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Patrick S

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Everything posted by Patrick S

  1. What the heck are fillers? Some education from the company rep about what "fillers" are would be good. I would think it would be plasticizers that you'd be tasting- the things that keep the silicone flexible. ← Fillers are substances, like silica, that may be added to the silicone elastomers to affect properties like porosity. I might be wrong, but I thought that food-grade silicone products do not contain plasticizers -- that their plasticity and flexibility was an inherent propoerty of the silicone elastomers themselves, and the way they are crosslinked during the curing/vulcanization process. Plasticizers are used extensively to make vinyl chloride polymers flexible though, but as far as I know, they is no vinyl chloride cookware. Not all silicone is the same -- there are many different types of silicone elastomers, which different properties, and as fas as I can tell, there are no easy ways to determine which brands of silicone cookware are made from which types of silicone elastomers, and which other materials they might contain. Silicone cookware also varies in terms of how they have been cured or vulcanized, which I suspect can make a big difference in terms of their nonstickiness.
  2. I see this all the time with white chocolate -- breaks down into a hopeless-looking mess when you add liquor, and then comes back together perfectly when you add eggs.
  3. I made the flaky apple turnovers. These were great. I added some golden raisins and a little ground ginger to the filling, and drizzled a little caramel over them. I've eaten way too many of these. Flickr images: #1 #2
  4. I'm no scientist, but the water bath ensures that the outside of the ramekins (or at least the part in contact with the water) never exceeds 212F. It also helps maintain a temperature that is constant over time (rather than a bunch of peaks and dips as the elements cycle on and off) and consistent throughout the cooking space (your roasting pan or whatever that holds the ramekin).
  5. I agree with you -- El Rey is definitely one of the best white chocolates.
  6. I use Mafter exopats, and have never detected any taste from it.
  7. I made the thumbprint cookies using almonds, homemade pear-vanilla jam, and some blackberry preserves. They're delicious. Larger versions: #1 #2 #3
  8. In light of hearing all the stories about failing and short-lived mixers, I can't help but point out that my Sunbeam mixmaster, which was a hand-me-down and I'm pretty sure is 20+ years old, has not once failed, even doing large batches of pizza dough.
  9. This raises one of those questions I've wondered about. What are the "rules" on freezing various fillings/frostings/icings? Having been surprised at how well some things freeze, there is clearly stuff I am missing. What can you freeze and what just dies when you do that? Patrick (or one of the many other sages here), care to enlighten me? thx ~km ← To be honest I can only recall a few problems from freezing things. I've had Herme's chocolate glaze crack on me once when I froze it on a cake. But the vast majority of things I've frozen -- including a lot of different kinds of mousses and buttercreams-- have frozen just fine.
  10. I recommend portioning your cookie dough into spheres and chilling them before baking if you want a mounded shape.
  11. Patrick S

