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Everything posted by SparrowsFall

  1. Totally brilliant. But. I think the pile-o'-filo then pile-o'-nuts then pile-o'-filo thing is Just Plain Wrong. Nuts should be interspersed between each layer. Avoids the frisson-inducing feeling of biting through many layers of stacked filo. Makes for a much lighter, more delicate, more elegant pastry that sort of disintegrates between your teeth and collapses in your mouth instead of requiring effort (and for me, a wince) to bite through. Even with the layered approach, though, doing the butter this way could save a good twenty or thirty minutes out of the 45 that assembly usually takes. Even easier: just put all the butter on at the end, like you do with the syrup after baking? Steve
  2. Sigh. You people are right of course. I just really *want* there to be a nice light pan that performs well. If all I wanted was performance, of course, I just get her one of those $20/$30 steel pans that all my favorite restaurants use by the stackful. (Mine is the first one I reach for, almost every time.) I don't really understand the cookware fetish thing. But the copper has some family-history resonance (I only reveal the details to close friends), and she (like me) won't really care whether it's shiny except once a year (or decade) maybe. And it's something she'll treasure and delight in, take with her to college, such like that. Steel just doesn't cut it for sweet sixteen. So I went with CI's best value choice, the Gourmet Standard 10" (copper, alum, stainless), $60 with free shipping. http://www.cookwareessentials.com/asp/show...id=FR75-GST1102 Thanks for the input! Steve
  3. Hi All: For my daughter's 16th birthday, I want to buy her a 10" copper fry pan. Stainless inside. What I really want, though, is a *light* one, that she can flip with. (She's only 5'2", 110 lbs.) The obsession these days is with thick and heavy, to avoid burning and give even heat distribution. But this pan's for things like quick-frying shrimp or sausage or zucchini or fried eggs or foie, not simmering sauce. She's quite competent to keep those things from burning in the few minutes they take. Especially if the pan's light enough that she can give it a shake or a flip! So, any advice on *lightweight* copper-out(/alum disk?)/stainless-in pans? Tin-lined would be okay too. What matters to me is: lightweight, the beauty of copper, plus a good smooth flip curve to the thing. Thanks! Steve
  4. What Anne said! Yeah, it's all about attitude. A variation of the old maxim, "never anything mechanical know that you're in a hurry." Ignoring/forgetting and letting the second rise go too long gave me my best results yet. One of my best buddies who does the sourdough thing comments (only somewhat jokingly) about the codependency relationship he has with the colony on his countertop... Gotta let 'em know who's boss! They have numerical superiority, but we're bigger! And we know how to use tools. Who's at the top of the food chain, after all--them or us?
  5. I'm discovering that the key is a long second rise. I've spaced out a couple of times, forgotten and given it three hours or whatever, so there were huge bubbles exuding out of the dough. Dumped it in the pan and baked, got the best loaves yet.So, to get the major volcano/oven-spring action, with lots of resulting crunchies on top (and the best crumb): long second rise, really big bulbous bubbles showing before you pour it in the hot pan.
  6. I've taken to just making my next batch right away, without cleaning the bowl from the previous. (Anything to avoid cleaning...) By batch #4 it was tasting pretty sourdoughy.
