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Everything posted by lebowits

  1. lebowits

    Steven Shaw

    I did not know him and only corresponded with him a few times, but his effect on my life through eGullet has been profound. I have made many wonderful friends here and I certainly would not be what I am today as a contributor, occasional teacher, and often taught. Wisdom begins with the three simple words "I don't know". I didn't know him, and I am the poorer for it.
  2. I've used Greweling's "Chai Tiger" formula with great success.
  3. I think I figured this one out. Here is a formula for what my taste testers have called a successful batch. This is a small batch and I need to double it for production use. 150 grams cream 1 vanilla bean, scraped 200 grams brown sugar (light or dark doesn't seem to matter though I used light) lemon juice 50 grams glucose syrup 100 grams butter, unsalted Combine the cream and vanilla bean into a small pot and put over a low flame to come to a simmer slowly In a pot, combine the brown sugar with just enough lemon juice to moisten and combine to get a "sandy" texture Add glucose to the brown sugar Bring the sugar mixture to a boil over high heat stirring continuously. The sugar will foam and it will be difficult to see when it melts and caramelizes Use a candy or IR thermometer and continue to cook the sugar until it reaches approximately 320F (160C) Add the butter and stir until the butter is completely melted and combined Add the warm cream being careful not to burn yourself as the water boils off, stirring to combine completely. Continue stirring until you're sure that you have a smooth mixture and that all the sugars are full melted Remove from heat and pour into a pan to cool. Let the caramel cool until room temperature before piping into prepared molds.
  4. Thanks for the replies. This definitely helps. I too have a Dedy guitar which is what D&R resells. Now I just have to figure out the depth of the slab. My purpose in asking the question is because I want to scale down a pate de fruit formula to give me a thinner slab and a smaller rectangle/square without wasting a bunch of product.
  5. I often see formulas for confectionery products which are slabbed and cut. Typically, the method says "pour into a prepared frame" without specifying the length, width and depth. This begs the question; Is there a "standard" size for a confectionery frame? As a specific example, if you review the formulas from Boiron for pate de fruit, each table gives the weights for each ingredient and then in rather small type at the bottom of the page is a method which presumes that you have some idea of what you're doing. No mention is made of the size in which the resulting product should be poured. Is it just me? Am I missing something obvious?
  6. How viscous is your chocolate when you dip? What temp do you normally have it at when dipping? My chocolate is at the working temp specified, so around 88F - 89F for dark chocolate. I don't dip in my tempering machine as it's too far to reach cleanly. I ladle chocolate into another bowl which I perch on top of small pot which holds it perfectly and tip the bowl at an angle to allow me to reach in using a straight line. My chocolate will of course cool a bit as I'm working, so when it gets too thick to really dip anymore, I dump it out onto a sheet pan, and get fresh chocolate from the machine. This gives me a "warm" bowl again. I can usually dip 125 pieces or so using 2 bowls of chocolate.
  7. I use that technique all the time. I get an occasional gap, but for the most part, they come out beautifully.
  8. I've wrapped unfilled choux puffs after baking, but never individually wrapped them. I expect that if you keep the tightly closed container closed until fully thawed and up to room temp you won't have any problems.
  9. What color did you speckle the purple and red molds with? Their all lovely.
  10. The amount of sugar does impact aW as the sugar binds to some of the water making less available for the critters. Another way to reduce growth is to add spirit alcohol. Wybauw discusses this in a couple of his books, but mostly in the 3rd which is pretty much all about shelf life. You can make a very tasty sugar syrup with spirits, sugar, and water.
  11. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I look forward to getting this right! Does anyone have experiences that differ from the ratio of ingredients I mentioned, or do you think their about right?
  12. I've been thinking about caramel recently, and specifically about butterscotch. I've not found much on the topic as a unique confection but came across a a reference to a butterscotch sauce in MIchael Ruhelman's "Ratio" app for the iPhone. In this, he states that butterscotch is a variation on a traditional caramel (sauce) that uses brown sugar instead of white sugar, and that it also has a significant amount of butter. The app claims that the ratio for a butterscotch sauce is; 1 part brown sugar, 1 part cream, and 1/2 part butter. The method is the cook the sugar and butter together and then to quench with warmed cream. I used a "dry cook" method by adding a bit of lemon juice to the brown sugar. I'm guessing that cream of tartar might be more effective to prevent crystallization (or some glucose). For my first test batch, I cut back on the cream by 25% so that the resulting caramel would be more viscous for use in a chocolate bon bon. The consistency came out fine, but the flavor lacked something. First, I'd like to ask; How do you know that the brown sugar is cooked to "caramel" without measuring a temperature? White sugar clearly darkens when cooking, but brown sugar is already rather dark at the start. Do you make brown sugar caramel or butterscotch? Any advice?
  13. I've tried using "cute" names on some of my pieces which works only when the customer has some point of reference. Examples of my pieces are "Heart of Darkness" & "Cherry Bomb". Names in a language that people aren't familiar with generally confuse them. Keep it simple. I would stick with "chocolate covered <insert nut name>".
  14. That's expensive glitter.
  15. lebowits

    Luster Dust

    There is a difference between products that are "non toxic" and those which are FDA approved. Regulations vary from place to place for the use of the non toxic powders, but these are often what I believe is referred to as luster dust. Chef Rubber offers what they refer to as "pearl powder" which is FDA approved. It is located here on their site. They also offer what they refer to as "decor powder" here, which is non toxic.
  16. Minas - The only thing you would need to be concerned about is microbial or fungal growth. I don't know what the aW of a 15 brix syrup would be.
  17. The weight of the flour can vary depending on the humidity, how "packed" the flour is when scooped out, and probably several other variables. In general, I recall that I've always used 5 oz (142 grams) as my "standard" cup of flour.
  18. For breads, I've found that a mix of AP and KA "bread flour" (higher gluten content) works well for some types of breads. Others need the higher gluten content of the bread flour. Hopefully, your formula will give you a clue as to which flour it prefers, or at least a % protein content.
  19. Does the formula specify a specific form of yeast (Instant vs Active Dry vs Cake)? I made bread this weekend which specified "instant" and had to convert to "active dry" which resulted in nearly twice the weight. This may have been part of the problem.
  20. They're beautiful! How long does it take you to paint the flowers and the zebra stripes (and how many cavities)?
  21. Here is another link which also includes the ability to "peek" inside the book itself.
  22. Has anyone seen this book yet? If so, do you have any comments about it you can share? The Praline
  23. Do tell! (or post if you're willing to share)
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