Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Raamo

Baking with Myhrvold's "Modernist Bread: The Art and Science"

Recommended Posts

Did it. This is 650g in a 500g baking cup. I am sure that I prefere the one leavened just with sourdough, but this came alright . Addictions were chocolate White and Dark , candied Orange peel. Baked in cheap home oven 175° without stone to 95 internal temp 45' Plus 10' ventin.

 Candied Orange was my last hope for candied fruits as I don't have cherry in my country, and i didnt like as well! They proofed very fast at 28° room temp with osmotolerant yeast, i think i am gonna decrease next time to extend fermentation. My goal is to achieve biggg holes in Panettones.

20181110_214844.jpg

20181110_214356.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/8/2018 at 3:04 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Also each version was proofed the same:  fold after mixing, 45 minutes, fold, 45 more minutes, then division and shaping.

 

How different were the mixing times between the two?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

 

How different were the mixing times between the two?

 

Similar, however I think the lower hydration dough mixes more easily in my KitchenAid.

 

I've also tried 1 kg batches and 1.5 kg batches.  The larger batches mix better but the end result of the bread texture is about the same.  I never did ascertain what KA speeds correspond to "low" and "medium".

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wondering if anyone could provide me with some more info regarding vacuum autolysing/kneading/mixing.

I've only been able to read volume 4 through a former local library so I haven't been able to read their text in vol 3 on their vacuum technique beyond what was included in their modernist French lean bread recipe. But, alas, I'm a uni student poor on both time and money so I'm very keen to see if I can improvise a cheap setup for making bread with a faster bulk ferment time than hand mixing can offer. I have already bought a brake bleed pump which can generate nearly -25inMg which I believe holds up (at least in theory) against a FoodSaver. But, several jars and Ikea container lids, and a hole heap of hot glue later, I have been unable to hook my brake bleeder up to any container with a satisfactory seal. My new idea was to buy a FoodSaver accessory (canister or mason jar sealer) and find a way to attach it to my brake bleeder to generate the vacuum with a good seal. But ChezAndré mentioned earlier that he was unable to get particularly conclusive results using a FoodSaver canister. I don't understand why it didn't work for ChezAndre but seeing as it didn't, I don't want to spend more money on something that might not work.

 

Has anyone else tested (or is anyone else able to test) using any FoodSaver accessories to vacuum mix/auto/knead the dough?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/11/2018 at 10:07 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Similar, however I think the lower hydration dough mixes more easily in my KitchenAid.

 

I've also tried 1 kg batches and 1.5 kg batches.  The larger batches mix better but the end result of the bread texture is about the same.  I never did ascertain what KA speeds correspond to "low" and "medium".

 

 

Have you tried mixing by hand to see if you get very different results? I have made this dough by hand several times with no problems. Just for experiment's sake you could try making the dough by hand to help see whether your stand mixer is playing a role in the problem. 

 

In my experience, I find that if I use the finger-poke test too early during the final proofing, I tend to get false-positives. I am not exactly sure what is at play there but I suspect that there hasn't been enough time for gases to form and expand the dough enough to spring back against the poke. For me, it takes about 30 minutes for hand-mixed commercially yeasted breads to stop giving these false-positives and hand mixed sourdoughs can take over an hour before the poke test starts to help me. Otherwise, a positive poke test that early on in a commercially yeasted bread could be over-extending initial bulk fermentation (the dough being too gaseous after shaping) and the fact that your boules are 'flat' suggests to me that the dough over-proofed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I have just moved to Denmark, I thought it would be appropriate for me to make the MB rugbrød (and seeing as rye in all its forms is so cheap and readily-available here, vollkornbrot). I made the rugbrød with the optional instant yeast. According to the Danes who tried it, it had little-to-no relationship with the rugbrød they buy and eat (from the supermarket). They seemed more inclined to call it a country/farmer's bread and that it was like how their grandmothers made rugbrød... It seems that even Northern Europe's sacred rye breads are being tainted by supermarkets and industrial processing.

16442632_IMG_20181023_2247412081.thumb.jpg.0febb2df2807b72c71259beb1603c08e.jpg

Vollkornbrot on the left, rugbrød on the right.

 

But, my German and Austrian taste-testers said the MB vollkornbrot was exactly what they would have back home! It is a very time-intensive bread to make though - I started soaking the rye berries on a Sunday night and could finally cut io it on Thursday morning... Both built to last - about 5 days without noticeable staling and were perfectly edible for about 8 days. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys, I would like to ask help with something about modernist Hamburger buns, I tried yesterday and baked in 2 batches in my little home oven 180-200 C. the first I waited for crust become golden to check internal temp, it is suggested 90-93, but in 18' it was already 98°. The next batch i took out in 15', still White crust and it was already 93.1°C. I forgot to take Picture before freezing, but here are the batches frozen. For taste matter, the golden Brown crust is much better than the White crust...