  7. Will do! I'm collecting all these posts about her for her next visit. She'll be thrilled!
  8. This happened to me twice--stuck solid as a rock--once in cast iron and once in corningware. Every other time it dropped right out. Go figger. I think (surmise, guess?) that the sticking results from too-wet dough. Yes, oiling works and doesn't seem to hurt anything.Steve
  9. Nice image! Exactly what I experienced. VSS (Very Simple Solution): Don't Handle It. I'm going to just keep banging my spoon on the highchair here even if nobody's listening. This is NO-KNEAD bread. That means that there's NO need to knead. Let me repeat. No knead (need). (Mr. Bittman definitely picked up on several the best tips here, but not that one. Why are people clinging to this?) Just stir the stuff down after the first rising. (Leave the wooden spoon in the bowl so you don't have to clean it more than once.) After the second rising, dump it into the hot pan. The folding and handling *makes no difference.* Soak the bowl and spoon for a bit, and cleanup is almost nonexistent. Wipe out your cast iron with an oiled paper towel. To test my theory that the folding doesn't do anything, but rather it's the extra flour that gets incorporated in the process that does make a difference, I tried a drier dough--only about 1.25 cups of water. It took a very long time to rise as much as I am used to. After 12 hours (lightbulb-heated oven), still not expanded much. After 21, looked pretty good. Stirred it down, gave it 2+ hours, dumped it in the pan. I figured that even with a drier dough, it was going to be 100% humidity inside that pot, but I kind of chickened out and poured a bit of water--couple of tablespoons maybe--over the loaf before putting the lid on. (Didn't have a sprayer, but thanks to the poster who suggested this.) It seems to have caused actual thin flakiness on the outside of the crust, and maybe a more delicate crust overall, which is another thing folks have been after. It came out wonderfully. I think it's crumbier inside than with a wetter dough--less elastic and gummy--which is one thing we've all been wanting, I think. Moral: hydration percentage is not much of an issue, as long as it's not too wet. (Which means that weighing is just a waste of energy. Did you see that one person on this thread suggested the need to *weigh the water*? I won't bother to explain why I used asterisks there...) I didn't get as much spring/volcano effect (maybe due to random batch variation?), but the firmness of the drier dough gave more humps and ridges on top to create crustiness, so the same result. Forgot to mess with the top using a knife this time before baking, but last time I did and it definitely helped with the crunchies. I've tried minimizing even further, BTW, by not doing the second rise, but that's too far even for me--resulted in a pretty dense loaf. Okay, I'm now reverting to entertaining myself by smooshing my gerber strained beets around on the highchair tray... Steve
  10. Actually, that's the other reason I thought of putting them in early--once the gluten's developed it's hard to work them in without smushing them. On the initial mixing, if you use a folding-like motion I think you could get full mixing without smushing. I had three or four cloves on the outside. A couple touching the pan were burnt but easy to pull off. Ones on top were beautifully filling-pullingly chewy. Don't do the bacon on top, btw. It just falls off (even though I patted it in some), which leaves all sorts of valuable bacon on the cutting board instead of in your mouth where it belongs. And it makes you worry (with reason) about the bacon burning, so you might pull out the bread before you would otherwise. I used probably 30 cloves of garlic, and felt like it could use a bit more. A little sparse on the ground for us garlic lovers... Steve
  11. I'll meet your roasted garlic and raise you some bacon. In keeping with the life-mantra that bacon makes everything better, I fried some up, chopped it, and added it along with the garlic during the fold after the first rise. Ended up having to get in there squishing with my fingers to mix it in. Next time I think I'll just toss it in at the beginning instead, before ading the water--much easier to get it mixed through uniformly, and I think the flavors would imbue the bread very nicely. I used the braised garlic from Bittman's other life-changing article [restricted access: http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricte...DA00894DD404482]. (Ultimate minimalist rendition of said article: simmer peeled garlic cloves in olive oil for 40 minutes.) I used a couple or three strips of bacon (part sprinkled on top before baking), and the flavor doesn't actually doesn't come through much at all. I think I'll use A Great Deal More next time. But it's yummy and beautiful.
  12. I've done probably ten loaves now, mostly just following the recipe with small variations (like not folding, but stirring instead) to experiment. And I've read zillions of posts here and elsewhere. Some observations and questions: I think the oven spring is one key to this being as good as it can be. The volcano effect cracks up the top and makes for many more crunchies. A couple of my batches haven't done that, resulting in a smooth domed top which wasn't nearly as good. On my next batch I'm going to try messing up the the top with a knife some after it goes in the pot, to contribute to this crackly-top effect. I *think* that a slightly dryer dough contributes to this volcano effect. But it may be that the drier dough simply means that it's possible for me to fold it more effectively (I do it in the bowl with a spoon rather than messing up the board and a towel), as opposed to basically stirring it down with wetter stuff, which folding maybe creates some tension contributing to spring. But I'm not convinced. In any case, people seem to be having more luck with the drier (1.5 cups water) dough recommended in the video, as opposed to the 1-5/8 in the recipe. I agree. Also when I've sprinkled/incorporated extra flour during folding, I've had better results, so I'm going to try simply using a drier dough to begin with. (I don't mess with hydration or weights; I just go by my sense of texture, which probably measures the same thing pretty closely.) I've seen nobody who has been happy with the 500 degrees recommended in the video (burnt bottoms). Use 450, works great every time. Reports, please: are those who aren't bothering with the whole fold-and-towel shenanigans--i.e., just dumping the bread into the hot pan straight from the bowl after the second rising--having as much success as I am? (Abra, you promised to try this method...) Anybody tried a direct head-to-head test with a double batch? Does folding actually do anything, or is it (as I suspect) just the extra flour that gets incorporated in the process which makes it better? I tried two teaspoons table salt. Too salty. Stick to 1.5. I've had two different loaves stick quite badly--one in cast iron, one in a ceramic souffle dish. (Again, this may be because the dough's too wet, which is what djyee100 surmised on the parchment failure.) So I give the pan a quick aerosol spray of oil before putting the dough in the pan. Seems to have no effect except preventing sticking. My housekeeper said she made rolls with this recipe for thanksgiving, but added butter, sugar, and a little milk. (Not measured, just added, with flour adjusted a bit.) Dropped dollops into muffin tins, used aluminum foil for the cover. She said they came out great, really crunchy, folks loved them. I tried it in tin loaf pans cause I wanted that shape, also using aluminum foil to cover. Worked well, though I divvied the recipe into two so it would fit, and the loaves were rather flat. Didn't get much oven spring so I think this would have worked better if I'd had drier dough. I currently have a batch going that's a variation on Abra's roast garlic loaf. On its second rise now. I'll report soon.
