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Posts posted by sanrensho

  1. I think the basils were Y250 each (big bags of the stuff.

    I might try making basil oil if I can part with some of my leaves.

    Not bad at all! I've paid about the same at local stores sometimes.

    I would definitely recommend against drying, there goes all that fresh basil flavor. And I think that freezing would definitely diminish the flavor over time. If it were me, and knowing how precious a find it is, I would make basil pesto that is heavy on the oil, and dribble that on dishes at the end for maximum flavor.

  2. Can I freeze the whole leaves?  They'll be used primarily for making Gkai Pad Gkaprow, so I don't really care about appearances, but I'd like them to retain most of their flavour.  Or should I try to dry them?

    Nice find. Was it expensive?

    I know that there are people who freeze basil, but I wonder if you could also make a basil oil by heating slowly in oil. Of course, part of the attraction is having the leaves in the actual dish and it's non-traditional, but it seems like it would be a nice touch to drizzle with a bit of basil oil at the end. Just my $0.02.

  3. I have found the crust gets too hard if I bake at too high a temperature for too long. (And with rye breads I've found it best to bake it uncovered for about 15mins and then cover with tin foil for the rest of the time - my rye breads take ages to bake and they do go rock hard if I don't do this).

    This is good advice and something I do with my sourdough loaves. (My kids are still young and struggle with a substantial crust.) I bake at a high temperature (425 degrees) until the crust achieves the desired color, usually about 17 minutes, then I rotate the loaves and cover with foil. In my case, I also lower the temperature although that may not be necessary.

    Although I would say that it shouldn't be necessary for ciabatta if you get the proofing right.

  4. >> Overproofing (collapsing of dough structure when moved to oven) <<

    Well, collapsing certainly has been a problem, tho' I'm surprised to hear that overproofing could be the problem, if I understand properly what proofing is. The source I've used defines 'proofing' as the rising of the dough, and whether I let it rise 12 hours or 20 hours, I still have the collapsing problem.

    Perhaps you're referring to proofing the yeast. Most of the recipes I've seen say to proof the yeast with water and a little flour for 5 minutes, but I've been proofing for 15 minutes because the yeast obviously (by the bubbles) becomes more active that way. Is that too long?

    By overproofing I am specifically referring to the final proof after shaping the bread. You can overproof to the point where slashing or moving the bread to the oven causes the structure of the bread to noticeably collapse.

    If your yeast is fresh and active, there is absolutely no reason to proof for even a few minutes, much less 15 minutes. I never do it anymore. If using instant yeast, whisk the yeast into the flour. If using active dry yeast, sprinkle the yeast on some of the water (warm), and just wait long enough until you can stir/whisk and dissolve the yeast. Then go ahead and start mixing.

    If you aren't already, I strongly recommend using weights for consistent results.

    Regarding the tough crust, it wouldn't hurt to use a probe thermometer, again for consistent results and to make sure you're not overbaking the bread. I don't usually bake ciabatta, but 200 degrees should be about good.

  5. Past tricks I've used to make bricks are:

    1. Too low hydration (not enough water)

    2. Insufficient proofing (in some cases producing tough crusts from it taking too long for heat to penetrate the underproofed brick)

    3. Overproofing (collapsing of dough structure when moved to oven)

    4. Unnecessary slashing or handling (collapsing of dough structure)

    There could also be insufficient yeast or underproofing relative to a small amount of yeast used. A recipe would help people analyze your problems more, as well as details such as proof time, shaping method and oven temps (are they accurate?).

  6. Specifically, I’m having trouble incorporating the butter into the dough.  I’ve tried the butter at different temperatures – room temp, a little below, and a little above – but no matter what temperature, the butter doesn’t seem to want to meld with the dough within a minute or two.

    I don't think you're doing anything wrong. I wouldn't expect to incorporate 67 grams of butter into a dough within a minute. It usually takes longer, especially if the dough is stiff.

    As far as dough stiffness, flours behave differently so you may need to adjust the flour quantity. At some point, you will reach a consistency that you like in the end product.

  7. If you were going to sushi restaurant for the first time, what would you order to explore their menu and try and figure out the quality of their fish?

    The fish is only part of the equation for me. The shari is the other part. So I would order nigiri right away. If there is too much rice, too soft, too vinegary, then that ruins it for me right away.

    Ika and tako are the two that I find most consistently unspectacular at sushi restaurants here in North America. If they can get those two right, then it says something. Not coincidentally, they would usually be the last thing I would order, from being disappointed too many times.

  8. I'd be inclined to ask the couple about doing anything theme-oriented. Um.... Buddhas and the like for a Buddhist wedding? For me? It's no different from knowing a couple is Christian and marrying in a church, and so ask yourself if you'd make a Jesus cake.... I'm thinking probably not.

    This is the best suggestion so far. Unless specifically requested, I would stay away from religious symbols, figures or foreign scripture of any kind. (The latter will look especially bad unless written by a native speaker, and even then not everyone will understand it.) Same for religious scenes.

    The OP mentions that not all the guests are Buddhist, so I think that is a good cue to omit any religious overtones to the cake design. Why force that on the guests?

    I think Buddha's thoughts on wedding cakes are pretty much as you would expect. Tasteful design and good balance of flavors.