What do you think happened? 

I used coconut oil in place of margarine, and  egg washed before proofing and before baking

20181126_120932.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@JoaoBertinatti -- as a first guess I'd say your oven temp is too low. You list a range of temps there, 180°C to 200°C. Are those temps you are setting to, or are you measuring them with an oven thermometer? I also don't recall the recipe calling for margarine, and I don't have it handy to double check that.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Chris Hennes said:

@JoaoBertinatti -- as a first guess I'd say your oven temp is too low. You list a range of temps there, 180°C to 200°C. Are those temps you are setting to, or are you measuring them with an oven thermometer? I also don't recall the recipe calling for margarine, and I don't have it handy to double check that.

Wow, I really thought that vegetable shortening was margarine!  The recipe calls for vegetable shortening!

It is the kind of product that I have never bought, but I am shocked, it was the same for me, until now that I googled.

I have calibrated the oven before, but as it is small  the temperature flutuate a lot without the stone inside.

 they suggest for 190º in home oven 25-27minutes, it stayed a lot less than this, maybe then temperature was to high?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, JoaoBertinatti said:

Wow, I really thought that vegetable shortening was margarine!  The recipe calls for vegetable shortening!

It is the kind of product that I have never bought, but I am shocked, it was the same for me, until now that I googled.

I have calibrated the oven before, but as it is small  the temperature flutuate a lot without the stone inside.

 they suggest for 190º in home oven 25-27minutes, it stayed a lot less than this, maybe then temperature was to high?

 

What weight are you making the buns?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sourdough with Pressure Caramelized Rye Berries

 

I love pressure-caramelized rye as an inclusion for sourdough. I think this loaf was particularly successful because of a very long cold proof, 48 hours in the refrigerator. Also because I ate it without letting it cool all the way down, which I guess makes me a bad person. It was among the most flavorful loaves I've ever produced.

 

DSC_7046.jpg

  • Like 8

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Newbie member here looking for some assistance!

 

I've just tried the full Panettone recipe in Modernist Bread - and had a disaster which I've never experienced before and still trying to work out why.

 

I've made the Panettone in Bread Bakers Apprentice loads of times and while it isn't as light and airy as I would like, it's a good flavour - so I thought I'd gave the full MB version a go to see how the texture (and taste) varied with the full multi stage build and levain only recipe.

 

All was going well until I started to mix the final dough - once I started to add the egg yolks then it looked like the gluten network started to break down.   I kept going in the hope that things would 'come right' again - but no - over the course of a couple of minutes the dough went from a medium gluten development to something that felt like a thin paste with no gluten development apparent. It felt more like a thin cake batter than any dough I've ever worked with.   I went on and added the butter and let it mix for a while longer on a low setting but it didn't change the texture or start to develop any structure.

 

 I've been looking to see what could cause this but I'm stumped.   I've made the mistake before with brioche dough of adding the butter before the gluten network was properly developed (and ended up with something that felt more like cake than brioche), but in this case I hadn't even started adding the butter before the dough started breaking down and it browk down very quickly.   It hadn't even been mixing for very long - and it was only only  setting 1 on the KitchenAid so I can't believe it had been overworked.

 

I'd love to know what I can do to avoid this happening again - and to understand what would cause a dough to break down like this.

 

 

 

 

panettone dough.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Al Percival, maybe @JoaoBertinatti can comment since he just posted about making it a month or so ago. I can't speak to the Panettone directly, but quite a few types of additions cause a dough with good gluten formation to temporarily break down -- with the French lean bread and the sourdough the answer for me has been either a) more mixing (sometimes a lot more) or b) more time (sometimes a lot more!).


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Al Percival said:

I'd love to know what I can do to avoid this happening again - and to understand what would cause a dough to break down like this.

 

The most probable cause is you used the wrong flour. To be successful with panettone (the real stuff) you need a strong flour with peculiar gluten content, it must be able to stand the long mixing times required for panettone otherwise the gluten structure collapse during the second mixing stage.

Can you write the W and p/l values of the flour you used?

 

(The recipe in the Reinhart book is not for the real panettone, it's something completely different)

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Al Percival said:

I'd love to know what I can do to avoid this happening again - and to understand what would cause a dough to break down like this.

