Sometime back I tried making uthappam. From what I understand from co-workers, uthappam and dosa use the same batter but vary in thickness which is derived from the amount of water used to thin the batter.
The little pancakes were fun, but I wanted to see if there was any difference in taste if the utthapam had a different texture and took out the waffle iron, used the same formula for the batter:
basmati rice, 160 g
urad dal, 40 g
basmati and dal soaked in a total of 300 grams of water for about 8 hours.
pureed the mix in a wet grinder
added salt, 3 g
yeast, 1/4 t (I know, it's a cheat)
This mixture set for about 8 hours loosely covered in a bowl on the kitchen counter. Next morning it was nice and puffy. I took a scoop of batter and ladled it on to a well-preheated waffle iron and topped it with red onion, green onion and slivered serrano pepper. The top eventually crunched down on the mixture and voila! A utthapam waffle. We let them rest about 6 hours, warmed them up slightly and ate them with a raita.
There's nothing ground breaking here, but it is a reliable method for sublime wings.
Since reading Franklin's barbecue book, my world view of low and slow has been completely demolished. Franklin is dismissive of any smoker set up that uses smoldering fuel, lump or otherwise. His view is bbq should be cooked from the indirect convective heat produced from a live flame, most often in a smoker with offset firebox. He doesn't think the heat and smoke emanating from smoldering wood is a good means to create good barbecue.
In one part of the book, he discusses a specific offset firebox. It's a cylinder where wood spans a lower arc of the circle leaving good airflow beneath. The fire produced in this way creates a perfect heat source for smoking.
Wouldn't you know, the wood in a kettle grill sits in exactly the same manner. And, with the vents and all, the airflow and movement is darn good in a kettle. So, despite Franklin's dissatisfaction with the kettle for 'q, it can be configured quite well for this ideal heat source.
Given this ideal set up am I ready to take on the ultimate challenge, a brisket? NO! This type of set up is a pain to maintain. Replenishing wood every 30 minutes is too much work for an 18 hour brisket not to mention how much wood it would take! But, it does provide a good start. Now maybe a redesign of the dome for this purpose, fuel type, ventilation scheme, etc. Fun stuff to think about.
Dog walks are when I do what I enjoy most, think. I think about how to get rich, how to replace my 9-to-5 with a more satisfying 9-to-5 and what things need to be baked.
I make pretzels once in a while. They're fun and always come out tasty, big crowd pleaser. I use a stiff, pretty dry dough:
water/milk (1/1) 200 g
butter 14 g
sugar 10 g
salt 5 g
unbleached white 300 g
instant active yeast 3-4 g
mix, knead and toss in fridge for about a day. Then shape, proof, toss in 5% w/v lye solution for a minute, remove, place on Silpat, sprinkle with salt and bake at 400F convection on the Silpat until they are a rich mahogany color - like fine leather (that's a Ron Burgundy reference, he's my idol).
Then I started reading more on bagels. My last run wasn't very satisfying. I use a similar dough for bagels, but after the shape and proof, I toss them in a sweetened (malt or brown sugar) pool of boiling water and bake. But I don't get the shine and tug to the exterior. I read somewhere that bagels were originally subjected to a lye dip. Are bagels just a chubby pretzel? Until I sort this complicated mess out, I decided to take a side step and make a snack while I do research. I had the desire to jam a hotdog into a pretzel (this is a reference to The Todd from Scrubs, another idol of mine "give the Todd some love!" /raises hand for high5).
Some action shots below, not much of a procedural post, just a few notes.
A lot to think about on this. Need to read about bagels vs pretzels. Probably heading toward something similar to a pizza roll next, layered pepperoni, sauce and cheese in a pillowy soft dough but still using the lye treatment on the exterior, I like the effect a lot. Thanks for all the online discussion! And thanks to @jarsloth for being brave enough to taste it. I'm hoping he's still alive.
