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Msk

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)

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Hello again!

Here are a few more answers to your questions.

1. FoodMan pointed out an error in the cornbread recipe:

I made the corn bread this weekend (pages 5.76 and 6.256) to go with some bbqd chicken and pork chops as well as the much hyped and awesome mac and cheese. forgot to download the pictures for the corn bread, so I will have to post them later but figure this might be helpful if anyone is going to try making it soon.

I think the recipe has 2 issues:

- Steps 2 and 3 are reversed. The picture shows that the corn should be pureed

with the cream, milk and eggs not added afterwards. Adding the corn afterwards

(whole kernels) makes an awesome but very crumbly and very difficult to slice

end product. Now, I was working from the KM so I did not notice the pictures till later when I refered to volume 5 to check for accuracy.

- The baking temperature at 265F for 20 minutes is very low. At 20 minutes the

bread was raw. I upped the temp to 365 and the loaf needed another 45 minutes

approximately to reach 190F internally.

I already forwarded this info to the MC team and, unless I screwed something up, they will need to add it to the errata list.

That being said, the corn bread is really delicious and I have to make it again. Even if the recipe has you blend all the lard/butter fried corn, I will most likely reserve 20% of it or so to add as a mix in. The texture and mild sweet taste were very unique and loved by everyone, kids and adults.

We are adding this to our list of errata on the MC web site, but for the record, you should replace steps two and three with “Combine in blender with cooked corn, and puree until smooth."

Furthermore, what is listed in step eight should read, "Bake in 175 °C / 350 °F oven for 10 min, and then reduce oven temperature to 130 °C / 265 °F and bake to core temperature of 88 °C / 190 °F, about 20 min."

2. We assume that it was eGullet commenter Borgstrom (because how many people with that name own Modernist Cuisine?) who wrote in to say the following:

I have noticed incorrect scaling of components in several recipes (Beef Cheek Pastrami, Mac & Cheese).

For the Pastrami, the scaling yields about 6x the amount of rub required for 100% (1kg) of the beef specified. For the M&C, the scaling yields about 3x the amount of cheese required for 100% (100g) of the macaroni specified. Based on postings on eGullet, it appears this type of component scaling issue is not uncommon in MC recipes.

Without careful reading of the recipe or prior experience, someone looking to scale up and make 10kg of pastrami or 1kg of macaroni would end up with a massive amount of excess rub or cheese. This results in unnecessary expense and potential waste. In my case, I have or plan to freeze and reuse the excess component for future use, but that may not always be possible or desired.

This inconsistent and arbitrary scaling of components does not seem in keeping with MC's otherwise systematic and organized approach. So far, it is the only criticism I have of the book after a couple of months of use.

For your next edition, I suggest the following:

a) Scale all recipe components to 1x or perhaps 1.1x of the main ingredient to minimize excess/waste and permit easy scaling up to larger quantities.

b) Place a note in the recipe for components scaled higher than 1x so users can adjust according to their needs.

Thanks for all the suggestions. We intentionally scaled many recipes this way. Take the pastrami for example, which calls for what may seem like a large amount of rub. If you were to measure the precise quantity needed, you would never get enough rub to go on the pastrami. It may sound like I just contradicted myself there, but you will lose some of the ingredients to grinders, sieves, bowls, sauce pans, and the like.

Secondly, some products are difficult to make in small quantities, so in such cases we scaled up the yield for convenience. We like to err on the side of too much rather than too little, but your point is valid that this can lead to overkill if readers scale up the yield further. We like your suggestion of noting when that is the case so that the cook can choose whether to make extra or not.

We hope that Modernist Cuisine becomes a guide that fosters kitchen creativity with a solid scientific background. You should never feel obligated to follow a recipe precisely (and many comments in this thread reassure us that eGullet readers often make substitutions for all kinds of reasons).

3. Way back up the thread, Chris Hennes asked:

So, I'm making (or should I say, "attempting to make") the "Aromatic Alsatian Mustard". Nothing Modernist-y here, it's just mustard. But I realized after blending it that I may have misunderstood the intent of the instructions, so if I could get your take on this:

1) Blanch mustard seeds

2) Combine seeds with vinegar

3) Soak for 12h

4) Combine soaked mustard seeds with other ingredients and process

In step four, do you interpret that to mean "drain mustard seeds and combine seeds only"? Or "combine seeds/vinegar mix"? I simply assumed that, given the very precise quantity of vinegar called for (none of the "to cover" stuff), and given that there is a step for combining the vinegar and mustard seed, that if they had wanted them drained they would have said so. But I'm having second thoughts: the mustard came out of the food processor pretty thin. Any advice?

