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Posts posted by Darren72

  1. But what Judy says about driving to Chateauneuf is correct: I was there a few days ago and can confirm you can just pop into many domaines to do a tasting.

    For starters, there's Pierre Usseglio, Bosquet des Papes, Vieux Donjon, Vieille Julienne (not in CdP but close by), Font de Michelle (also nearby), all of which require no appointments (though it never hurts to call to ensure they're open).  All of these make interesting wines, usually in a nice range of price points.

    And the town of Chateauneuf, while small, is easily walkable.

    Cheers!  :cool:

    Thanks for noting that many don't require appointments. I was under the impression that appointments are the norm, but I'm happy to hear that this isn't the case.

    Thanks to everyone for so many good suggestions! We just made hotel reservations for one night at Bastide de Marie in Menerbes and then a few nights at Domaine de la Ponce in Vacqueyras.

  2. What is disturbing here is that the researchers were able to a. get people to voluntarily eat the dog food after, I am hopeful, the victims signed a release stating they would be eating dog food.  In this case you have to question if the "contestants" are truly representative of "normal" homo sapiens.  or b. the "subjects" were not told for "data integrity" and they one has to question the "integrity" of the researchers.  What is not accounted for is the baseline diet of the volunteers.  For instance, if they were college students then maybe they were not able to tell the difference as a result of eating cafeteria "food" vs. a more refined palate- and less likely to agree to eat Fido's Alpo.

    What is most perplexing is who funded such a useless waste of time and resources.  Maybe Tom Green has a Stupid Foundation.

    I've read the study and it was not done well. A few things you should know:

    1. The subjects clearly rated the dog food as the worst tasting of samples. Out of 18 participants, 13 rates the dog food as the worst tasting of the five samples. An additional 2 people rated the dog food as the fourth worst (those two people rated Spam as worse than dog food. Only 3 out of 18 people rated the dog food as being in the top 3 out of the 5 samples. I think the most accurate headline for this study should have been "Most people think dog food tastes worse than regular food," but then who would have been interested in that?

    2. In a separate question posed to the subjects, they were asked to guess which of the samples was the dog food. You might guess that they would pick the worst tasting sample as the dog food, right? Well, the study authors told the subjects ahead of time that one of the samples was dog food and that it didn't taste bad. The authors note that they believe that this bit of information was what led many of the subjects to shy away from picking the worst tasting substance as the dog food. Indeed, one of the authors writes that some participants told him that this is why they didn't pick the dog food!

    3. The study took place on New Years Eve, between 7 and 10pm. It is reasonable to presume that (a) people were drinking alcohol and (b) were engaged in other social activities while participating in the study. These conditions are not ideal. We might presume that some people are less capable of making good, independent judgments under these circumstances.

  3. IMO, New Glarus is overated and I wouldn't be making the trip to Wisconsin for it.

    However, Woodman's has a beer selection that rivals both Binny's and Sam's and you can purchase Stone in Wisconsin.

    I like Spotted Cow, but agree that it is overrated. New Glarus makes a lot of different beers. Spotted Cow is the basic (but good) ale. Woodman's will likely have the full New Glarus line up (including seasonal and one-time creations). But, if you are going to Wisconsin, there are a few other excellent local beers that are not available out of state. I've liked every beer I've tried from Furthermore.

  4. Who out there caught Charlie Rose last night? I missed the first part of his interview with Ferran Adria, and I'll want to see the portion I missed before venturing forth here. I think I caught the bulk of it, and based on that, it was another blown opportunity by a host who has no feeling for, or understands, what gastronomy is about and what's happening with it. I hope to add more later after I review the video tape, digital as it may be.

    Could you give an example?

  5. Who said anything about women being discriminated against? Seriously. Can you point me to this?

    The only thing that I've seen is some off-hand comment that women can't make mayo while menstruating. Yes, it's silly. I happen to believe the comment wasn't meant to be taken seriously. Others disagree. But raising this comment to "women are being discriminated against" is just as silly. Has anyone claimed that they, or someone they know, was discriminated against?

