Baking In Skills
Page 5
Food Science: How Sugar “Cooks”
We all know that sugar will melt when heated, losing its granular form and turning into a liquid. This we can see with our own eyes. But how it goes from a simple sugar syrup to dark caramel (to burnt mess!) requires a peek under the microscope…Think of a pan of cooking sugar as made up of hundreds and thousands of molecules. Just like any other food, the molecules that make up sugar begin to break down under high heat or prolonged exposure to heat.
Jun 4, 2019
Surprise Ingredient: Vanilla in Tomato Soup
We recently attended a dinner party at the home of Abby from AT: Los Angeles. From the vegetable terrine to the crème brûlée, everything was beautifully presented and delicious. But it was the starter that really made an impression on us. While we were sipping the tomato soup, Abby revealed that it contained a secret ingredient…Vanilla! It wasn’t an intentional secret ingredient; actually, it was more of happy accident.
Jun 4, 2019
Good Question: Should Fresh Nutmeg Be Used the Same Way as Ground Nutmeg?
It seems like nutmeg week around here! First we talked about the nutmeg grinder we love, then Emma gave us the full scoop on this common spice. Now reader amt230 has a good question about fresh ground nutmeg.Should recipes calling for ground nutmeg (presumably not fresh) be adjusted when using fresh ground nutmeg? I recently made a vegan pumpkin icecream and used freshly ground nutmeg (ground in a coffee grinder).
Jun 4, 2019
Good Question: What Does “Short” Mean In a Recipe?
Here’s a question from longtime reader JenPDX: Hi there – I am more of a cook…I am not a baker. I’ve come across a cookie recipe that I want to make tonight. The recipe note says that: “The dough is very “short” and should be well kneaded.” What does “short” mean in this baking context?(To All Good Questions) We were so inspired by the photo above from Flickr member .kaishin.
Jun 4, 2019
Sources: Vanilla Beans in Bulk
Last week’s post on making your own vanilla extract reminded us that we are out of vanilla beans. If you buy vanilla beans at a grocery store you’ll pay up to $9 for a single bean. This is way too much! You can get vanilla beans in bulk through the internet for far less money, and have plenty for baking.
Jun 4, 2019
Simple, Cheap, and Vegan, Too? Poor Man’s Parmesan
We wish we’d discovered this one back during Vegan Week! The Italians might call this topping “poor man’s parmesan,” but toasting bread crumbs in olive oil until they’re golden and crispy sounds pretty rich to us. Who knows? We might ditch the parmesan altogether.We’re not sure that poor man’s parmesan was ever intended to actually simulate cheese or convince your taste buds that it actually is cheese.
Jun 4, 2019
Sense of Place: Southwestern Flavors and Ingredients
Take a good helping of South American and Mexican cuisines and add in a splash of old-world Spanish ingredients. Blend with a healthy dose of Native American fare and sprinkle on some frontier trail food. Now give it all a good stir, and that’s the Southwest.What does Southwestern food mean to you?!
Jun 4, 2019
Bake Like a Brit: 5 Cakes Every English Baker Loves
When a Brit tells you they're baking, you can generally assume that a cake is about to come out of the oven.
Jun 3, 2019
Salt 101: Alton Brown and the Power of Salt
Ah, salt! This is what perks up our dishes and makes us go back for seconds. But don’t take our word for it – Alton Brown and the makers of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt have teamed up to give us a fun, interactive tutorial on the wonders of our favorite seasoning. Got five minutes? Give it a peek!
May 30, 2019
Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies: When Food Science Doesn’t Have All the Answers
Back when our grandmothers started baking cookies, they probably weren’t reading articles about the gluten content of cake flour versus all-purpose, or the melting points of butter and shortening. Baking is chemistry, it’s true — but it’s also more than that, as writer Deborah Blum realized when she set out to recreate her grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies.
May 30, 2019
Here’s Why Cooking and Baking Make You Feel Good, According to Science
People who love to bake really love to bake. They’ll jump on any opportunity to whip up a treat to share with others and put their stand mixer to work. But it turns out there might be another reason why baking and cooking make some people feel so good. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that those who engage in creative projects (like cooking and baking) are happier in their day-to-day lives.
