Jump to content

Patrick S

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Patrick S

  1. In the interests of science, combatting boredom, and cleaning out useless clutter from the cupboard, I baked up a cake mix to try to quantify what effect wrapping while warm had on moisture retention and cooling time. The cake mix was a Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe French Vanilla. The batter was divided evenly (exactly 525g each) into 2 9" identical cake pans and baked at 350F for 35 minutes. Right out of the oven, I took the internal temperature of both cakes, in the middle about 1/2" down. Both were 186F. After letting both cakes set on a baking sheet for 4 minutes, I unmolded one onto a cooling rack on the kitchen table. The other was wrapped in two sheets of Saran Wrap, and also set on a cooling rack on the kitchen table. I checked the internal temperature every so often. At 30min out of the oven, the wrapped cake was 123F, compared to 113F in the unwrapped. At 65 min, the temps were 98F and 89F. At 120min, the temps were 86F and 78F. At 140min, the temps were 80F and 77F, close of enough to my kitchen temp that I stopped checking. At 154min, I unwrapped the wrapped cake and weighed both cakes. The cake that had been wrapped weighed 479g, and the one that hadn't been wrapped weighed 467g. So, the wrapped cake retained 12ml more water, a little more than two teaspoons.
  2. Well, unless something has changed since the last time I researched this issue, I dont think there is any generally accepted scientific evidence supporting such worries. There is an urban legend that has floated around for a long time, that microwaving foods in plastic can cause dioxin to migrate into the food. That's not true, according to the FDA, since plastic wrap does not contain dioxins to begin with. http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2002/602_plastic.html
  3. Wrapping a warm cake will certainly prevent it from loosing moisture as it cools . I don't know if freezing will improve moisture retention or not.
  4. As you found out, Dutched cocoa is not available everywhere. Where I live, I can find it at the Williams Sonoma store and the World Market. Otherwise I have to order it online (Callebaut is very good and pretty cheap if you buy a kilo, cheap enough to justify paying for its shipping, IMHO). Some supermarkets are now carrying a Hershey's Special Dark cocoa that is a Dutched cocoa, but it is a little "overdutched" in the opinion of a lot of people. Hershey's first made a European Style Dutched cocoa (in a silver can) that I thought was great, but then they changed to the current Special Dark formulation. The Special Dark tastes very much like Oreo cookies, so if you like those, give it a shot. Having said that, I think the run-of-the-mill Hershey's cocoa is very good for the money -- I actually like it better than SB and Ghirardelli.
  5. I was tempted to just use the natural unsweetened figuring "how bad could they be?", but then I saw this on the Joy of Baking website: "There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed and it is best to use the type specified in the recipe as the leavening agent used is dependent on the type of cocoa powder." I was too afraid that they wouldn't be good and I didn't have time to make another batch. ← Oh no! Don't take my advice! This recipe has baking powder in it, so changing the cocoa powder from Dutched to natural might cause a problem. ← My understanding was that when the recipe calls for baking powder as the only leavener, you can use Dutch-process cocoa with no problems, because baking powder includes the acid which is needed to cause the reaction with the sodium bicarbonate that produces the CO2, and hence the leavening. On the other hand, using Dutched in a recipe in which baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is the only leavener could cause problems, because the the Dutched cocoa is not acidic enough to cause the CO2 forming reaction.
  6. There is an interesting claim in the April 2004 article To Foam or not to Foam in Food Product Design: Next time I'm really bored I might test that out and see what happens.
  7. Definitely you can whip whites into a stable foam even if they have some fat in them. Another truism you hear a lot is that the presence of fat in egg whites will decrease their whipped volume. I wonder if that trusim is true?
  8. I agree with you -- I've made the chocolate chip cookies from this book several times, and absolutely love them.
  9. That's right -- the bees have an enzyme called invertase (or sucrase) that inverts sugars collected from pollen.
  10. Not to sound nit-picky, but vanilla is a flavoring, and is already added to many if not most high-end chocolates, including Amedei, El Rey, Michel Cluizel, Guittard, Scharffen Berger and Valrhona.
  11. Also, depending on the type of cake and how long before serving you need/want to slice it, you may want to refrigerate or even freeze it first. Some types of cakes/frostings/etc will cut much cleaner when cold.
