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Chris Hennes

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About Chris Hennes

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    Director of Operations

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    Norman, Oklahoma

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  1. Nice idea: summers are tough for me (work is very busy) but STL is close enough for me to come for just the weekend. I think you can count me and my +1 in for at least dinner at Bulrush. Later in the evening is better since I’ll be flying that day.
  2. I don't think it misses it at all - they are specifically focused not on producing a specific flavor profile, but on reproducing the profile you like. So as @weinooputs it, if you like dreck, then their advice will help you make the same terrible espresso every time! IMO you can gloss the math sections of the paper and still get a lot out of it, it's really interesting work.
  3. ...and here's a link to the full paper: Systematically Improving Espresso: Insights from Mathematical Modeling and Experiment Their research was conducted with the goals of reducing waste (e.g. using only as much coffee as is actually needed to produce a good espresso) and to improve reproducibility once you have decided on your own personal preferences for a flavor profile. There appear to be a couple of big takeaways in this research. In general, Use less coffee (15 grams instead of a more typical 20g) Use a medium grind (rather than the typical fine grind) That said, in the press release the authors point out:
  4. Another writeup of the research that @liuzhou posted above (this one is a bit more technical, without being unapproachable): https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/01/the-math-of-brewing-a-better-espresso/
  5. Although I've had both Beyond and Impossible as ingredients in other dishes before, last week I finally actually had a burger made with the Beyond product. I actually ordered it because it seemed like the "safe" option compared to getting a beef burger (I was at a national park and the restaurant was not exactly Michelin starred). I got a 1/3-lb cheeseburger with lettuce, onion, and tomato. There was some kind of aioli involved: unlike with the Whopper, however, this burger was a much thicker style. Although the extras helped, it was clearly a Beyond burger with accoutrements, not a sandwich that happened to involve some Beyond stuff. Now, I didn't actually try the beef burger at this place, but the Beyond Burger was better than I would have expected the "real" version to be: flavorful enough, juicy enough, and well-textured for what amounted to a well-done burger. It was, as expected, "safe."
  6. I've received word that Larry Gober, a.k.a. @joiei, died in his sleep yesterday afternoon: he was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer in October. I knew Larry away from the forums as a fellow Oklahoman, a passionate barbecue advocate, and the kind of guy who would randomly mail me fresh corn flour because "he knew a guy." We'll miss you, Larry!
  7. If the recipe was really from the 1830s it can't have been baking powder: the first baking-powder-like product didn't come around until 1843, and it wasn't really widely available until the mid-1850s. See this interesting Smithsonian Magazine article for details. @gfron1, how confident are you in the date on that recipe?
  8. Chris Hennes