May 30, 2019
6 Ways to Make Baking with Kids Even More Fun
I love to bake with my kids; having them by my side while I do it is often the only way we have biscuits or birthday cakes. It wasn’t until my sister in-law confessed, “I do not like cooking with my kids; it’s messy and chaotic. How do you stand it?” that I realized not everyone feels the same way about it. If you are in the same boat as my sister-in-law, I’ve got some tips that might help.
May 30, 2019
A Complete Visual Guide to 11 Different Kinds of Sugar
How well do you know your sugar varieties? What’s the difference between turbinado and demerara? Is caster sugar the same as powdered sugar? From white sugar to cane sugar to rich brown sugar, here are 11 sugar varieties you need to know, plus our favorite ways to use them. When you think about sugar, the first thing that probably comes to mind is sweetness. And while it does sweeten baked goods, savory dishes, and drinks, the uses for sugar are many.
May 30, 2019
How Can I Make ‘Pudgy Pies’ Indoors?
Sent by AmeliaEditor: Amelia, I’ve never heard of a pudgy pie before, but now I want to try one! I’ve successfully made braaibroodjie (a South African outdoor-grilled sandwich) indoors with the help of a grill pan and a pot lid, which might work for pudgy pies as well.
May 30, 2019
Are Vital Wheat Gluten and Wheat Gluten the Same Thing?
Q: Are vital wheat gluten and wheat gluten the same thing? A bread recipe specifically calls for ‘Vital Wheat Gluten.’ My neighborhood mill only has ‘Wheat Gluten’. They could not tell me if there is a difference. Sent by Dan Editor: Yes, the two names are used interchangeably. Sometimes seitan is also called wheat gluten because it is made from vital wheat gluten, water, and spices, but when talking about bread recipes, vital wheat gluten flour is what is used.
May 30, 2019
How Do I Keep Dry Ingredients from Flying out of the Mixer Bowl?
Q: When adding dry ingredients to wet with the mixer on low speed, the flour sprays over the mixer as well as the counter and floor. I purchased the guard and have it snapped onto the rim of the bowl. Any other suggestions to help prevent the mess? Sent by Sharon Editor: There’s actually an easy fix to keep your dry ingredients from making a mess after you turn the mixer on! Just drape a kitchen towel over the bowl before you turn it on.
May 30, 2019
12 Pro Tips for Making Better Cookies from Jen Musty at Batter Bakery
Who: Jen Musty What: Professional cookie baker Where: Batter Bakery, San Francisco Today we have the pleasure of sharing holiday cookie baking tips from expert baker Jen Musty. Jen’s the genius behind my favorite chocolate chip cookie (chewy on the inside, crusty on the outside, big discs of quality chocolate and a touch of Maldon sea salt, oh yeah), so this interview and tour was of particular interest to me. (Inner dialogue: What is her secret?
May 30, 2019
15 Easy Ways to Turn Berries into Dessert
Well, aside from simply eating them all out of hand.
May 28, 2019
What’s the Difference? Macaroons vs. Macarons
If your childhood was anything like ours, you grew up with chewy, unkempt, possibly chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons. Like us, you were probably confused when these “new” almond macarons bearing no resemblance to those childhood macaroons started appearing in fancy boutiques.
May 24, 2019
Ingredient Spotlight: Fleur de Sel
A friend brought us this little pot of sea salt as a souvenir from her travels in France. It’s been sitting in our cupboard staring at us every time we open the door, tempting us and begging to be used. How should we use our fleur de sel?Fleur de sel is like the extra-virgin olive oil of the salt world. It’s the first, most fragile salt crystals that form at the top of the sea water as it evaporates.
May 24, 2019
A Taste of Spain: Spanish Piquillo Peppers
Their name means “little beaks” and it’s easy to see why. This diminutive and sharply-tapered variety of chili pepper is one of the stars of the Spanish table. Have you ever tried them?These peppers are simultaneously sweet, spicy, and smoky thanks to some time spent over wood fires after harvesting. The slow-roasting also cooks away much of the water in the pepper, concentrating and intensifying the natural flavors.
