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Everything posted by scott123

  1. *face palm* And here I thought that, without Chris Young, the Modernist team would have a little more common sense when it came to pizza. Now, just to be clear, I've been championing polydextrose for about 15 years. At the time, commercially, it was all over the place, but, I was the one who put it on the home baker's map (in a low carb context- google it if you don't believe me). Even though I moved away from low carb many years ago, I still use polyd once a month, and, while I've never made pizza with it, the way it alters the temperatures for starches to gelatinize and proteins to denature, the possibilities for baking have always fascinated me. But anyone with half a brain in their head would clearly know that the millisecond you add polyd and lecithin to pizza dough, it's association with Neapolitan pizza is no more. It's not resting, it's not stunned, it's not pining for the fjords. THIS IS AN EX-NEAPOLITAN PIZZA!!!! I guess that if you have zero respect for Neapolitan culture in your first book, it only makes sense that you're going to continue to crap on it in your second. I really thought, and continue to think, that Nathan is better than this.
  2. Klutzy Arthritic Frychefs is currently 80% off, but the in-store, they break it, you buy it policy tempers some of the savings.
  3. Salt is a gluten enhancer, not an inhibitor. Fat is an inhibitor. To a lesser extent, particulate matter (small pieces of olive) will inhibit gluten as well, although it won't inhibit it as much as bran, which, because of it's sharp edges, bran cuts holes through the gluten. When it comes to inhibition, bran and fat are the big players. Did you puree dry or wet cured olives? Both will require very different approaches because of the varying composition- dry will have less water and more fat. If the recipe is tailored to one, using the other will effectively break it. Dry cured olives in a wet cured tailored recipe will produce a dough that's too dry, wet cured olives in dry cured tailored recipe will produce a dough that's too wet. In a previous post, you talked about building an 'experience base.' This is one of those areas where experience goes a long way in resolving issues. A precise recipe helps, but, if you know you're adding water (wet cured) or fat (dry cured), and you've added water or fat to doughs before, you're in a better position to course correct. The simple answer is 'earlier.' Assuming you've adjusted the formula properly for either wet or dry cured olives, then, you'll want to add a wet cured olive puree pretty early- possibly even close to the start. For a dry cured olive puree, with the inhibition the extra fat brings to the table, then you might want to go a little later, such as when the dough starts coming together. In some high oil pizza doughs, they incorporate the oil about 1/3 to 1/2 into the total mixing time. If, say, you're mixing a total of 10 minutes, then 4 minutes might be the happy place. If you're up for the math, you might want to calculate how much fat you're adding with the puree, and how much total fat the dough will have. In my experience, anything below 6% fat, with a strong enough bread flour (see below), requires no late addition. One other thing you might look at, both from a perspective of potential overmixing and elevated fat content, is a higher protein flour. You don't need to necessarily go crazy high with something like Sir Lancelot (14% protein), but, if, say, you're using Gold Medal better for bread flour, which clocks in around 12%, that's going to break down more quickly than KABF (12.7%). Even 12.7% might not be ideal for a higher fat loaf like this, and a slight bump to, say, 13.2% might perform better. You can't knead any dough forever, but, it sounds like if you had the right protein flour, you could have worked your dough quite a bit longer without having it give up the ghost like it did. Edit: My strong flour advice is only applicable to commercial yeast leavened formulas. As you move into the gluten enhancing effect of natural leavening, you won't need quite as much protein in the flour. Natural leavening doesn't give you unlimited strength, though, especially with less detectable acidity, so, for an especially high fat naturally leavened dough, a stronger flour might be beneficial there as well. Edit2: I remembered something else. Water + flour + time = gluten development = more difficult addtional ingredient incorporation. Since the recipe you use states 'direct,' I'm assuming there are no rests involved prior to adding the puree. For any late addition, you want to stop the mixer, immediately incorporate the ingredient, and then return to mixing.