4 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

@Al Percival, maybe @JoaoBertinatti can comment since he just posted about making it a month or so ago. I can't speak to the Panettone directly, but quite a few types of additions cause a dough with good gluten formation to temporarily break down -- with the French lean bread and the sourdough the answer for me has been either a) more mixing (sometimes a lot more) or b) more time (sometimes a lot more!). 

 

 

I made that mistake 3 times. My brazilian flour is terrible, the manufacture didn't even give its info when I emailed, so I started adding +5% gluten. But that kept happening. And after reading and reading it was exactly what Chris said, more mixing  in the first step of the final dough (with just the additional flour and vanilin if I well remember), it was like 10-15 minutes in 2 in small KA...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

@Al Percival, maybe @JoaoBertinatti can comment since he just posted about making it a month or so ago. I can't speak to the Panettone directly, but quite a few types of additions cause a dough with good gluten formation to temporarily break down -- with the French lean bread and the sourdough the answer for me has been either a) more mixing (sometimes a lot more) or b) more time (sometimes a lot more!).

Thanks Chris

 

I kept mixing for about 10 - 15 minutes after the gluten dissolved and there was no change to the structure - if anything it got even weaker.   I even refrigerated the dough for about 6 hours to see if it would reform - but no.  The consistency was closer to mashed potatoes than dough.  Out of curiosity I then took some of the 'batter' (as it was then) and added some baking powder and baked it in a loaf tin to see if it would create a worthwhile cake.  The consistency of the cake was like it had been made from a gluten free recipe - there was no crumb or structure and it just crumbled despite the high hydration.

 

Here in Australia we don't have a much choice over flours - the main one we can get is 11.5% protein which works well enough for most of the breads I do.

 

I've ditched the dough now.   It might be a while before I try again unless I can be sure I understand what caused this.

 

 


Edited by Al Percival typo (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, JoaoBertinatti said:

 

I made that mistake 3 times. My brazilian flour is terrible, the manufacture didn't even give its info when I emailed, so I started adding +5% gluten. But that kept happening. And after reading and reading it was exactly what Chris said, more mixing  in the first step of the final dough (with just the additional flour and vanilin if I well remember), it was like 10-15 minutes in 2 in small KA...

 

Good info Joao.   Did your failures also collapse to the point where if you dragged a finger through the dough there was no pull and no evidence of gluten (ie like a cake batter?)  

 

The MB recipe says to mix to medium gluten development after the addition of the vanilla and flour.   I think I mixed for about 5-6 minutes as the dough was already well formed after the long initial fermentation (and it had tripled in size) and felt like most of my doughs do at that stage.  With the ones that worked, did you continue to add the extra gluten or did you find it wasn't needed.   After it was clear that my gluten had dissolved I did a few experiments in batches - which included adding some more flour and vital wheat gluten but at that stage I don't think anything was going to fix it.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, teonzo said:

 

The most probable cause is you used the wrong flour. To be successful with panettone (the real stuff) you need a strong flour with peculiar gluten content, it must be able to stand the long mixing times required for panettone otherwise the gluten structure collapse during the second mixing stage.

Can you write the W and p/l values of the flour you used?

 

(The recipe in the Reinhart book is not for the real panettone, it's something completely different)

 

Teo

 

 

Thanks Teo

 

Here in Australia they don't publish much info about the flour except the obligatory nutritional info.   The flour has 11.5% protein content - that's all I know at the moment (I've sent an email to the manufacturer).     I can add vital wheat gluten to increase the gluten content as an option however?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Al Percival said:

The flour has 11.5% protein content

 

That's a a medium/low value, it's a cake flour, not suitable for panettone. You have no chances to make panettone with that flour, the gluten structure will always collapse during the second mixing stage. You need a flour with at least 13.5% protein content for panettone. But most importantly you need to watch the W and p/l values: W should be around 350, p/l should be around 0.60. The p/l is pretty important because you need "firm" gluten, not extensible gluten. Flour for pizza (for example) has a similar protein content but different ratio between glutenin and gliadin, this gives a different p/l value. For panettone you need "firm" gluten structure, gluten matrix must be able to stand long mixing times; for pizza you need an elastic gluten structure, there's not much need for it to be able to stand long mixing times. If you go below 13% protein content then there isn't enough gluten to give proper firmness to the dough.

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Al Percival said:

I can add vital wheat gluten to increase the gluten content as an option however?

 

I have zero experience with vital wheat gluten, I've read about its existence but it's not available here in Italy, never seen it for sale. So I can't give you a solid answer, sorry. It's possible it could be a solution if it has the proper ratio of glutenin and gliadin, but I don't have the answer for this.