    Dinner 2020

    Yes, that's my go-to lasagne recipe, though like you I only make it about once per year. I love his suggestion of layering alternating spinach and plain noodles, the slices are striking:
  9. We've already discussed Bulrush quite a bit here, of course: Chef/Owner Rob Connoley (@gfron1)'s blog on the creation of the restaurant: Starting a High-Profile New Restaurant After Closing Another An eGullet outing as part of the Chocolate & Confections Workshop in 2019 An eGullet gathering in St. Louis specifically to visit Bulrush And they've received some high accolades from the media: St. Louis Magazine: The best new restaurants in St. Louis 2019 The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: ★★★½: At Bulrush, Rob Connoley fashions a vital modern restaurant from Ozark traditions Sauce Magazine: Review: Bulrush in Grand Center Vice: How to Eat Your Way Through the Backwoods of the Ozarks The Riverfront Times: Bulrush Honors Often-Overlooked Ozark Cuisine I had the chance to revisit Bulrush this weekend to see what Rob was doing with his winter menu (it's December 2019 as I write this). Obviously I'm hopelessly biased, so this isn't really a review, just some comments on that experience. It's also a place for us to continue to post reports as more of us get to visit this St. Louis gem created by one of our own. No photos this time, so descriptions will have to do... Course 1: Purple hull peas, Fioriani cornbread, Sorghum custard, New season sorghum Served as a small cube of cornbread atop the custard, topped with the peas, at room temperature. Great cornbread and perfect peas, this was a great start. Course 2: Winter squash, Ricotta mousse, Pepitas, Onion ash I love pumpkin seeds, which added a great textural element to this dish, served as a ring of squash surrounding the mouse. I believe it was an acorn squash the night we were there. Course 3: Autumn olive foam, Lactose-caramelized pumpkin, Pumpkin caramel, Cocoa crisp Rob introduced this one as "last night's turd," which got some nervous laughs from our fellow diners. Apparently the dish had not worked on the previous day, so they had reworked it and were giving a revised version another go. It is presented as a cocoa crisp covering...something. You never do get to really see what's under there, and while most of the bites were good, if nondescript, a couple times I got huge pops of coriander, which tends to take over. So maybe some more work on this one... Course 4: Turkey mousseline, Cornbread crumb, Soured corn puree, Fermented hot sauce The ingredient list pretty much sums this one up: the mousseline was excellent, and the sour corn puree and homemade hot sauce were excellent accompaniments. Maybe the best dish of the night. Course 5: Roasted celery root, Saguaro apples, Pumpkin aguachile, Oxtail, Bok choy I love celery root, so of course I liked this one. I also thought that the complex combination of richness and acidity worked very well. I don't remember the bok choy at all, however! Course 6: Pork cheek, Grilled carrots, Whey-braised turnips, Turnip top emulsion, Apple demi-glace A much smaller "meat course" than last time, which I appreciated. I thought the turnips were a bit too salty, however, and the turnip top emulsion was sort of bland. Nice ideas, but this didn't come together for me. Intermezzo: Maple pawpaw amazake The only course with eating instructions, and judging from the coughing down the counter I'd guess even more instructions were probably needed! It's a liquid-filled sphere, which I think caught some of our dining companions off guard. Course 7: "Bolero" carrot cake, acorn miso rye butterscotch, Roasted pumpkin, Malted milk crumb, Fuilletine crepes My kind of desert: just a tiny bit of sweetness, with a terrific blend of flavors that all sequenced well.
  10. Meh, yeast quantities are always sketchy, and are basically a trade off with rise time. I freeze my yeast, use the quantities specified (with no increase), and just let it rise as long as it needs.
  11. Walnut Bread (KM p. 98) This is a minor variation on their Country Style bread, with ingredient ratios tweaked a bit and walnuts added. I particularly liked the very large quantity of toasted bran (scaled at nearly 9%) which gives this bread a ton of flavor. This is an excellent variation, even if you are only so-so on walnuts.
  12. Chocolate Brioche (KM p. 160) This is a mid-fat-range brioche, clocking in at about 38%, not counting the chocolate chips. Since it calls for a Dutch-processed cocoa powder I used Hershey's Special Dark, which is easily available, and for the chips I used the Guittard 64% baking chips (IMO the best general-purpose chocolate chips out there). Other than the chocolate it's basically a straightforward brioche. The taste was good, but I might try it with the (non-Dutch-processed) Valrhona cocoa powder next time, which is what I normally bake with. That said, it did get rave reviews at work today.
  13. Oreo Bread They don’t really have a recipe for this specific bread, but I made it by following their instructions for Cinnamon Raisin bread, and their recipe for Oreo filling. I decided against frosting the entire thing, but I’m not sure that was really the right call. The filling doesn’t really read as Oreos without the frosting component. Still, it looks and tastes pretty good.
  14. On a completely unrelated note RE: maintaining a levain... The Modernist team is pretty adamant about maintaining a regular daily feeding schedule, and they include a host of options for how to keep your levain alive for a few extra days if you have to deviate, etc. Things like adding salt to slow down its activity, etc. I'd like to call "shenanigans" on the whole notion that a levain is as fragile as they suggest. I'm sure from a commercial baking perspective the absolute reliability and consistency of their method is great, but for a home baker it's total overkill. First, I've adapted my normal feeding schedule to a once-per week, refrigerated levain schedule. I only feed on Friday evenings (I typically only bake on the weekends). I simply took a perfectly healthy levain constructed and maintained exactly per the MB instructions and tossed it in the refrigerator. No special modifications. I take it out Friday morning, and in the evening I divide it into a baking portion and a maintenance portion, feed each, and put the maintenance portion back into the fridge. Second, I discovered this summer that if I fail to feed for, say, the entire month of May (I was out of town), I can just feed it as normal when I get back and it works fine. I actually fed it on a Thursday and left it at room temp before feeding again on Friday in anticipation of difficulties. But no difficulties arose. It just "woke up" and was ready to bake on Saturday, and probably would have been ready to go Friday. It probably needed a little extra rising time, and probably tasted a bit different, but for a home baker this is sort of a non-issue. So, at that point it was June. And like 100°F outside. So I just put it in the fridge and ignored it until September. A few weeks ago in the fridge it definitely looked bad: "hooch" on top, smelled not so great, etc. I stirred it up, fed it as usual (25g levain, 100g flour, 100g water) and left it overnight at room temp. At which point is was a happy, healthy levain ready for baking. I frankly don't know what it would actually take to kill it at this point. The bread is still delicious, and now that it's back on its normal weekly feeding schedule it behaves exactly as it used to. Obviously this is all entirely anecdotal, and would require a great deal of time to analyze properly, but in my experience you can be pretty cruel to those poor yeast and lactobacilli and they bounce back just fine.
  15. Has anyone else tried making the Oreo-filled bread they show on page 2•422? The filling is easy enough, but their photo (which looks great) shows a frosting on the outside of the bread covered with crumbled Oreos. Do you suppose they actually frosted the entire loaf? I'm using the recipe for the Cinnamon Raisin bread as the base, but swapping the fillings.
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