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Everything posted by RETREVR

  1. Hobart is the standard. I haven't checked prices lately, but I imagine a nice used one with mixing attatchments will run about $1000. They are dammed heavy, so buying on ebay may be tricky, with the shipping aspect. I bought a 20qt last year and the wisk was the wrong size. It was nice to make a phone call across town and have it handled the same day. A standard convection oven is Blodgett. There are many other good ones on the market, and now there are many more options with steam injections. For basic baking, a Blodgett will do the job, and they are built like a brick house. You can spend $1500 on a used oven pretty quick, and you may have to spend more to get a decent one. If you have any chance of doing breads in the future, go ahead and spend the extra money on steam injection. I don't really have experience with the new fangled ovens...maybe someone else can direct you there. There are several range makers. You might go new and get one of cheaper brands, unless you find a buy on a nice condition top name. I personaly would spend my money on the convection, to get what I want and then get a decent range. Same with a fryer....everybody and their brother makes one and most of them are about equal. If you buy used refers, make sure your dealer will stand behind them or buy new. You will always need refer repair work now and then, but it would suck to spend too much on used units and then spend the first sixty days spending money on repair work.
  2. Then why did you ask if you should use a harder flour? I use a mixture of an AP and a bread flour. I machine mix. Good luck
  3. I will not own a book printed by prentice hall. Microwave cakes are a great idea...I will be doing that just as soon as they make a unit big enough to hold cakes for 100.
  4. I am not a pro baker but.... Why the soft flour? Seems to me that you will need a harder flour to get to where you want to be. With a harder flour you will need a longer mixing time to get the gluten there....this may lend itself to machine mixing. This all should alow you to go for longer proof times, which is how you are going to get your air in the dough.
  5. By the way.... I was just finishing the jaconde demo. The lemon recipe is loose and pourable and will set up. It might be the ticket, if that is the application you had in mind.
  6. Well, when you start with lemons, and want to make mousse, the next step is usually making a curd of sorts. I use 20 eggs seperate 2.5C lemon juice 1/2C zest 1qt cream about 5T geletain bloomed in a cup or so of water This is from memmory, so I think it is right. The boosted gel makes it stiff enough to take to a mold or to form quennels for a plate. Assemble like a mousse: Heat yolks, sugar, juice and rind over double boiler. Combine gel Cool breifly over ice Fold with beaten egg whites Fold in whipped cream. It will be fairly loose. Pour or pipe it how you like then let it set up. My basic choc mouse is: 20 eggs seperate 2.5lb choc 6oz butter 1C of sugar 1Qt cream Melt down the ganach Beat half the sugar with yolks Beat half the sugar with whites fold eggs together fold in choc fold in whipped cream. Any additional flavoring you want can be folded into the choc. Again, this is from memmory. It is a pretty basic mousse, and as with many things, the chocolate has something to do with how good it tastes. I would be interested in the differences betwene this and what some of the pros are using. I am a hot-sider but have been doing a lot of pastry stuff lately.
  7. A towel buy to clean up the kitchen at the end of the day is nice to have. I used to have a killer immersion blender. I would kill to have one now. I already have a robot coup. It is hard to believe that the french are the best builders of any type of sturdy electronics. Wait untill you have to repair one or get a part for it. When I was out of the business, I once traded a 12pk of beer for a robot coup from a recently un-paid cook. I should have not sold that. A wood table is dammed necessary. I have a wood top to fit the bakers table that the previous chef would not allow in the kitchen. She is history. One thing I wish I had was about three extra bowls for my stand mixers. Silpats are needed although I still use parchment for much of the baking. I just bought about a $1000 worth of odds and ends from a bakery that folded. I was the only buyer at the auction and bagged it for $102. We are talking about drawers full of ring cutter sets, a mandolin, vintage pudding molds, tarts and pans of all sizes, copper cutters, cambro containers of all sizes, messermiester knives,..... One of the items not to go at the auction was a chrome plated hobart 20qt. Oh, and another thing.... I picked up a "bar maid" electric glass washer at a garage sale for $5. It is the kind that they use in bar sinks. This baby really helps the towel boy get the ramekins clean.
  8. We are really talking about component cooking, which is very prevalent on the hot side. Many a sous cannot write a grocery list or write a dish down from begining to end before they make it. The pantry is the major advantage a professional has. There are always several things going on in the bakery. Sometimes it is as simple as using the left-overs so they don't get tossed. Left over mousse layered in betwene a sheet of choc torte cut with rings. The waste from the cut-out gets turned into petite fours. The left-over ganach gets poured into the batch of choc mousse. The creme anglaise gets put into the ice cream mixer with god knows what. It is very time consuming to do one project at a time from begining to end. It works when projects feed off each other and become starters for the next project. I have made assortments of mini cheese cakes in muffin tins. I also made a realy rich choc cake like (almost molten nuttella like) in muffin tins lined with crepes. The bottom of the crepe was sort of chewy, the tops were brown and crunchy and the choc was sin. I think that one of the keys to petites is to have the proper richness for the size. Choc, flans, caremel, ....these all are rich enough for small portions. My chilled lemon petite had to be tuned-up a little to make it work small. I hope to ad joconde to my repetoir this week. For the hot chef, I sure spend a lot of time doing pastery. It is fun for now.