 

I would suggest you to look for a flour with 13.5%-14% protein content, which is not labeled as suitable for pizza (for baba/savarin almost ok, for bread so-so, for pizza no). I don't think you will find something ideal for panettone, you need the peculiar values I wrote above, which are ideal only for panettone and similars (pandoro, focaccia veneziana...) but not ideal for other uses (pizza, bread, whatever). Producers make and sell that particular flour if they have enough request. Here in Italy those enriched breads are a strong tradition, outside Italy there's not much request.

Try to avoid stuff like pizza flour, otherwise you will end up with something similar to melted cheese during the second mixing stage.

If you can't find a flour with such high protein content, then try adding vital wheat gluten to reach around 14-14.5%. Don't know how to do the math since I don't know the protein content of vital wheat gluten (don't know if it's 100% protein or less).

 

If there is some Italian bakery near you that makes panettone, then try to ask them what flour they uses.

 

If you have other questions / doubts about panettone then feel free to ask, there's a lot of misinformation on most foreign books. The recipe in the Reinhart book has nothing to do with panettone, same with almost all recipes I've read in books in English language.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, teonzo said:

 

If you have other questions / doubts about panettone then feel free to ask, there's a lot of misinformation on most foreign books. 

 

Teo

 

 

Thanks Teo.  I'll wait to hear back from @JoaoBertinatti about his experience with adding vital wheat gluten and then I might try again with the artificially enriched flour.    Here is Australia there is very little choice in flours, despite Australia being quite a big wheat producer.   It shows in the quality of the baked goods and breads available which are mostly pretty dreadful.     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Al Percival said:

 

Thanks Teo.  I'll wait to hear back from @JoaoBertinatti about his experience with adding vital wheat gluten and then I might try again with the artificially enriched flour.    Here is Australia there is very little choice in flours, despite Australia being quite a big wheat producer.   It shows in the quality of the baked goods and breads available which are mostly pretty dreadful.     

I had 5% gluten added at every step there was flour, even in making the 3 builds.  Brazil is a big wheat producer as well, but people want always the cheapest stuff here...  you see, I think if you mix more than 10' in the first step it should work without gluten IF you lower the hydration... maybe if you don't add the water at the last step with 11.5% it could work. And yes, everytime I mixed for  only 5 minutes or less it looked like cake batter when I started adding water.... and at first I thought it was overmixed but no. Btw my best flour here is 9.8%. I have read somewhere in the book that the best approach when bread flour or high gluten flour is required, would be adding gluten and the second best approach, adding more flour... I know that here in Brazil, they do panettones without added gluten and with lower hydratation, so it should work, you will probably end with smaller alveoli .... at last, I think that if you kept mixing for 45 minutes at highest speed that cake batter ((with a few rests in freezer) it could work something out, because if you take look at gateau battu, why not....


Edited by JoaoBertinatti confusing post (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks to @JoaoBertinatti and @teonzo for the tips.   I managed to find some flour with 13% protein and supplemented it with vital wheat gluten to 14.5%.   Increased mixing time for the final dough to about 15 minutes and a robust gluten development before starting to add the sugar, eggs and butter (total mixing time for the 2nd dough was about 45 minutes).   Came out as expected!   About 10 hours proving and then 60 minutes baking.   I need to work a bit on my presentation and order some panettone cases - will post pics next time!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By WackGet
      Recently I picked up a few different types of emulsifiers in bulk powder form when I saw them in passing at a catering wholesaler.
       
      Having never used powdered emulsifiers before in cooking or baking, I figured I'd find pretty comprehensive instructions for their use on the web - but I can't.
       
      I'm not a stranger to food science but nor am I a chemist. I understand that emulsifiers are at least sometimes prepared by pre-mixing them into a (heated?) liquid or fat and then using the resulting solution in the actual recipe, which may explain why a lot of commercial emulsifier mixtures are packages as tubes of gel or paste. I've also checked several industry-level textbooks about emulsifiers and while they are fantastic for in-depth explanations of the chemistry behind each emulsifier, they do not (as you might imagine) provide guidance on how a lowly baker or cook would actually use a powdered form.
       
      So does anyone know how to prepare and use a dry powdered form of any of the following in a real recipe?
       