    Fat Replacements

    One very obvious reason is that fats tend to be very calorie-dense. Many people have a positive caloric imbalance (ie. are eating more calories than they burn). Replacing fats with a zero or low-calorie substitute would help eliminate or reverse the caloric imbalance. Sure. No one, so far as I can tell, would dispute that fats are an essential part of the diet, or that some fats have beneficial health effects. However, as mentioned above, a lot of people have are having a very hard time maintaining a calorically balanced diet, and fat replacers (which would often be used to replace only a portion of the fat in a recipe, not all of it) are one of many possible ways of modifying caloric intake. Trying to eliminate fat from the diet altogether would surely be ill-advised, but for some people, reducing intake would make a lot of sense.
  12. Makes you wonder, why do manufacturers list only power input and not power output? Obviously it is the power that the motor produces that is important, not the power it consumes. Well, I guess the input rating is important if you want to calculate how much energy you're going to use. ← I think they do it because the numbers look better and because the output measurement varies upon how hard the mixer is being used. It's kind of like the power ratings for cars. All you ever hear, "this car has 350 Horsepower." ← Of course the output measurement varies depending on the setting -- I'll be more specific by saying that I think that manufactuers should include a maximum power output for their mixers, just as they do for cars -- Im sure most people understand that horespower ratings for car engines refer to maximum outputs (car engine is not producing 350 horsepower at idle). And it doesn't really matter to me whether the mixer output is expressed in terms of horsepower or torque (they are directly related by the equation HP = Torque * RPM / 5,252), or in watts (1HP=746 watts) so long as manufacturers do it consistently.
  13. Makes you wonder, why do manufacturers list only power input and not power output? Obviously it is the power that the motor produces that is important, not the power it consumes. Well, I guess the input rating is important if you want to calculate how much energy you're going to use.
  14. Patrick, I like this technique. What do you use to cut the circle of dough which has the correct diameter? ← I use a set of circular cutters, like this. You can also improvise and cut your dough out with things like lids, drinking glasses, large prescriptions bottles. Plastic caps from, say, pan coating spray works pretty well as a cutter. ← I just bought a set of these. I think I'll use them to make something for Thanksgiving. I'll do part of this in advance and freeze. Until now I'v only frozen dough in 1" thick or less discs, then rolled and shaped. I mostly make tarts, not tartlets. But for the holiday it would help to take it a step farther. Which do you think would be best: roll and cut dough into circles, freeze flat roll, cut, shape into tarts, freeze roll, cut shape, blind bake (fully or partially per use), freeze empty ← I would probably use something like the last option, but I would let the shells rest in the freezer for a little while between shaping and baking. I tried a couple of times to bake tart shells draped across the outside of a mold and it never worked very well. The dough had a tendency to slide down the mold once it got hot. So, I always shape and bake on the inside of the mold.
  15. What temp was the corn syrup when you added it? The choc was likely warmer than the syrup, and I'm guessing the syrup "shocked" the chocolate into cooling down significantly; hence the thicker consistency. Next time, you might try adding the corn syrup during the melting process so that you've got a consistent temp throughout. ← Well actually before this batch I accidentally added the corn syrup before microwaving and it seized. For the second batch the corn syrup was room temp. ← I'm not sure why that is. A lot of chocolate glaze recipes have you melt the corn syrup and chocolate together, though I always use a hot water bath or a double boiler. Maybe the corn syrup promotes the scorching of chocolate when you use the microwave method. What I would have done in your situation, when the glaze turned stiff, is put it in the hot water bath, try to bring it up to 100F or so, and see if you can get it thin again. If that didn't work, I would add a little hot cream.
  16. Honey includes inverted sugar (with other stuff as well), but I dont think it will invert (and therefore liquify) the sucrose in the fondant, because IIRC it contains little or no active invertase. Also, mixing the honey and fondant would proabably give you something that would be very soft and thus hard to enrobe. I dont know how much invertase is used, but my understanding is that only a very small amount is needed.
  17. On the occasions when the brulees did not set, did all the brulees fail to set, or only some of them? On the occasions when the brulees did not set, did you check the oven temp or brulee temp? Do you always use the same recipe and the same scale? I ask because I have accidentally quadrupled a recipe but then only doubled the yolks.
  18. Patrick S

    Fat Replacements

    Do you detect any differences in terms of taste and texture in your baked goods?
  19. Patrick S

    Fat Replacements

    So, you never got around to trying it, Scott? FiberGel Technologies is making some very strong claims about this product: However, after looking around the Z Trim site, I could not find any citations to any published, peer-reviewed studies substantiating these claims, which makes me wonder if there has actually been any independent consumer preference testing of this product. If they are true -- if for instance Z Trim replacement actually increases subjective liking in some cases -- this would be very interesting.
  20. Also, cakes usually cut much better when they are cool or even frozen, depending on the type of cake, because that minimizes the difference in firmness between layers. Thin knives are better than thicker knives. And you knife should be as sharp as possible.
  21. One way this is done is by the use of the enzyme invertase. Invertase is mixed with fondant, which is a solid, and that is used as the center and is enrobed in chocolate. After a certain period of time, the enzyme will hydrolyze (split apart) the sucrose in the fondant into equal parts glucose and fructose (ie. invert sugar), which is liquid. There have been several threads on this -- I'd try searching for the terms invertase and "liquid centers."
  22. Also, it may be worth pointing out that the EPA reference dose* is 5mcg/kg/day, which is to say that EPA believes that a person can consume 5 micrograms of silver, per kg of bodyweight, per day, for a lifetime, with no adverse effects. So, a 70kg adult could supposedly consume 350 micrograms/day. 350 micrograms is a good rough estimate for the amount of silver in a "dose" of dragees.
  23. They are composed of sugar, cornstarch, gelatin, and trace amounts of silver. Are they dangerous to eat? Well, when I last looked into this last, I couldn't find a single documented instance of anyone ever experiencing any adverse health effect whatsoever after occasionally consuming doses of silver comparable to those in a serving of dragees, which is on the order of a few tenths of milligram/serving. If you eat large amounts of silver, you can develop a condition called generalized argyria, in which the skin turns grey-blue. In the case of a small dose, it can be hardly noticable; in the case of large dose, you can look like a ghoulish smurf. The smallest doses which cause generalized argyria are reported to be between 4-40g. But assuming you pigged out on cookies with dragees, and consumed maybe 1mg silver, you'd still be getting only 1/4,000 of the lowest dose reported to cause argyria.
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