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  1. Very old thread, but solved my own problem and this may help someone else. I found some Vanilla powder (eg Amazon). It contains mo water so there is no risk of the chocolate seizing. Hope this is helfulp
  2. Lisa and Alex, many thanks for the suggestions,
  3. I wanted to add vanilla to melted chocolate to use as a dip for biscotti. After adding some to the chocolate, the mixture stiffened up. The vanilla was from Costco; I checked the contents list on the bottle and confirmed that water was one of the ingredients. That explained it. Happily, it didn’t spoil things completely - instead of dipping, I used a pastry brush to 'paint' the mixture onto the bottom of the biscott. (Whew.) Is there another way to add vanilla to chocolate?
  4. &roid, that space under the crust is so well-known it has a name: “the room where the baker sleeps.” Either the loaves were not shaped correctly, or they were over-proofed, or both. Hope this is helpful.
  5. Have you seen those gorgeous hamburger buns on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives?" Makes the burgers look even more yummy. How do they get that light-colored shiny glaze on their hamburger buns? I've tried an egg wash (egg and water) - that provides shine but the glaze comes out too dark. Perhaps just egg white and water? Or Egg white and oil? Just plain oil? Just plain butter? Any advice appreciated!
  6. When it comes to re-culturing sourdough in a new location there seem to be two schools of thought. One group says that local bacteria will take over and, although you still have sourdough, it no longer has the same characteristics. This group has such members as Jeffrey Hamelman, director of the baking education center for King Arthur Flour, who has been quoted as saying "Local bugs join the party, and before long you've got Lactobacillus newyorkensis." Also, Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice says "... the organisms indigenous to your region will gradually take charge ... a starter made from a seed culture imported from Egypt or Russia will, over time, produce bread that tastes like a starter made locally from scratch." The other group maintains that the sourdough culture, being a mixture of yeasts and lactobacilli bacteria, when cultured properly will reproduce identical yeasts and bacteria. This group has contenders like Ed Wood, author of Classic Sourdoughs. What has the experience of eGullet members been?
  7. iii_bake, I don't think that baking soda expires. Baking powder expires because the ingredients mix with humid air and cause a chemical reaction. But soda is a single ingredient - the most it can do is get lumpy. Is it possible that the leavenings were not well incorporated? For example if the soda were concentrated in one area that could cause exess browing. What about overmixing? That might explain the chewiness. One last possibility I can think of is the buttermilk. When I occassionally use a different brand of buttermilk, I notice that the consistency is not the same. Buttermilk also seems to thicken with age. Hope this is helpful.
  8. Hello, glennbech and many thanks for your response! Yes, I did say "loaves", but I shouldn't have. They were free-form just as the recipe directs. I baked the 'baguettes'in two lots. The first lot was three very slender baguettes as Reinhart suggests. The word baguette means 'rod' in French and these were rods indeed ... a bit too slender for me. So for the second batch, instead of 3 slender baguettes, I formed them into 2 less-slender baguettes. The second batch slumped more than the first and was less airy. Still chewy and tasty, but not as light. as the first batch, even taking into account the larger size of the baguettes. Having said that even the first batch did not look as light as some of the photos in this forum. Not bad, but but not quite artisan quality for batch one. The second batch however was a 5 out of ten. Yes I do bake on hot stone, or more accurately hot thick quarry tiles. I had a metal container in the bottom of the oven and put in a cup of hot water according to the B.B.A. protocol. This was followed by the requisite spritzing. The oven temperature was 500 degrees F. to start and I lowered the thermostat to 450 after the three sprayings were complete. Yes I did see the remarks in The B.B.A. about Ciabatta -- I was just surprised that the baguettes didn't require proving after they were gently stretched into shape. Perhaps a couche and a 45 minute proving period would do it. Any further comments/diagnosis would be most welcome!
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