We the mustard seeds should be added alone (without the soaking vinegar), which is why Chris’s finished product came out thin. Will also add this to our list of errata.

4. Msk asked if it is O.K. to just eat the grapefruit-cured salmon as is, or must it be “cooked”?

OK I made the grapefruit cured salmons since I happened to have everything in the recipe. I am assuming I can eat this raw like lox or smoke it f I choose? It smells amazing.

MSK

The salmon is fine to eat without any additional cooking.

5. nolnacs was puzzled over scaling. Why does the pink brine have a salt scaling of 10% but the other brines are 1%?

Pink brines need to be much stronger than other brines to achieve the full effect. Functionally, a pink brine is actually more of a liquid cure; it is called brine simply by convention. Our brining section (starting on page 3•152) provides all the details on brining to equilibrium and working with high-salt brines.

6. Regarding cooking polenta, Pielle asked:

Is there a reason why the semi-liquid mixture has to be cooked in a vacuum pouch rather than in a masson jar? I understand the logic of vacuum pouches for solid ingredients, where the vacuum packing process insures intimate contact between the food and container wall and thus maximises heat transfers, but for a mixture comprising liquid it just seems like more trouble, more expenses, and more trash to me.

BTW, are there some retort pouches available for external sealer type machines?

Certainly you can use a Mason jar. The food will, however, take a few more minutes to cook in this container, depending on the size of jar you use. A 12 oz jar, for example, will take 12–15 min.

7. Chris Hennes wondered why the semolina pasta recipe has an input ingredient weight of over 600 g but the yield is only 450 g. He guessed that this might be due to the extruder.

Chris is correct, as is the recipe. You lose more of the yield than you might think when using an extruder. If you were to triple the recipe or reproduce it with a different scaling, your loss would be roughly the same in grams, and thus a different proportion of the yield.

8. Chris also wanted to know why herb-embedded pasta should be refrigerated for 12 hours.

Chilling the pasta dough in the refrigerator for 12 h creates a smoother, silkier, chewier texture. Just like resting gluten in bread dough, this step is crucial for achieving the right mouthfeel.


Maxime Bilet

Head Chef

The Cooking Lab

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Thanks for the response Maxime! I always look forward to your team's postings - it is wonderful to be able to interact with the authors of the book in this way.

To everyone: I am currently aging the aromatic alsatian mustard to go with my pastrami (hopefully!), and, like Chris, misunderstood the directions and added the mustard seeds and the soaking vinegar, so the mustard is quite thin... What do you think is the best way to solve this issue? I could probably thicken the mustard with agar or xanthan, but I assume (I haven't tasted it yet) that it will be too vinegar-y....

Any ideas? Chris, how did yours turn out?

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KennethT - I have no advice or help to offer. but i am hugely sympathetic - it sounds exactly something i would do.

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...We are adding this to our list of errata on the MC web site...

Hi Maxime, thanks for all your input.

As many of us have already noted the errors, would it be possible to indicate in the list of errata when each particularly entry was added? In that way we can just add the newly discovered errors instead of having to go through the entire list to find the additions.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Hi Maxime, could someone check the Pommes Pont-Neuf. I believe there are 2 issues with the recipe

1) The more minor issue is that I think the potato scaling should be 67% not 100% (even with the water) because at 100% the water does not seem to come close to covering the potatoes. Scaling the potatoes to 67% has them just covered

2) it indicates that they should be boiled for 20 minutes but after even 12 minutes they are essentially mush and almost impossible to take any of them out of the pot. I found just under 6 minutes is ideal, not the 20 minutes that the recipe lists. After 6 minutes they match the description in the recipe where they are just about to fall apart.

With these 2 changes the end result is pretty amazing - many people have told me that these were the best fries they have had and not much more time consuming to make than the traditional soak and double fry method.

Thanks,

Roy

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2. We assume that it was eGullet commenter Borgstrom (because how many people with that name own Modernist Cuisine?) who wrote in to say the following:

I have noticed incorrect scaling of components in several recipes (Beef Cheek Pastrami, Mac & Cheese).