May 24, 2019
Lessons from Italy: 3 Tips for Making Authentic Focaccia
Sometimes there are so many bad renditions of a foreign dish, it takes a trip out of the country to realize how good the original is. That’s how it was with focaccia for chef Nancy Silverton. One taste of the real thing in southern Italy sent her on a quest for the secrets of making great focaccia, which she shared in the LA Times last week.The secrets of focaccia-making are not actually secrets, Silverton points out.
May 24, 2019
The Trick to Making (Intensely Dark) Chocolate Cakes or Cookies
It's the secret behind the color of Oreos.
May 6, 2019
What Does Ripening Cookie Dough Mean? And Should I Be Doing It?
This is the one cookie technique that pops up over and over again.
May 3, 2019
Why Recipes Call for Unsalted Butter
A couple months ago, in the depths of holiday baking season, my friend Wendy sent me a message. “Faith,” she said. “I have a question about butter. Why do some recipes call for unsalted butter? I don’t always have unsalted butter on hand — is it a big deal or not?” Can you relate? Maybe you’ve wondered this too: why do baking recipes usually call for unsalted butter?
May 3, 2019
The Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder
Baking soda, baking powder – what’s the difference? Both are white powders, odorless and nearly indistinguishable. Yet both help your baked goods to rise. Without them (or another leavener like yeast or beaten egg whites) all of our breads and cakes would be very flat and dense. We were curious about why recipes call for one over the other, and we went on a hunt to find out. Baking soda is also known by its chemist term: sodium bicarbonate.
May 3, 2019
Word of Mouth: Cacao
Cacao [ka KOW] n. the seeds and the tree, Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate are made.The word cacao is thought to come from the Aztec word cacahuatl, which means “bitter water.” Its Western scientific designation, however, means “food of the gods.” Cacao’s journey from cacahuatl to Theobroma has been long and studded with history.
May 3, 2019
Bittersweet Baking Judge: Sarah Phillips of Baking 911
Baking 911 is a web resource we find ourselves turning to over and over again. It’s a website with community boards, extensive tips, and comprehensive answers to any baking question you can think of. Sarah Phillips is the founder and baking genius behind the site, and she has graciously agreed to be one of the three judges in our Bittersweet Baking contest.
May 3, 2019
Dry Pasta vs. Fresh Pasta: What’s the Difference?
In these days of “fresh is better,” wouldn’t it seem like fresh pasta would be preferable to dried pasta? After all, fresh pasta is often locally-made and uses, well, fresh ingredients, while dried pasta is shipped over long distances and has been sitting on shelves for an unknown period of time.But not so–like red and white wine, like soft and hard cheeses, like the West Coast and the East Coast, neither kind of pasta is superior to the other.
May 3, 2019
Food Science: What is Sourdough?
For anyone who began a sourdough starter from our recipe last week, we hope your starter is bubbling happily right now! If the surface is frothy and you get a sharp whiff of vinegar when you peek under the lid, your starter is ready to go.But before we start throwing spoonfuls of sourdough willy nilly into all our baking, you’re probably wondering just what is going on in there?!
May 3, 2019
How To Fold Egg Whites or Whipped Cream Into a Batter
Does reading “fold the egg whites into the batter” strike fear into your heart? So many recipes take it for granted that we know how to do this basic technique, but in reality, “folding” batter isn’t exactly the easiest idea to grasp. This is why we’re taking a three-pronged approach to showing you exactly how it’s done: detailed written instructions, a photo gallery, and a short video. No more fear!
May 3, 2019
Good Grains: What Is Spelt?
We are stocking up on our pantry basics and working on cooking without recipes this weekend. This reminds us that we have a whole new landscape of pantry basics that have been livening up our cooking and giving fresh inspiration for improvised meals. Our new love? Grains. Yes, grains are already part of our recommended pantry list – rice and pasta are both staples of our cupboards. But we’ve been exploring other grains lately too.
May 3, 2019
Quick Tip: How To Keep Meringue Crispy
In our humble (as always) opinion, crunching down on a sweet airy meringue is one of life’s great pleasures. Since just a few egg whites yields dozens of meringue bites, we can eat a belly-full and still have plenty left for the days ahead.The only trick is keeping the meringue crispy beyond that first day…Made primarily of sugar and egg whites, meringues are hydroscopic.
