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  1. When I look at the recipes above, I can already see good intentions cloud the facts again. The 600g flour/200g water recipe is going to be useless. Since 500/300 is a common proportion for bread dough, 600/200 is going to be a very dry stiff dough, while popiah skins call for a pretty gloopy dough I've seen a youtube video using 9 parts water for 10 parts flour, by weight ( ) and 1 tsp sea salt - which I'm guessing amounts to roughly 1% of the weight of the flour and the water combined, similar to the proportion in stretchy noodle dough. (Start interlude) I've never (yet) managed to make popiah skins the "official" way, but found that warka/brick pastry is an excellent substitute, if a lot more time consuming than making "real" popiah skins. A good starting point is to point your search engine to the warka recipe from Titli's busy kitchen. If you need a gluten-free version, use rice flour and egg white. I suggest adding a pinch of baking powder to make the skins extra crispy. (End interlude) Since flour can be a temperamental beast, I'd like to get a bit more factual detail from someone who makes their own popiah skins: - What proportion flour/water they use, by weight - Protein content of the flour used (it's the low gluten vs high gluten debate all over again) - Additives in the flour (ascorbic acid, raising agents etc) - Amount of salt (or proportion) by weight - Resting time - The actual temperature at which the dough is rested, as measured - The actual temperature of the cooking surface as measured with an infrared thermometer.
  2. Chelseabun: That's some great-looking dough you've got there, congratulations! Now that you've mastered the dough, next up is pulling technique. Alternate your twirling between clockwise and counterclockwise, it makes for naturally longer strands. To understand why, take a piece of string and twist it until it naturally twists into itself. If you now want to repeat this for the twisted piece of string, you'll find that you'll have to twist the piece of string in the opposite direction. It's the same with noodles. I think it was back in May 2013 that I posted some notes on pulling technique, along with a number of videos - have a read and a watch. You're doing great. Dust your noodles between stretches and you'll be enjoying a plateful soon!
  3. They *are* telling the whole story - Waking up at 5am to make noodle dough for lunch and resting the dough for SIX HOURS. This would make for an exceedingly boring video though, so they started out with rested dough. Given enough resting time, simply flour, water, and a pinch of salt *will* do the trick. The problem though, is that resting for too short a time will under-develop the gluten, which will result in the noodles not keeping together; while over-developed gluten won't work either because it will be too elastic and the dough will tear itself apart when stretched. I'm afraid that that's where "feel" for the dough comes in, but generally speaking, if the dough pulls itself to pieces, gluten is over-developed. It can be solved by increasing the moisture, twirling the dough a bit more or increasing alkaline.
  4. kleinebre

    Peanut Sauce

    How about two recipes? This is my Indonesian-inspired version: http://ringbreak.dnd.utwente.nl/~mrjb/recipes/id/peanutsauce.txt And here's my shot at the kind you find at British Chinese take-aways: http://ringbreak.dnd.utwente.nl/~mrjb/recipes/originals/sataysauce_britishchinese.txt Since I like my peanut sauce smooth, I tend to simply use plain peanut butter without too many additives.
  5. I think many people "getting into" sous-vide, aren't too worried about the vacuum bit but arereally looking for is cooking at temperature-controlled, low temperatures. So from my perspective, to "get into" Sous Vide, you should probably follow the path as outlined next: - Get a cheap probe thermometer. One of those cheap (6 pounds/10 US dollars) ones that you can stick into either a piece of meat or pop the meats into a ziploc bag, work out the air from the bag and place it in a pan of 55-60 celcius water. - Using the thermometer for measuring, keep the temperature of your "water bath" constant. Remove meats when internal temperature is over 60 celsius. - Same thing but use an oven instead of a water bath and stick the thermometer into the meats being cooked, 60+ means done. You'll now be able to consistently cook juicy meats, though it might take watching them for up to 4 hours. Step 2 - get a temperature controlled hotpot. I got a 1L hometek HT-335. Too small, temperature control with an accuracy of 5C. Cost me all of 17 pounds, sending costs included. This introduced me to 72-hour cooked pork belly. If you know anything about electricity at all, you may want to skip this step. Step 3 - Get a deep fryer or rice cooker (if you don't have one already) non-immersed heating element and drawing up to 10 amps/220 volts or 20 amps/100 volts. Hook up to a cheap Chinese STC-1000 temperature controller. This will give you more precise temperature control than the HT-335 and more room to cook. You'll be a year or more older by this time, yet your overall sous-vide costs so far will *still* be lower than when you had bought a commercial sous-vide device (under 50 pounds all-in for this last version, about half if you already have a slow cooker, rice cooker or deep fryer with non-immersed heating element. After all that, you may have decided whether or not to get a "proper" sous-vide kit with circulator. By then you're probably a year on, and their prices will hopefully have come down, so overall I'm guessing the step-by-step method won't set you back any more than going "pro" right away. All you're doing is spreading the risk, but while eating yummy food in the meantime.
