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Posts posted by bkeith

  1. Got a few samples from my supplier and really liked it (bittersweet, milk, gianduja), but haven't had a chance to order any yet. Thanks for the info on the white. The vanilla flecks won't bother me for some applications, but will definitely be a problem at other times. I may wind up stocking two different whites. And thanks for the info on ease of use. A bit tough to tell how well it'll work when you only have a small sample, but I was able to temper a tiny amount of it with no real problem, so that impressed me.

  2. Been having major woes making IMBC.

    Last 5 times turned into soupy mess.

    taking syrup to 245f, beating egg whites to room temp

    butter cool and smashed to soften

    no go, no idea

    I might even take a video of next time.

    Any suggestions ?

    Those all sounds like valid tips as part of the recipe, but there's not a lot of info to go on. Have you made it successfully in the past? If so, what's different this time?

    "IMBC = soupy mess" often translates into not letting the meringue cool completely before adding the butter, so you wind up just melting the butter instead of making an emulsion. After adding the syrup, let it beat on medium speed until it's all the way down to room temperature.

    Try putting your soupy mess into the fridge for a while to cool it, then re-beat to see if it comes together. Also, if you haven't calibrated your thermometer lately, it might not be a bad idea. Maybe you're not actually getting to 245?

    You might also want to post the recipe you're using so we can get a feel for your ingredient proportions and make sure they're not out of whack.

  3. A question: what exactly does 'panning them' mean? Thanks.

    In this case, I took that to mean the step where you pour/scrape the newly whipped marshmallow goo from the mixing bowl into the lined pan to set up.

    bkeith: Thanks for replying. That's exactly what I meant.

    Do you have any caramel marshmallows left? They are great to snack on and very good melting on a coffee or latte. My assistant used to serve her kids sliced bananas with vanilla icecream and caramel sauce so she's thinking that the marshmallows would be great instead of just caramel sauce and torched they would be even better, melty marshmallows on icecream...mmmmm.

    Excellent ideas. I love the thought of melting one into a latte. I think they'd be pretty marvy dipped in chocolate too. Ooh - smores! You'd have to handle them a little differently, though --I don't see them holding well on the end of a stick. But make "inside smores" with a torch or broiler, and I think I'm looking for a reason to call in sick to work.

    To keep myself from eating the whole pan, I took them as one of my donations to the bake sale of our cake show. They went pretty quickly. I guess now I'll have to make more for latte experiments, seeing as how I've got extra caramel sauce left over and all. ;)

  4. Cream of tartar acts as an acid which helps turn some of the granulated sugar into invert sugar which helps to prevent re-crystalization. You can substitute a few drops of lemon juice.

    Can this be substituted in all recipes? Could I do this for pulled sugar?

    Yep -- works fine. I watched Roland Mesnier do this a few years back (sugar and water in a pot, bring to a boil, squeeze in some lemon juice and add a big glop of glucose, boil to temp, pull, make amazing things).

    I've since done the same, and it works great. I followed his lead and didn't measure the lemon juice, but I'd estimate I used approx 1/2 - 1 tsp lemon juice per pound of sugar.

  5. This week I made a batch of vanilla marshmallows and swirled in homemade caramel sauce right before panning them. They are seriously amazing. They taste like caramel ripple ice cream. The layers separate a bit but none of my testers thought it was an issue and in fact, some of them thought the difference in textures between the layers is what made them amazing. However, I'm wondering about shelf life. The caramel sauce is usually stored in the fridge. Fruit purees are as well so maybe it's fine but I worry about the butter and cream. Are there any guidelines on this? Instead of sauce should I make a firmer caramel that would normally be stored at room temp and just warm it to liquify before using?

    After reading this I had to give it a try, and you're right -- seriously amazing. I made a batch last night, and it would have taken a very large team of horses to get the spatula away from me. Can't wait to sample them tonight after they're cut.