    Finally, I read the posts of the women on Ruhlman's blog that "disproved" the theory. They were clearly making fun of the whole thing. They weren't upset by a supposed serious comment. I don't know why Ruhlman removed this bit from his site, but I am sure it isn't because someone wrote that the theory isn't true. Why doesn't someone just ask him about this rather than all of us speculating?

  6. I assumed that Lesley's approach, like most of her 60 Minutes colleagues, was to try to push back a bit on Alice. I thought that her question "What do you mean you don't have a microwave?!" was pretty contrived.

    I've always thought of Alice Waters as an idealist also. I think mjc is exactly right above. What frustrates me about Alice, though, is her inability to recognize that it simply is not feasible for everyone to eat the way she does, for a variety of reasons (climate, cost, time, etc.). She says little to address this, other than "Yes you can! You aren't trying." I've seen any idea or proposal from her that recognizes that people face trade-offs, that this isn't just a matter of buying more from your local farmers market.

    Finally, Lesley Stahl could have done a much better job. Michael Pollan's book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" is an excellent, thoughtful account of the tensions in trying to bring better quality food to "the masses". Lesley didn't attempt to get into any of these issues.

  7. Can anyone actually substantiate these claims about Ripert's alleged statement? Not conjecture based on third-hand information found on blogs with no rules about the public record or ethics, mind you.

    "happyhoarfrost, good for you for disciplining your sauce. i know for a fact it is all but impossible to cook thoughtfully when there's a four year old in the room. and you need to pay attention when you're making a mayonnaise; this is part of the pleasure.

    "also, and i should have put this in the post, it is common knowledge in France, according both to Eric Ripert and Becks & Posh, that women who are menstruating cannot make mayonnnaise. It always breaks. Always.

    Posted by: ruhlman | May 21, 2008 at 02:08 PM"

    on Ruhlman's blog

    So the source of all of this speculation is a post by Ruhlman on his blog that gives no citation or context? Does the fact that he also references Becks and Posh perhaps indicate that this isn't entirely serious? Are we also prepared to stop reading Ruhlman because he says you cannot make mayo with a 4-year old in the room?

  8. Hello everyone,

    My wife and I are planning a trip to France in September. We'd like to spend a few days in Champagne. We'd love to stay at a chateau/vineyard for a couple of nights, if such accommodations exist. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Also, any restaurant recommendations are appreciated.


  9. I like Fabio, but I don't see him lasting too much longer.  The taste of his food evidently is not up to par with his confidence level.  Too bad, though.  Instead of taking the criticism about his elimination challenge dish, he just shrugged it off saying something like, In Europe it's all about Italy vs France, then said something about Italy beating them in a sports event, therefore, this guy's comment was just to put Italy down.  What a cop out.  He's still a very likable guy.

    I thought that was from the Quickfire. Also, I think he was trying to be funny by noting the Italy vs France thing; he wasn't ignoring the criticism. In fact, I think he takes criticism better than most of the contestants.

  10. The holes are exactly what you want!

    Contributors to an open crumb like that are: high hydration, limited kneading, low gluten dough, gluten degradation by acid, and baking from a cold dough.  These are all tricky to finesse, especially with a sourdough, because these doughs can be quite delicate and easily deflate.

    Could you talk a little bit about how to achieve each of these?

    (Although my sourdough tastes wonderful, it doesn't have that open of a crumb.)

    I usually knead dough until it passes the windowpane test. When you say "limited kneading," would that mean the dough does not pass the windowpane test?

    Low gluten dough: would you suggest using AP flour, rather than bread flour, to limit the protein and gluten?

    What do you mean by "gluten degradation by acid"?

    I haven't had much success baking a cold dough - this is the only step in jackal10's lesson that I don't follow. When I bake directly out of the fridge, the final loaf tends to bulge out on one side. So I usually leave the dough out for about 2 hours prior to baking.

  11. Hey Jack, when you say you want a weaker gluten structure, does that mean you kneed it less?

    You also mentioned doing a longer proof stage relative to bulk fermentation. Are you still doing a 4 hour bulk fermentation (I presume those were sourdough baguettes)? About how long is the proof stage?