Maxime,

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond! Yes, that was me, however I am trying to get more of the Borgstrom clan into Modernist Cuisine. So far my father has made the Mac & Cheese and my young daughter has enjoyed the pictures and helping in the kitchen. Perhaps one day they'll become MC owners too!

I understand your explanation of the component scaling and it makes sense. Thanks for considering adding a note for those of us who blindly scale our shopping list without studying the instructions carefully :blush:

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Has anyone used the tables in the back of book 5 to convert other recipes over to grams?

I was doing that for the Ad Hoc at Home chocoalte chip cookies and found a few discrepancies with the data from those charts and others.

For AP flour MC says 1 cup = 80 grams. That is vastly different from other sources I've found. Many claim that 125 grams = 1 cup. The official King Arthur numbers are 1 cup of KA AP flour = 120 grams.

Same for brown sugar. Most sources I could find say 1 cup = 200g, but MC says 1 cup = 170.

I know that this kind of thing can vary a lot based on how you measure things out, but doing my normal '1 cup' of flour I got 140 grams. I know there won't be an agreed upon value but 80g seems really low compared to others unless you are maybe sifting flour into a cup.


Edited by Phaz (log)

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Has anyone used the tables in the back of book 5 to convert other recipes over to grams?

I was doing that for the Ad Hoc at Home chocoalte chip cookies and found a few discrepancies with the data from those charts and others.

For AP flour MC says 1 cup = 80 grams. That is vastly different from other sources I've found. Many claim that 125 grams = 1 cup. The official King Arthur numbers are 1 cup of KA AP flour = 120 grams.

Same for brown sugar. Most sources I could find say 1 cup = 200g, but MC says 1 cup = 170.

I know that this kind of thing can vary a lot based on how you measure things out, but doing my normal '1 cup' of flour I got 140 grams. I know there won't be an agreed upon value but 80g seems really low compared to others unless you are maybe sifting flour into a cup.

I have all of my recipes converted into metric weights and I also noted large discrepancies between the weight-volume table in MC5. In the end, I have continued to use the excellent USDA nutritional database which provides imo quite good conversions of imperial volumes into metric weights. You can find the online converter here. Simply choose your food and several options will show up ie converting tsp/tbsp/cup into grams (it will even give you different weights for packed vs unpacked brown sugar and ground vs unground spices).

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Sorry to be late in the conversation - I've been in Germany for a few days visiting a pressure cooker manufacturer! You would not believe how clean, and shiny the factory is, despite all of the metal cutting, polishing and machinery! Their inventory system is something out of the matrix - a 5-story warehouse with little robots going down small isle and moving up and down to take boxes in and out of their slots (and this was built 30 years ago)! I hope to write a brief description about my visit soon on my website.

But back to the topic at hand, a few days ago.... Pressure Canning.

Although I am not familiar with the technicalities (acidity and what not) of what has to be inside a canning jar. I do know that there are different standards on what pressure cooker size you can use to do canning. In the U.S. there is a standard that a pressure cooker cannot be called a pressure/cooker canner unless it is 10L or more - it has something to do with fitting a certain number of jars and cooking them all for the minimum recommended time by the USDA.

Instead, in Europe, you can use any pressure cooker 4.5L or larger (for obvious reasons about the jar fitting inside). The cooking times according to my Euro Pressure Cooker (that reaches 13PSI) are:

Marmalade, Low Pressure, 1-2 minutes

Fruits/picked vegetables, Low Pressure, 8-10 minutes

Vegetables/meat, High Pressure 20-25 minutes

Remember to use a steamer basket or rack to keep the jar from touching the pan.

Again, just to be clear, canning in a pressure cooker is not recommended in the U.S. unless you are using a pressure cooker/canner which is 10L or more.

Ciao,

L


hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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I'm attempting to make some bacon for the first time (in partnership with nickrey from these pages - he has a smoker and a bacon slicer!) so I thought I'd check the 2 best references I have, namely MC and Charcuterie by Ruhlman & Polcyn. (Nick has used R&P before with excellent results).

Both recipes for dry rub (MC 3.182/6.107 and R&P 39) make more than you need for a single slab of belly so rather than comparing ingredient lists based on weight of pork I thought that checking the percentages of the 3 major ingredients (Salt, Sugar and Insta Cure#1) would be illuminating. I ignored the weight of the flavouring ingredients as they are optional and do not by themselves perform any "curing".

Now I'm confused.

MC uses 51.0% Salt, 36.7% Sugar and 12.2% Insta Cure #1.