    I'm not going to worry about shelf life -- they won't last long enough for that to be a problem.

  6. bkieth:

    yes, it helps quite a bit---I'm going to assume that the callebaut couveture chips I'm using are already in temper, though I still have a couple of questions:

    1. Does this asssume if i do the direct warming via the microwave or stovetop with these chips and it exceeds 88-90 degrees, it will go out of temper?

    2. Does this also mean that if I do seeding technique that I will always have to add tempered chocolate as seeds? Which is to say, If I use chocolate that i screwed up on tempering, can I re-temper it without adding new tempered chocolate by bringing it up to the requisite temp and cooling it down to desired temp?

    thanks so much for your help!

    1. Yes, although I have found that if I go just a bit above and quickly add some fresh chocolate, it will temper fine. And the exact temper range will vary depending on the chocolate you are using.

    2. Yes, if you are using the seed method you always need to have tempered chocolate as seeds. The only way to re-temper chocolate without fresh seed chocolate is to use a method such as tabling described above, which uses a completely different method to introduce the appropriate crystals.

    Thanks, Tammy, for jumping in. I haven't had a chance to check in here since Wednesday morning.

  7. I think you're mixing terms. I use the seeding method, and I use the microwave to accomplish it. Sounds like you're talking about seeding vs. "direct warming". In essence:

    . Seeding refers to the method where you melt part of your chocolate to the "virgin" state where all the cocoa butter crystals have melted -- 118F or so. Then you add unmelted (seed) chocolate that's already in temper (as it should be when you receive it unless it's been stored badly), and stir like mad. As the unmelted chocolate softens and melts out, the good (beta) crystals it contains grab onto the melted cocoa butter in the virgin chocolate and encourage the formation or more beta crystals. Once the mixture gets to the proper working temperature range (88-90F-ish), you remove any chunks of unmelted chocolate that are left to prevent over-tempering and work with the now-tempered chocolate.

    . Direct warming takes advantage of the fact that if you're careful, you can gently warm chocoalte to the point where it's melted and at proper working range without taking it above the point where the beta crystals start to melt out. In essence, you're melting the chocolate without ever going out of temper. Just warm and stir, warm and stir, a bit at a time until the chocolate is melted and in working range. Make sure you don't get the chocoalte above 90F or so, and you should be in good shape. It's a bit fiddly and fussy to do for folks who are new to tempering, which is why I stopped teaching that method and went back to seeding.

    Whatever method you use, it's always good advice to test the batch of chocolate to ensure you've gotten it into good temper before working with it -- saves heartache later. Just use the tip of a spatula or knife or a scrap of parchment paper. Dip into the tempered chocolate and let it sit at room temp. If it sets within a few minutes, you're in good shape. If not, you're probably not in temper (and/or your room's too hot).

    Hope that helps.

  8. Isomalt, poured hot, onto silicon will cause those bubbles to appear. The idea is to pour it when it's as cold as possible but still manageable. You may still get bubbles but a quick pass over with a blow torch will cause those to disappear. Poured isomalt or sugar tends to take on the appearance of the contact surface too, so it may be worth getting something like this. I suppose it's just a heat resistance piece of vinyl but I'm not too sure. I do know though, that if you're going to do that, that you really want a piece of baking paper between the vinyl and the table/workspace... I learned that the hard way  :wacko: .

    What if you het the silicon? Whould that help (I can try of course but not at the moment, and curious as I am :) )

    That'd make it worse. ;) It's the heating of the silicone that makes it give off gas. The bubbles are coming from the silicone, not from the Isomalt. The Isomalt is just trapping them.

    250F seems to be the magic temperature. If I let my Isomalt syrup cool to 250 before pouring into silicone molds, I don't get the bubbles.

  9. If I want a yellow rose, for example, can I simply add yellow food color? And which variety of color would be best? Gel? Or is this just not a good idea?

