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  1. gregnz

    Dinner! 2009

    Rump steak, red wine and basil.
  2. At home in New Zealand, we called them "American Fried" eggs, although this was not the universal term, and not everyone was familiar with the style. The bread was cut with an upturned drinking glass, buttered, then fried the first side. When crunchy and brown, the bread is flipped and the egg broken into it. The yolk should be runny and served with the "lid" on the top.
  3. Just fyi, Michael Laiskonis (pastry chef from le Bernardin) recently did a post on ice cream composition, and touches on adjustments needed to add chocolate. Might be worth a look? My fries aren't as good as I want. Though, I don't know any place that does them consistently to a level I'd like...
  4. gregnz


    I short while ago, I was investigating Thai food and the idea of balancing tastes (which is present to all cuisines in degrees, but is especially prominent in Thai). Then I made nachos. And I thought "lime juice?" I think the overall change was more clarity to all flavours, not simply just the addition to a high note. The attributes I've seen given to acidity have been i. cut through fat, ii. addition of high note, and more recently (I think it's French Laundry Cookbook) iii. bringing out flavours, reducing the amount of salt required.
  5. where would you store peanuts if they weren't ground into peanut butter? and how long would you keep them? is there anything else added to the peanut butter you're thinking about?
  6. gregnz

    Oven spring

    Ok. Thanks to the information in this thread I have enormous oven spring (the volume of the dough would at least double in the oven). Now I have two problems, and I'm keen to get your advice on them! i. with all of that oven spring, the dough bursts out of the crust in a ragged line along the side of the bread. If I slash the dough deep enough, the expansion will come out of the cut instead, but there is still some tearing in other areas. So question: how do I control the tearing of the bread? ii. I've found that in the 2 hours after baking, the bread will collapse considerably (maybe by 20%), making it far more dense. How do I stop this?
  7. This is be the best reference I have been able to find: http://coffeegeek.com/guides/frothingguide/milk And the general message regarding fat content (low fat and high fat foams are stable, and there appears to be a trough with whole milk) is consistent with my experience. Although, it strikes me as odd that they consider skim milk as an option, if we want to "create volumes of foam". This may simply be my bias, but I think the whole endevour is more about texture than "foam". Well textured milk needs no rhetoric in it's defense... it just needs to be experienced!
  8. gregnz

    Oven spring

    Better! The texture of the crumb is a lot softer, and it probably sprang up half it's volume again. I'm designing a couple of experiments to help me fine tune it a bit. Thanks! I feel that you have re-directed me on a couple of points. i. I didn't know that oven spring was important - certainly I didn't expect a doubling in volume (usually I'd get a little... maybe 10%) ii. that oven spring would allow me to get a greater volume for my bread. I thought all of my problems were a result of not proving long enough - or proving too long at the bulk phase, which impaired the doughs ability to retain carbon dioxide during the final proof. I remember the best loaf I ever made - I had mixed it the night before and put it straight into the fridge. The next morning I took it out, punched it down and let it rise again for 2 hours maybe, then shaped it. The feeling of the dough really stood out to me - it felt taught, tending towards what a balloon feels like. Then when I baked it, it had a huge spring and the finished bread had a soft crumb, and the whole bread felt light (relative to it's size).
  9. gregnz