R&P use 62.1% Salt, 31.0% Sugar and 6.9% Insta Cure #1.

I can sort of understand the variation between salt and sugar - maybe the MC team like sweeter/less salty bacon than Ruhlman does - but why the large discrepancy in the Insta Cure?

I've checked several other bacon recipes on the web and the percentage of Insta Cure is mostly in the 5% - 7% range. I cannot find another recipe anywhere which calls for the Insta Cure to be 12% of the total.

Can anyone help? I there a reason for this? Does it even matter?

I might just wind up making both recipes to see how they differ.

Cheers,

Peter.

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Hi Peter,

I don't even think in terms of what ratio cure ingredients are to each other. For dry cures, I measure them as a percentage of the meat. For brines, I measure them as a percentage of the total of the water and meat. I always mix my cure specifically for the piece of meat I'm working with so there is no problem with ingredients separating.

You're right about the salt and sugar. In the case of bacon, which is a cooked, refrigerated product, they're primarily for flavor. In the case of pancetta or other dry cured product, higher salt levels are important from a food safety aspect.

One thing I'll point out before continuing is that the M/C recipe calls for a bone in belly. I don't know how that affects absorption of the cure over 7 days. Their recipe calls for 2.5% salt, 1.8% sugar and 0.6% Instacure #1 which works out to the interrelationship you calculated above. The salt and sugar levels they use are very close to what I use in pancetta. The 0.6% cure #1 is a little over 2 times the amount of cure I typically use for either bacon or pancetta. Based on what I've learned from several sources, I've adopted 0.25% as the amount of either instacure #1 or #2 I use for any cured product. This seems to be the minimum safe level currently published. I personally wouldn't be concerned using twice that quantity however.

As a percentage of meat, for bacon I use around 1.85% salt, 1% sugar and 0.25% cure #1 which works out to a 60 / 32 / 8 ratio, or close to R&P. For pancetta, I use 2.5% salt, 1.5% sugar and 0.25% Instacure #2 which works out to a 52.5 / 31.5 / 5 ratio.

That's a really long winded way of saying, nah it probably doesn't matter. :smile:

If you do the comparison, I'd be interested in your comments on whether the increased amount of cure affects the taste.

HTH,

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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Hi Peter,

I don't even think in terms of what ratio cure ingredients are to each other. For dry cures, I measure them as a percentage of the meat. For brines, I measure them as a percentage of the total of the water and meat. I always mix my cure specifically for the piece of meat I'm working with so there is no problem with ingredients separating.

You're right about the salt and sugar. In the case of bacon, which is a cooked, refrigerated product, they're primarily for flavor. In the case of pancetta or other dry cured product, higher salt levels are important from a food safety aspect.

One thing I'll point out before continuing is that the M/C recipe calls for a bone in belly. I don't know how that affects absorption of the cure over 7 days. Their recipe calls for 2.5% salt, 1.8% sugar and 0.6% Instacure #1 which works out to the interrelationship you calculated above. The salt and sugar levels they use are very close to what I use in pancetta. The 0.6% cure #1 is a little over 2 times the amount of cure I typically use for either bacon or pancetta. Based on what I've learned from several sources, I've adopted 0.25% as the amount of either instacure #1 or #2 I use for any cured product. This seems to be the minimum safe level currently published. I personally wouldn't be concerned using twice that quantity however.

As a percentage of meat, for bacon I use around 1.85% salt, 1% sugar and 0.25% cure #1 which works out to a 60 / 32 / 8 ratio, or close to R&P. For pancetta, I use 2.5% salt, 1.5% sugar and 0.25% Instacure #2 which works out to a 52.5 / 31.5 / 5 ratio.

That's a really long winded way of saying, nah it probably doesn't matter. :smile:

If you do the comparison, I'd be interested in your comments on whether the increased amount of cure affects the taste.

HTH,

Larry

Thanks Larry,

I hadn't considered the fact that the MC recipe keeps the bone on for curing - that alone could explain the difference.

I only resorted to calculating the percentage of Insta Cure to salt/sugar because the R&P recipe doesn't even hint as to how much pork belly their recipe will cure. As I read it you make a batch of "Basic Dry Cure" and then use 50g of this mixture for belly weights between 1.5 and 2.25kg (3-5lbs) of pork.

So by their own recipe the concentration of the "active ingredient" is OK in a +/-50% ratio.

Go figure.

Cheers,

Peter.