    You can knead in paste or gel color as you would into fondant or gum paste. No need to worry about seizing as with plain melted chocolate.

    Alternately, if I want a whole batch of one color, I'll add the color to the corn syrup before stirring it into the chocolate. Saves the fuss of kneading it in later.

    Another option is to make your rose using the natural white chocolate color, then use yellow petal dust to add color later. Makes for a more natural and refined-looking finished product.

  10. Jennifer Dontz travels to conduct flower classes. Contact me if you want her information. Her cakes are in the big floral arrangment books that are in florist shops - I guess they are FTD or whoever it is that publishes those big giant books that go out across the country. I think they come out yearly. She's awesome. Well credentialed.

    There's B Keith Ryder Virginia.

    And here's a good link


    Hey K8! Thanks for the shout-out.

    I'm starting a series on gum paste fundamentals in the new year. One class a week for 10 weeks, each hitting different flowers and skills. Bit of a trek for Annette from New York, though. ;)

    I know I'll be in New York in April to teach and demo at a Day of Sharing, but I don't recall now what topics they've asked for. I'll check, and if it's gum paste, I'll holler.

  11. Dear fellow Egulleters!

    I am making a cake in the shape of an opera house, and decided to carve the facade out of a huge Rice Krispie treat to attach it to the cake afterwards.

    This is the first time I use Rice Krispies in cake decorating, because the client is on a budget - I normally carve the cake itself.

    I wonder - should I "crumb-coat" the Rice Krispy facade element with buttercream before covering it in gum paste?  I am looking for a smooth look on the gum paste, and am afraid that if I don't cover the Rice Krispies, the little bumps will show.  On the other hand - maybe the buttercream is not the right choice...  :hmmm:

    I did "shave" the structure down with a knife to make it as smooth as possible. 

    I know some of you are expert cake decorators.  Any tips?

    Thanks so much!

    Maybe a thin layer of chocolate to even out the surface?

  12. From JB Prince (where I bought my molds):
    These chocolate molds are made from food safe rigid polycarbonate plastic.  They are durable, will not bend, and have highly detailed designs.

    Before use, these molds should be carefully cleaned in warm or hot water with mild soap.  DO NOT USE A DETERGENT OR SOAP THAT CONTAINS ABRASIVES.

    It is possible to put these molds in a dishwasher – even a commercial one, BUT DO NOT USE DISHWASHER DETERGENT.  It contains abrasives that will scratch the plastic.

    After washing, the molds can be dried with a soft, lint free cloth or cotton balls.

    Thank you for buying from the J.B. Prince Company.

    That's exactly what I do. Works great.

  13. How does one make a chocolate syrup which is thick and rich and chocolately enough, and still it stays in a semi-liquid form when it meets the cold frozen yoghurt?

    Use cocoa powder. :raz:

    Seriously -- the cocoa butter in the bittersweet chocolate is what's making your ganache-type sauce harden up in the fridge and on the frozen yogurt. A sauce that uses cocoa powder rather than bittersweet chocolate has way less cocoa butter to harden up.

  14. this gives you a more rounded sweetness I think ...you can also use sugar alcohols but serving a crowd I would not take that chance unless there were plenty of bathrooms that is for sure  :shock:

    I am sorry I know you asked about isomalt ..I have no clue about that

    Isomalt is a sugar alcohol, and the same advice applies. Different folks will react differently to eating Isomalt. I did a low-carb chocolate mousse cake for a small get-together a couple years back (few friends, all of whom were doing the low-carb thing). Most of those who ate it just got gassy from it. One guy got cramps.

  15. I was thinking about te caramel flavor lately , actually more burnt sugar one.Do you think would work if I make some burnt sugar then I add some water to make liquid burnt sugar and use it to bloom the gelatine?