May 3, 2019
Good Product: Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce
Tabasco sauce has only three simple ingredients: vinegar, red pepper, and salt.No preservatives. Nothing artificial or unpronounceable. Just those three ingredients.And despite (or because of!) it’s simplicity, Tabasco has become a universal table condiment. It’s certainly earned it’s place next to ketchup and mustard, and is revered everywhere from deep South barbecue joints to our own dining rooms.
May 3, 2019
Chicago Ingredient Spotlight: Peppadew Peppers at Provenance Food and Wine
Peppadew peppers have become one of our go-to appetizer components. Honestly, our relationship with these sweet, tangy and slightly spicy peppers borders on addiction, and they’re pretty much guaranteed to impress any guests.Peppadews are great on their own, but find out how to make them really sing…Peppadew is actually a brand name for sweet piquanté peppers grown in South Africa.
May 3, 2019
What Should We Make With This Blue Cornmeal?
A friend just got back from a trip to Arizona and brought us a pound of this blue cornmeal. We love its gritty texture and earthy smell, and we can’t wait to cook with it!The package comes with a tortilla recipe, but we’re wondering what other possibilities are out there. Any ideas?Tamales were our first thought, though we’re not sure if the cornmeal is ground fine enough. We might try running a cup through our food processor to see if we can get a finer grind.
May 3, 2019
What’s the Difference? Blue Corn Meal vs. Harinilla
Thanks for all the excellent blue cornmeal recipe suggestions, everyone! We think we’ll save it for something fun for the Fourth of July–stay tuned…As we were reading over the tortilla recipe on our bag of cornmeal, we noticed that the recipe called the flour “harinilla.”At first, we assumed that this was a Spanish term for blue cornmeal, but when we were looking up recipes, we learned that there’s actually a significant difference!
May 3, 2019
In Praise of Red Pepper Flakes
Our first experiences with red pepper flakes were at pizza restaurants, with those glass shakers full of seeds and flakes that we never touched as kids.As we learned to cook, we threw them in only when a recipe called for them, and always in very small amounts. Now, we add them with abandon — on pasta, vegetables, in sauces…What are they, exactly? Just dried red chile peppers, crushed into flakes, with the seeds included.
May 3, 2019
Weeknight Meal Tip: Simmer Sauces
Simmer sauces are an easy and healthy way to make a quick, delicious meal for your family. It’s simple – add your choice of vegetables, tofu, meat, chicken, or seafood to a pan, add a jar of simmer sauce, cover, and cook over low heat. While that’s cooking you can prepare a salad, fold the laundry, or catch up on your email.We love simmer sauces, particularly ones that have a foreign flavor. Pictured here are Persian and Indian simmer sauces.
May 3, 2019
Chocolate Féves for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Is the perfect chocolate chip cookie this year’s No-Knead Bread? And if so, are chocolate féves this year’s instant yeast? When the No-Knead Bread recipe came out there was a run on instant yeast and Dutch ovens as people raced to try this fabulous bread. Now these chocolate discs are in the baking spotlight, since the recipe promises they give much better results than plain old chocolate chips. So, where do you find these things?
May 3, 2019
Got Leftover Buttermilk? Freeze It!
Buttermilk makes the best biscuits and marinade for fried chicken, but it’s hard to find a container smaller than a quart. A specialty grocery store near me used to sell perfect 1-cup portions, but abruptly stopped awhile ago, much to my disappointment. So what should you do after you’re done with that buttermilk recipe but there’s still some left in the carton? Freeze it! Luckily, buttermilk freezes really well so you never have to throw out an half-empty expired carton again.
May 3, 2019
Food Science: What is Buttermilk?
In all our recent posts on buttermilk and what to do with it, we realized that there’s one topic that we haven’t covered.What, exactly, is buttermilk?!Traditionally, buttermilk is the liquid that is leftover after churning butter. It’s low in fat and contains most of the protein originally in the milk. True buttermilk ferments naturally into a thick, tangy cream.