  6. A month ago I tried wokking on the BBQ for that "Wok Hei" thing (as per "the food lab"/Kenji Lopez suggestion). It was basically a disaster, but I found two useful facts based on measurements I made with my laser/infrared thermometer: 1. The BBQ heats up to considerably higher temperatures than the hob. 2. However, with the miniature BBQ I used, the wok itself heated up considerably more on my hob than it did on the BBQ. Which is to say, temperature alone doesn't do it. From whatever heat source you use, you need sufficient total heat output to quickly get the wok back up to cooking temperatures. Suddenly the bicycle-pump pressured jet burners used in Asia are starting to make a LOT more sense. LiuZhou: That's funny, from all the Chinese I've seen when I lived in Asia, most of them would get a nice car before they'd get a house looking good not only on the inside, but the outside as well (i.e. not box-shaped, if you see what I mean). I may be biased though as I never lived in China.
  7. I haven't read MC but I did read an article or two about the ultrasonic fries and cavitation. It occurred to me that the starch and cavities on the surface of the fries would be rather similar to a miniature version of the texture one would expect from prawn crackers... which can be made by steaming, drying and frying a starch batter. Based on this, I put together a home-cook recipe for quadruple cooked fries, similar to HB's triple-cooked chips but with a few vital differences. - Maris pipers are cut to size but NOT "rinsed until water runs clear" as starch is what makes purely starch-based snacks such as prawn crackers and cheese puffs crispy; therefore, we want to keep the starch, rather than discard it. (Note; where some recipes state that starch makes things - such as fried fish - chewy, this is typically the result of developed gluten in wheat flour). - The cut, raw chips are then lightly dusted with potato starch; if you wish, you can try to figure out how to extract your own starch from potato but I opted for manufactured potato starch; Consider this a cheat if you want, but ultimately, my chips recipe still contains nothing but potato. - Dusted chips are then steamed (rather than boiled) to keep moisture content low and to keep flavour inside the potatoes; Note that this will also turn any surface starch (which should be kept rather limited) to a glue-like consistency; Note that they'll be VERY sticky and hard to handle without breaking at this point (i.e. they'll be too unpractical to make them in any commercial quantity). - Chips are then microwaved for 1-2 minutes, re-arranged and re-microwaved to get rid of excess moisture. In the original HB 3xCooked chips recipe, a vacuum chamber is used. TBFD cookbook states that prior to this, HB used a microwave but the results were inconsistent; the re-arranging and re-microwaving helps to obtain more consistent results. - Once cooled down, the chips are deep-fried in oil in small batches, first at 130C oil, placed on kitchen towel to drain the oil, then re-fried at 180C (for timings, consult TBFD cookbook). - And finally, seasoned with sea salt and immediately served. During frying, the steamed surface starch will behave like prawn crackers and the water contained by it will create tiny steam pockets, which -as they burst-, I result in cavities which should be rather similar to the cavitation obtained with an ultrasonic cleaner. Main difference being that one doesn't need any fancy equipment for superlative fries (the best I've had, anyway). I live at driveable distance from the Crown at Bray (owned by HB), and the above recipe results in fries/chips which are IMNSHO at least as good as those served at mentioned establishment. I'd recommend refrigerating the pre-fried chips before the final 180C fry, but not to freeze as (IMO) this negatively impacts the texture of the fries, making them have a more starchy mouth feel than fries that have never been frozen.
  8. @Chelseabun - Reading through your description above again, 12 hours proving might have been overdoing it slightly. I did a batch today but arrived home later than planned. The dough certainly took a turn for the worse. It took a lot more effort than usual to persuade the dough to stretch, and even then it didn't stretch very evenly. I'm tempted to try the spelt flour as well now. And egg noodles, for that matter. Dough is a complex thing. It may be viscose, elastic, pastic. For clarity, in the posts I've written, these are the terms and meanings as I intended: Elasticity: It may bounce back to its original shape; Plastic: It may keep the shape it's shaped into; and Viscose: It may "flow" from one shape to another. Extensible: How far the dough can be pulled before breaking. For making noodles I've found it important for the dough to have good plasticity and viscosity to permit it to be pulled (i.e. to make it extensible) - whereas too high elasticity ("bouncing back") seems to cause the dough to rip itself into pieces. At the same time, it is the elasticity of the dough that keeps it hanging together. I do realise that in some other sources, the word "elasticity" is sometime being used to mean extensibility, sometimes to signify the "chewiness" or "al dente-ness" of the resulting noodles. In any case, I hope the above definitions will help clarify some of my former posts here.