    That's in essence what I did, but instead of using the "burnt sugar water" to bloom the gelatine, I left it in the pot and used it as the base for the sugar syrup. I didn't measure, but I probably used about 1/3 cup of sugar to make the burnt sugar. Next time I'd use 1/2 cup or more and take it to a slightly darker brown before stopping the cooking.

  16. wonderful! Don't the graham crackers crack or break when you cut them into 1"X1"? When I make mine I make the dimensions kind of cut into the dough before it goes into the oven and then they are just the right size. I wonder exactly how you do it so there is no cracking or crumbing. Wonderful inventiveness!

    The only time I had that problem was when I lined both top and bottom with graham crackers. The ones on top broke up when I cut because they were sitting on a non-firm surface. The ones on the bottom were fine.

    I'm really building them upside down. The graham crackers are on top of the marshmallow in the pan, but when I flip them out, the crackers are on the bottom, and that's where they stay. I think having them sit on the marshmallow overnight probably softens them a touch as well.

    Yeah, I think careful chocolate selection is key - I think it has to be a relatively mild-flavored milk chocolate, and the coating needs to be as thin as possible. I like the idea of toasting the marshmallow before enrobing to complete the flavor profile.

    You know, that's a good point. I'm a big bittersweet fan, so I just grabbed for that naturally. But now that I think about it, the traditional chocolate for smores is Hershey's milk chocolate. Next time I'll try milk thinned with a bit of cocoa butter. Thanks!

  17. My best result with a smores-type creation goes thusly:

    Line 2 12x12x2 square pans with parchment paper and spray with Pam.

    Make a batch of marshmallows (I've done vanilla, banana, and burnt sugar, and they all worked well). Pour half into each pan. Tile the top with store-bought graham crackers. It takes just about one package to cover both pans completely. Press with a smaller pan to ensure everything's even. Let set.

    Turn out the marshmallows and remove the parchment. You've now got a nice block of stuff that's flat on both top and bottom, and has a stable layer of graham cracker on the bottom to help keep the cuts square. Cut to 1"x1" bite-size bits. Dip in your favorite tempered bittersweet or semisweet couverture.

    The only part I'm not completely satisfied with yet is that it's missing that toasted marshmallow flavor. In my most recent attempt I took part of the sugar from the recipe and caramelized it to a dark brown, then added the water and the rest of the sugar and made the syrup as the recipe indicated. That worked a bit, but wasn't as strong a burnt sugar flavor as I'd have liked, so maybe I need to caramelize a bit more sugar to start with. Drawback is that it makes a slightly tan marshmallow.

    My first couple attempts I used a torch to toast the top of the marshmallow layer after it was turned out of the pan. That works ok, but again, not enough toasted flavor. And you have to let the marshmallow set up again before cutting because the top gets soft from the heat of the torch.

    I think the problem is that with an enrobed treat, the amount of chocolate is greater than you'd get on a traditional smore, and it overwhelms the toasted flavor I'm putting into the marshmallow mix. Gotta keep tweaking.

  18. I am working on Julia Child’s “A Glorious Plum Pudding For Christmas” from The Way to Cook. I think I have the steamed pudding part down pat now. 

    I snuck some plums into this no-plum plum pudding by substituting them for black raisins (she calls for 1 cup each of black raisins,  yellow raisins and currants).  Otherwise I did as told, well almost. I used Panko crumbs instead of homemade white bread crumbs. And I added some cardamom. Yum. 

    As I recall, at the time plum pudding got its name, the word "plum" was a general reference a to piece of dried fruit. Much like "corn" referred to a chunk of something (corned beef has nothing to do with the grain; rather it was preserved using little chunks or "corns" of salt).

    So plum pudding probably doesn't require plums at all -- just raisins and currants. Sounds like a delicious substitution, though. ;)

  19. I just noticed fruit powders (mango, passion, strawberry and raspberry) on the Chef Rubber site. Anyone used them? Can they be substituted for purees with appropriate liquid added? Shelf stable for a good long time?

    Inquiring minds....

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