May 3, 2019
Barritts Ginger Beer for Those Dark and Stormy Cocktails
We loved Nora’s post earlier today about the Dark and Stormy, largely because we’ve been drinking these quite a bit this summer.We lucked out and found the authentic ingredients — Gosling’s rum and Barritts ginger beer — conveniently stocked together in our local liquor store. But just in case some of you are thinking about Dark and Stormies for the first time this weekend, here’s a photo of that retro Barritts can you’ll be looking for.
May 3, 2019
Pickling: Choosing a Vinegar
As summer winds down, we’ve been pickling a lot, preserving as much of the season’s fresh produce as we can. But as a somewhat novice pickler, we’ve found ourself wondering: What’s the best vinegar to use? We recently made a batch of pickled wax beans using a recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables that called for cider vinegar.
May 3, 2019
Understanding Olive Oil Labels
Extra virgin, pure, light, cold-pressed, certified… Perusing the olive oil section at the market can be daunting. What do these labels mean?Olive oil labels can have so many phrases and seals that we’ve often felt dizzy trying to choose the “right” bottle. We’ve wondered which descriptors are meaningful, and which, if any, are just marketing.
May 3, 2019
Thinking Beyond Tomatoes: Alternative Bruschettas
We originally thought we’d post something this afternoon about traditional bruschetta — a simple, colorful way to showcase summer tomatoes. But that’s an easy one. Chopped tomatoes, maybe a bit of basil and onion, piled on crusty bread slices that have been toasted with olive oil and rubbed with garlic.
May 3, 2019
Try This Fool-Proof Method for Cooking Any Kind of Rice
Bring a large pot of water to boil – you can use any size pot as long as it’s large. Salt the water as you would pasta water (ie, salty like the sea!), and add the rice. Turn the heat to low and let the rice simmer in the water until it is tender and chewy. Drain the rice, return it to a pot, and cover it with a lid or clean kitchen towel until you’re ready to serve the rice. Fluff before serving with a fork or wooden spoon.That’s it!
May 3, 2019
Cooking Basics: How to Toast Nuts (and Why!)
Toasting nuts before throwing them in your muffin batter or salad is a simple way to boost flavor and add some extra crunch. Here’s how!Toasting nuts intensifies their flavor. The oils are activated and the nut flesh crisps. You’ll get more low notes of caramel and earthiness, while bitter and sour flavors are toned down.For large batches of nuts, spread them on a sheetpan in a single layer and toast them in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
May 3, 2019
Quick Tip: Use Leftover Pickling Brine to Make Vinaigrette
We made these pickled beets after reading Emma’s review of them, and once the last beet was fished out of the jar, we wondered what to do with the leftover brine.First, we added more beets and did the whole thing over again. Once the second batch was eaten, however, we went a different route, turning the juice into a salad dressing. It is primarily vinegar, with some spices thrown in, and that’s the base of any good vinaigrette.
May 3, 2019
Ingredient Spotlight: Sichuan Peppercorns
Sichuan peppercorns are a key ingredient in Chinese cooking. They have an unique, tangy taste and aroma. They are not pungent like black peppers, but have a lemony taste. They are spicy and can bring a numbing feel to the mouth and lips. Generally, they are added last when used in cooking. Only the husks are used, and are often toasted beforehand.They can be found at Asian markets or ordered online at places like Penzey’s or Import Food.
May 3, 2019
Home Cooking While Sick: TJ’s Quick Prep Favorites
Of all the things we love about fall, one thing we’re not so crazy about is the beginning of cold and flu season. Some of us have already been suffering through an early bug.We’re nearly useless in the kitchen when we’re not feeling well, but keeping a few heat-and-serve items in our pantry keeps us from constantly reaching for the takeout soup menus.
May 3, 2019
Look! Pipette-Shaped Pasta
We certainly do love our pasta around here and we’re always on the lookout for new ways to jazz up our humble dishes. This pipette-shaped pasta recently appeared on our grocery store shelves, and we’ve quickly decided it’s our top choice for the coming cold season dishes!Their shape is somewhat similar to macaroni, but the tube is wider and actually dips down in the middle like the pipe it’s named after.