      Specifically I am most interested in enhancing baked goods and adding stability to sauces, but would also like to know how to use them for other processes such as sausage-making too.
      E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids E481 Sodium stearoyl lactylate E482 Calcium stearoyl lactylate E472e DATEM (diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides)
        Thanks.
    • By mjbarnard
      I cooked two turkey breasts sous vide. This year had access to the Meater+ thermometer probe which I managed to vacuum seal in the bag without difficulty (it is small). Since it works wirelessly I was able to monitor and it records the internal temperatures at the thickest part of the breast.
      I thought the results were interesting. I cooked at 60C for 8 hours. I have always used https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/a-better-way-to-turkey-cook-that-bird-sous-vide-for-the-best-feast-ever which gives long cooking times at lower temperature. I have found that as according to this page https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/11/sous-vide-turkey-breast-crispy-skin-recipe-thanksgiving.html that 55C gives turkey which is just a little too pink for most tastes. Over the last few years have increased the temperature up to 59/60 and I find it perfect - very moist and tender, but pale not pink.
      See attached images. I changed my mind a couple of times and started at 58 then 60 then 59 again, so ignore the slight variations. The thing I found interesting was that the thickest part (of a large breast) reached 55C in around 1 hour 40 mins and target of 59 in 2 hours 30 mins. Now I appreciate that sous vide is a combination of temperature and time or duration, but the data make me think that around 4 hours would be sufficient, as per the seriouseats table. I have previously used the chefsteps 55-58 for their much longer advised times, up to 12 hours and the meat is still quite pink at the end, so I dont believe 55 for 12 hours would effectively be the same.
      From now on I will watching the internal temperatures with interest. This has always been the (relative) unkown for sous vide amateurs. 


    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
    • By chefg
      I have to say designing the Alinea kitchen has been one of the most exciting experiences thus far in the opening of this restaurant. I have been fortunate to have been “raised” in some of the best kitchens in the country. When I arrived at the French Laundry in August 1996 the “new kitchen” had just been completed. Often times you would hear the man talk about the good old days of cooking on a residential range with only one refrigerator and warped out sauté pans with wiggly handles. When I started about 50% of the custom stainless steel was in place. The walls smooth with tile and carpet on the floors. I recall the feeling of anxiety when working for fear that I would dirty up the kitchen, not a common concern for most cooks in commercial kitchens.
      The French Laundry kitchen didn’t stop, it continued to evolve over the four years I was there. I vividly remember the addition of the custom fish/canapé stainless unit. Allowing the poissonier to keep his mise en place in beautiful 1/9 pan rails instead of the ice cube filled fish lugs. Each advancement in technology and ergonomics made the kitchen a more efficient and exacting machine.
      When I returned to the Laundry this past July for the 10th anniversary I was shocked that it had metomorphisized once again. The butcher room was now a sea of custom stainless steel low boys, the pot sink area was expanded, the walk-in moved, and an office added to the corner of the kitchen. The kitchen as I left it in June of 2001 was beautiful and extremely functional, of course it is even more so now. It is the relentless pursuit of detail and concise thought that allows the French Laundry kitchen to be one of the best for cooks to execute their craft…..16 hours a day.
      This was good motivation.
      When it came time to design my kitchen I drew on experiences at Trio, TFL and other kitchens I was familiar with to define the positives and negatives of those designs. We were faced with a 21x 44' rectangle. This space would not allow for my original kitchen design idea of four islands postioned throughout the kitchen, but ultimately gave way for the current design which I think is actually better than the original. But most the important aspect in shaping the final design was the cuisine. Due to the nature of food that we produce a typical layout with common equipment standards and dimensions do not work. Here is where the team drew on our experiences from Trio. By looking at the techniques we utilized we came to several conclusions.
      1. A conventional range was not our main heat source. We do need the flat tops and some open burners for applications such as braising and limited stock work. But our overall use of this piece of equipment is somewhat low. Given that we wanted four open burners and two flat tops with two ovens I began to source out a reliable unit. We settled on the Molteni G230.

      2. Upon analyzing our other heat source needs we decided to place a large focus on induction. By utilizing portable induction burners we are allowed the flexibility to give as much power as needed to a specific station in the kitchen. Obviously induction’s radiant heat is very low, and this allows us to keep the temperature in the kitchen reasonable, yet the power is quite high. 31,000 BTU's of highly controlable heat. But the main reason for choosing this flexible source of heat is the fact that each chef typically employed at least four different cooking applications on a given night. This huge flux in technique and the realization that the menu would change entirely in 8 weeks time meant that we had to design a kitchen that could evolve on a nightly basis. And last, we are very specific with temperatures; induction makes it easier for us to hold a liquid at a predetermined temperature for long periods of time without fluctuation. They operate between 85 and 500 degrees farenheit. We did a great deal of research on the different producers of induction and favored Cooktek. The fact that they are the only U.S manufacturer of commercial induction cooking equipment and located in Chicago made the decision easier. Their innovative approach to induction may prove to be even more exciting as we are already talking about new product development in the future.