    One more thing - do you have any pictures of the interior of whole wheat bread that you like?

  12. The loaf I baked yesterday was an improvement over the first one, but like Emily_R I'm hoping for a loaf that rises well over the lip of the pan.

    This time I replaced about 1/4 of the whole wheat flour with bread flour and also cut the rising times by about half. This dough kneeded much better (it easily passed the windowpane test) - probably because of the bread flour. I restricted the first rise to an hour (instead of two). Instead of fully doubling, this time it probably increased in volume about about 70%.

    Then I split the dough into two pieces, shaped them, and put them into loaf pans. Instead of rising for 90 minutes as I did the first time, I let them rise for about 45 minutes. Then baked them.

    These loafs rose in the oven a little bit more than my earlier batch. The interior was noticeably lighter. But the overall height still shorter than what I hoped for.

    Luckily, this bread tastes good. I'll report back on the next trial.

  13. I find this thread interesting, as I've intermittently had problems with lack of oven spring, but I can't really predict when that happens, and I never make 100% whole wheat bread -- I usually make part white/part wheat or whole grain sandwich breads...

    The thing I've never understood about the "overproofing" explanation is this: Imagine that the bread fills half the loaf pan when I put it in for the second rise. Often I will just let it rise to the top of the pan as Darren describes, and then may or may not get oven spring. If I dramatically cut back on the second rising time, it seems that the bread would be going into the oven at only filling up only around three quarters of the pan. Even with oven spring at that point, it wouldn't seem likely to go much over the lip of the pan, leaving me back where I started at with the longer proofing and no oven spring? Does this make sense? Am I missing something?

    Emily this is exactly what I was thinking.

    (I realize I could just use a smaller pan than what the original recipe called for...)

    Dougel, thanks for the vitamin C suggestion. When I speculated that my yeast isn't dead, that was short hand for most of them were alive - my evidence being that the dough rose well before it was baked. I should have been more clear.

  14. Does your whole wheat recipe include either vital wheat gluten or some bread flour? If you are going with 100% whole wheat as the only type of flour, you may not be getting the level of gluten development you need to get the kind of oven spring you are looking for.

    Also, make sure that you are either misting the tops of your loaves with some type of liquid (usually water) or creating steam in your oven to encourage ovenspring -- although you only benefit from this during the first 8-10 minutes of cooking.

    Thanks for the reply. I do mist the loafs and usually spray water directly into the oven.

    I didn't include any vital wheat gluten or bread flour. This particular recipe was all whole wheat flower plus some course ground oats (it is from Peter Reinhart's Bread Bakers Apprentice). I'm glad you suggested this because it may also explain why my 100% whole wheat dough never gets as elastic as white flour dough. For example, I cannot get a 100% whole wheat dough to pass the window pane test.

    I'll try the wheat gluten. Just out of curiosity, how much bread flour would have to be in the dough if I didn't use wheat gluten - would 10% of the flour do the trick?

  15. Hi Jackal10 - thanks. Your class started my sourdough career.

    When you say 2 hours from mixing to baking, does this two hours include the first rise (which I had been doing for two hours), plus shaping and then a second rise?

    Any guidelines you can suggest so I know when each proof stage is complete? Do you subscribe to the poke test (poke the dough; it's ready when your indentation lingers)?

  16. Hi everyone,

    I bake bread fairly regularly. One of the persistent issues that I have is that the bread doesn't rise very much in the oven - this rise is called "oven spring". I'm wondering if anyone has tips or thoughts about what factors might cause a lack of oven spring?

    The first potential problem is that the yeast is dead. In my case, this is not what is happening. I get a nice primary and secondary rise, so my yeast is alive.

    It's possible that my dough is over-proofed, but I don't think this is the case.

    Any other ideas?

    Usually I make free-form boules. The crumb turns out great, even if there wasn't much of an oven rise. Yesterday I made two whole wheat loves in bread pans. The dough doubled in size during the second rise and basically came up to the top of the pans. With an oven spring, it should have risen a few inches above the top of the pan. It didn't rise at all in the oven and, though it still tasted great, the loaf was too short and the texture too dense.

    Thanks in advance.

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