  9. Hmmm... curry or yakisoba would work out well too. Yakisoba I could easy make as vegetarian. He (my son) says that they have access to a microwave in the staff room. I also already have everything I would need to make yakisoba.

    I guess it depends on the students, but some kids might balk at curry and jump to the conclusion that it's "spicy." (Completely unfounded of course.)

    Gyoza would also have a 100% hit rate, and is not too bad cold. Crispy, deep-fried gyoza is even better if it has to be served cold. A classic bento food.

  10. I liked the idea of cream pan, too, but bread-things would be more labour-intensive than sushi.  I'd do curry pan, baked not fried.

    Probably the easiest and most accessible thing I can think of for this application is yakisoba.

    Even better if there is a microwave on site (but not completely necessary).

  11. My kiddo is the one with dietary restrictions, so obviously anything I send in needs to be safe for him to eat, which means no sesame, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts or coconut.

    Mochi is starting to sound like a good idea.


    Mochi ice cream would be an easy sell (and minimal labor--just buy Yukimi Daifuku). Mochi itself might be a harder sell for the kids, depending on how multicultural the students' backgrounds are. In our community, sushi is definitely an easy sell.

    How about snacks like arare and other rice crackers? Pocky?

  12. Sushi is a bad idea and you're asking for trouble with it.

    Is this spoken from personal experience?

    We've actually done this, for kids younger than 11, and had zero problems. First you choose a filling that is not raw fish (obviously), like the kappamaki that many have suggested. Maybe some sesame seeds too for interest. And of course no wasabi or pickled ginger. Some kids will also choose not to dip in soy sauce.

  13. My wife's default choice for this sort of thing is kappamaki with a little canned tuna and mayo.

    The kids just gobble it up and I don't think it's that labor-intensive. (You didn't indicate if this is an in-class project, or something made at home to share with the class.) A side of karaage would be perfect with this.

  14. I think the best thing you can do is to encourage your friend to discard the idea of tofu as a meat/protein substitute (tofu cheese, tofu weiners, etc.) and think of it on its own terms. Try to take advantage of the inherent creaminess and silkiness of good quality fresh tofu, along the lines of fresh mozzarella or ricotta. Hopefully there is a good producer of fresh tofu in your area.

    In addition to standbys like ma po tofu, hiya yakko and of course miso soup, I will often crumble medium tofu into a salad with greens and tomatoes. Would go well with virtually any dressing.

    Hiya yakko can also be made in any of a zillion ways by varying the toppings. Anything from traditional bonito flakes to minced fried garlic, crumbled bacon, fried minced pork, etc. (Obviously some of the latter would not do for a vegetarian.) And you can vary the "sauce" to your hearts desire, from plain old soy sauce to Chinese- or Korean-style sauces.

  15. They have basic white/wholemeal bread and also "soft" white/wholemeal bread.  I wonder whether the soft bread would be equivalent to shokupan?  The ingredient list had flour and butter but I don't think they had any egg or bread improver mentioned. 

    I also wonder whether I can use the bread maker to mix the dough for soft Japanese pan, like raisin rolls and kani-tobiko-mayo bread

    Shokupan simply means toast or sandwich bread, so it can span the gamut from milk breads to relatively lean breads with no eggs or milk, and breads that contain eggs.

    Having said that, I most often associate with shokupan with a relatively lean bread that may contain some (not all) amount of milk or skim milk powder. Sometimes eggs, sometimes not. And the most distinguishing feature for me is the light texture, the way it pulls apart into strands without being sticky or heavy.

    So, again, the recipe you are shooting for will depend on the particular type of shokupan that you eat regularly. None of us have tasted the particular shokupan that your bakery produces, and whether it uses eggs or not, milk or skim milk powder, amount of fats/sugar, etc. There are tons of shokupan recipes out there so you will have to experiment.

    Yes, you should be able to use the breadmaker to mix various types of soft doughs, but I wonder if you wouldn't be better served by a more versatile stand mixer. Particularly if you are only going to use the breadmaker for its mixing capabilities.

  16. Hello!  I'm new to eGullet but I'm very excited to read all the interesting and useful information that people have been sharing.  I lived in Japan for a few years as a child and still enjoy cooking Japanese food for my family.  I have two questions:

    1.  Can you make shoku pan in a breadmaker?  I am seriously considering buying the Zojirushi mini bread maker if it will help me make shoku pan.  My kids are addicted to it and I've been buying wholemeal shoku pan for them which is both pricey and inconvenient as it's only available 2 days a week.

    2.  Does anyone have a good wholemeal shoku pan recipe?


    I've never worked with a breadmaker, so I won't comment on that. Except that one of the Japanese sites I linked to above relies on a breadmaker for mixing, but not shaping or baking.

    For a whole wheat recipe, I would start with a good white recipe and substitute with percentages of whole wheat. Work up from there. That is how I convert white recipes to whole wheat.

    15% whole wheat might be a good starting point. Keep adding incrementally with successive batches until you are happy with the percentage. Having a scale helps tremendously of course.

  17. Recently someone disagreed with me and said that washing rice is outdated, and is a reflection of the inferior milling and polishing technology of the past.

    What is the general feeling in Japan these days? Is washing rice still considered essential? Is there a difference between home and professional?

    It is most certainly *not* outdated, but also true that there are non-washing (musenmai) rices available. I tried one bag, years ago, and both my wife and I thought it was awful compared to regular rice.

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