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Chris Amirault

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 1)

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Just out of curiosity, how fast can a pizza suck heat out of an aluminum "stone?" Ignoring issues of practicality, would putting heat xfer fins on the underside help, or does the preheated "stone" already contain enough heat at ~550F to achieve the desired results? Nathan/MC-people, did you monitor the temperature of your metal "stone" during baking?

Heat transfer fins help if you have a powerful enough oven, for example in a Combi-oven, or a professional convection oven.

In a home oven you are limited by the heating capacity (wattage) of the oven. Most ovens just don't have enough wattage for this to work. So what you do in effect is take a long time to build up heat in the metal plate, then release it during a short cooking time.


Nathan

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Mild steel is MUCH cheaper than stainless. A 1/2" thick plate ought to be easy to find and that should cost $30 to $50. You could go thicker if you want, but it gets very heavy so be sure you want to lug it around.

Aluminum is the most convienent choice because it weighs less. In that case 3/4" plate should cost $60 to $70 depending on size. The actual alloy of aluminum does not matter much, but 6061 is a pretty standard aircraft aluminum.

If you don't mind me asking, where are you sourcing these plates from? These prices seem completely off from every quote I've received. A 2'x 1' (3/4 in. aluminum) plate has been over $200 every time.

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And aluminum, seriously? Come on, Nathan, you have to be aware of the aluminum's conductivity. You can pre-heat it for as long as you want and the moment you open the door, the temperature will plummet. Aluminum will not store heat- and for pizza, stored heat is critical.

This makes no sense. The high conductivity of aluminum (and iron too) is what you need. It is why a pizza stone (lower conductivity) is inferior to a metal plate. You want the heat to be conducted into the pizza dough as quickly as possible. (And it will not lose its heat when you open the door because it is insulated by the air. (Just try heating an aluminum object to 500 degrees, then open the door, and touch the object. Think the temp will plummet and you won't get burned? Think again.)

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In my experience McMaster is always more expensive than a local source: I'd check the Yellow Pages first and rely on McM for the weird stuff you can't find anyplace else.

I used to work at McMaster and I have to agree that this is true. They have an enormous selection, great service and fast delivery but you pay for it.

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For those looking for aluminum "stones," and you've exhausted your local options, you might want to check ebay.

Here's 2 18" diameter, .5" thick Al pizza "stones" for $45 shipped, for example.

ETA: And here's a vendor that has 3/4" x 12" x 12" plates for $48 before shipping, and also offers custom sizes. If you buy the "bar," it's $10 cheaper, presumably because one dimension is limited to 12", whereas the plate is cut from larger stock?


Edited by emannths (log)

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As well as for pizza, this metal plate technique ought to work for other flatbreads, such as Indian-style naan bread. AFAIK naan is cooked stuck to the wall of a very hot tandoor oven, so presumably it gets lots of heat by both radiation (from the other walls) and conduction (from its bit of the wall). I think it is generally agreed that naan can't be done properly in a domestic oven.

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Does the book explain the equipment needed for ultrasonic cavitation? I have a small device which uses ultrasound to clean my wife's jewellery, but given it only holds about 1 litre of water I'd need lots of small bags of potato batons and a long time.....

The ultrasonic cleaner we use is similar to the one for your wife's jewelry, only bigger. They come in various sizes. You could test the recipe out with a 1-liter ultrasonic bath, but you won't be able to make large quantities that way.

I've seen on eBay that you can get ultrasonic cleaners ranging from 0.7L to 27L! Some of them also heat up to 80C. As you would expect, they are not particularly cheap, but the 2L one is about £100, which I guess you could justify if you really love your french fries (chips!).

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I've been sick a few days but plotting my Sunday dinner, all of which will be drawn from volume 3: mac & cheese, cucumber pickles, and fried chicken.

Off to do the shopping for it now. Will document obsessively.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I've been sick a few days but plotting my Sunday dinner, all of which will be drawn from volume 3: mac & cheese, cucumber pickles, and fried chicken. ----

I would like to know the definitions of:

1. Authentic mac & cheese.

2. Authentic cucumber pickles.

3. Authentic fried chicken.

dcarch :raz:

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I'm hunting down ascorbic acid to make carbonated mojito spheres (p. 4•188): I am thinking a home brewing store might have it. Any other sources I should be looking at? Also, the final instruction is to place the spheres in "cocktails"... the recipe is from Andrés, does anyone know what cocktail he served them in? In the photo it looks like it might just be club soda or tonic water, but I guess it could be a G&T, too.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I've still got some around - I'll put some away in the freezer today and retest it's texture in a couple of days.

Emulsified cheese survived the freeze and thaw beautifully! Still makes perfect mac and cheese.

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AScorbic acid is Vitamin C. Any drugstore should have it.

Yes, but get the powder rather than trying to grind up tablets. Also, check to be sure that the powder is pure vitamin C and not something that has flavorings etc added. It should be easy to find.


Nathan

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Chris, I can get powdered ascorbic acid at my local bulk food/baking supply store... do you have anything like that around? A health food store would be my next bet.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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ah, I see we're back to cooking, nice! Just don't mention if you use aluminum or steel pans and pots please....

As for ascorbic, you found it, but yes, it's vitamin C and you should be able to find it at any drug store in powder form, as well as at Whole Food and if lucky at a supermarket, though they tend to have tablets more regularly.

And if you need citric acid, look for "sour salt" in the kosher section of your market.

As for the cocktail question, I have no idea. I haven't had a cocktail in at least 20 years and back then I only ordered zombies :laugh:


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Damn, screwed it up. In the step where you blend the gelling agent into the other ingredients I got overzealous with the blender (probably I was supposed to be using a whisk, eh?). Now my mixture has tiny air bubbles suspended in it, which makes it float: so I get gel pancakes instead of spheres (and they are only gelled on the bottom). Back to the drawing board, I guess.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I have the canisters for the Foodsaver, which I intend to use for this purpose next time it comes up. I'm not sure if it'll be strong enough, though. Keep us posted!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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if you have a food saver with the tube attachment and container, I'd try that first instead of bagging things. good luck!


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Nope. Bubbles are too fine: moving on to plan C... The recipe actually makes a bit more liquid than you need, so I have 170 extra grams, I'm going to try again with that.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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