  13. I can't imagine why this wouldn't work just fine. From all the posts here and elsewhere (and my experience with enameled cast iron, cast iron, tin, and ceramic), it seems that what pan you use has fairly little effect.
  14. The roast chicken. It's everywhere, I know. But go over to the meat section and check out the Rocky Jrs. $12 or so. (For a chicken!) Then go to the deli and buy one fully cooked and ready to go for $9.
  15. I noticed that a couple of people were trying more yeast/less time, so I thought I'd give that a try. (Cause I'm catching a plane at the crack of dawn tomorrow.) Did 1 tsp yeast, then (being a man of extremes) put it in a quite warm oven (150). Two hours, knocked it down, another hour and a half, then into the hot pan. 30 minutes top on, 20 minutes top off, 210 degrees internal with my recently (by me) calibrated instaread. (Yes, Abra my dear, I'm on my way now to add dig therm and scale to my Amazon wish list.) Short story, it worked okay: Long story, I don't think it's as good. Denser (like, don't drop it on your toe), little oven spring, more elastic/rubbery. *Very* big holes interspersed with much finer/denser grain. Did seem to have a bit more flavor than the long method--*definitely* smelled the yeast when I was putting it in the hot pan. So I'll go back to the long rise, but this is close enough that I'll experiment more in the future. A third rise might do it. Steve
  16. Yeah, but what about the creature that comes out of the oven? Any (significant, predictable) difference? re: "it helps to develop gluten, it redistributes yeast so it can get to food and thus create more fermentation gas which in turn gives your dough/bread good rise/oven spring. redistributes the gas so you get a bit more even crumb structure." Stirring it down has the same effects, no? (Except maybe developing gluten, but in both cases the handling so minimal as to have questionable effect, and in any case the brilliance of this recipe is that the fermentation builds the gluten.)
  17. One way to find out... <g> The theory makes sense, but do the results vary with this recipe? HSM and my experiments suggest not, or not much. Steve
  18. More intelligence resulting from error: I screwed up and left my oven at 350 (where it was set) for the third batch. Noticed about 15 minutes in and turned it up to 450, then left the lid on for five or ten extra minutes. That didn't compensate, and the good crust didn't develop. This is obviously to be expected, but thought I'd report. Also, it didn't do the volcano-like thing that I got in my second batch, and that's quite visible in Abra's loaf. It was smoothly dome-like. I like it when the top breaks like that--makes for more crunchies. I chickened out and did *not* bypass the second rising--though I cut it down to 1:15 cause I had to go pick up the kids. Result was pretty much the same, hole-wise. A fine loaf, just not great cause of the less-then-crunchy crust. This recipe seems remarkably resilient to variation. Has anyone else noticed that the loaves we're seeing are very similar, despite variations in proportions/wetness/type of flour, etc.? (I use Albertson's bread flour and Fleishmann's active dry yeast, btw.) Strikes me that the opportunities are for major variations (sourdough, rye, olive, baugette shape, etc.) using the wet-dough/lid-on method. In particular, I'm thinking that the folding/handling has little or no effect, except to make the recipe and cleanup somewhat more work. Thoughts? My Le Creuset handle didn't melt at 450. I got it from my mom, who's been using it for forty or fifty years, and I'm confident it's gone through most possible oven settings. It remains unmelted. I found that just soaking the pan in water made it easy to clean. (I don't really care what the outside looks like.) Steve
