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Robert Schonfeld

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Everything posted by Robert Schonfeld

  1. Jinmyo,Dec 16 2004, 07:37 AM: No. Yes. I'll have what she's having.
  2. Hello, Mr. Reinhart. My question concerning gluten is this: if I choose a flour with a relatively low protein number, and then add vital wheat gluten, do I stand a better chance of producing a very wet dough that can be aggressively developed into loaves that will retain their form and also have a very open crumb, as opposed to simply using a strong flour at a high hydration which, in my experience as a home baker, does not yield the large holes one looks for in such a loaf? edit: I am familiar with turning techniques, and I have produced good flattish loaves with a variable crumb. What I am curious about is a loaf I once saw that was very high - nearly round - but also with very large holes. I have seen flour offered that gives both protein and vital gluten specifications, which is what gives rise to my question.
  3. It was a thoroughly delightful afternoon. I have other photos, which I may try to post when I have more time to futz with things. Meantime, thanks to Bux for getting these up.
  4. It was our pleasure to share a meal at this restaurant with Susan and Robert Brown last month. Lunch was served in a small, charming garden. One dish stands out in memory: daurade sauvage topped with a half-dried tomato, girolles and a sauce of galinette, described by the chef as a kind of (or similar to: my French isn't that good) rouget. The sauce was a deep reddish brown, as rich in taste as the promise of its color. It served perfectly to marry the mushrooms with the meaty fish. It also balanced nicely with the tomato, which in its turn was acid, rich and meaty. Plate design of the first by Bob.
  5. I meant the region of Tuscany. Thank you for pointing that out. The nomenclature was always a pain for me.
  6. I am very interested to hear more about this from knowledgeable participants. My own experience has been that food in Florence can be "urbanized" with a greater dose of sophistication and finesse, like the city itself. This has also been true for me in at least one other important Tuscan city, Lucca. In general, it tends to be true of cooking in cities as opposed to the countryside, the latter of which makes up the majority of Tuscany and all of Italy. In addition, creations can arise in Florence, such as schiacciatta with grapes, rather than the foccacia found commonly elsewhere in Tuscany and throughout that part of Italy. Or things prepared "alla fiorentina" as another example. The Tuscans I know refer constantly to common characteristics of their province, as they do to differences among tiny areas within the province that are virtually indistinguishable to outsiders. Both are valid points of view. edited for typo
  7. Adam, thank you for the well researched and well written article. Your approach was especially interesting, as the larger subject of pasta outside Italy is not as thoroughly covered in the literature as it should be.
  8. The use of different sauces, condiments and blowtorching is actually not that unusual in Japan either. My last meal in Tokyo for example I had Chu-Toro with some mayonaisse-based condiment that was cooked with a blow torch. Although the use is more common in NY, it is definitely not unique to the city. It was not my intent to encourage an inference concerning the uniqueness of this style to New York, but rather to report that it is referred to that way by at least some Japanese both in New York and in Japan.
  9. My Japanese friends in New York call the style of sushi that involves different liquid applications and different condiments, as well as the occasional blow-torching, "New York style sushi". This style may be experienced at a high level of quality at Jewel Bako, for example.
  10. "Risotto" and "great party/catering item" strike me as contradictory terms.
  11. Or make the driest dough ball you can, chop it into pieces, and whizz the pieces in a blender. Store the result in a tightly sealed jar. I kept one once in a cupboard for over a year, including through a hot summer, and it reactivated just fine.
  12. There's a very nice underlying structure to Iain's first loaf, one that will show itself better with practice, no doubt. You can learn to evaluate the doneness of a loaf by its look, its color, its sound when tapped on the bottom. It's like poking a piece of meat as it cooks.
  13. I agree. here's one that I have been using for nearly ten years with much satisfaction. It is available for the cost of a self-addressed stamped envelope from the family of a man who literally spent the last years of his life dedicated to giving it away to anyone who asked. A good part of the sourdough spirit resides in sharing. Carl exemplified that.