A banana muffin. I practically fell asleep typing that. Looking at a couple rotting bananas on my counter I decided to try something. I'm pretty sure someone on the internet did this already, but I was too lazy to go find it.
pizza: cast iron vs pizza steel, visually similar but Baking Steel wins crispness and taste by miles
I hit a pizza slump some time ago. A slump with regard to my indoor pizza, baked in a conventional indoor oven. I bought a baking steel, altered my dough a bit and I'm out of my slump, but I'm not sure what made the big difference, cooking surface or dough.
So, the dough I'm using: water 220 g, Gold Medal unbleached white 300 g, salt 5 g, Fleischmann's instant active yeast 1 g, sugar 5 g, olive oil 10 g, mix, knead, toss in fridge for a day. Scale to 225 g pieces (to be rolled into 10" diameter pies).
Baking Prep: preheat oven to 550F convection.
Surface 1: Lodge cast iron 15" round. Tossed pan into preheated oven and let warm up for a full hour. Surface temp registered 570F using a infrared gun.
Surface 2: Baking Steel (bakingsteel.com), preheated in the same manner, temp also 568F with same thermometer.
Baked a simple margherita on each surface (an hour apart) using the same dough, 4 minutes baking time. Action shots below:
I needed some gardeneira the other day for a secret family recipe. For some reason, it's hard to find. I know Marzetti's makes one, but it's never in the stores I visit.
I've been a little preoccupied with Harvest's Pizza lately. It's wonderful. Tender, very lightly topped, crust as good as the toppings. On occasion I can hit something close in my grill, but in the oven, most of my pies suck. I latched onto thickness of dough over the past year or so. I thought tenderness might derive from a super thin crust, but some observations the other night at Harvest led me to different thinking. I realize a home oven isn't a real pizza oven, so my expectations are reasonable, but I should be able to do much better than I've been.
So I veered all over the place, that's what I meant by "notes" in the title. Not a great comparison. Lucky's made one dough, I made the other, undoubtedly different flour, not only higher fat in one, but hydration different, etc. It was just an itch I needed to scratch. My goal is something as tender as Harvest, cooked in a regular oven,
This was fun and exotic, until I realized it was just a GF pancake. The best discovery on this, is one doesn't need a sophisticated wet mill to get a nice result. I mixed urad dal (20 g), basmati rice (80 g), a few seeds of fenugreek, water (150 mL), salt (ca. 1/2 t, 2 g) and let it sit an hour before pureeing with my immersion blender. I cheated and added a touch of yeast. Then, cooked 'em like any pancakes adding a mix of cilantro and green onion to the uncooked side of the pancake before the flip.
Try these, they're tasty at room temperature. Fun snacks.
Heston Blumenthal does a triple cook on his chips (fries). One boil until the potatoes are nearly falling apart, drying in the freezer, a double dip in oil. The drying in the freezer is what kills the method for me. No way it's going to be easy to prep 10 lbs of potatoes with that kind requirement.
In order to dry them out, I took the boiled potatoes and placed them at room temp in front of a fan last night. I may have overdone it. A sample of potatoes indicated I had a loss on drying of about 50% (sample of potatoes went from 50 grams to 27 grams). These were placed in a tub and I'll fry them tonight for kicks.
Food bloggers have a funny twitch. If something can be done, it's a great method.
The other day I saw a microwave potato chip maker at the thrift store. It was a round plastic carousel in which potato slices are placed and the loaded ring tossed in the microwave. What emerges is a slightly colored, crisp chip - As Seen on TV. There's a million posts about this method, without the carousel thingy.
Still, intrigued by the idea, I had to conduct this one myself. I would easily swallow my pride and fancy theories and happily eat chips if it worked well. I sliced russets, rinsed them of residual starch, dried them lovingly, sat them on paper towels and tossed 'em in on HIGH. And watched closely. As the fine stream of smoke that precedes a fire started to rise from the chips, I stopped the microwave and rescued my starch nuggets from the (almost burning) microwave.
The chips had some reasonable color, were crisp but would not accept salt since they had no means to cling to it. They were not objectionable. A fun party trick at best. Real chips are deep fried.