  19. Okay, second batch is done. I cooked it darker and that solved the problem of the crust softening after cooling--wonderful crust, lots of oohs and aahs from friends and family. Interior is still a bit more elastic than I like, but the extra cooking definitely improved it. The lid on the pot (I assume any pot would work fine) is the big Aha here. MUCH SIMPLER: After the first rise, poke it down with your wooden spoon in the bowl. I even managed to "fold" it twice with the spoon, though I suspect this is little more than a fetish--not sure it has any effect. Another two hours, then straight from the bowl into a hot Le Creuset. Untouched by human hands. The results seemed largely identical to the folded and handled version. We're talking three minutes to mix (rise 18 hours) one minute to knock down (rise two hours) then bake. One bowl and one wooden spoon, both a breeze to clean. For a pretty darned impressive loaf. I'll definitely up the salt a bit next time. Two teaspoons sounds right. The dough for the second batch was a bit drier, seemed more manageable. Variations of volume measuring. (Though weight measuring has humidity issues...) Bittman says that the water/flour ratio doesn't seem to be much of a critical issue with this recipe, and based on my two loaves, that's true. I have a third batch rising now. I'm tempted to skip the second rising and see what happens... Steve
  20. 'kay, I started a batch of this within five minutes of spotting the article. (Finished reading it as I worked.) Worked pretty well--looks *beautiful*--but various issues/ideas/thoughts: 1. It was so wet even after 18 hours that the idea of "folding" it as instructed was like folding pudding. Couldn't put it in the pot seam-side up as instructed because there weren't no seam. Two possible reasons: a. It's a volume- (not weight-)measure recipe so it's possible there was too little flour--flour-to-water ratio was short. b. My house thermostat kicks down at night to about sixty, so maybe it didn't do enough fermenting to build the glutens/align the proteins. Longer time or consistent warmth might change that. 2. When I pulled it out of the oven it had a great crunchy crust, but by the time it cooled it was chewy not crunchy. I only cooked it to light/medium brown (15 minutes after the pot lid came off), not dark brown. That might explain it. 3. The internal bubbles are beautiful, but the texture is much more elastic, even rubbery, than I tend to like. Would prefer more crumby. I wonder if one of the following would change that: a. higher flour-to-water ratio b. longer/more fermentation c. longer/browner cooking 4. I am an almost obsessively minimalist bread baker. Read: lazy. (My everyday toast/sandwich white bread involves 5 minutes/2 hours rising/form into loaves (never touching the bread board which would require cleaning)/half hour rising/bake.) So this recipe is *way* attractive to me. Drawbacks: a. It really gums up the bread board, which then must be cleaned. (Which in turn gums up the sponge... I told you I'm lazy.) b. It *really* gums up the towel that's recommended. Pain to clean. BTW, it does *not* stick to the pan as I feared. If I get good success with this I'll devote a pot to it that I rarely or never bother to clean, like my bread pans. I have another batch fermenting now (which seems to be a bit drier). I'm going to try minimalizing it even more, going straight from the bowl (maybe knocking/stirring it down once for a second rising) into the hot pot, forming it a little bit with oiled hands in transit. I'll let you know. Other folks' results? Steve
  21. Oh, migod, I've been searching for those fries ever since Tamara Murphy left Cafe Campagne. Let's see, it's 9:25 pm. If I leave Seattle now I can be in Walla Walla by.... Great blog, Abra! Steve
  22. Also ate there a couple of weeks back, had the wide egg noodles with red/duck sauce. Delicous--scarfed it down wholesale. And the tiramisu, which the waiter opined would be the best I've ever had. It was very good. Service slightly oversolicitous for my tastes, but just a little--very friendly, prompt, and well handled. I only glanced through the wine list but it looked smart, good spread of maybe 25 italian wines (plus new world stuff). Markups--$10-12 retail bottles at $28, $50 retail bottles at $80. Reasonable. (Their web site is kind of ridiculous, btw. [Hope they're listening.] Their address and phone number do not appear anwywhere. Just gives their hours on the front page. You can download PDFs to see their menus. [Yawn.] You can get driving directions, but only by downloading a Microsoft Word file, and still no address or phone number--much less email address. ) But once you find them they're yummy and darned pleasant. Steve
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