  4. So, the inventors of the biggest food related technology breakthrough in the last 20 years, steel plate for pizza, are now pushing lower temps? *Shaking my head* I know that you can't make a horse that you've led to water drink, but what if the horse invented water? As little sense as this makes, to each his/her own. They could devote a few hundred pages to the wonders of Pizza Hut, and I wouldn't really care. As long as they stop trying to redefine Neapolitan culture, I'm good. Oh, boy. I am sincerely hoping for the best here, but if they're as misinformed about New York pizza as they were about Neapolitan... expect some pretty strong words from my end. Edit: I just finished looking into Chris Young's recent activities, and it doesn't appear that he's involved in Modernist Bread. It was Chris's Heston Blumenthal pedigree that was the root of most of MC's pizza related misinformation. Without Chris as a co-author, I am considerably more hopeful. Not completely hopeful but I think they'll at least get the Neapolitan tradition right this time.
  5. What about pizza? If so, I sincerely hope they get it right this time. Spewing misinformation as fact and then later correcting most of it is better than not correcting it at all, but it still falls incredibly short for serving the home pizza maker's best interests. I would hope, that in six years, Nathan and crew would have finally figured out what Neapolitan style pizza is.
  6. Oh, boy, that's a loaded question. I'm a huge believer in tradition (Cue song from Fiddler on the Roof ) The prevalent styles didn't instantly erupt from a vacuum. They were honed over the course of decades/centuries by incredibly talented artisans. There's a reason why Neapolitan style pizza is so renowned and also a reason why NY style is so ubiquitous. These two styles have been able to take over the world because experienced tradespeople fine tuned them to magnificence. I'm not knocking innovation, we know considerably more about the science of pizza now than we did 25 years ago, and where the science has been thoroughly proven (such as the benefits of long cold fermentation), it should be incorporated, but, for the most part, re-inventing the wheel is unnecessary. Traditional Neapolitan pizza, as I said, is phenomenal. Every component of Neapolitan pizza, though, is critical. Deviate from the proven formula, fail. Change up the flour, fail. Bake it longer, fail (big time). If you have a Neapolitan capable oven, then absolutely, get your hands on the right flour, use the proven formula, bake it up in less than 90 seconds and experience bliss through that avenue. But with a home oven with your broiler (with pretty much all broilers), you're limited to NY style, and NY style truly excels within a handful of parameters. If you take Neapolitan dough and bake it for 4 minutes, the resulting pizza will be drastically inferior to a 90 second bake. It'll have a dense, pale, hard, crunchy, stale quality that no one prefers. When you start getting into 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 minute NY style bakes, though, the differences are not quite so dramatic, and it gets far more subjective. I have a working theory, that, as conscientious pizzerias of the 1960s through the 1980s became more popular, as demand increased, they had to run their ovens hotter to meet that demand, and as as they shortened the bake time, the pizza improved, which drove their popularity even further. That's been my experience with some of the famous places that I've frequently over the years, such as Joe's in the Village and Pizzatown in NJ. It's my very strong contention that these 4-5 minute pizza producing juggernauts were what put NY style pizza on the map. My zealotry over the innate superiority of this 4-5 minute bake and what I believe is overwhelming evidence supporting it's historical significance is what got me ostracized from my community, and, to an extent, jeopardized my pizzeria consulting business. So, when I tell you that 4-5 minute NY is better, it's not a casual preference I've put my livelihood on the line defending this sub-style. As far as 3 for NY goes, nobody's really fighting for 3. Pizzeria Bianco might be 3, but that's an entirely different universe, ingredient and oven wise, and, from the people I know who have tried, it seems to be extraordinarily difficult to reverse engineer. As I said before, if you're really hell bent on char, with a strong enough broiler, you can achieve a slightly Neapolitan-ish undercrust with a NY top, but that's pretty niche, and pretty far from crowd pleasing. 