  14. I learned the folding-during-fermentation technique from a pizza baker in Rome. It's a good one and it works to increase the extensibility of the dough. As discussed, there are ways of making sour bread. Understanding buffering is important to this. Sour bread is not the goal of many regular sourdough bakers. Sourdough is an unfortunate misnomer in this regard. Why is the recipe in volume, rather than weight measure, which is so much more convenient for figuring hydration? When Dick Adams makes it onto this board, you know that sourdough has gone mainstream. Edited for spelling and clarity.
  15. Thanks for the reply, Bill. Usually, when you can smell or taste the yeast, bakers say there's too much. I suspect that the big oven spring you are getting is coming from your exceptional, very hot oven, along with a dough that's been well developed by a good machine. But I love your commitment to the experiments, and most of all I'd love to taste some of that pizza. Your family and neighbors are lucky!
  16. A magnum opus branding you as certifiably nuts, Bill. Of course, the fact that I sought out terracotta tiles from an Italian oven maker to line my own home oven here in New York is perfectly normal... I agree - in fact I preach to anyone who will listen - that all bread baking is about technique, temperature and state of mind, not recipes. Just this question: all that yeast? Typically flavor is developed by using a very small amount of yeast (the Italians make a biga), and by fermenting the dough in bulk in a cool environment for an extended period of time. Successive turnings of the dough promote the extensibility that allows the pie to be shaped by stretching rather than rolling. What is the advantage of so much yeast?
  17. No need for regrets, Bill. This is, to say the least, a slow-moving pursuit on my part, something for me to get into gradually during periods of boredom with my everyday livelihood. I do, however, share your sense of opportunity for discovery, and this is my motivation, along with the insufferable arrogance of the French apologists.
  18. I want a 100 pound soapstone. Here's one idea that I haven't seen mentioned: in conjunction with a long bulk fermentation, turn the dough gently at least several times. This will help with extensibility if olive oil is anathema to you. Be sure the dough is fully rested before forming the crust.
  19. Many thanks for the good suggestions, lml. A hobby for retirement, perhaps. Meantime, I'll look into Prof. Montanari's book.
  20. I manage to puzzle out a little Italian, Craig. Many thanks for your list, but these are all secondary sources, including Artusi for anything that came before his time. I'm curious about libraries and private collections of historical culinary material.
  21. The discussion of the origin of the names of some pasta dishes in the guanciale thread has me thinking once again about the difference between anecdotal information and primary source material. While folk history is a vital part of culture, and offers much useful information, the egghead in me is always wondering about primary sources. For example, much opinion and secondary source material is offered concerning earlier development of many important techniques in Italy before the same techniques were adopted in France. My question is this: where would a serious researcher look for primary material on the subject of Italian cuisine? Has any compelling academic work been done on the history of Italian cuisine that is footnoted with references to primary sources? This question is asked not to give short shrift to observation and tradition, but to ask whether sources exist to support these, and, if so, to what degree have they been studied and published with footnotes?
  22. In view of the fact that so many Italian dishes have imprecise, even poetical origins, it seems to me that insistence in the form of words like "mandatory" can be contradicted by observation and experience.
  23. Doesn't "carbonara" mean coal miner or charcoal maker? I always thought the reference in the title of the dish was to a noun relating the dish to the working people with whom it was first associated, like puttanesca. The Roman recipe also includes, unsurprisingly, some pecorino romano. I find that cracked pepper suits the dish better than ground pepper. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that spaghetti alla carbonara is sometimes offered in Italy made with smoked bacon, perhaps leading to its association with American GI's (bacon and eggs). Salumeria Biellese's guanciale, like Niman Ranch's, is available by the piece. The last piece I got there was about $20, which compares favorably with buying a few slices of pancetta here and there on the East Side of NYC.
  24. Another great entry, with terrific photos, especially the first hummingbird shot.
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