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Since I haven't got the books (yet): How much alcohol (Vodka) is suggested in the stock recipes? I'd like to try that technique with a second batch of goulash broth I'm preparing today (viz. Modernist Goulash).

Greetings,

Peter

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Hi Peter,

What I actually do is weigh the meat I'm going to cure and weigh exact quantities of salt, sugar and instacure. For example, if I have a 1 kg belly I measure 18.5 g salt, 10 g sugar and 2.5 g Instacure and rub the total amount in to the belly. I don't keep a bunch of premixed cure around because of the possibility of the mix not staying homogeneous.

MC would call for 6 g of cure for 1 kg of belly as opposed to the 2.5 g I use.

Sorry if I'm confusing the issue.

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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The amount of cure always has to be in proportion to the meat weight. I think people should have a minimum knowledge of calculations PPM of nitrites and nitrates before they play with curing. It's easy and lets you understand what you're doing.

First, it's important to know that the EU limits nitrites to 150PPM and the FDA limits them to 200PPM. You can choose which to follow.

To calculate your PPM of nitrites just use the following formula:

((weight of cure #1) * 0.0625) * 1,000,000)

______________________________________________

(weight of meat)

So for the bacon on 3-182 in MC: ((24g)*0.0625)*1000000)/4000 = 375 PPM.

0.0625 comes from the fact that Cure #1 has 6.25% nitrites.

Theoretically, this is in fact over the allowable limit, and the fact that the bone wont absorb nitrites, means the meat PPM will be even higher than that.

Having said that, nitrite breaks down pretty quickly over time, and the 200PPM limit is in finished products. So once this sits for 1 wk curing and another week drying some of those nitrites will have broken down into nitric oxide.

I'm with larry. All my cured meats use 0.25% cure #1 or #2 of the wieght of the meat. This gives me 156PPM ingoing nitrites.

At first glance the MC bacon seems high. Maybe the authors can tell us how they came up with that amount of cure.

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Since I haven't got the books (yet): How much alcohol (Vodka) is suggested in the stock recipes? I'd like to try that technique with a second batch of goulash broth I'm preparing today (viz. Modernist Goulash).

Greetings,

Peter

So I looked at the recipe for goulash broth (6.19) and it has no vodka in it. In that recipe, it calls for tomato confit(6.179) and brown beef stock(6.10), neither of which have vodka in their recipes. The goulash broth does call for sherry vinegar though. The only stock that calls for vodka is the brown veal stock(6.11) at a 2% ratio. The brown beef stock calls for 10% full bodied red wine and 4% dry red port.

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[so I looked at the recipe for goulash broth (6.19) and it has no vodka in it. In that recipe, it calls for tomato confit(6.179) and brown beef stock(6.10), neither of which have vodka in their recipes. The goulash broth does call for sherry vinegar though. The only stock that calls for vodka is the brown veal stock(6.11) at a 2% ratio. The brown beef stock calls for 10% full bodied red wine and 4% dry red port.

Thanks! I'm developing my own goulash version based on a traditional recipe, modified for cooking the meat (soud-vide) and the broth (pressure cooker) separately. I'll make another batch tomorrow (I just finished bagging some compressed water melons. Compression with a clamp machine and an external container is rather tedious, I have to say. If only the chamber machines were not as expensive *sigh*). I don't want to add wine or port, so I'll use the 2 % vodka instead. Interesting that the beef stock features more than double the amount of alcohol (I gather that the meat is the 100 % for the stocks?).

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I am making the MC chicken tikka masala - 3.204 and want to add some smoke to the mix.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to smoke the chicken prior to cooking sousvide. I am going off the table in the same volume to smoke at 170 F for 2-4 hours then cook sous vide.

Anyone have any other suggestion here on time and temp? Does hot smoking prior to cooking sousvide do anything to the moisture or succulence of the chicken?

Also, I plan on scaling the recipe up. Anyone have experience doing that?

Thanks.

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I am making the MC chicken tikka masala - 3.204 and want to add some smoke to the mix.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to smoke the chicken prior to cooking sousvide. I am going off the table in the same volume to smoke at 170 F for 2-4 hours then cook sous vide.

Anyone have any other suggestion here on time and temp? Does hot smoking prior to cooking sousvide do anything to the moisture or succulence of the chicken?

Also, I plan on scaling the recipe up. Anyone have experience doing that?

Thanks.

