de Medici left Italy to marry Henry II in France. When Catherine left Italy she brought along her entire court including her chefs. A chef she brought with her, named Pantanelli, invented a cooked paste that dried to make a gateaux (cake). Seeing as it was Pantanelli that created the paste, it was first named pâté à Pantanelli.

Of course over time the recipe changed and so did the name, the next notable change was made by Pantanelli’s successor Popelini. Popelini played with the recipe and change the name to pâte à Popelin, with his version of the paste he used it to make a cake from the called a Popelin.

During the 18th century , the paste started to become similar to the paste we use today when a Pâtissier named Avice modified the recipe and made choux buns. As his buns had a cabbage-like resemblance he named his recipe Pâte à Choux, which is the name still currently used for the paste.

Following avice, the recipe changed once again when Antonin Carême perfected the recipe in the 19th Century. Antonin used it to create some of his famous Pièces Montées, which are elaborate centerpieces.

Because of all of the modifications choux paste went through, the verstile paste became what it is today. It is widely used today in our modern world and is responsible for some of our most beloved desserts!



Drinking Chocolate

In May of 2015 I took a short trip to Seattle with a friend, and got completely blown away by the rich food scene there. We fell in love with Pike Place Market, and went on 2 food tours – one being the chocolate indulgence tour. One of the stops was The Confectional, known for their cheesecakes. It wasn’t cheesecake that blew me away though, it was their Columbian Sipping Chocolate.

I adore dark chocolate, the darker the better in my books; this sipping chocolate was pure chocolate flavour in a one ounce cup. Super dark, and almost as viscous as molasses, I was pretty much in heaven. They served it with cayenne pepper (optional), which is a flavour enhancer for chocolate. I tried it without at first, but adding a small pinch of the cayenne really elevated the flavour to new heights.

sipping chocolate

The rich, indulgent drink I had in Seattle was definitely a modern take on drinking chocolate. Where the Aztecs would be drinking more of an unsweetened chocolate tea, North Americans have come up with a way to make it much more calorie dense. Adding dairy and sugar, a modern drinking chocolate recipe looks something like this, containing chocolate, cinnamon, milk, and sugar.

If you’re interested in more of a traditional way to make drinking chocolate, check out this video, which shows how they traditionally make it in Mexico.

Happy drinking!

~ Tierany

Chocolate Hazelnut Sourdough – Creating a Formula

I love all aspects of baking, however bread is definitely not my strong suit. But when I started thinking about competing in the Chef’s Hat competition, I knew I wanted to create something all on my own. It was a perfect opportunity to challenge my bread making ability and come up with a formula of my own, which I had never done before.

My inspiration for doing a chocolate bread came from this reddit post I saw a few months ago. I hadn’t even thought of chocolate in a bread dough before this! What a great, unique idea that contains one of my favourite ingredients – chocolate. The reddit user who posted their bread used this recipe, which contains dried fruit and walnuts.


“Sourdough Noir,” from Emilie on “the clever carrot

Turns out chocolate sourdough hasn’t been done very often, because my internet surfing for recipes to compare with was pretty dry. Most recipes have chocolate chips and dried fruit as inclusions, but I wanted the impactful, deep dark coloured loaf like the “sourdough noir.” There was one recipe that seemed to be the front runner – Chocolate cherry loaf. Chef James Bartlett of Metropolitan bakery in Philadelphia specializes in this bread, and I managed to find a few  videos of his makeup process. My friend Halsey found me a recipe for a chocolate cherry bread just like it, so I had a good base to start creating my formula from.

Instead of cherries, I wanted to have one of my favourite flavour combinations – chocolate and hazelnuts. In our NAIT formula books there is a recipe for “Rustic Hazelnut Sourdough (#52),” so I took that one and compared it side by side to the chocolate cherry loaf formula. Here are my first set of notes comparing the 2:

Bread notes 1

I knew I had to play around with the yeast levels and hydration to get the right balance, so I started with 65% hydration and 1% yeast in addition to my sourdough starter. I also decided to cold brew espresso into my water for the bread overnight since espresso is a natural flavour enhancer to chocolate. As for procedure, I did an autolyse method and retarded the dough overnight. Here is the first formula and procedure:

Choc test 1


Everything went as planned for the first go round…except I forgot to add the yeast. The levain alone did not do well overnight in the fridge, and the dough temperature was very low. The bread smelled amazing, however it was way too dense. I also got feedback that the amount of chocolate chips was a little high. A disappointing first attempt, but not a complete failure. Back to the books!


I did two more tests, keeping everything constant except for the hydration, levain amount and chocolate chip amount. I reduced the chocolate chips by 10% for both loaves, and followed the same procedure. This time I actually added the yeast though, and did not retard overnight.


Much better. The chocolate chip amount was just right, and yeast definitely helped a lot. I would have liked to retard overnight for that nice bubbly skin and better flavour development, but overall I was pleased. The formula I decided to go with was test #2, with 70% hydration and 65% levain. I ended up using that formula for our final practical assessment:


They weren’t the prettiest loaves, but they did turn out pretty good. I did not retard them overnight, and in the interest of time I ended up doing a hot brewed espresso instead of a cold brew which actually made the bread quite sour compared to the previous attempts. The sourness balanced pretty well, but I found that it was less of a chocolate enhancer and more of a hazelnut suppressor.

I still have some tweaks to do until it’s perfect, but I like the flavour of it and overall I think I achieved my goal. This bread tastes and smells amazing when toasted with a bit of butter. The Chef’s Hat competition is soon, and I intend on using test #2 with cold brew espresso and retarding overnight. Ask me later how it turns out!

If you wanted to try it for yourself, here is the formula:

Chocolate Hazelnut Sourdough

4 loaves @ 650g each

Bread Flour 820g
Water 572g
Salt 20g
Malt Powder 8g
Levain 532g
Yeast 8g
Espresso 40g
Cocoa powder 80g
Hazelnuts 328g
Dark Chocolate Chips 252g
Bread flour 220g
Water 240g
Sourdough starter 76g
  1. Cold brew espresso and water 12-24hrs before mixing. Toast hazelnuts beforehand.
  2. Prepare levain 12 hours before.
  3. Combine espresso water (drained), flour, and levain till hydrated, autolyse for 20 min.
  4. Add cocoa powder, yeast, malt powder and salt; mix for 4 min on 1st speed and 2-4 min on 2nd speed, until gluten formation.
  5. Add chocolate chips and crushed hazelnuts on speed 1 until incorporated.
  6. BFT for 90 min at room temp with 1 fold. (RDT 24C)
  7. Scale and divide, retard overnight.
  8. Proof in floured baneton for approx 1.5 hours at room temp.
  9. Bake between 425-450F for 30 min.

Thanks for reading! Happy baking,

~ Tierany