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Everything posted by emannths

  1. Re: citric acid vs. sodium citrate. Citric acid is just hydrogen citrate, and since it's the citrate ion that's doing the emulsifying legwork, they should both help emulsify the cheese. The problem is that citric acid is acidic (duh) and sodium citrate is basic, so your pH will be off. The pH definitely affects carrageenan's gelling qualities, and it may affect the emulsifying properties of the caseins in the cheese as well. Also, acids tend to prevent cheeses from melting by increasing the interactions between the caseins. If you can, measure the pH of your cheese. If it's below ~5.4 or so, increasing the pH may help. There's almost infinite more info about processed cheese in this scientific review article.
  2. avaserfi (et al): keep an eye out of industrial tips for making processed cheese. Many manufacturers of things like carrageenan have reference recipes, like this one for a block of processed cheese. If this recipe is accurate, you've got way too much carrageenan in your formulation--they suggest 0.25% (though they don't indicated what variety). Speaking of industrial literature, print this out an read it. It's a comprehensive, fantastic review of all aspects of processed cheese: Processed Cheese Reveiw.
  3. Fibrisol sells a number of phosphate systems for use in dairy products, each of which may have a different effect on pH depending on which phosphates are used in the formulation. Is SDS2 the one that MC calls for?
  4. If I want chunks/cubes to eat, I use a vegetable peeler and then cut the flesh off the pit, like this. If I just need the flesh for a smoothie or something where shape doesn't matter, I first cut the lobes off the pit, then scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon.
  5. Sorry about the acronyms--WTB: want to buy / WTT: want to trade / ISO: in search of / FS: for sale / FT: for trade.
  6. Ok, I've got one that comes up occasionally: how do you figure how how a change in temperature will affect the cooking time? For example, how long will it take to braise something in a pressure cooker compared to a regular pot, or how will changing the temp you SV your shortribs at change cooking time? Rule of thumb: for every 10C increase in cooking temperature, the cooking time decreases by 50%. The formula to use is F = 2 ^ [(T2 - T1) / 10], where F is you adjustment factor (multiply this by the specified cooking time to get the actual cooking time), T2 is the specified temperature, and T1 is the actual cooking temp. But of course this is only an approximation, so don't expect it to be perfect. Also, it will only work for things where the food temperature is the same for the duration of the cooking process (i.e., it doesn't tell you how long it takes to reach some particular core temp). A good resource for finding the basic properties of various materials (like the temperature of a pressure cooker filled with saturated water vapor at 2atm) is Wolfram Alpha.
  7. Maybe we should start a WTB/WTT/FS thread in the Kitchen Consumer forum to facilitate this sort of thing...
  8. Has anyone tried using some store-bought processed cheese as a source of "additives?" Maybe you could throw in one kraft single along with your good cheddar and it would supply all the emulsifying and thickening power you'd need...?
  9. Two potential reasons for including iota carrageenan: 1) it helps the stability of milk proteins, esp in cold storage, and 2) it has a dramatic effect on mouthfeel, combining with start to give the sensation of body that is "four times that of using starch alone." (source, p9) Why not mornay? So that you can minimize the amount of starch and maximize the amount of cheese to intensify the cheese flavor. Edit to add: One more advantage to using iota carrageenan: it forms a thixotropic gel. This means that it flows under shear (it acts like a liquid when you stir it), but thickens considerably when the shear load is removed (doesn't flow off the noodles while it's sitting on the plate). The benefit, of course, is that your cheese sauce sticks more tenaciously to the pasta without actually "feeling" thicker.
  10. If you're driving up to Ipswich, pick up some donuts from Kane's in Saugus.
  11. For fish, I'd add Island Creek Oyster Bar and East Coast Grill (also a bunch option) to the list. Both are going to be more casual than the likes of No 9 Park and TW Food though. Mentioned often in the same breath at TW Food is Craigie on Main (I haven't been to either, so I can't really compare them). I've heard good things about the brunch at Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street. I'm sure there are probably some other good options in the South End, which isn't too far from your hotel either. If you like good beer, Boston has lots of good options, but the best are near Kendall Square across the river in Cambridge: Lord Hobo and Cambridge Brewing Company.
  12. Our house is kept pretty cool in the winter (62-66F), so a cold plate can really cool down the food quickly. I'll at least try to warm them a little on the toaster oven (if it's on) or in the microwave. Usually not to the point that it's "hot," but more to the point that when you pick it up it doesn't feel cold.
  13. I borrowed it from the library and have been making the Chile-Seasoned Pot-Roasted Pork (p 378) ever since. It's easy, and it doesn't need anything special outside of some dried chiles. Make sure you serve it with plenty of brightly-flavored condiments (cilantro, limes, pickles, etc)--a meal of slow-cooked pork with beans can feel awfully rich. Here's the Amazon link, for those interested. This one has a free preview, if you want to skim through it.
  14. Don't be afraid--just give it a whirl from what you see here and elsewhere on the internet. After all, that's how they came up with the recipes. And does anyone actually run out of Activa?
  15. When they fix their site, Cooking Issues has a nice primer on it, including info about origin and safety:
  16. Seems to me if you like the burger, it would be pretty easy to make big batches of reconstructed cheese, rolls, "ketchup," glaze, and rendered fat to keep in the freezer. All that's left to do is grind the meat and cook it for two hours. :-/ Speaking of which, how commonly do the books talk about the stability of some of these thickened or emulsified item after storage in the freezer? It seems like the "usual" things we encounter have a range of stability depending on their composition.
  17. You might also try to add some water/broth/etc to the bags to fill the void spaces to help conduction throughout the artichoke.
  18. It's a common rule of thumb for how changes in temperature affect the rates of chemical reactions. Absent any other guidance, it's probably the best we've got. If there are other suggestions, I'm all ears. I should note that it's pretty easy to adjust the calculation if you think that the cooking time should increase by some other factor--just change the 2 in the formula to that factor.
  19. The boiling point of water at 21psi is 126.5C, and at 15psi it's 120.5C. If you assuming that the cooking time doubles for each 10C lower in temperature, then you should lengthen the cooking time by about 1.5 times for a total cook time of about 65-70 minutes. The formula to use is F = 2 ^ [(T2 - T1) / 10], where F is you adjustment factor (multiply this by the specified cooking time to get the actual cooking time), T2 is the specified temperature, and T1 is the actual cooking temp. You can get the boiling point of water at various pressures from Wolfram Alpha--just remember that the pressure rating on the cooker is in ADDITION to one atmosphere of pressure.
  20. How about getting either a) malt extract from a homebrew supply store, or b) powdered malt extract used in baking? Ooo! Or boil down some Malta!
  21. Might want to be careful with that stuff: "This product generally produces bowel movement within 15 minutes to 1 hour."
  22. Stand back everyone--I've got this one too! :-) Pharmacy, apparently.
  23. I did some poking around, and I think I've come up with the answer for why baking soda may be used in fat rendering When you render fat, your goal is to separate the fats (triglycerides) from the water and solids. The problem is that fats break down into fatty acids (which may also occur naturally in the tissue), which act as excellent emulsifiers. The fatty acids stabilize the presence of water in the fat phase, and also contribute to flavor and color in the fat phase. By adding alkali (in this case, baking soda), the fatty acids are neutralized and lose their emulsifying ability, allowing easier separation of the water phase from the fat phase and providing a "cleaner" fat product. Source at Google books, for anyone interested.
  24. It just seems counterintuitive that a Maillard promoter would lead to whiter, cleaner tasting fat. I would have expected the opposite (browner, more complex/richer flavor).
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