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.

Kitchen Scale, Baskets, and Things


ddueck
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have been lurking in the Sourdough thread and have been doing some bread-baking at home. I have now come to the realization that I need to aquire a couple of items.

Kitchen Scale - The stacking tupperware measuring cups aren't cutting it any more. I want to be an obsessive baker and measure every gram. The scale buying guide on egullet is good, but I am now looking for a more specific recommendation. I don't care about calorie-counters and all that crap. I would be interested in something that could help me with the "JACKAL formula" Specific brand suggestions and locations would be helpful. Please note that I live near Vancouver, British Columbia (that's Canada for the rest of you).

Baking Stone-I had a pizza stone that was doing all right, but it broke in half. Should I bother buying an official "BAKING STONE" or would I be better off picking up something from my local hardware store? I know a lot of people talk about bricks or stones on the bottom of their oven, but that is where my elememt is. Does this strategy still work. My oven is a standerd (for Canada) boring electric range. (PS. I did invest in a little oven thermometer and my oven officially heats 50F more than it displays).

Baskets-I think I want some for fermenting bread dough. (I always called it letting the dough rise.) Again, I use the big tupperware bowl and put a towel over the top. Should I be looking for anything specific in a basket? Do you just drop the dough in the bowl or do you put a towel or something in to line the basket?

I appreciate your advice. I am having a good time, but I haven't yet realized the perfect loaf. Luckily my kids will eat any of my experiments, at least so far.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Specific brand suggestions and locations would be helpful. Please note that I live near Vancouver, British Columbia (that's Canada for the rest of you).

For baking (not breadmaking), I use a digital Salton scale. London Drugs periodically has them on sale.

Never had a problem with mine. It has the usual tare and grams/oz conversion features.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My two cents if you intend to bake directly on the stone/brick is to get the largest and heaviest pizza stone you can find. While you could buy tiles and line the lowest rack of your oven, I think you run the risk of snagging the dough on the edges of the tiles if they are not perfectly aligned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are serious about baking bread then:-

1. buy the best set of digital scales that you can afford, and make sure they measure in grams.

2. Dont worry about your crappy electric oven, it couldn't be any worse than my 24 year old junk, learn its habits and you will find that it's not so crappy after all, it's just a communication problem. :biggrin:

3. For your oven stone go to your nearest tile supplier and ask for an unglazed unsealed quarry tile (or paving tile, I'm not sure what you call them over there). Get one that will fit your oven and you are in business, just don't make the mistake of putting a cold tile into a hot oven, instant crack. :wacko: Always put your stone in before you turn the oven on.

Kind regards

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I Bake at the bottom of my electric oven, in direct contact with the heat source. Using baking parchment paper of course.

Can anyone say anything about the benefits of using a stone (other than that it's way much cooler to have a stone in your oven) over using my method?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also made my own proofing baskets from regular baskets and some linnen cloth. I cannot tell you how much better these work than my futile tupperware atempts. Nothing has yet sticked to my floured linnen.

I think the important thing is that the surface, that is in conact with the basket "breathes"; The tupperware is plastic and gets wet, the baset is full of holes and lets air in. A huge difference.

Have a look ;

http://www.glennbech.com/2006/05/making-proving-baskets.html

Edited by glennbech (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stone If you do use a stone make sure to give your oven plenty of extra time to come to heat, with the stone properly heated. They don't do their job unless they are really hot. Allow as long as an hour. A properly heated stone will help improve the oven spring and crust of the bread. The only trouble with it is that it means sliding loaves into a hot oven at a time when they are most sensitive to poor handling. You may need some practice. There is no shame at all in keeping them on a sheet of parchment to prevent sticking, sliding loaf and parchment both into the oven and onto the stone.

Baskets Distinguish two different stages: (a) bulk fermentation (= first rise), where the dough is left to allow the yeast to get working on it as a single mass. You don't use baskets at this stage: a bowl is good. (b) proofing after shaping (= second rise). This is where the baskets come in. What they do is make sure that quite soft dough does not spread too much while it is rising, making for better shaped bread.

You can buy "proper" baskets for this, some are baskets lined with linen. Some are made of thicker (willow?) reeds bent round, which makes for a nice shape. I don't know whether in professional practice these are lined ... I think not.

Or you can improvise with: (a) any old cheap basket which is roughly the right shape or (b) a bowl that is roughly the right shape. The baskets work better, because they allow the dough to breathe, which helps it form a soft skin which in turn makes for easier handling, less sticking and a better shape. Dough that sweats and then sticks to everything while you are trying to put it in the oven is a problem: you can lose a lot of volume if that happens. So look for some little baskets: houseware stores or (surprisingly) flower shops which use the baskets for little displays are possible sources.

Whether improvising with a basket or a bowl, the method is similar. Take a smooth cloth (preferably linen, but cotton is fine too) and rub it really well with plenty of flour. It is said that rice or rye flour will be less inclined to cause sticking than wheat flour, because the lower/different gluten content prevents it forming a paste; but I have never had trouble in baskets with wheat flour. Don't just "dust" the cloth. Dredge it heavily. Work it in. This should prevent sticking. Once you have done this, it is a good idea to keep the cloth for that purpose. It sort of "seasons". Wash it only if you have had a sticking accident. Once the dough is in the basket, keep it covered with another cloth while it rises.