3 has zero historical precedent in NY, aged mozzarella can be problematic in that time frame, and, side by side, I would wager that easily 9 out 10 people will prefer 4 minute NY to 3. The real battle lines are drawn between 4 and 7. For that it comes down to a preference between puff and golden brown crispiness. If you want a crispier pie, you should definitely lower the steel temp and push the bake time. Not that 4 can't be crispy (or that 7 can't be puffy), but 4 maximizes puff, while 7 maximizes crispiness. I stand corrected. If your pizza is within 6" of the broiler (generally top or 2nd shelf), and your broiler is on for the entire 3 minutes and you're not seeing an exceptionally dark top in that time, then it's definitely a weak broiler. Let me guess, is this a gas oven? Or might it be a newer, fancier oven with a special broiler technology? There are other approaches to help maximize top browning, btw. Room temp sauce helps. Open your can of tomatoes, mix in the other ingredients, let it sit for at least an hour to let the flavors mingle, then use. You can also look at your dough formula if the crust isn't browning. A huge browning inhibitor is the excessive water quantities that some of these beginning recipes (such as Kenji's) gravitate towards. Kenji's recipes draw from bread baker's recipes, which work perfectly fine for bread, but are not ideal for pizza. For pizza, you want to be at or near a flour's absorption value. For King Arthur bread flour, that's around 62% hydration. NY style dough should also contain at least some sugar and some oil. Lastly, a big player in top browning is topping quantity. A thicker crusted, heavily topped, chain inspired modern NY style pie is not where you want to be with fast bakes on steel. It's not easy, but you want to stretch the dough pretty thin, and you want to keep the toppings nice and sparse- sparse, and, also, for wet toppings like mushrooms, pre-cooked. I would see what 525 gives you on the undercrust in 4 minutes, and, if that's still too dark, dial it down to 500. And that's a bake cycle only pre-heat, not a bake cycle followed by a broil cycle to drive it a bit higher. Broil pre-heats can be a bit problematic. Pizza bakes from the heat stored in the entire steel, so you might drive up the surface temp a bit, but at the same time, the temp on the bottom of the steel drops. Net, you might see a slight bump, but you also introduce a certain level of inconsistency as well, since an IR thermometer only tells you surface temp, not core. Once you'd done this a few times, you don't have to be quite so precise about it, but it really helps to pre-heat the oven for a set amount of time (say 1 hour) using the bake cycle only. That way, you have a very good idea what temperature the core of the steel is, and, be in a good position to make adjustments based on your target bake time. For second and third pies, if you feel like the pie 1 undercrust was a bit light, and you need a quick burst of heat to help recover, there's nothing wrong with some broiler between bakes.
  7. Steel, as I'm sure you're aware, is a bottom heat accelerator. If you speed up the rate that the bottom bakes, you have to give the top of the pizza more heat as well- in the form of broiling. In the decade or so that steel plate has been used for pizza, very little has been mentioned regarding broiling. Nathan Myhrvold/Chris Young (Modernist Cuisine) bring it up very briefly, But Andris Lagsdin (the owner of Baking Steel) and Kenji have steered clear of the topic entirely. This omission has been unbelievably damaging to the home pizza making community because of the number of broilerless oven owners who have purchased steel and been left with a door stop. I've done my best to educate people, but my voice only carries so far. Beyond the damage to broilerless oven owners, this broiler agnostic approach has done a terrible disservice to weak broiler owners like yourself. The misinformation being parroted time and time again is "purchase steel and make Neapolitan pizza at home." Tangential soap box aside, you can't squeeze blood from a stone. Just because you can use steel to bake the bottom of your pizza in, say, as little as 2.5 minutes, it doesn't mean that your oven is capable of a balanced 2.5 minute bake. Your broiler is obviously the weakest link in the equation. If it's only capable of getting good top color in, say, 4 minutes, then you have to dial back the bottom heat- and I'm not sure handicapping the steel by going thinner is the answer. Based upon the black you're seeing in 3 minutes, it sounds a lot like you're pre-heating the steel as high as your oven will go. Again, this is another area where the 'experts' get it wrong. If you heat your oven as hot as it will get, when you go and try to turn on the broiler, the thermostat will prevent the broiler from going on. Eventually the oven might cool enough for the broiler to kick in, but how long this will take will be a crap shoot, which, in turn, will produce the erratic results that you're seeing. In order to effectively use a broiler during the bake, you need to pre-heat the oven to