Today in Sing Tao, we have Chef Karen's Sweet and Soft bun. As I have mentioned quite a few times here I was never quite satisfied with the results of our local breads such as pineapple bun, Char Xiu bun, cocktail bun etc. which I learnt from local Master Bakers. And you know that I turned to New York's French Culinary Institute for a better understanding in bread making. There I met Chef Karen Bornarth and was so impressed with her teaching techniques and her deep knowledge of baking bread that Annie & Friends invited her to Hong Kong. On top of this, we also commissioned her to re-write the basic bun recipe for our much loved Pineapple Bun. One that will not need artificial dough softener, dough enhancers and dough stabilizers, and will stay soft for days.
Chef Karen Bornarth teaches and is the instructional coordinator for the bread program at The French Culinary Institute in New York City. She has also been a guest instructor at the Istanbul Culinary Institute in Turkey. Prior to joining the FCI, she worked as a mixer/supervisor on the night shift at Amy's Bread in New York City and taught regularly at The Artisan Baking Center at the Consortium for Worker Education in Queens, New York. Karen joined the staff at Amy's after finishing the Baking and Pastry Certificate Program at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in beautiful Napa Valley. She's been actively involved with the Bread Bakers Guild of America for several years and writes a regular column called 'Life on the Bench' for the Guild newsletter. Karen also writes regularly about food and other subjects for Martha Stewart magazines. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
When I first started writing for Sing Tao in 2005, it was mentioned in their introduction about me that in the pursuit of baking HK style bread i.e. pineapple bun etc., I climbed flights of stairs in ramshackle old buildings where the grand old master was located in order to learn the craft of baking bread from him. That was many many years ago, and I can still remember climbing those steep, long and dark stairs! Subsequently I received a lot of emails from readers asking me if I would write the Pineapple Bun recipe. Most of the readers were from Canada, USA, UK and even Europe.
Annie & Friends commissioned a number of recipes from Chef Karen Bornarth which are to be published in Sing Tao later this year. I have started doing the layouts for her recipes and as I worked through her Lavash recipe, my interest got rekindled.
Lavash is a soft thin flatbread made with flour, yeast, water and salt. It is popular in the Middle East and is used for wraps or served with dips. Chef Karen's lavash is easy to make and, if eaten freshly made, is soft and supple. During the summer months, a creative approach to lighter meals would be a do-it-yourself lavash sandwich with hummus, cucumber, carrot, onion, radish, sprouts, avocado, sesame seeds, creamy yogurt cheese etc. etc. displayed attractively on the table. Leave it up to the individual to decide what to wrap with the lavash.
You may recall that Chef Karen teaches and is the instructional coordinator for the bread program at The French Culinary Institute in New York City. She also writes regularly about food and other subjects for Martha Stewart magazines.