Dough goes into the basket upside down (i.e., the side that has the "seam" from shaping is on top, and becomes the bottom of the finished loaf). When you come to remove it from the basket, be very gentle. Don't just plop it like a jelly onto a peel, or it will lose volume. I usually transfer it gently onto a well-floured hand (inverting the basket) and then onto the peel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, check out the supplies at the San Francisco Baking Institute

The bannetons are cheaper here than at any other place I have found. Plus they carry the linen liners if you have your own baskets, also inexpensive and other supplies for artisan bakers.

You can find some remarks about using bannetons at the Bread-Bakers list - here is a sample

Bread-baker's list

If you decide you would like to subscribe to the Bread-Baker's list, which is run by Reggie and Jeff Dwork, (two extremely dedicated bakers) you can sign on at this site

This is an email list and you get a daily digest of the posts (like the archived discussion in the previous link).

I have a round pizza stone for my combination convection/microwave oven (Sharp) and I have a rectangular slab for my big oven which I use less often. I also have a half size sheet pan filled with split or half-thickness firebrick (I could have used quarry tile but this was available and handy).

For the latter, I spread a handful of coarse cornmeal onto the peel, turn the shaped and proofed dough onto that which allows it to slide easinly onto the hot bricks.

The direct heat causes the bottom of the loaf to harden rapidly and that and the cornmeal keeps it from sticking to the bricks, so I have had no problem with snagging on the edges.

The coiled bannetons do leave a nice impression on the surface of the loaves. I generally slash mine in a cross on top or a square pattern around the top, after turning out onto the peel.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought the 7001DX model from myWeigh last year and have been very satisfied with it. I looked around quite a bit and settled on this one as it had all the features I was looking for - it measures in grams, kilos, pounds and ounces; it has the tare function, backlight, hold feature, and so forth. It is also very compact and easy to clean.

Here is another review.

Veena

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I Bake at the bottom of my electric oven, in direct contact with the heat source. Using baking parchment paper of course.

Can anyone say anything about the benefits of using a stone (other than that it's way much cooler to have a stone in your oven) over using my method?

It's not a matter of being "cool", in my oven your method would suck, big time.

The element in my oven is about 1/2" off the base of my oven and 1/2" in from the sides. If I baked on the bottom of the oven the loaf would, in places, be subject to the direct heat from the element instead of being surrounded by an even temperature. I don't like my crust incinerated, but from some of the pics I've seen some people do.

Kind regards

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not a matter of being "cool", in my oven your method would suck, big time.

The element in my oven is about 1/2" off the base of my oven and 1/2" in from the sides. If I baked on the bottom of the oven the loaf would, in places, be subject to the direct heat from the element instead of being surrounded by an even temperature. I don't like my crust incinerated, but from some of the pics I've seen some people do.

I had a bad experience today with a black crust stripe across the bottom of my bread, I guess I found one of the heating elements .-) I went out and bought myself the thickes floor tile I could find (at about $10, I think that was a bargain).

We'll see if it works tomorrow morning .-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for a scale (they are invaluable), I've had this one for about 5 years and I just love it. I don't think I could bake without it anymore :wub:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=pd_sl_...er%20aquatronic

I was never able to get the kind of crust that I wanted without a stone. I got really good results with a plain old pizza stone for years, but I recently got a gift (its expensive) of a HearthKit. I'm still experimenting with it, but so far, so good.

As for the baskets, I purchased the bentwood kind (willow, I think) and found that if I wanted a wet dough, it would stick unless I lined it with cloth "seasoned" with lots and lots of flour. But once I learned that, I've had great results.

Happy baking and bon appetit :wink:

Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

"Leave Mother in the fridge in a covered jar between bakes. No need to feed her." Jackal10

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, check out the supplies at the San Francisco Baking Institute

The bannetons are cheaper here than at any other place I have found.  Plus they carry the linen liners if you have your own baskets, also inexpensive and other supplies for artisan bakers.

Wow! I live just 40 miles from San Francisco, and I didn't know about this...their prices are great (except for the books, thats full price)..Thank You! :rolleyes:

Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

"Leave Mother in the fridge in a covered jar between bakes. No need to feed her." Jackal10

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought the 7001DX model from myWeigh last year and have been very satisfied with it.  I looked around quite a bit and settled on this one as it had all the features I was looking for - it measures in grams, kilos, pounds and ounces; it has the tare function, backlight, hold feature, and so forth.  It is also very compact and easy to clean. 

Here is another review.

Veena

i second that. i have the same scale and highly recommend it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

I'm thinking of getting a kitchen scale (which I don't have anyhow) that provides nutrient profiles...there is the salter 1400 at $70 and 1450 at $100 (can't figure out the difference in function, other than the 1450 is folding and I think has more memory). Also, on ebay, there are some cheapies that come up but I'm a bit scared of buying a peice of junk no matter how cheap it is. If anyone has any experience with any of these nutritional scales it would be greatly appreciated if you could share your opinion, thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

OK! Apparently that's the way it's done! Take out the batteries, wait until the top of the hour, put the batteries back in, push the" hour" button until it hits the right hour, and you're done. All set now. Not that it really mattered. All of the functions worked just fine without the clock being set to the right time. I'm just a little OCT that way . . .

K

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In case anyone's been wondering, that IS how you set the clock - just take the batteries out and hit the "hour" button at the top of an hour. I really like this little timer/scale. It's small, lightweight but sturdy, very accurate, has a tare function, counts up and down, and uses regular AA batteries, not the fancy special batteries that were hard to find and used to fall right out of my old scale. Plus, I fee really smart because it retails for $30 and I got it for $2.99. Score! It only does lbs and oz, not grams, but I can live with that.

K

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you having fun in here by yourself?! :laugh:

3 bucks is a sweet score, though. Well done!

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...