a low enough temperature that the broiler will both kick in when you turn it on- and stay on for as long as you need it. For some ovens, this may be a drop in 25 degrees, but there's a chance you may need more. You can try cracking the door during the bake to help the broiler stay on, but I've found that cracking the door compounds the issue with the back of the pizza taking on a lot more color- which is obviously mitigated with turns, but if the back/front heat balance is too far out of wack, it can take a lot of turns to get even color. In other words, if your broiler is kicking in erratically like it sounds like it's doing, then it will be just as erratic with 3/8" steel preheated to the max as it is with 1/2" and your results will continue to be inconsistent. The answer isn't a thinner plate, but a lower pre-heat temp. As you dial down the heat, this will extend your bake time a bit, and you're going to move out of the 2.5 minute territory. That may not be a horrible thing. If you read my post above, I said that 4 minutes is better than 6, but I didn't say that 2 minutes is better than 4 Sub 90 second Neapolitan pizza is phenomenal, but if you can't hit a 90 second balanced bake, which I guarantee you that you can't, 4+ minute NY style is generally thought to be far superior to the no man's land between 2 and 4 minutes. Now, you can get a bit more Neapolitan-ish char on the undercrust in 3 - 3.5 minutes, and a handful of people enjoy that, but, you'll only know if you can achieve something like that after you've dialed the pre-heat temp down until the broiler starts cooperating. With your broiler, a non blackened but properly charred 3 minute undercrust with good top color may not be possible. On another note, the 1" gap on all sides to allow for air flow... If anyone is considering cutting their steel like this, please don't. You need a gap for air flow, but you don't need it on all sides. You only need a gap on two sides, which allows you to go all the way from the back wall to almost touching the door, which, in turn, buys you incredibly precious circular real estate. My Steel Plate Buying Guide provides all the details for ideal sizing (for the obsessive, of course )
  8. A few things. 1. Kenji targets a very non obsessive audience. For the obsessive, everything comes down to bake time with pizza. As you slow down the bake, the dough doesn't puff up as much and it dries out and takes on a stale quality. 8 minutes is better than a 10 minute bake, 6 is better than 8, 4 is better than 6- for most obsessives. The thickness of the steel relates directly to thermal mass, and thermal mass impacts bake time. A 1/4" steel won't bake as fast of a pizza as 1/2" will. For a non obsessive, this may not be the end of the world. At the same time, though, it's pretty much impossible to know whether or not one is ever going get the pizza bug, and should that occur, if they're stuck with a 1/4" product, it's not going to cut it. Steel, by it's nature, is an advanced pizza baking tool. It's almost always the device that people reach for after they've worked with stone a bit and want to take it to the next level. The worst thing someone in those shoes could do, though, is rather than strive for the ultimate, would be to settle for a slight improvement (if any) with 1/4." 2. Another obsessive aspect of steel is length and width. The beginner may be perfectly fine with 13" pizzas, but, as you up your game, you absolutely want to share your works of art with the rest of the world, and, when you do, in order to serve a larger number of people, you need as much real estate as you can get. I've done parties that required six 17" pies in about an hour. That kind of output only happens with a 17 x 17 x .5 steel. 3. A single 30 lb. steel (or, preferably, a 40 lb steel) is very far from portable, but if you get it cut in half, the resulting pieces are a heck of a lot more manageable. In theory, if someone had a health issue and had trouble lifting a 20 lb. steel into place, they could cut the initial steel into thirds. One important aspect is that oven shelves have a tendency to bow a bit in the middle, so you want the seam(s) to run against the bow, not with it. 4. Domestic oven shelves, by their nature, are built to support 25+ lb. Thanksgiving turkeys, inside heavy baking pans, with vegetables and stuffing. 40 lb. is no problem whatsoever for your average oven shelf. During the last decade, I know at least 200 people who've purchased 40 lb+ steels and no one has ever complained about an oven shelf breaking. Believe me, if this were a potential issue, some one would have experienced it, and they would have scream bloody murder. They haven't. The shelf, as I said, will bend a bit, some a bit more than others, but it will not break, and, when you remove the steel, the shelf will bounce back to it's original shape.