A whole chicken is a combination of meats with a number of different properties so making a recommendation for a whole bird is going to give different results dependent on the piece of the bird you are considering. As you are doing it sous vide and you want to double cook it, I'd suggest using dark meat (thighs) only. Smoke them low at a temperature that is safe for cooking bur probably only for half of their normal cooking time. Then bag and finish off sous vide. For thighs, I'd use a sous vide temperature of 62c (144F).


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Hello again!

Here are a few more answers to your questions.

1. FoodMan pointed out an error in the cornbread recipe:

I made the corn bread this weekend (pages 5.76 and 6.256) to go with some bbqd chicken and pork chops as well as the much hyped and awesome mac and cheese. forgot to download the pictures for the corn bread, so I will have to post them later but figure this might be helpful if anyone is going to try making it soon.

I think the recipe has 2 issues:

- Steps 2 and 3 are reversed. The picture shows that the corn should be pureed

with the cream, milk and eggs not added afterwards. Adding the corn afterwards

(whole kernels) makes an awesome but very crumbly and very difficult to slice

end product. Now, I was working from the KM so I did not notice the pictures till later when I refered to volume 5 to check for accuracy.

- The baking temperature at 265F for 20 minutes is very low. At 20 minutes the

bread was raw. I upped the temp to 365 and the loaf needed another 45 minutes

approximately to reach 190F internally.

I already forwarded this info to the MC team and, unless I screwed something up, they will need to add it to the errata list.

That being said, the corn bread is really delicious and I have to make it again. Even if the recipe has you blend all the lard/butter fried corn, I will most likely reserve 20% of it or so to add as a mix in. The texture and mild sweet taste were very unique and loved by everyone, kids and adults.

We are adding this to our list of errata on the MC web site, but for the record, you should replace steps two and three with “Combine in blender with cooked corn, and puree until smooth."

Furthermore, what is listed in step eight should read, "Bake in 175 °C / 350 °F oven for 10 min, and then reduce oven temperature to 130 °C / 265 °F and bake to core temperature of 88 °C / 190 °F, about 20 min."

First, thank-you Maxime (and all your elf helpers) for taking the time and effort in interacting with us regarding the various details of MC cooking. I also had problems with the cornbread cooking times, and since I really liked the bread, made it again, using the revised cooking times. I suspect my recipe making skills and equipment aren't up to the standards of the MC team! :-)

I simply can't get the internal temperature up to the 88˚C using the revised instructions/times. After baking at 350 for 10 min and then at 265 for a further 25 min, the internal temp of my cornbread reaches 66˚C and looks soupy. My oven and thermometers are calibrated so I suspect it is the gestalt of my recipe skills which are the problem. That being said, I have had good success with baking at 350 for 40-45 min to get an internal temp of 88˚C.

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Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are ordered.

Larry

This question just came up today amongst a passel of eG'ers - where does one buy mylar bags and O2 absorbers?

I found several sources on line, but most required higher quantity purchases.

Here is what I found on AMAZON.

There are also several survivalist stores that carry these items.

HTH,

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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I'm thinking of making the Paella Valenciana (5-239) and have been studying the recipe quite closely. I've made many Paellas Mixtas over the past 10-15 years, and have a large paellera and a 2-ring propane burner. In the warm summer months, it's not uncommon for us to keep the barbecue covered and make a big paella on a Sunday afternoon. However, after looking at the MC recipe, it's clear I'll have to learn a few more techniques and take a few weeks to source all the ingredient, plan the logistics and do the prep. But I am up for the challenge!

A few things didn't quite make sense to me in the MC recipe. Has anyone here tried it yet? If not, perhaps one of the authors could comment.

1) The pictures on 5-241 show the rice being cooked in a paellera, however the instructions say to par cook the rice in a pressure cooker. Any comments on which approach gives better results? I imagine par-cooking lets you prepare things ahead of time and have a less hectic finish, while just cooking straight through in a pallera will give you a better soccarat (though this would just be a bonus, given the tuile in the recipe).

2) The assembly on 5-240 says to reheat the sofrito, but then it doesn't seem to get used anywhere. Should this be mixed with the rice? Used as a garnish? What about the reserved sherry vinegar and cilantro stems?

3) The photos on 5-238 and 5-242 have what looks like a frenched rack of rabbit, although this isn't mentioned in the recipe. Should these be cooked the same as the loin (57C/25min)?