    Oven spring

    Good question! Can I ask for clarification of some of the answers? jackal10 - when you say that "Doubling in size is very misleading", do you mean that it is incorrect as a principle? Or that the average bakers' judgement of doubling is inaccurate? Secondly, at what point in the series of sourdough rising over 5 hours would you say that the dough is ready. Are we talking about the first rise here? Can you discuss differences between the first and second rising? Currently I bulk ferment, then will punch it down (really just knead it again for a few seconds) and either shape, or allow it to rise again. If I let it rise for a second time, I will try to minimize the loss of volume, then let it rise a little more before baking. The test I've been using for all rises is whether or not a floured-fingertips indent will remain. The result I get seems quite dense (feels heavy).
  10. Hi Project, thanks for your reply to my post. Unfortunately, I am not well versed enough in mathematics to interpret your working, maybe DouglasBaldwin can weigh in. chiantiglace - I apologise for bringing all of these formulas into it. I'd like to try to state practically all we've discussed, to persuade you that science is still useful! what DouglasBaldwin, budrichard and I discussed suggests that things heat up a lot faster at a boil (around 5x faster). If you compare a 95degC simmer to a 100degC boil, the same object will reach 100degC five times quicker in boiling water than it will reach 95degC in simmering water. This at least partly explains why Thomas Keller wants his pots to keep boiling - for the quickest blanching. You're right, the return to boil as a marker for done-ness is a rule of thumb - it'd be better to keep it at a boil the whole way through. What Project is suggesting is that the fastest cooking occurs at, or near boiling point, so if you're going to time your pasta, start counting when it returns to the boil. Hence, here is a different situation when the return to the boil may be an important rule of thumb. Ie. pasta cooking in simmering water may take significantly longer. Hopefully I've represented everyone accurately. Apologies if I haven't!
  11. It has always struck me that the nouvelle cuisine "fresh is best" mantra wasn't comprehensive. While I don't want to eat brown, wilted lettuce, the freshest Châteauneuf du Pape = grapes, and the freshest roquefort = milk. How do you guys think the flavour change of aging ground beef compares with the aging of steaks?
  12. Wow - that changes the interpretation hugely! Googling convection. A change in a few degrees of temperature changes the heat transfer from being free convective (ie. density of water changes with temperature, so a current is set up, continually bringing hot water in contact with the food) to being forced convective (ie. the current is not based on gravity). Ok so: i. what is the cause of the difference in the heat transfer? ii. what is the current based on? iii. what happens in a pressure cooker with respect to heat transfer? boiling at higher temperature? iv. is this why braises/stews should be simmered, not boiled? v. is there something special about the conversion of collagen to gelatin that is time dependent, as well as heat dependent?
  13. I'm not sure it's an accurate analogy to equate chemical reaction kinetics and heat transfer. I think the equation we want is Newton's law of cooling: dQ/dt = h*A(Tobject-Tenvironment) or: change in kinetic energy over time is = heat transfer constant times the area times the difference in the two bodies. Given this model, then you'd have to halve the temperature difference between the two bodies to half the rate of temperature transfer to the food. This would equate to room temperature asparagus in 100degC water vs. room temperature asparagus in 60degC water. However, this is only taking into account the increase in temperature of the object, when what is more important in blanching is the quick denaturation of enzymes that will break down desirable compounds. I'm still thinking in terms of asparagus, and the difference between bright green, and a beige-grey. What we want in this instance is the rapid denaturation of the enzymes acting on chlorophyll, particularly near the surface. I understand that most proteins denature around 60-70degC, but I'm also aware that there is variation in succeptability to denaturation (think hours of simmering stock to break collagen into gelatin). Also, chlorophyll leaches out into cooking water over time. Given these two things, I imagine that raising the temperature of the vegetable to ~60-70degC as quickly as possible, and accomplishing other tasks (eg. breaking down cell wall components) as quickly as possible would leave you with the brightest vegetables. I don't think "when it comes back to the boil" has anything to do with it. Unless perhaps, the boiling temperature itself is important. Eg. the enzymes involved did not denature until 100degC.
  14. gregnz


    I've tried hop pellets on a brewery tour before. While we were invited to try the wort (broth after the mashing process, without hops), with the guide telling us that some people particularly enjoyed it (tasted like meaty porridge), we were instructed that we 'would not like hops'. So while his back was turned, I put one in my mouth. Pretty bitter. A very strong piney taste that lingered. I don't know how these differ from the hop shoots, but I wouldn't say there was any asparagus to them.
  15. How about Fat Guy's macerated fruit with whipped cream served in a brandy snap cup? http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1078754 Instead of rolling the cooked, caramelised batter into a tube, leave them to set in a muffin tray, and you get individual cups to put the fruit in, then top with cream. One of my favourite desserts is pannacotta - again in muffin trays. I like a very wobbly, not-too-rich pannacotta. Proportions and method are as follows: 1 milk : 1 cream, then 1g of gelatin per 100mL. Bring milk and cream to boil, add a little salt, vanilla and sugar to taste (noting that sugar is less perceptable at higher temperatures. Sprinkle gelatin over, using a sieve, and stir to combine. Add flavourings and allow to seep. Strain out (or not) flavourings* and pour in to non-stick muffin trays and allow to set in fridge. I know that conventional wisdom says that you have to use leaf gelatin for a good result - but I have had far worse pannacotta that those that I make. *last time's was grated root ginger and star anise, served with an intense dark chocolate sauce.
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