      3. a. The complexity of the presentations and a la minute plate-ups of the food require a great deal of surface area devoted to plating. This was one of the most critical factors in determining the basic shape of the kitchen. The size of some of today's popular plates, the amount detail in each composition, coupled with the fact that producing tasting menus vs. ala carte means sometimes large waves of same dish pick ups made it necessary for us to have over 44' of linear plating surface.
      b. Virtually nothing goes vertical above the 36” counter top in the space. All food, plates, equipment, and dry good storage are contained by under counter units. There are a few exceptions such as the infrared salamanders, the three-door refrigerator, and the hood. This allows all the cooks a clear line of communication between each other and the front staff. It allows me an easy sight line to survey the entire kitchen’s progress with a quick glance.
      Given these two points it seemed obvious that we needed to combine the two and create custom pieces that would fulfill both needs. Large spans of plating surfaces with all food and equipment storage below. As you can see we ended up with two 22’ long units. Each function as a pass and under counter storage.
      The building is 21’ wide wall to wall. This allowed us just enough space to create two lines on each exterior wall with their passes forming a 60” corridor for the pick up of plates and finishing of dishes.
      4. We decided to add a station to the kitchen. At Trio we had five including:
      a. pastry
      b. cold garde manger
      c. hot garde manger
      d. fish
      e. meat
      Now that we had more space, and the ability to give each station multiple heat
      sources regardless of their location in the kitchen, we could spread the workload even further. We also realized it doesn’t make much sense to identify each station by classic French Bragade terms. A saucier did not solely cook meat with classic techniques and prepare various traditional stocks and sauces…in fact quite the opposite. This holds true with most of the stations, with the exception of pastry, but even they will have very unconventional techniques, menu placement and involvement in the kitchen systems. We will add a station that will be responsible for a large majority of the one-bite courses both sweet and savory.
      5.Given the size constraints of the building we realized a walk-in would not be possible in the kitchen. If we were to have one it would be in the basement. Having experienced this at Trio we decided to design the kitchen without a walk-in, making up for the space in various lowboy locations and a three-door reach-in. I experienced the walk-in less environment when I worked at Charlie Trotter’s. It is certainly different, but as with most things if done properly it provides a very efficient environment. It works best in situations where fresh products are brought in daily for that days use. And prevents ordering in large quantities. It also provides us with very specific units to house different items. We will utilize the 3-door refrigerator to store the majority of the vegetables and herbs along with some staple mise en place, and items that cannot be made in very small quantities like stocks. Raw meat will have it’s own lowboys as well as fish, dairy, and all frozen products.
      6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders.

      Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish.
      We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks…
      We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
    • By ronnie_suburban
      It’s the first day of cooking in Alinea's Food Lab and the mood is relaxed. We’re in a residential kitchen but there’s nothing ordinary about it. Chef Grant, along with sous chefs John Peters and Curtis Duffy are setting up. The sight of the 3 steady pros, each in their chef’s whites, working away, does not match this domestic space. Nor does the intimidating display of industrial tools lined up on the counters. While the traditional elements are here in this suburban kitchen: oven, cooktop, sink, so too are the tools of modern restaurant cookery: pacojet, cryovac machine, paint stripping heat gun…wait, a paint stripping heat gun?
      In the physical realm, the Food Lab is a tangible space where the conventional and the unconventional are melded together in the quest for new culinary territory. With Alinea’s construction under way, the team must be resourceful. This meant that renting a space large enough to house both the office and the kitchen aspects of the food lab was out of the question.
      The decision was made to take over a large office space for the research and administrative aspects of Alinea and transform a residential kitchen into the Lab. Achatz and the team would work three days per week at the office researching all aspects of gastronomy and brainstorming new dishes, while managing the project as a whole. The remaining time would be spent in the kitchen executing the ideas formulated at the office. “At first I thought separating the two would be problematic,” says Grant “but in the end we are finding it very productive. It allows us to really focus on the tasks at hand, and also immerse ourselves in the environment conducive to each discipline.” The menus for opening night—containing as many as 50 never-before-served dishes--must be conceived, designed, tested and perfected. The Alinea team does not want to fly without a net on opening night.
      On a more abstract level, the Food Lab is simply the series of processes that continually loop in the minds of Chef Grant and his team. While there is no single conduit by which prospective menus--and the dishes which comprise them--arrive at Alinea, virtually all of them start in Chef Grant's imagination and eventually take form after brainstorming sessions between the Chef and his team. Menus are charted, based on the seasonality of their respective components, and the details of each dish are then laid out on paper, computer or both and brought to the kitchen for development. In this regard, the Food Lab provides something very special to the Chef and his team. “We consider the food lab a luxury,” says Grant. Once Alinea is open and the restaurant’s daily operations are consuming up to 16 hours of each day, time for such creative planning (aka play) will be scarce. Building a library of concepts, ideas and plans for future menus now will be extraordinarily valuable in the future. Otherwise, such planning sessions will have to take place in the 17th and 18th hours of future workdays, as they did when the Chef and his team were at Trio.
      Today, several projects are planned and the Chefs dig into their preparations as soon as their equipment setup is complete…
      Poached Broccoli Stem with wild Coho roe, crispy bread, grapefruit
      Stem cooked sous vide (butter, salt, granulated cane juice)
      Machine-sliced thin bread
      Dairyless grapefruit “pudding”
      Dried Crème Brulee
      Caramel orb shell made with bubble maker and heat gun
      Powdered interior made with dried butterfat, egg yolks, powdered sugar & vanilla
      PB&J
      Peeled grapes on the stem
      Peanut butter coating
      Wrap in brioche
      Broil
      Micro-grated, roasted peanuts
      Instant Tropical Pudding
      Freeze Dried Powders of coconut, pineapple, banana
      Young coconut water spiked with rum
      Muscovado Sugar
      Cilantro
      Candied Chili
      Jamaican Peppercorn
      Vanilla Bean
      The steps required to comprise each dish are, as one might imagine, intricate and numerous. For the Poached Broccoli Stem, Chef Grant begins by separating the broccoli stems from the florets. The stems are stripped of their fibrous exteriors and pared down until they are uniform in size. Grant comments on the use of the second hand part of the vegetable: “This dish started with the roe. Every year we receive the most amazing Brook Trout Roe from Steve Stallard, my friend and owner of Blis. Typically, we serve the eggs with an element of sweetness. I find it goes very well with the ultra fresh salinity of the week-old roe. This time around we wanted to take a savory approach so I began looking into complimenting flavors in the vegetal category. About the same time, our group had a discussion about secondary parts of vegetables and the stem of broccoli came up. I had a past experience with the stem and found it to be very reminiscent of cabbage. Knowing that cabbage and caviar are essentially a classic pairing, I felt confident that we could work the dish out. Now I'm struggling to decide if this is a broccoli dish or in fact a roe dish, I think they really battle for the top position and that helps makes the dish very complex."

      Chef Grant processing the broccoli

      The stems are placed in a polyethylene bag, along with butter, salt and granulated cane juice. The bag is sealed with a cryovac machine

      The sealed stems are placed in a 170 degree F water to cook, sous vide, until extremely tender; about three hours

      Broccoli stems after cooking
      The crisp bread element is fabricated via the use of an industrial deli slicer. Chef Grant then brushes the sectioned pieces of poached broccoli stem with eggwash, affixes them to the thin planks of brioche and places them in a fry pan with butter.

      Grant's mise...not your ordinary cutting board

      Poached Broccoli Stem and Crisp Bread cooking

      Ready for plating

      A bright green broccoli puree is made with a vita-prep blender. Here, Chef Grant "mohawks" it onto china given to him by Thomas Keller

      Smoked Coho roe has arrived via Fed-Ex, courtesy of Steve Stallard

      Chef Grant devises a plating scheme for the Poached Broccoli Stem while Curtis looks on

      Chef Grant ponders one potential plating of the dish. He called this incarnation 'predictable' and started over.

      Another plating idea. This version is garnished with broccoli petals and ultra-thin slices of connected grapefruit pulp cells. The yellow petals are stand-ins for what will ultimately be broccoli blossoms
      Grant is still displeased at the dish's appearance. "The dish tastes as I envisioned it....texturally complex, with the crispness of the bread, the soft elements of the floret puree and stem, and the pop of the eggs. The buttery richness from the bread gives the stem the flavor of the melted cabbage I loved at the [French] Laundry. And the hot and cold contrasts from the roe and broccoli …I like it…..I just don’t like the way it looks.” Another attempt and the group agrees, it is better but not “the one.” The use of the thinly sliced cross sections of peeled grapefruit energizes the group. In the next rendition, they make small packets with the ultra thinly-sliced grapefruit containing the roe...