  9. A pizza-sized cookie is... still just a cookie I'm not saying it's bad, it's just not dessert pizza. I know, for certain, that while I'm sure a handful of NY pizzerias, over the years, have tried versions of dessert pizza, there is no pervasive history in the area. I'm also relatively certain that the Midwest has mostly steered clear of this phenomenon as well. On the left coast, they do some pretty wacky stuff, so I have no doubt that dessert pizza, to an extent, is a thing there, but I'm sure it's mostly Neapolitan inspired, and thus doesn't lay any claim to defining it. Long windedness aside, dessert pizza is, at it's core, Neapolitan. Perhaps not Neapolitan in relation to Naples, but more in relation to Neapolitan style pizza as it is served here in the U.S. Based on Naple's infatuation with both pizza and Nutella, I think it's safe to say that someone there most likely had the idea first, and I know of one or two places there that go this route. On this side of the pond, though, I've never come across a Neapolitan pizzeria that didn't offer an least one dessert pie- which is almost always Nutella. The absolute ubiquitousness of the Nutella pie in domestic Neapolitan pizzerias is Dessert Pizza's greatest defining component. Here's the most basic approach: Form the pizza skin Dock it (this is one of the only times Neapolitan pizza dough is docked) - you can alternately not dock it, let it blow up like a pita, and stuff it with fillings Bake it untopped Immediately out of the oven, spread a generous schmear of Nutella, sprinkle with powdered sugar (and possibly some whipped cream) Serve That's as bare bones as you get, and, as long as you're working with a Neapolitan capable oven/a sub 90 second bake time, the results may not match up with a quality baklava or french pastry, but it's not the worse dessert in the world. The residual heat from the pizza helps melt the Nutella a bit, and the resulting ooziness is pretty delightful. One can build on this a bit. I have my clients give the baked skin a quick light brush of butter prior to the Nutella schmear. The butter takes the very lean dough and gives it a bit more richness. The bread can only absorb a very small amount of melted butter, though, so you want to use a light hand. If you're too excessive, the resulting pizza can get incredibly messy. You can also go as crazy as you like with the toppings. This is pretty creative https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=43129.msg431717#msg431717 Nutella, bacon, bananas, candied jalapenos, aka, the 'Flaming Elvis.' At the end of the day, the most critical aspect, imo, is the oven. You're not going to see the same results with a longer baked pizza in a non Neapolitan capable oven. Fortunately, the number of consumer level Neapolitan capable ovens is growing, so this delicacy is much more obtainable for the home baker than in years past.
  10. I wish it were the toast. The toast can go in- and out of style. But Chinese demand is here to stay- and they're not getting any poorer. Next season is supposed to be more bountiful than this one, so hopefully prices will be a bit more sane, but as long as the rest of the world wants avocados, and can pay for them, I think the days of the cheap avocado (and cheap beef) are over.
  11. Umbrella prices don't mean much when you live in a desert. Considering that peak avocado season ended a couple months ago, any price at this point is meaningless. If they can beat Shoprite and TJs avocado prices next January, then we'll talk.
  12. Bromate is a dough enhancer, not a bleaching agent. Most of the distributors that I've come across carry the bromated bleached versions of the flours, but, for most millers, bromated unbleached is an option.
  13. Yes, I'm familiar with those studies When I come out with my book on pizza, the inherent safety of bromate (in pizza) will get it's own chapter. That being said... much like I dissuade people from eating raw dough made from bromated flour (including failed launches where the dough folds over itself), the idea of rolling your own bromated flour doesn't give me much of a warm fuzzy feeling. The scale required would have to be incredibly precise to measure the parts per million, and, even with that, I would be too concerned about potential mismeasurement. Thanks, though.
  14. Drats. May I ask what aspects of the quality went downhill?
  15. While we're on the topic of commercial flours in consumer sizes, if anyone comes across mail order 12.7% - 13.3% protein bromated flour (can be beached or unbleached) please drop me a line. I have at least 30 friends west of the Rockies who'd be ecstatic to find a source for this.
  16. I've been looking for small, reasonably priced quantities of pastry flour for decades. A couple weeks ago, I found an acceptable analog. https://www.walmart.com/ip/White-Lily-All-Purpose-Flour-5-lb/10535905 At 8-9% protein, it's a titch higher than your average pastry flour, but it should be low enough for my needs, and, with ship to store, it's dirt cheap.
  17. OUCH!! They stopped carrying gallon twist ties? That's horrible. I just did a quick search and Walmart carries them: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Great-Value-Twist-Tie-Storage-Bags-Gallon-100-Ct/11303925 Shoprite (when they carry them) and Wegmans have them at 2.66 cents a bag, while Walmart's are 2.88 cents a bag- a little bit more, but not horribly so. If your local Walmart doesn't stock them, you can either buy enough to qualify for shipping or have them shipped to the store.
