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Posts posted by cookman

  1. The ingredients on Fage yogurt say basically milk and active cultures. Given this, wouldn't it be possible to make one's own version of this yogurt by innoculating it into milk? Is the yogurt processed in some way after it is made to give it its unique firmer texture, or could one recreate it by draining the homemade Fage-based version? Anyone tried to make their own?

  2. I'd like to ask some of the pros how they feel about baking choux in a regular vs. convection oven. I recently made Pichet Ong's choux recipe, and baked some in each type of oven.

    The choux cooked in a regular oven kept a smoother contour, rose a little less, and were paler brown in the "stretch marks" that show up on the side of the puffs as they rise.

    I had surmised that the puffs cooked in a convection oven might not do as well since the circulating air might dry out the top of the puff prematurely, before it had a chance to maximally rise. However, the batch baked in the convection oven rose a bit higher, but they seemed to expand out first from the perimeter of the puff, then the center rose, giving the final product a more "exploded"/irregular upper surface. The "stretch marks" on these puffs, however, baked as brown as the rest of the puffs.

    What's everyone's preference for the best type of oven to use for choux?

  3. Here's the one I've been using.  It outstanding -- smooth, rich, and sweet but not overly sweet.  It has a deep flavor from the toasted pecans and browned butter. 

    Pecan Pie

    3/4 cup butter

    2 cups light brown sugar, packed

    3 eggs

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/2  teaspoon vanilla

    1 1/2 cups pecan pieces

    9 inch unbaked pie shell

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a large skillet, toast pecans.  Remove from skillet.

    Add butter to skillet and heat over medium until browned.  Reduce heat and stir in brown sugar.  Let brown sugar melt a bit and turn off heat.  Let cool for about 5 minutes.

    In a separate bowl, mix eggs, salt and vanilla.  Stir in butter/sugar mixture and pecans.  Pour into unbaked pie shell Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

    For those who have tried making this pie: Any reason not to use a pie crust that has been partially baked before filling? I almost never make a pie that doesn't have the crust at least partially blind baked before filling. I assume that would be fine here, but thought I'd inquire of those who have already baked this pie.

  4. Can someone explain the rationale in the original recipe for flipping the dough upside-down in the pot before cooking? I thought the point a rounding a loaf and stretching the exposed top surface was to help trap the gasses relased by the yeast, and therefore increase oven spring. When you flip it over into the pot, it seems that you are deflating the loaf and negating the point of rounding the dough in the first place.

  5. Since the thread is incredibly long at this point I am going to summarize some of the feedback I've read thus far for selfish reasons and for the use of readers also new to this thread. 



    2) For second rise, a greased bowl and naked dough work, too. 

    2) At least one baker finds the floured towel a bit of a hassle, resulting in sticking, tearing or scary, uneven plop into the Dutch oven.  Just turn the sufficiently slick bowl containing the shaped dough upside down over the heated casserole.

    Does letting the dough rise in an oiled bowl change the texture of the final crust?

  6. Hello, all.

    I recently finished making a batch via the published recipe, and I am at least intrigued enough to try again.

    I used the 1-5/8 cup of water, as indicated in the published recipe; coupled with the flour being spooned & leveled rather than scooped, and I had a WET dough. So wet, that the well-floured cotten towel was damp by the time I removed the dough after the short second proof; trying to unstick the dough (batter) wasn't so much fun.

    I baked it in a 7-quart Lodge Dutch oven, purchased specifically for this purpose; the printed recipe called for a container between 6-8 quarts, so I thought this would fit the bill. Unfortunately, the diameter of the item (12") was, I think, much too big and didn't do much to help the spring--the final product was somewhat flat (though not really much more so than some of the pics I've seen in this thread). I'm tempted to pick up a 5-quart Dutch oven to compare, but I don't know that smaller diameter is enough to make a difference (10 inches rather than 12).

    I finally saw the video days after I made the bread, and what they used seemed much smaller than what I had. Was the one they featured maybe 8-9 inches across?