  9. Hi, I see you've progressed since I prepared this reply (egullet crashed yesterday): ========== Yes, messy hobby isn't it Chelseabun Based on what I've found over time, my main suggestions would be - - if your dough is too rubbery/elastic/bouncy, increase the moisture content of the dough a bit. If your dough is already very sticky, you may want to rub with a bit of oil instead. If you have a kitchen machine that can handle dough, you'll want to use it at this point to get your dough back to an even consistency. - For now, you're in the early stages. Because of this, I'd suggest to always make two half-batches! This will allow you to compare what matters and what doesn't, as well as how big a deal each change is. It will also allow you to verify my claims below - Align the gluten: stretch and fold. stretch and fold. I must sound like mr. Miyagi (wax on, wax off) - I found this to be a BIG DEAL. Except for the times when/if you use a kitchen machine, always work on aligning the gluten when handling the dough. - Rest the dough for a while after kneading. I found this, too, to be a BIG DEAL. By now I've done many (a dozen or so) batches starting just from water and cheap plain flour, no chemicals added - not even salt. I'm generally resting/curing the dough for several hours nowadays, as opposed to getting straight into kneading and twirling. I've found that this several hour curing/resting/autolyze stage allow making noodles without any additional equipment at all and not requiring an obsessive amount of kneading, whilst without that autolyze stage, it would be Very Hard Work. Regarding salt vs no salt - I find it a small difference, in fact I've found my dough stretched slightly less when salted. However, I haven't fully researched the differences between adding salt to the dough early vs late in the process, nor if there is an optimum amount. For now I'd suggest, when in doubt, leave it out. At this point, I'd in fact recommend the same for bicarbonate of soda for similar reasons: I've found adding potassium carbonate or sodium carbonate to the dough in the beginning makes for an essentially useless dough. Interestingly, I've seen a rub with a few drops of lye water near the end of the process (after having done a good bit of twirling etc) make an impressive difference. You've noticed commercial noodles do have potassium carbonate in them. Still, they're more likely to be extruded than hand-pulled. Potassium carbonate does gives the dough a yellowish hue, which makes them look more like egg-noodles... but without the cost of eggs. (Ashes are a prime source of potassium carbonate. As you can imagine, potassium carbonate is literally dirt cheap. This also explains the "mugwort ash" thing). Did anyone read the BBC article where they found a 4000 year old bowl of noodles? Apparently pulled, apparently made of two kinds of millet. I'd have chalked it up as a mistranslation of "spelt" but they even named the types of millet (fox millet and another). Doesn't make sense to me though... millet doesn't contain gluten. Colour me confused. ===== So much for yesterday's reply. The bit I didn't fully understand was you mentioning the dough being "short". If by that you mean grainy, that's mostly solved by repeatedly stretching and folding. Adding to that: Interesting to hear about your attempt with spelt. Haven't tried that myself at any point. Being in the UK as well, I had the same issue with the US "cake flour" thing - flour bleached the same way simply isn't for sale here in the UK. Apparently it's possible to approximate USA cake flour though. Google for "Kate flour", it's essentially a heat treatment and nothing else. I haven't tried making "kate flour" myself, as all traditional recipes I read pointed to higher-gluten flours. Regarding additive-free noodles, well you've just read the above. Congratulations on your early success! Now to consistently repeat it... best of luck! You mentioned you gave half of the batch an 8 hour rest but the other half was just proved for an hour - how did that compare for you, or did you recombine both batches?