  18. Were they baggies? My shoprite used to have sales on those about 3 times a year where they'd be 99 cents a box. At one point, I had about 25 boxes. But then they discontinued them and only offer the private label for 1.99 for 75- and these NEVER go on sale. If doubling the price was bad enough, the new bags are narrower/taller (10" wide rather than the 11.5" they used to be), so they're exponentially harder to get food into. A new Wegmans opened near me so I checked their offerings. Identical bag, identical price I haven't gone this route yet, because you have to commit to a large amount, and I'm not sure that thinner bags work for my needs (or the material), but the Webstaurant store offers large rolls of produce bags. https://www.webstaurantstore.com/inteplast-group-phnonp20ns-12-x-20-plastic-side-print-produce-bag-on-a-roll-4-case/130PB1220.html With shipping, these are a penny a bag, and they're 12" wide. But you have to buy a huge amount (3500 bags) and you have to store them. Each roll is going to be pretty large as well, so it won't fit in a drawer.
  19. I now have a local Wegmans (yay!!!) and I'm looking for good deals- specifically deals on low end, typically staple foods. There's, obviously, the $2.29 ground beef, and I've tracked down what appears the be the same frozen corn as Trader Joe's for about 30 cents less. Shoprite frequently has hamburger buns for a dollar, but Wegman's buns look like they're higher quality. Any phenomenal deals come to mind on staple-ish stuff?
  20. I use plastic wrap about once every 3 months. When I make pudding (sorry George Costanza, no skin for me), and when I make enchiladas and I don't want them to dry out in the fridge. I use gallon twist tie bags for just about everything. If it's something like chili that I want to dry out a bit, I'll just put in the fridge uncovered. I also have a huge collection of bag clips, probably around 25, so, if it comes in a bag and I don't finish it (like bagged salad), it gets clipped and goes back in the fridge.
  21. There's no free lunch when it comes to indigestible foods. Anything we consume is going to be attempted to be digested by our digestive system. That's what digestive systems do. And when it fails to digest, there will always be repercussions. If the quantity is minimal, then those repercussions might go unnoticed, but making entire dishes out of fiber isn't going to just be uncomfortable, it could very well be dangerous. We are not cows There's a reason why we don't consume large amounts of fiber- and why our bodies are so noticeably unhappy with very high fiber food. The human digestive system just isn't made to handle it. The idea that some types of fiber can be tolerated while some can't is garbage. If you eat large amounts of anything that can't be digested, you will pay the price. Trust me, I've tried. It's possible that you might be able to develop a tolerance over time so that your body doesn't react so violently, but not with the quantities you're discussing.
  22. i have a family member who is sensitive to phlalates. With our hard water, none of the phlalate-free detergents will get our dishes clean. When I wash dishes, the detergent I use forces me to take a lot of extra steps to minimize exposure. Because of this, I have to wash dishes very infrequently, so I'm hyper aware of the dirty dishes I create and go to great lengths to minimize them. Part Artist/Part Engineer To be a good cook, you have to be part artist, part engineer. Most people are comfortable with the artistry, but the engineering, for some, can be a struggle. There's a reason why top chefs are renowned for being overbearing control freaks. Everything you do in a kitchen has ramifications. An extra pinch of a particular spice may not be a huge deal, but, if you're making a waffle that takes 4 minutes to cook, you can't leave and come back in 8. Dishes are unbelievably unforgiving. If you dirty a dish, it's not going to wash itself. Mise En Place Never Ends Most people can understand the necessity of having your ingredients prepped and in place before you start cooking. But that concept of thinking ahead, of planning at least 4 chess moves in advance, is applicable to everything you do in the kitchen. You grab a spoon to stir a sauce- "how many times will I be stirring this sauce? I better not put the spoon in the sink until I know I'm done with it" "Can I use this spoon to eat the meal with?" "Can I stir the sauce with a utensil that I've already dirtied making something else?" From the moment you walk into the kitchen to start cooking, until the last dish has been put away, you need to be planning ahead, and streamlining the process. Disposables I couldn't survive without disposable