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Pontormo

Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions (Part 2)

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[Moderator note: The original Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Absurdly, stupidly basic cooking questions (Part 1)]

There are no stupid questions, right?

I've got some whole milk in the fridge with a sell-by date of 4/10.

Is it okay to use in baking bread? Or will it impart an unpleasant taste?

I am just not sure about the relationship between soured milk that one deliberately produces with vinegar for certain baked goods and the genuine article that bears different shades of white and texture until shaken.

Chuck it?


Edited by Mjx Moderator note added. (log)

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There are no stupid questions, right?

I've got some whole milk in the fridge with a sell-by date of 4/10.

Is it okay to use in baking bread?  Or will it impart an unpleasant taste?

I am just not sure about the relationship between soured milk that one deliberately produces with vinegar for certain baked goods and the genuine article that bears different shades of white and texture until shaken.

Chuck it?

Soured milk is fine to use as long as its merely soured and then thorougly cooked. I use it deliberately for baking quickbreads that call for it, because it gives a better rise and I don't like the flavor that vinegar imparts. The second-best pancakes and waffles are made with soured milk, in my opinion. The best are made with buttermilk, but I rarely have that in my fridge.

April

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I knew you'd come through, April.

Buttermilk pancakes are one of my favorite things in the world & I'm grateful one of the major supermarket chains in town carries it in pints.

Actually, I was thinking about a bread baked with yeast.

A Jane Grigson/Beard recipe for bread with walnuts, walnut or olive oil and milk, I thought, might be okay to produce with sour milk because there are competing flavors, though I also wondered if it would just give a slight, sourdoughy taste to a simple, plain free-form loaf....

...or end up tasting as bad as the milk would be were I to drink it straight.

Should I just do pancakes or make a rhubarb cobbler instead?

P.S. What's the difference between "merely soured" and "spoiled"?


Edited by Pontormo (log)

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P.S.  What's the difference between "merely soured" and "spoiled"?

It depends on two things: your purposes for the milk, and the microbes doing the spoiling.

Generally, you don't have to worry about the latter. So, soured milk is generally spoiled for drinking, but okay for uses as a buttermilk substitute.

As Lewis Carroll wrote, "It is simply a question of who is to be master".

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The herbs should not be packed tightly in the measure, but it depends on how fine they are chopped. It also depends on the pungency of the herb which varies from plant to plant and from season to season.

Right now the fresh sage is very mildly flavored and it takes a lot more to achieve sufficient flavor.

Later in the summer, as the leaves mature, one leaf will produce as much flavor as 6 do now.

If you go to the main page and click on The eGullet Culinary Institute, you will get

this page.

click on "Index of eCGI courses" and you will see Knife skills listed.

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The herbs should not be packed tightly in the measure, but it depends on how fine they are chopped.  It also depends on the pungency of the herb which varies from plant to plant and from season to season.

Right now the fresh sage is very mildly flavored and it takes a lot more to achieve sufficient flavor.

Later in the summer, as the leaves mature, one leaf will produce as much flavor as 6 do now.

If you go to the main page and click on The eGullet Culinary Institute, you will get

this page.

click on "Index of eCGI courses" and you will see Knife skills listed.

Thank you Andiesenji. I really appreciate your help. I had previously clicked on the eGullet Culinary Institute, but it appears that I made the rookie mistake of not realizing that there was more than one page. This is embarrassing, to say the least. So, now I've not only found the knife sharpening tutorial, but several others I'm interested in as well.

Re: my herb question, it's interesting that you used sage as an example. Last week I wanted to try a butternut squash - sage risotto. When our local store was out of fresh sage, I had the brilliant idea of buying a pot from the rack outside. I thought I could use some of the leaves in my risotto & plant the remainder in a pot. The risotto should have been great, but it was horribly bland. The sage leaves added almost no flavor. Thanks to you, the mystery is solved. At least the rest of the plant is doing well in the pot.

I've always had basil, Italian parsley, rosemary & thyme. This year I'm trying to expand a bit. There's an awful lot to learn. It's kind of exciting, actually.

Thank you again,

pat w.

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You weren't by any chance using a pasteurized liquid egg white were you? Some of them will whip up and look fine, but the foam is not very stable. Cream of tartar will make the foam a little more stable, so if you didn't use it, you may want to try that next time. I didn't think about it before, but the chilling and whipping would probably only help with mousses that have lots of cream in them, and wouldn't work with mousses based on egg white foam only.

Sorry to have missed your question, Patrick. No, I didn't use pasteurized egg whites, they were fresh organic eggs. However, I'm afraid they were a bit too cold. Either that or I wasn't as gentle as I thought I am when folding. :biggrin:

Talking about milk, what is exactly the difference between sour milk and buttermilk? I remember when I was a child, my mother used to boil just bought (unpasteurized) milk, then cool and refrigerate. Occasionally the milk would separate when heated, obviously being spoiled, but my mother would still bottle it, leave it at room temperature for a day or two and then use it as buttermilk.

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Talking about milk, what is exactly the difference between sour milk and buttermilk? I remember when I was a child, my mother used to boil just bought (unpasteurized) milk, then cool and refrigerate. Occasionally the milk would separate when heated, obviously being spoiled, but my mother would still bottle it, leave it at room temperature for a day or two and then use it as buttermilk.

...and following up on that, I hope someone will explain where clabber fits into the mix, as in clabbered milk or clabbered cream. (I can still hear my grandmother saying "it clabbered my guts when I saw you up that tree!" but I'm not talking about clabbered guts! :biggrin: ) I think clabber is closely related to creme fraiche. It might even be exactly the same thing, echoed across the pond. But I'm not sure. And is clabber just thickened milk, or the beginning of sour milk?