4) I'm surprised about the instructions to add the saffron off heat, after the rice is finished. To get good color, I usually add saffron as the rice begins cooking & there is liquid in the pan. Perhaps the saffron is more fragrant when it isn't heated or diluted?

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We are adding this to our list of errata on the MC web site, but for the record, you should replace steps two and three with “Combine in blender with cooked corn, and puree until smooth."

Furthermore, what is listed in step eight should read, "Bake in 175 °C / 350 °F oven for 10 min, and then reduce oven temperature to 130 °C / 265 °F and bake to core temperature of 88 °C / 190 °F, about 20 min."

I made the Cornbread (5-76) this weekend, following the updated advice Maxime gave. Even with this approach, the temperature didn't get up to 88C in 20 minutes. I made 150% scaling based on the corn I had, and split into two loaves. I took the first one out at about 25 minutes. Parts of it read 88C with my thermapen, but the top was still pale yellow and the center was jiggly and obviously under-done. I left the 2nd one in until a wooden skewer came out clean from the center (I know, very old-school) -- about 30 minutes more. The 2nd one (with a total of 55min at 130C) came out more golden-brown on top and pretty well-cooked all the way through, but perhaps still a bit too moist.

I think the key point here is the size of the mold/pan you use. The photo in MC shows molds that appear to be about 7cmx14cm, whereas I used loaf pans that are about 11cmx22cm. MC's maxim on diffusion must come into play here -- double the thickness of something and it takes four times longer. The bigger the loaf pan, the longer it will take the heat to penetrate and the moisture to escape. I'm sure the 20 minute guideline is meant for a relatively small mold, which is what I will use next time.

In the end, the flavor of the cornbread was excellent (as everything I've made so far from MC has been) and is probably the best tasting cornbread I ever had. I suppose with all the butter, lard, eggs, cream and sugar it would be hard for anything to taste bad! In fact, before mixing in the dry ingredients, I was half-tempted to put the corn/cream mixture into the ice cream machine! But that is for another weekend...

First loaf (25 min at 130C):

IMG_2028.jpg

Second loaf (55 min at 130C):

IMG_2029.jpg


Edited by Borgstrom (log)

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Dinner tonight was...

Corn Bread (5-76)

Mac and Cheese (3-387)

Spare Ribs with Memphis Rub (5-68,78)

Baby Back Ribs with the KC Rub and KC Sauce (5-68)

For dessert I made a recipe from the King Arthur website that I've been wanting to do for a while, the Chocolate Mint Torte. I had thought about doing the Deep Fried Custard but didn't want to mess with frying today. I performed my first experiment with spherification, I attempted to make the melon caviar (4-189) using watermelon juice. I got a vaccu-pette so forming the spheres was easy enough. The end result was kind of a flop though. I think because watermelon juice itself isn't super flavorful, it might not lend itself well to the technique. The small caviar did feel slimy and were small enough that it was hard to bite through them without them squirming around. Next I tried making larger spheres using a tablespoon measure, a few came out roughly round. These were better but everyone felt they were just kind of eh.

As far as the successes, The mac and cheese was very well received as was to be expected with all the rave reviews here. I used a 3 year old smoked gouda and a sharp white cheddar. The smokiness was a nice little addition, as was the bacon I added into one bowl just to test out. If you want to know how to make the best mac and cheese even better... use smoked cheese and add bacon. Oh man.

The corn bread came out amazing. With all the discussion over oven temp I just kinda winged it. After cooking the corn, I pureed it in my Blendtec. I didn't even need to use a sieve, it came out so smooth. I used small loaf pans to give everyone their own. I think the small size made it easy for the core to hit the target temp, In fact it heated up too fast. I started it at 350F and after about 10-15 minutes it was a little over 190F so I lowered the temp and then just let it crisp up a little bit. The corn bread was more popular than the mac and cheese, people wanted more to take home. I did make one change and that was to use shortening instead of lard, not sure how much that might've changed the final outcome.

I originally couldn't decide if I wanted to do spare ribs or baby back so I made both, about 3.5lbs each. The spare ribs got the recipe treatment with the Memphis rub and came out really good. The baby back ribs I just cooked sous vide with the spare ribs, applying the same basic recipe and used the Kansas City rub on them, then made the Kansas City sauce for the table. Both sets of ribs were obviously 'fall off the bone' tender. It took some work to get all 7lbs into the SVS.

Next up is batch two of pastrami. I'll be doing about 7 pounds this time. That should give me a week to figure out what my next modernist meal will be.

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