kitchen wares. I go through probably 10 pairs of plastic gloves a day. I handle meat and cheese with gloves, put away and dispense cooked pasta and rice with gloves. When I'm done with a glove, I'll turn it inside out and use it as a counter protector. Almost every meat that I cook gets baked on foil- including bacon. Dry-ish foods, like cooked rice and pasta go into gallon plastic bags. In addition to re-using plastic gloves as counter protectors, I'll use plastic sandwich bags with a paper towel on top as a stove protector. I drain every meat that I bake on plastic grocery bags with a layer of paper towel. If I'm cutting a lot of things, I'll break out the cutting board, but if it's something small, I'll cut it on two layers of paper plates. If I'm serving a sandwich for lunch, it's going on a paper plate. If the sandwich doesn't soil the plate, I'll save it for use as the bottom layer when cutting. Are paper plates, paper towels, plastic bags and plastic gloves the most environmentally conscious choices? No. I try to make up for it in other areas of my life, and I try to re-use my disposables as much as possible, but it's an impact that I'm still not completely comfortable with. The alternative- forgoing these products, that's not an option, though. Engineer Your Dishwasher Space I used to use beautiful china that had been handed down for generations- but it was large and inefficient and took up too much dishwasher space. I'm pretty much 100% cheap Corelle dishes now. Light, thin and efficient. I also wouldn't be exaggerating to say that I've spent more than 10 hours testing various stacking arrangements to get the most dishes I possibly can into a load while not having them touch/potentially chip and maximizing cleanliness. I've replaced pots with odd handles that haven't played well with my dishwasher My dishwasher is 35 years old. When the motor went, I spent countless hours figuring out how to fix it rather than replace the whole machine because I didn't want to have to start over the arranging process with a new unit. My dishes, right now, fit like a glove. It's amazing. I've sat there thinking "this absolutely has to be it, I can't fit anything else in here," but, then I rearrange the puzzle one more time and squeeze in one more thing. Look at everything you're putting into your dishwasher. I guarantee you that you'll find a few things that are space hogs- and that, if replaced, could use space much more efficiently. Besides replacing pots, pans and dishes that didn't fit well into my dishwasher schematic, I also replaced quite a few hand washable items- and am in the process of replacing more. As we speak, I'm looking for a cheap good machine washable steak knife. For instance, cast iron is wonderful, but you can pretty much match the baking properties with clad stainless- and clad stainless can be put in the washer. Beyond replacing, there's also re-sizing. I've cut down acrylic cutting boards so they don't hog so much dishwasher space. Sometimes Re-use/Sometimes Wash/Sometimes Rinse Know your soils. If you're, say, rinsing broccoli in the colander, you don't need to wash the colander with soap and water. Just a good rinse with very hot water will suffice. If you're measuring dried herbs with measuring spoons, a rinse is fine. A cutting board used for onions or peppers only gets a rinse. A glass used to drink water can be re-used through the day. Soda glasses can be rinsed- a couple of times until the fingerprints start adding up. Weigh As Much As You Can If you don't have a digital scale, get one, and use it for everything. The only time I use my measuring cups these days is to scoop and spread pizza sauce. That's pretty much it. Can I Do This With a Smaller Pan? I boil a 1 lb. box of macaroni in a Revereware 3 quart covered saucepan. Pasta purists are probably pulling their hair out at such a thought, but I'm happy with my results. I apply this way of thinking to everything. Sometimes my frugality backfires on me, and my pot ends up being too small, and I have to transfer the contents/dirty something else, but, if I write pot sizes down in the recipe, I have less of these mishaps. Spoons are a major pita to load in the dishwasher in such a way to prevent nestling, so if I can achieve the same thing with a knife instead of a spoon, I will. Bottom line, you always have to maintain a situational awareness as to the current actions you're taking and how they will effect you down the line. I'm not going to lie, maintaining this awareness can be exhausting. But food, no matter which way you cut it, is hard work- mentally and physically. The more thought you give to your kitchen management, though, the less physically back breaking it becomes.