    30 minutes covered, about 20 uncovered. I didn't wait very long to cut in (15 minutes? Not sure I recall). The interior was nice and full of holes, but disappointingly damp--damp to the point where it seemed not properly done. Maybe the outside could have been further browned, but the crust was otherwise crunchy thick. I'm thinking I'll make it again with the 1.5 cups of water this time and see what that does to the dampness.

    Nice flavor, though, it not mind breaking.

    Try cooking the bread until the internal temperature is 210 degrees, and let it cool to room temperature before eating.

  7. What an amazing thread. I had my first cannele recently in the Perigord. I was totally unprepared for the incredible taste and texture. I can't wait to try to make them. Stephanie Alexander has two recipes in her book, Cooking and Travelling in SW France, one from Regis Marcon and the other from Paula. 

    Quick question if anyone is still following this thread. How do I season new tin-lined copper molds? TIA.

    Paula has a chapter on this topic in one of her cookbooks. To paraphrase her: Wash new molds in soapy water, rinse, and dry. Grease interiors heavily with vegetable oil, put molds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Invert molds on a wire rack and return to oven for 5 minutes. Turn off oven and leave molds until cool.

    Before using each time, molds should ideally be seasoned with a beeswax/oil mixture.

  8. A thread asking why sesame seeds wouldn't stick to grissini was started in June 2004.

    Otherwise, I haven't been able to find a generalized thread on the topic.

    I am bringing a wonderful Italian chestnut soup to a large Thanksgiving dinner.  It contains plenty of cream and butter and is flavored with mushrooms, pancetta (removed before blending), celery root and cognac. 

    There will be lots of contributions to the dinner including an hors d'oeuvre and plenty of starches, so I thought breadsticks would be lighter than the buttermilk-cornbread madeleines that I thought of originally.  (Do not have a pan for miniature ones & think the one I own is plenty.)

    I am sure grissini will be easy to make and I have found plenty of recipes online; I probably have some at home, too.

    However, I thought that by posting here, I might find an experienced grissini-baker like Hathor who has a really good recipe or creative ideas for flavoring or forming the grissini for the holiday.

    Later, this can become an all-purpose thread to return to for further comments, recommendations or queries--or possibly fodder for merging.

    *  *  *

    Since it is Thanksgiving, I wish to avoid the obvious flavorings of parm (all due respect to GTO) or garlic, though if I toast and grind fennel seeds... :unsure: ?  I also don't want anything to interfere with the delicious soup, so no to prosciutto. 

    I keep thinking elegant cornbread would be perfect for the soup, so it would be wonderful if I could get the flavor in the grissini.  It's just that the texture is so different and the idea of grainy, crunchy breadsticks is not appealing.  I suspect a simple plain recipe is in order, but am open to suggestions.

    I have used this recipe and rolling technique with great success. Grissini

  9. I have only"rapid rise" yeast in the house.  I have read that it is not the same as instant, but wondered what it would do to the recipe?  I would love to mix a batch tonight, but don't want to get out to get more yeast.  Also, I don't think the SAF brand is available here, so probably could get only dry active yeast.

    Go ahead and use the rapid rise yeast. It should work fine.

  10. I have heard but have not tried,

    a technique of first freezing almonds, then processing them in the food processor, this is what Chef's Warehouse has done with their Almond Meal (and charging a premium) for it, to in theory-create a finer meal.

    Michael Robert Porru

    Interesting. I would think that the condensation that formed as the almonds warmed up would make the almond flour too moist.

  11. I sent Mark Bittman an email asking him to drop by this thread and chat with us about this technique.  I don't think I've ever seen him on eG, but it would be great to get his input.

    Great idea. I've been thinking all along that the best way to get the proportions right here is to ask Bittman to ask Jim Lahey at Sullivan's Street Bakery to convert the recipe he gave out to metric (weight) measurements, for us compulsive eGulleteers.

  12. I'm so excited to see everyone's results! I have sadly not been able to start this baking project because I can NOT find instant yeast anywhere in local grocery stores! My unserstanding is that instant yeast is different than rapid rise or regular active dry yeast.....

    What's a girl to do? As a novice baker, I'm not sure is any substitutions for the instant yeast are appropriate. Suggestions, please?

    And snowangel, I hope your LeCreuset is OK. Thank goodness for Barkeeper's Friend- and helping hands!