  9. I have been doing a lot of minis. I bought some really sharp 2oz tinted plastic "cups". I have been doing choc mousse, tiramisu, and chilled lemon soufle in them. They look great by themselves, but they look even better in three varieties on a tray all lined up in flying formation. We are at about $1.50 on them, however my cups may make me raise the price a quarter. We could never produce them and try to retail them one at a time. However we do take orders for them by the dozens and often put them on parties. They are popular for the same reason that bite-sized brownies and fruit bars are popular. These days most people don't want to eat a whole choc mousse, they like variety, and/or they want to eat sweets in moderation.
  10. Talk about making things more complicated than they need be. Think of a bell curve. The peak of which is 140deg. You pull the roast before it gets there which allows the heat of the outer portion of the roast to bring the temperature of the interior to the top of the curve. The muscles tense-up with exposure to heat(remember the trick of feeling your palm when relaxed for rare and feeling it while flexed for well). Same thing. You have to wait untill the temp starts sliding down the other side of the curve for the muscles to relax again....thus your roast won't wet the bed. I can almost see why you thought that you could avoid this with your coast method. However, the roast was riding the top of the bell curve and had not yet started to cool. I can tell you that I can put a 145deg roast in a 145deg holding cabinet and it will leak its juices even without being cut. To avoid this I use a 120deg cabinet to hold a roast(not for an extended amount of time but 30-40 minutes) I use a small cut of beef for coctail sandwiches all the time. I used to roast in the morning and wait untill the afternoon to slice it. Now I roast the day before cool them overnight before slicing. I get almost no loss of juices.
  11. I don't know if this counts, but...I just cured a side of salmon. It is a snap. I used a very basic cure of salt, sugar, dill and a little cognac. I weighed it down in the fridge for three days. I do have a big smoker, but not one capable of low temperature smoking. I smoked it on the stove top for only a few minutes and then let the smoke relax a little by resting it in the fridge for a day. It turned out very well. Once duck season starts, I am going to play with some cured breasts and duck pastrami, and a little confit. My smoker is a big New Bransfels tank type. I can certainly smoke BBQ at 200' with no problem, but true cold smoking is going to be a problem. I am trying to come up with some strategery for this. I was thinking of attatching pipe to the chimney and running it into an ice cooler full of ice and then into another chamber which would hold the fish. Any ideas?
  12. Thank you all for your responses. I am sorry I have been away for a day. To address a few things Wendy. Yes I am familiar with weighting. I made canape sized in-house smoked salmon and asparagrass napoleans today and obviously weighted the pp. I had just never thought of weighting a filled pastry. That is a hell of an idea. Perhaps even rolling them up in silpats? I crazy. I also do make small voul au vents as you describe, usualy for a salad of lump crab. I think I loose something by not baking the onions (and don't forget the blue cheese) en crout. The ingredients interact. I have infact tried cutting rounds and baking them in a mini-tin. This actually works well for some ingredients, as the pp wraps around the filling. My only attempt with the onions failed because the pp simply pushed the filling to the top and it looked like a little onion muffin. Brand is a sore subject. We have slowly been pushing the chef out of the business(have not seen her in a month), as she has no ability/desire to really get on top of ordering quality products. We are just now getting the ship in order with our suppliers. We have been using (now don't laugh) "Jeckys Best" brand of kosher puff pastry. I know...it is funny. But appearantly after Jeckys succesfull vaudville carrer, he got into the puff pastry racket. I ordered-in a different brand that arrived today. I was pleased with my napolean project. So. I have been resting the pastries, but I will try cooling them for some time before I bake them. I will try a thinner roll. I wil try weighting. I am all-over the squirt bottles. If I had my way, every liquid in the world would be in a squirt bottle and all the furniture on wheels. I don't use a lot of phylo. I think it is perfect for a few dishes, but generaly over-used in some cases... generaly that is....except in some casses...that is. How about a pear stuffed with onion confit and maytag and wraped in phylo? Good yes? You like? I'll have to wait for the nice pears to happen. I was frustrated. I now have a good couple of directions to go. I even recieved a recipe straight out of Italia for a dough that I am going to try. Thanks folks. This is a good non-partisan think tank.