  12. FYI - I have made very concentrated syrups (3:1), about the consistency of corn syrup, by adding cream of tartar or lemon juice and simmering very slowly until it reaches the right concentration, still taking the normal steps to prevent crystallization (clean pan, no stray crystal, don't bump the pan, etc.). The acid hydrolyzes a good bit of the disaccharide sucrose into its constituent monosaccharides fructose+glucose, essentially making a partially inverted syrup which is much less prone to crystallization. I start off with more water than I need, since it should simmer for a while (to allows the acid to work on the sucrose), and simmer until it reaches the right target temperature (e.g. 217F=60% sugar, 222F=70%, 227F=75%). I've still had the more concentrated syrups crystallize on me, but they've lasted at least a couple of weeks with little or no crystallization.
  13. Hi! I tried several recipes for the cake rounds, and was not crazy about any of them. Then I tried a recipe from one of Desaulnier's books, maybe it was Death by Chocolate, and I think the recipe was for cookies for ice-cream sandwiches. I liked that much better, and that's what's shown in the picture. I'll look and see if I can find the recipe online somewhere.
  14. I Ebay-ed some of those "Tahitian" vanilla from PNG a while back, and while the beans were moist and quite fragrant (and very, very cheap!), they seemed to impart only very subtle flavor on their own, compared to "Madagascar" vanilla. I don't know if the beans I tried were typical of tahitian beans, or if they were exceptional, but the species of vanilla orchid that Tahitian vanilla beans come from, Vanilla tahitiensis, reportedly contains much less vanillin than the Vanilla planifolia species, of which Madagascar is the largest producer (source). However, when I added some extract to the mix along with the tahitian beans, I thought the end result was a much fuller, more typical vanilla flavor.
  15. I've used those foil baking cups, and they work fine. It does seem, however, that the cupcakes don't dome as much, because as the muffins expand in the oven they can expand laterally and not just vertically as in muffin tins. You can also use those Wilton 3.25 ounce nut and party cups, and they are rigid enough so that you get the same doming you would in a muffin tin, though it is more work the remove the cupcakes from them.
  16. Its been so long since I've been around, I don't remember if I've posted these or not: Lemon Bars: Caramel Apple Cupcakes: Balzano Apple Cake: Whoopie Pies:
  17. I was lucky enough to travel to Vegas again in March, and while most of what happened in Vegas will stay in Vegas, I did bring back this picture of a pastry I had at JMP's. I think it was called "Blue Moon," it was a caramel-filled pastry shell with a hemisphere of cappuccino mousse on top:
  18. Hi everyone! I've been ridiculously busy for the past few months, and haven't had much time to check in, but I wanted to share my picture of the orange berry muffins from the book: And let me add my congratulations to Dorie for the JBF award! Bravo!
  19. I third the recommendation for corn syrup, but if you don't have that, you can add a little but of lemon juice (or another acid) at the beginning, which also will inhibit crystallization.
  20. Caramelizing would probably destroy the flavor, you're right, but nowadays there are ways to thicken sauces with little or no heating, such as guar and xanthan gums, or modified starches, like the kind in instant pudding. I've seen the gums available in retail quantities, but not the modified starches. ETA: I looked for it, and I was wrong -- no-cook thickeners consisting of a modified corn starch/maltodextrin appear to be pretty widely available.
  21. Good point! The Noka bars in the article dont look nearly as well-tempered as the Bonnat bars.
  22. Possibly, but I have to assume that at least the high-end chocolate makers have experimented with this and have already settled on what they think is the ideal conching time. My understanding, which may or may not be correct, is that chocolate can actually be conched too long, in which case too much of the volatile flavor compounds are released and the taste actually starts to diminish.
  23. I wonder if Noka will go out of business now that their "secret" appears to be out (the secret being that they are basically just repackaging chocolate and selling it for >%1000 markup)?
  24. Indeed. You really have to admire the skill of a company that can convince people to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars per pound for the chocolate they could buy online, in retail quantities, for $34/lb.
  25. I've bought tahitiensis beans off of Ebay that were moist, plump and smelled wonderful -- but had an incredibly mild flavor, and seemed to have almost no vanillin. I don't know if this is typical of tahitiensis beans or not. The Nielsen Massey beans (the planifolia variety) you see in many stores in the US are crazy overpriced, but they have always been good.
  • Create New...