May 3, 2019
Quick Tip: Chop Chocolate with a Serrated Knife
Chopping chocolate for things like brownies and fudge was always one of our least favorite kitchen tasks. That is, until a pastry chef friend suggested we try using a serrated bread knife!Chocolate is naturally quite brittle and will fragment under pressure. The grooved “teeth” on a serrated knife are like many tiny wedges pushing into the chocolate and getting it to fragment in several places at once.
May 3, 2019
Help! Can We Rescue This Crystallized Sugar Syrup?
This weekend, we made a big batch of sugar cane syrup for some candy-making experiments. We used some of it right away without problems, but the leftovers crystallized into the cloudy, gritty mass you see in the jar above. Any hope of rescuing it?Sugar is notoriously fussy to work with and prone to re-crystallizing at the least provocation. We followed all the proper procedures for handling sugar (at least we think we did!
May 3, 2019
Word of Mouth: Al Dente
Al Dente; adjective, Italian: Literally, “to the tooth.” In practice, this means cooked just enough to still be firm, where the center still remains a bit under-cooked and the pasta still offers resistance when chewed.In medieval times, pasta was cooked for an hour or more until it was soft, mushy, and offered no resistance. This was typical of all cooking at the time (ie, cooking food to death!
May 3, 2019
Food Science: What is Homogenization?
Kathryn’s post about the cream on top of non-homogenized milk made us curious about what’s going on with the homogenized milk most common in grocery stores. Let’s take a look!As Kathryn explained, when milk is left on its own, fat globules collect together and rise to the surface of the liquid to form that delicious layer of cream. Homogenization prevents the fat globules from clumping and keeps the fat dispersed in a kind of emulsion throughout the milk.
May 3, 2019
Storing Staples: Are Your Salt and Pepper Out in the Open?
While we’re talking about leaving things out on the counter, here’s another ingredient that sits on ours: Kosher salt and pepper in little dishes next to the stovetop. This is one of the first things we did when we started cooking regularly- a tip we learned from watching the Food Network many years ago…We tend to use up these little amounts quickly enough that they don’t get dirty or stale.
May 3, 2019
Best Black Peppercorns
Pepper makes its way into just about every dish that passes through the kitchen so make sure you’re using good quality pepper. After all, the good stuff doesn’t cost more than lesser pepper. You don’t use pre-ground black pepper, do you? Ground black pepper really isn’t worth buying.
May 3, 2019
Candy-Making Basics: How to Work with Sugar
As we mentioned in our post on crystallized sugar syrup, candy-making is a brand new culinary adventure for us. We’re teaching ourselves the basics and look forward to sharing our triumphs and pitfalls with you. We certainly hope you’ll chime in with advice and questions! First up, we have some basic tips for working with sugar…Dealing with sugar and all it’s quirks is pretty much par for the course when it comes to making candy.
May 3, 2019
Food Science: What is Pasteurization?
Last week we talked about how milk is homogenized and what that means for its nutritional value. This week, we talk about a related issue: how milk is pasteurized and why!The process of heating milk to kill pathogens and prevent spoilage was developed back in the 1860’s, but it didn’t become standard until dairy farming became industrialized in the 1900’s.
May 3, 2019
How To Use Fennel Pollen
I got really into using fennel pollen a few years ago when I got addicted to Mario Batali’s Goat Cheese Tortelloni with Dried Orange and Fennel Pollen. The first time I made it I didn’t have fennel pollen sitting around in my pantry, so I used Batali’s suggested alternative: ground up fennel seeds. The pollen, I quickly found, makes a difference. And so I started using it on everything. A pinch of this stuff, makes magic happen.
May 3, 2019
Quick Tip: Boost Flavor by Toasting Spices
When cooking with whole spices, toasting them before grinding amps up their flavor and aroma in the final dish. Here’s how!Most of the time, we prefer to toast our spices on the stove top. Put your spices in a small skillet over medium-low heat, and shake the pan occasionally to prevent burning. The spices are toasted when you can smell their aroma. Transfer them immediately to a spice grinder or mortar for grinding.
May 3, 2019
Good Grains: What Is Buckwheat?
We have a big bag of buckwheat groats in our pantry, and we’re looking for a good way to use up those delicious grains. Buckwheat is one of the healthiest, nuttiest, most versatile whole grains. And despite its name, it’s really not related to wheat at all.All about buckwheatBuckwheat is actually the seed of a flowering fruit that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. It’s completely gluten-free and unrelated to wheat and all the grasses in the wheat family.
