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Is there a discussion in the book about the purpose of adding ascorbic acid? I just saw the contest #2 in which the recipe called for it. I'm curious because a woman I know on the internet used to work in a bakery in Vietnam, and said that to get similar results to the banh mi there, you need to add ascorbic acid. Does it act as a gluten relaxer? Traditional banh mi have a very tender and crisp crust, and a very light and tender, relatively closed crumb.
By Paul Bacino
I want to make some candied mint leaves for a dessert. Would you blanch them first to set the color ? Dry them, coat in egg wash. Coat with confectioners sugar or super
fine sugar ? Dry in oven at a low temp or on the counter? How long will they last?
I will be serving this with a lemon panna cotta with a blueberry or blk berry sauce.
By Tuber magnatum
Having experienced the "Edible Balloon" dessert at Alinea, I have been on a quest to try this at home. Only recently was I able to find purportedly a recipe:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/raypajar1/these-edible-helium-balloons-are-dessert-from-the-future?utm_term=.ut6r3PnMk#.acGNVWmd6 the video of which is found below.
I tried this and probably no surprise, it failed. The bubble collapsed / popped with only a little distension. I wasn't sure if the problem was that a "secret" ingredient (e.g. some kind of surfactant to stabilise the bubble or using a different kind of sugar) was missing. Or maybe I didn't allow the mix to come to correct temperature etc. Elsewhere I thought I had read that the original recipe was in effect some kind of taffy. Has anyone else had success, or do any candy makers /modernist chefs, have suggestions they are willing to share?
We have a local Italian bakery my mom loves, but they are very expensive and hard for her to get to. She also really likes cookbooks (she reads them even if she never cooks from them ) so I was thinking for her birthday I could get her a cookbook that has similar cookies and cakes, and offer to make a few things for her on request also.
I'll obviously look myself, but eGullet is always well informed about the quality of cookbooks so I wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations. The thing about the Italian bakery is that the stuff they make seems to me to be not as sweet as classic American recipes, and often have more complex flavors and also are usually on the light end for whatever the item is. (Like even something that's intended to be dense doesn't have a very heavy sensation in the mouth.)
By Dave the Cook
Modernist Bread is out now, but maybe you haven't taken the plunge. Here's your chance to win your own copy, courtesy of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Cooking Lab has provided us with a couple of other prizes that will go to a second and third winner: second place will win an autographed poster and calendar, and third place will receive an autographed poster. They are also providing an autographed bookplate for the first place winner's copy of Modernist Bread. The rules are simple: we are going to post recipes from the book that the team at The Cooking Lab has graciously provided for this purpose. To enter into the contest, you need to bake one or more of these recipes and post about them in the official contest topics by the end of November 2017. Winners will be drawn at random from those posting pictures and descriptions of their completed loaves. Complete rules and other details can be found here.
For part two, we're featuring another cornerstone recipe from the book: Direct Country-Style Bread. The only leavener here is instant yeast, so production time is considerably shortened. The relative lack of flavor compared to long-proofed doughs is offset by the use of whole grains. Courtesy of The Cooking Lab, here's that recipe (extracted from the book and reformatted for purposes of this contest):
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