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Talking about milk, what is exactly the difference between sour milk and buttermilk? I remember when I was a child, my mother used to boil just bought (unpasteurized) milk, then cool and refrigerate. Occasionally the milk would separate when heated, obviously being spoiled, but my mother would still bottle it, leave it at room temperature for a day or two and then use it as buttermilk.

...and following up on that, I hope someone will explain where clabber fits into the mix, as in clabbered milk or clabbered cream. (I can still hear my grandmother saying "it clabbered my guts when I saw you up that tree!" but I'm not talking about clabbered guts! :biggrin: ) I think clabber is closely related to creme fraiche. It might even be exactly the same thing, echoed across the pond. But I'm not sure. And is clabber just thickened milk, or the beginning of sour milk?

My understanding is that clabbering is the same thing as curdling -- the casein proteins in milk, which are normally dispersed and in soution, precipitate out of solution when the acidity of the milk increases. This occurs in souring milk when streptococci bacteria convert lactose to lactic acid, but any acid added to milk will do the same thing.

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Not exactly a cooking question, but related: how do you pronounce 'rooibus', as in rooibus tea? I rather embarrassed myself in the tea shop this morning trying to say it, but the staff just goggled at me and didn't provide me with a correct pronunciation.

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I bought a duck from a Thai grocery store. A whole duck. The feet were sticking out of the bag and I am assuming that the head's in there too. :shock:

So, what do I do? I was going to use part of the duck to make Duck with Green Curry Paste (from Hot Sour Salty Sweet) and the leftover bits to make duck stock.

Should I use the head in my stock?

It's going to be tough opening that bag and seeing the head. It's going to be tougher to see it floating in my stock. But if it makes for a better stock, I'll do it.

After all I've gotten used to see chicken toes sticking out in my chicken stock. :biggrin:

- Kim

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I bought a duck from a Thai grocery store. A whole duck. The feet were sticking out of the bag and I am assuming that the head's in there too.  :shock:

So, what do I do? I was going to use part of the duck to make Duck with Green Curry Paste (from Hot Sour Salty Sweet) and the leftover bits to make duck stock.

Should I use the head in my stock?

It's going to be tough opening that bag and seeing the head. It's going to be tougher to see it floating in my stock. But if it makes for a better stock, I'll do it.

After all I've gotten used to see chicken toes sticking out in my chicken stock.  :biggrin:

- Kim

If it's there, use it!

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Back before we started packing up the kitchen, I decided to try making a cake featured in the May Cook's Illustrated magazine. It's the base for their Strawberry Cream Cake, but I didn't bother with the cream part, just the cake and some strawberries chopped up and tossed with the sugar.

When I baked the cake, it wound up with a dense, greasy line close to the bottom. I know I've seen a list of cake troubleshooting somewhere, but I can't find it for the life of me now.

Any guesses what I did wrong? Is it me or the recipe?

(As an aside, I'll be keeping the recipe because my husband, who loves yellow cakes out of a box, said I'd hit the flavor dead-on. :wacko: )

MelissaH

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can you freeze tofu? the kind packed in a plastic tub in (?) water, with a clear peel-off film lid. Does it affect the texture (this is silken tofu not firm)?

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can you freeze tofu?  the kind packed in a plastic tub in (?) water, with a clear peel-off film lid.  Does it affect the texture (this is silken tofu not firm)?

Yes, you can freeze tofu, but it will significantly change the texture. A lot of the water will evacuate from the tofu when you defrost it. Some people will deliberately freeze firm tofu for this reason -- less water makes it even firmer and gives it a somewhat stringier, meatier texture.

I'm not entirely sure what will happen when you freeze silken tofu, except that I doubt it will have the same texture when you defrost it.

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Yes, you can freeze tofu, but it will significantly change the texture.

thank you - that's exactly what I wanted to know.

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Last summer I drank a lot of bottled Starbuck's Frappucino instead of coffee. This summer, I'd like to stick to plain ol' coffee, without all the sugar. But, I like it cold, but not diluted. So, with that in mind, I ask: How long can brewed coffee, without milk, keep in the fridge?

Thanks!

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I actually have a stupid question...

why exactly do lobsters have to be alive right up until you cook them?

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Their own digestive juices begin to leak into the meat soon after death...or something foul like that

tracey

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Last summer I drank a lot of bottled Starbuck's Frappucino instead of coffee. This summer, I'd like to stick to plain ol' coffee, without all the sugar. But, I like it cold, but not diluted. So, with that in mind, I ask: How long can brewed coffee, without milk, keep in the fridge? 

Thanks!

If you wander over here, you'll get lots of tips about iced coffee!

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Last summer I drank a lot of bottled Starbuck's Frappucino instead of coffee. This summer, I'd like to stick to plain ol' coffee, without all the sugar. But, I like it cold, but not diluted. So, with that in mind, I ask: How long can brewed coffee, without milk, keep in the fridge? 

Thanks!

Take any excess coffee and pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then when you want iced coffee, used the frozen coffee cubes instead of regular ice cubes. That way your iced coffee won't get diluted.

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Take any excess coffee and pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then when you want iced coffee, used the frozen coffee cubes instead of regular ice cubes. That way your iced coffee won't get diluted.

Ooh, good idea. *duh* :biggrin: I'll go check out the iced coffee thread, too - I hadn't noticed that one before.

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Not exactly a cooking question, but related: how do you pronounce 'rooibus', as in rooibus tea? I rather embarrassed myself in the tea shop this morning trying to say it, but the staff just goggled at me and didn't provide me with a correct pronunciation.

I've heard it pronounced whee--bose. From a guy from South Africa.

I actually have a stupid question...

why exactly do lobsters have to be alive right up until you cook them?

Their little lobster bodies are ripe for bacterial takover (especially with the guts in)

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