    Involtini, rolls..

    I used to make a veal involtini with spinach, pine nuts, pruciuto, and fontina. I ocaisionaly serve chicken rolled up but it would be better described as roulade. A true classic is wild dove breast with jalepeno and onion wrapped in bacon ( or pancetta, procuito...) and grilled. Must be served with cold beer, preferably fire-side.
  14. Where to you light that thing?
  15. One of the best ones I have made at home is a Tuaca icecream with a blackberry sauce. Every time I have a big function with creme anglais on the menu, I make a bunch of extra cream "by accident" and then just throw it into the maker with whatever flavoring I feel like.
  16. No I have not. I did try an eggroll wrapper and baked it. I did not like the result. I will try phyllo although it can get very messy on a platter. I'll try it.
  17. I have been making a "strudel" with puff pastry filled with carmelized onions and maytag blue. It is fine. I have been trying to convert this into a bite sized finger food that I can produce without having to make individual peices. I simply scaled down the the size to a little over an inch diameter tubular shape and did not weave the top. Instead, I slashed the top every inch or so to allow it to vent and to aid in cutting. I can't get a clean product. The main problem is that half of the seams will burst. I have put the seam on the top, side, bottom. I have seamed it dry, I have eggwashed the seam, I have single crimped the seam, I have double crimped the seam, I have docked the dough, I have left the dough un-docked. So what to do? Should I try a different type of dough? Should I try a different brand of dough? Do I just suck at using puff? Is there another pattern that I could use? Any other thoughts? The reason I realy want this to work is that I don't want to spend several hours making individual pastries every time I need 500 of them for a party. I can spend an hour putting the cylinders together and then just slice them for service....If I can get them to stay together. We already make pot stickers and spring rolls in house...by the thousands. I just don't have the hands available to make thousands of pastries. If I can't find a way to make them quickly, I will have to remove them from the menus...which would suck because they are tasty. The only other thing I have not tried is rolling-out the dough to be rather thin.

    positive outlet

    This is what I was thinking: Grate up zuccini and onion add a little egg and make cakes out of them. Cut up the cucumber and tomatoes and make a pico de gallo to serve with the cakes. I'd just roast the bird and grill the sausage and serve it with tortillas so folks could tear it up, roll it up, and eat it. Grate cucumbers into sour cream for the sauce. Saute the strawberries in butter, sprinkle wilth a little brown sugar and deglace with liqueur. Serve over ice cream, or over a banana and under whipped cream.


    I always called it Cock Sauce. It makes a very quick cocktail sauce. Just mix with catsup. It can add background heat to any tomato sauce. It doesn't screw with the acidity like vinegar based hot sauces. Just a touch in a red pepper coulis to liven it up. A touch in mayo with the typical grindage for a remulaude. Another sauce that I used to use as a condiment is El Pato. I would sneek it into chili or other tomato sauces for a little background noise.
  20. I just passed up a vita mix at auction last week. I kick myself. Could have stole it for 30 to 50 bucks. I was at the supply house later that day and the owner told me that his cost on the pitcher alone was $90. It came down to the fact that I don't need a blender. Could have made a buck though.
  21. MAC makes good knives. As you probably know, they make many lines. Some of their western style knives are bolsterless, some have half bolster. Throughout their lines, they seem to be well designed. They also use quality steel that will perform better than Solingen steel.
  22. Right. Like I want to wear a hairnet. Talk about making a mountain out of a ..... This is not a coroprate setting here. We aren't going to put sucurity gates in the kitchen.
  23. Front of house staff allowed behind the pass? Unimaginably worse, preparing food? Unconscionable. ← She just built the kitchen so I can't really ban her. We don't have a dining room, so it is not a line setting. Boss= Part owner.
  24. Yesterday one of the front of house bosses walked into the kitchen and started to make a sandwich with my knife on the cuttingboard I was using. I couldn't believe it. There was a bin of twenty house knives two feet away. I looked at her and asked "so, do you like raw chicken on your sandwich"...implying that the board and knife had just been used to cut chicken. I think she got the message. Look...I would rather spend 15 minutes making a sandwich for her than have her waltz in and handle my property. If it happens again, my response will be, "don't you ever touch my fucking knife again". You see, the kitchen used to be in a different location than the offices. We just moved. She has not idea what is acceptable behavior in the kitchen. Everyone else I work with knows not to touch my knives. Sometimes I will offer a knife to someone if they are really struggling with delicate work. I want my food to look good. They understand that it is not an invitation to use my knives in the future. Other kitchens I have been in, I wouldn't loan a knife for anything.
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