      A third plating configuration for Poached Broccoli Stems; this one featuring the packets of roe wrapped in ultra thin sheets of grapefruit pulp cells
      At this point the team decides to move on and come back to it next week. After some conversation they decide that in the final dish, broccoli will appear in at least 5 forms: poached stems, floret puree, some raw form of the stem, the tiny individual sprouts of broccoli florets, and the blooms. Grant feels that Poached Broccoli Stem could be ready for service, although he still envisions some changes for the dish that will make it even more emblematic of his personal style. “Our dishes continue to evolve after they hit the menu. It is important for us to get to know them better before we can clearly see their weaknesses.”
      The thought for the dried crème brulee originated over a year ago when a regular customer jokingly asked for a crème brulee for dessert. “He said it as joke, I took it as a challenge,” says Grant. "Of course, we never intended to give him a regular crème brulee.” The team tried various techniques to create the powder-filled caramel bubble while at Trio to no avail. An acceptable filling for the Dried Crème Brulee has been developed by the Chef and his team but several different methods, attempted today, to create the orb from caramelized sugar have been less than 100% successful.

      Caramel blob awaiting formation. Chef Curtis kept this pliable by leaving it in a low oven throughout the day

      Chef Grant’s initial idea to use a metal bubble ring and heat gun (normally used for stripping paint) to form the bubbles does not work as hoped. Attempts to fashion them by hand also come up short.
      Says Grant, “At Trio we tried a hair-dryer. When Martin told me about these heat guns which get up to 900 degrees F, I thought we had it for sure. If it was easy everyone would do it I guess.” Eventually, Alinea partner Nick Kokonas garners the task’s best result by positioning a small, warm blob of sugar onto the end of a drinking straw and blowing into the other end. The results are promising. Curtis suggests using a sugar pump to inflate the orbs. That adjustment will be attempted on another day.
      “We intentionally position whimsical bite in the amuse slot, it tends to break the ice and make people laugh. It is a deliberate attempt to craft the experience by positioning the courses in a very pre-meditated order. A great deal of thought goes into the order of the courses, a misalignment may really take away from the meal as a whole.” For PB&J, the grapes are peeled while still on the vine and then dipped into unsweetened peanut butter. They are allowed to set–up, and then they are wrapped with a thin sheet of bread and lightly toasted. When the peeled grapes warm, they become so soft they mimic jelly. The composition is strangely unfamiliar in appearance but instantly reminiscent on the palate. PB&J is, according to Grant, virtually ready for service. There are a couple of aesthetic elements, which need minor tweaks but the Chef feels very good about today’s prototype.

      Chef John peels grapes while still on their stems

      Peeled grapes on their stems with peanut butter coating

      Chef Grant studies the completed PB&J in the Crucial Detail designed piece

      PB&J
      Often, creative impulses come by way of Alinea’s special purveyors. “Terra Spice’s support over the past couple of years has been unprecedented, and it has accelerated with the start of the food lab,” says Grant. “It is great to have relationships with people that think like we do, it can make the creative process so much easier. Often Phil, our contact at Terra, would come into the kitchen at Trio and encourage us to try and stump him on obscure ingredients. We always lost, but not from lack of trying. He even brought in two live chufa plants into the kitchen one day.” The relationship has developed and Terra team has really made an effort to not only search out products that the chefs ask for but also keep an eye out for new ingredients and innovations. In August, Phil brought by some samples of products that he thought the Alinea team might be interested in trying.

      Phil of Terra Spice showing the team some samples

      Coconut powder and other samples
      Grant recalls “the most surprising item to me was the dried coconut powder. When I put a spoonful in my mouth I could not believe the intense flavor and instant creamy texture, it was awesome.” That was the inspiration for what is now Instant Tropical Pudding. The guest is presented with a glass filled with dried ingredients. A member of the service team pours a measured amount of coconut water into the glass and instructs the guest to stir the pudding until a creamy consistency is formed.

      The rum-spiked coconut water being added to the powders
      At the end of the day, the Chefs assess their overall effort as having gone “fairly well.” It’s a mixed bag of results. Clearly, the fact that things have not gone perfectly on Day 1 has not dampened anyone’s spirits. The team has purposely attempted dishes of varying degrees of difficultly in order to maximize their productivity. Says Grant, “Making a bubble of caramel filled with powder…I have devoted the better part of fifteen years to this craft, I have trained with the best chefs alive. I have a good grasp of known technique. The lab's purpose is to create technique based on our vision. Sometimes we will succeed, and sometimes we will fail, but trying is what make us who we are." The team's measured evaluations of their day’s work reflect that philosophy.
      According to Chef Grant, “The purpose of the lab is to create the un-creatable. I know the level at which we can cook. I know the level of technique we already possess. What I am interested in is what we don't know...making a daydream reality.” With little more than 100 days on the calendar between now and Alinea’s opening, the Chef and his team will have their work cut out for them.
      =R=
      A special thanks to eGullet member yellow truffle, who contributed greatly to this piece
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...