  23. So you're copping to being the steak police, huh? As long as your body cam doesn't mysteriously malfunction, I think we'll be fine Seriously, though, if you really want to split this many hairs, okay... let's start splitting First of all, you're overlooking an absolutely critical aspect of the protein denaturation equation. Fat. In lean meat, sure, protein molecules will latch on to each other and squeeze the liquid out, but, just like wheat protein molecules have trouble latching onto each other in fatty pastry crust, muscle fibers have issues latching on to each other in fatty meat. Less cross linking = weaker bonds = less water loss. Well marbled steak, when cooked until well done, is still very tender, succulent and juicy. Secondly, how, exactly, did you become the arbiter of 'normal' marbling? Was that part of your training at the academy? I would think, that, within these walls, when the topic of steak is brought it up, unless cost is specifically mentioned, it's in the context of 'good' steak, the context of well marbled steak. Is well marbled steak hard to find? Absolutely. But just because it's difficult to source doesn't mean that all steak related discussions should only focus on typically inferior supermarket fare. Third, the ribeye cap that I linked to wasn't Wagyu. Just about all ribeye caps have that level of marbling, even in choice meat. In your typical ribeye, the cap will only be a small fraction of the entire steak. I'm not presenting ribeye cap as being typical or in the slightest bit common. I'm only using it as an example to show how incredibly delicious well done extremely well marbled steak can be. Once someone has tasted well done cap, any stigma they might attach to well done well marbled steak will be obliterated, as it was for me. Fourth, this isn't about my own personal taste. Cook a ribeye cap, any ribeye cap, well done, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn't do backflips after tasting it. When you move towards the leaner end of the spectrum, towards well marbled rather than extremely well marbled, the appeal will be less universal in comparison to medium rare, but it will still have it's adherents. And this group will consist of far more food aficionados than one or two odd ducks. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see 3 out 10 people prefer well done well marbled meat in a double blind setting. Fifth, have you ever pan fried brisket? If it's fatty enough, it fries up beautifully. Does connective tissue/collagen play a part in the burnt end equation? Of course. But I guarantee you that the lion's share of what makes people go so incredibly nuts over burnt ends relates directly to the fact that the ends of brisket tend to be the fattiest. When all is said and done, none of this hair splitting is all that relevant. I'm not the one looking down my nose at fellow food lovers. I'm not the one calling anyone names- in seriousness or in jest. To make my case, I don't have to prove that well done steak is always comparable to less cooked steak. It obviously isn't in every instance. All I have to prove is that, depending on the fat content, well done steak can be phenomenal, and that, if the food snobs could actually taste a well done well marbled steak, I'm not saying that they'd prefer it, but they'd see enough value in it to end the derision.
  24. The stigma of well cooked steak is culinary bigotry, plain and simple, and the celebrity chefs that have perpetuated this prejudice will not be remembered fondly by history (I'm looking at you, Mr. Bourdain). These self appointed steak police just need to f off already. I'm uncouth for enjoying well cooked meat, am I? A 'barbarian?' Who are you to tell me what tastes good? Do these pompous elitist a holes point their fingers at burnt end worshipers and say "OMG! BBQ ruins meat!" Hell no! But cook a steak to a fraction of the wellness of burnt ends and the steak nazis go ballistic. From the moment our ancestors made their first animal kill on the savannas of Africa to the inevitable end of this planet, great tasting meat has always and will always be about one thing. Fat. Sure, take a garbage lean steak and cook the crap out of it, and you'll have leather. But singing the praises of this same inferior meat cooked to reddish pink? Please. Garbage in, garbage out. You took crap meat and, by cooking it less, you made it the tiniest bit less crappy. Good for you. Alert the Nobel committee. Fat changes the equation entirely. In a sufficiently marbled steak, with extended cooking you get juiciness, you get succulence, while, at the same time, achieving a greater penetration of Maillard compounds. This is why you can take a well marbled brisket, smoke it for hours, and end up with something orgasmic. Don't believe me? Take out a second mortgage on your house and get yourself one of these. http://amazingribs.com/images/beef/rib_cap.jpg Cook it until it's well done, and, if it doesn't make your eyes roll back into your head, then come back and call me a barbarian. I dare you
  25. Pork loin ground with fat (60/40) stays nice and moist But that's the only way I'll eat it.
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