  10. Regarding pulling technique, there are a few videos that show bits of it nicely. There are minor variations in technique from one chef to another, and indeed different pulling styles, but I'll try to be faithful in my description below of Lan Zhou style: - Roll dough into an even log. Dust your surface with flour and roll the log, moving two hands from the middle to the edges while stretching the log [video 2, 0:30-0:34]. You'll want a log slightly wider than shoulder width. (Optional: Once you have a nice even log, for flat noodles, flatten the log with the heel of your hand). - With your left hand holding one side of the log between index and middle finger, palm facing up, stretch to full arms length. Bring both hands to centre position, place right-hand side of the noodle between middle finger and ring finger of the left hand. Twist the ends together. The dough will be hanging from either side of your left middle finger [video 1, 4:47-5:00] - If any of the dough between your fingers has thinned out during the stretch, simply pull up the strands a bit and twist them together. This helps prevent strands snapping. - Now, approaching the hanging strands with your right hand from UNDER your left hand, place the middle finger of your right hand between the strands. Target the centre of the folded strands to ensure even thickness of the strands. Pull out with your middle finger, right hand palm facing up (Some noodle chefs just use their index finger instead). - After the pull, bring your hands together and hang the right-hand end over the middle finger of your left hand. (You'll notice the right-hand side of the strands has squeezed together slightly due to the pulling). Repeat to achieve the desired thickness, dragging the strands through flour on your working surface as needed. Any time you notice the dough hanging between your fingers thins out, simply lift up and twist together. - When you're about to make your last pull, hang the right-hand side of the noodles not over your left middle finger, but over your left index finger. Then, to make the final pull, instead of just using your middle finger, use your full right hand [video 3, 1:27-1:30]. This helps prevent the noodles on the right-hand end from fusing. Video 4 included as it shows a pretty nice overall summary of the technique from about 1:34 on. 1. How to make hand pulled noodle, 2. Hand pulled noodles, 3. Noodle pulling - Gordon Ramsay 4. Hand pulled noodle demonstration -
  11. That *is* worth quite a bit. The technique reminds me somewhat of making Indonesian-style cendol which officially uses mung bean starch (although that's dripping "glue" into ice water rather than the other way around). Back here in the UK, pure mung bean starch is nowhere to be found, so I experimented and found that tapioca starch is useless for that particular process, whereas corn starch worked fine. Although not quite the same thing, it does go to show that the kind of starch can make all the difference between success and failure. I did try rice flour with boiling water, but it broke up. The kind of starch may well be the clue there. I've seen a few rice noodle videos where rice is steamed into a sheet and then cut up into strips. Which, I suppose, does work, but doesn't result in the texture that I'm interested in, in this instance. Syzygies: Interesting device you're showing there. You got my mind hopping around - I wonder if it can be abused as an oil press
  12. After I've been at hand-pulled noodles for a while, I found some people asking me about rice noodles, the obvious benefit being that they could in principle be made gluten-free. Lacking elasticity, I was convinced that one would need an extruder to make rice noodles... Until I saw this video: Has anyone here made their own rice noodles? Any suggestions?
  13. Good point about the sour dough. Regarding the evenness of the strands, I'm pretty sure the starch in the flour plays a role there with the non-Newtonian fluid thing, helping the strands to stay pretty even by stressing them. Had a good few hours on my pulling technique which also resulted in a different method of making the dough (and my fastest so far). I didn't use my mixer. I used plain flour and omitted the alkali altogether, so we're down to flour, water and salt now, taking us into 4000-year-old noodle recipe territory, back to a time when measurements were not precise and nobody knew chemistry. To quote mr. Ping: "The secret ingredient is... Nothing" Here's my "back to basics" method which I'd like to call: ========== Kleinebre's Zen method for hand-pulled noodle dough (cue bamboo flute). Mix flour and salt to taste (about 1%). Add water (5 flour:3 water by weight or 2:1 by volume) and gently mix. Don't knead. Play "how far can I stretch this" with the sticky dough. Gently pull it until it tears apart. Recombine length-wise, repeat several times until you get a feel for when the dough will tear. From then on reduce your pulling strength at that point and fold and stretch again. You'll be able to stretch further and further. Whenever your dough starts feeling rubbery, rub it with water, then resume. ========== Footnote: Water will evaporate from the dough. This will make the dough more elastic and less extensible. Adding water reverses this until you have the right balance. Once you start pulling many strands, water will evaporate quicker because the surface area of the dough is bigger. You'll need to add water more often then.
  14. Try 31: Tried a "fast" batch with a whole tablespoon of lye water. No dice (what was I thinking?) Try 32: Did a cold-rested batch last night just with Sainsbury's "taste the difference" 00-flour (11.5% protein), otherwise the same as my 30th attempt. I placed it outside the fridge for about an hour, but even so, the dough ended up a bit too elastic to be pulled. Adding a slight bit of water and a little more prolonged mixing and kneading sorted that out and once again I ended up with a nice stretchy dough (although the slightest bit more elastic than attempt 30). With the gluten development stage being fully refrigerated now, I have no more concerns from a food safety perspective. Moving on to documenting my findings about pulling technique. With this dough being slightly more elastic, simply the fastest possible pull didn't do the trick, so I had to slow down a bit compared to my previous success. Apparently, the more elastic the dough, the more gentle the pull. Gently tugging seems to help a bit. When doing a pull, you'll always want to bias your pull slightly to the thicker side of the noodles, if there is one, to help even them out. As before, dusting with flour helped prevent sticking, but it's still a bit tricky to keep the strands from twirling when bringing hands together to prepare for the next pull.
  15. One more thing worth bearing in mind though: Leaving moist dough out at room temperature for this long may be concern from a food safety perspective. Or maybe not; I'm not sure how effective the salt and bicarbonate of soda are at preventing bacterial growth. In any case, if my understanding at this point is correct, it should be possible to cut down on the "curing" time of the dough by using flour with less gluten and/or making the noodles more alkaline.
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