    Rapid rise yeast is the same as instant yeast.

    Rapid rise yeast is more finely granulated than active dry yeast, so it does not need to be dissolved in a liquid first. It can be added directly to the dry ingredients.

  13. I've never worked with yeast before, so forgive what may be a dumb question.

    The recipe calls for using a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot and the pictures show the bread rising about half way up the sides. I've got a 4.5-quart LC oval pot I'd like to try this with. In your experience, will this work or do I need to bite the bullet and find a bigger pot?

    I took my loaf out of the oven an hour ago. It is beautiful and exactly as Leahy said it should be . I used a 5 qt oval le Creuset and had no problem. I think 4.5 qt might work but definitely nothing smaller as the dough might hit against the lid.

    I think the recipe does not call for enough salt. That is the only fault I can find with it and easily remedied.


    Did you use regular table salt or kosher salt?

  14. What is in Skippy that is not in naturally grounded peanut butter?

    Sugar and shelf-stable trans fats, unfortunately. :sad:

    Is that what gives the peanut butter cookies its texture?

    Actually, the smooth creamy texture of commercial peanut butters is more a product of the very fine particle size to which the peanuts are ground, and the emulsifiers that are added to it.

    Regarding the presence of trans-fats in commercial peanut butter, the quantitites are so low as to be physiologically insignificant. According to the USDA's Agricultural Research Service:

    Recurring rumors that commercial peanut butters contain trans fats--which appear to increase risk of cardiovascular disease--have no basis in fact, according to an Agricultural Research Service study.

    The rumors no doubt started because small amounts of hydrogenated vegetable oils are added to commercial peanut butters--at 1 to 2 percent of total weight--to prevent the peanut oil from separating out. And the hydrogenation process can generate the formation of trans fatty acids in oils, according to Timothy H. Sanders, who leads research at ARS’ Market Quality and Handling Research Unit at Raleigh, N.C.

    To see if the rumors had any validity, Sanders prepared 11 brands of peanut butter, including major store brands and “natural” brands, for analysis by a commercial laboratory. He also sent paste freshly prepared from roasted peanuts for comparison. The laboratory found no detectable trans fats in any of the samples, with a detection limit of 0.01 percent of the sample weight.

    That means that a 32-gram serving of any of the 11 brands could contain from zero to a little over three-thousandths (0.0032) of a gram of trans fats without being detected. While current regulations don’t require food labels to disclose trans fat levels, they do require disclosure of saturated fat levels at or above five-tenths (0.5) of a gram. For comparison, that’s 156 times higher than this study’s detection limit for trans fats.


    In passing, it should also be noted that butter and cream contain natural trans-fat (created by microbial hydrogenation in vivo) in easily detectable quantities. As I recall, the contration of trans-fats in milkfat is around several percent -- orders of magnitude higher than the concentration in peanut butter.

    Great info, Patrick! (Man, is there no topic that exceeds the bounds of this guy's knowledge!!!) :rolleyes:

  15. Fascinating article on letting time and yeast do the breadmaking work for you in order to achieve superior results.  Anybody have experience with using this technique?  Any thoughts on refinements that might improve on the method outlined?


    Sounds a lot like the techniques described in Suzanne Dunaway's book, No Need To Knead. Amazon link here. I've tried several of her breads, which require little to no kneading, with excellent results.

  16. Actually, the only commercial almond flour I use (Bob's Red Mill) doesn't seem all that fine, and I can definitely make finer almond flour at home using the food processor, just grinding, scraping down, grinding, scraping down. . . repeatedly.

    I use the same (Bob's Red Mill) at home, but used much finer at school, and I can tell the difference in the product. So now, I buy the Bob's but still grind it with my sugar to make it finer.

    What do you think works best: food processor, coffee grinder? Is there a food mill that would do a better job of fine grinding?

  17. Does anyone know a really good way to make your own almond flour? In a pinch, I grind blanched almonds with a little bit of the recipe's sugar (to absorb the oils) in a food processor. The result is OK, but not nearly as fine as what can be purchased as almond flour. You can definitely tell the difference in a very fine-textured cake. Any suggestions?

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