May 3, 2019
Easy Garnishes for Simple Soups
If you’ve got a hearty, chunky, colorful soup, it’s usually good to go on its own (maybe a sprinkle of cheese on some chili). But a simple, puréed soup can look a little plain—and a quick garnish can elevate the dish by adding another flavor or texture that completely transforms the eating. Here are our top five…1. A crumble of cheese.
May 3, 2019
Baking Technique: How to Shape a Round Loaf
When shaping a round loaf – or any loaf, for that matter – your primary goal is to stretch the gluten and create surface tension. A taut skin helps the loaf to maintain its shape during the final rise, enabling the loaf to rise up and not collapse in a puddle on your counter. Plus, it looks prettier once baked!There are a few different techniques for forming a round loaf (also called a boule).
May 3, 2019
Why You Should Probably Be Storing Your Whole-Grain Flours in the Freezer
Let’s just say you were unable to resist the temptation of the bulk bin aisle, and you’ve arrived home with a half-dozen baggies filled with everything from quinoa flour to einkorn. These things happen, but not to worry, because you have plans — big plans! — for baking all sorts of wondrous things in the coming weeks. Okay, you eager-beaver baker, you — do you know where you should be storing all your lovely bags of whole-grain flour until your schedule clears?
May 3, 2019
Ingredient Spotlight: Pomegranate Molasses
Pomegranate molasses (or pomegranate syrup) is a thick, sweet, sticky syrup that’s used to flavor Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s used as a marinade, an ingredient in sauces and dips, and a beverage sweetener. It’s basically a reduction of pomegranate juice that’s been boiled down with sugar and lemon juice. Pomegranate molasses is not the same as grenadine syrup, which is a sweet pomegranate-based syrup used to flavor and add color to cocktails.
May 3, 2019
Enjoying: Castelvetrano Olives
Have you ever tried Castelvetrano olives? We first had a sample at a farmers market. They were giant olives, bright green, with a crunchy bite and a clean, fruity flavor that actually – get this! – tasted like olive oil.These olives are very different from the salty, pungent cured olives that we also love. They are delicate and light in flavor, with a crisp bite. They are hard to find, though, and even when we find them they are of varying quality.
May 3, 2019
Fall Desserts: 3 Ways to Mix a Crumble Topping
We made an apple crumble over the weekend (is there anything easier and more satisfying than a crumble this time of year?) and the recipe had us mixing the topping in a way we’ve never done it before. Find out how—plus two other ways to pull together a crumble topping, below. Which one works for you?Making a crumble topping is a simple thing: It involves stirring together flour, sugar, and spices (maybe some oats, too) and then cutting in chunks of COLD butter.
May 3, 2019
Food Science: The Anatomy of a Pie Crust
While you’re busy dreaming up delicious pies to serve at your holiday dinners – or submit to our Best Pie Bake Off! – we thought we’d give you a tour of the part of the pie that sometimes gives us trouble (or nightmares): the crust!At its most basic, pie crust is nothing more than flour, fat, and liquid. But if that’s all it is, why is pie crust so notoriously difficult to make by hand?
May 3, 2019
Food Science: How is Instant Coffee Made?
Instant coffee starts off as, well, coffee! But how does it get from freshly-brewed cuppa to powdery flake? Therein lies the science…There are actually two methods for making instant coffee. In the first, liquid coffee is sprayed in a fine mist through very hot, very dry air. By the time the coffee droplets land, they have dried into a powder.The second method is freeze-drying, where the liquid is forced from the frozen coffee through chemical sublimation.
May 3, 2019
Pies with Less Stress: How To Make a Cookie Crumb Crust
If you are someone for whom the combination of flour, butter, water (maybe vodka) and a rolling pin is enough to make you hyperventilate, we have an easier crust option for you…The cookie crumb crust is a pie-shy baker’s dream. You crush some cookies, you add melted butter, you press it into the pie plate. No chilling, no rolling, no stressing. Cookie crusts are great for ice cream pies, since they firm up when chilled and don’t really need to be baked.
May 3, 2019