Sunday, May 30, 2010

Common baking measurements - salt

How much does a teaspoon of salt weight?

Turns out, not an easy answer! Here are the results:

1 teaspoon of Morton's Iodized Table Salt =
Lowest: 6.1g
Highest: 8.1g
Average: 6.86g

1 teaspoon of Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt =
Lowest: 4.2g
Highest: 5.2g
Average: 4.766g

How did I get these results?

I ran some tests: 3 different teaspoons (2 plastic, one metal), same scale (the myWeigh 500ZH, which has 0.1g accuracy).

Using each teaspoon, I measured out the salt, using the back of a knife to scrape off. After each weighing, I zeroed (tare) the gram scale. I tested each teaspoon at least 3 times.

Actual Test Results

Here was the range of results I got for Morton Iodized Salt (in grams)


Lowest: 6.1g
Highest: 8.1g
Average: 6.86g

Ran the same test with Morton's Kosher Salt, here's what I got:


Lowest: 4.2g
Highest: 5.2g
Average: 4.766g

What does it all mean?
  1. Different salts have different weights: makes sense, because the salt crystal size is different, not to mention the salt strucure itself (i.e., is it airy or compact?)
  2. Teaspoon measures vary...not all teaspoons are created equal. This is why measuring by weight is so much more accurate.
  3. Measuring techniques will give you different outcomes.
  4. Variation in measurement using volumetric measurement can be 10-20%, not insignificant (see #4)
  5. Translating converting teaspoon measurements into meaningful bakers percentages is tricky. Especially when trying to extrapolate from such small measurements. With 10-20% variation, if you extrapolate a percentage by weight, then scale up, at a large quantity you will experience wildly different outcome.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Daily bread

Acme baguette #2 but first attempt. I used sourdough throughout except final dough

Poolish and scrap dough start

After 15 hours

Then kneaded dough



And finally baked

Crumb shot

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Monday, May 17, 2010

BBQ pork pizza

Yeast pizza dough #5, with toppings: leftover room-temp carnitas sauced in bullseye BBQ sauce, jack n mozzarella cheese, extra bbq sauce, onions in balsamic vinegar, more cheese, cilantro,good olive oil.

I think it's key to have meat, sauce and other ingredients at room temp prior to baking, to make sure it bakes evenly and quickly.

Before, shaped, and ready to go in the oven:

5 minutes later after baking at 550F, on pizza stone on middle rack, rotated halfway thru, totally done:

Nice browning of crust. Was easy to shape after 31 hours in the fridge.

Looks like a winner! :) This is a slightly wheatier pizza dough.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tamale pie

Made with ATK southern skillet cornbread recipe, topping carnitas with homemade chili sauce, beer braise peppers/onions, with garlic infused cream cheese stirred in with some velveeta!

We'll see how it tastes.

I made chile sauce from 16 guajillos and leftover pork stock from carnitas.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ox heart

Sliced in thin thin steaks, flash grilled for 30 sec. With horseradish creme, red cabbage beetroot salad.

And pigs tail: brine, braise low and slow!

Mix a pinch of English mustard into egg mix, bread with breadcrumbs and fry. Finish them in the oven.

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Trotter gear

Fergus and chris getting down with trotters. Be sure and shave them first! Roast with veg herbs Madeira and water all day til falling apart. May need to be watered down later to avoid gluiness.

Btw I said hi to Neal Fraser who is sitting at the end of our row.

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A 2005 Riesling cabinett with a shot of Campari. Yeah up my alley totally!

Neal Fraser is up front talking to Susan. Pretty rad.

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Fergus front row center

At Ciudad for the Fergus Henderson demo, front row

My view so far...

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Pg 8

Surprisingly tight crumb despite a ton of yeast by comparison

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PG #8

Much Lower hydration (used buttermilk, and brushed top with that as well). it came apart a little despite the log roll, prob not enough moisture.

Slash down the middle ended up deep! A lot of yeast in here so I'm interested to see flavor and texture.

Next time tweak with higher hydration and maybe some egg.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Carnitas #2 photos

All the pieces, waiting, including 3.5lb pork shoulder...

Trimmed, chopped, spiced, ready to simmer

After 3 hours, you have to simmer at least 2.5 for it to be fork tender.

Shredded up!

Leftover pork "stock":

For next time 1 tbsp salt is prob enough. 2 tbsp is pretty aggressive for the quantity, although the pork came out pretty perfectly seasoned, stock is slightly salty for my taste. Prob too much if you sauce it though.

Pork is delish, very mild but deep flavors.

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Carnitas #2

Most traditional recipes require you to confit, that is, braise slowly in its own fat, in this case lard. In lieu of adding fat to an already fatty cut, I'm going to simmer in water instead. Minus the onion, you could convert this to lard with ease: use seeds instead of ground spices, cover in melted lard, simmer at about 275-300 degrees for about 3 hours.

Carnitas #2

1 whole pork shoulder, 3-4lb, preferably with bone, trimmed and cut into chunks.
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 onion, rough chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 large orange, sliced in rounds
8 whole garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
Cold water

  1. To a big stock pot, add all ingredients. Add enough cold water to just cover the meat, bring to a boil (about 12-15 minutes at high heat), reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Simmer over medium-low heat for 2.5-3 hours, until falling apart.

2 tbsp salt I originally used made the meat very well-seasoned, but perhaps slightly too well. Broth tasted a bit too salty. Revising the recipe down to 1 tbsp salt, then can add more as needed.

Flavors are very mellow; you just get more roundness in the meat; I can't really pick out orange, coriander, cumin or oregano, but they contribute good balance and roundness. I might consider doing more orange, and some more coriander/cumin for the future. A bit of chili powder probably wouldn't hurt anything either.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Roasted beetroot soup

I was at St. John's Bread and Wine a few weeks ago while on a trip to England and France, and B. and I had an amazing dinner. One of the specials that night was a beetroot soup, which arrived in a pretty little crock with pickled beets on top, as sweet/sour and interesting as pickled ginger! The beet soup was really a smooth, creamy, dark red puree, well-salted and well-buttered. I really liked the simplicity of flavors, so I tried to replicate it myself, and got pretty close.

So the version listed here is based on the lessons learned from the one I made tonight, which still had a slightly bitter edge (probably due to slight undercooking of beets). I also used a roasted veg puree that I had leftover from a roast chicken I made recently, so this version incorporates the roasting in with the beets. The whole idea here is to roast small beets (which are usually sweetish already) to further enhance their natural sweetness thru caramelization.

Roasted Beetroot soup

10 small beets, any color (but preferably with some red ones in there!), scrubbed, tips and tops cut off
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, rough chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher Salt
4-6 cups stock (or 4 cups stock + water)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp honey (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut largish beets into even sized pieces
  3. On a sheet pan, toss beets, carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil. Season with salt.
  4. Roast at 450 for 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat stock to just boil and remove from heat.
  6. Remove roasted veg from oven, and peel beets (they should peel easily and be nicely caramelized on a few sides)
  7. To 4 cups of hot stock, add roasted veg, 2 bay leaves and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Beets should be nice and soft, easily pierced with fork, like a potato.
  8. Remove bay leaves, and in batches, put beet soup in blender and blend until smooth (be careful! cover the top of the blender firmly with a towel to keep soup from exploding everywhere, and pulse the blender to get it going!!)
  9. Strain hot soup thru a chinois to ensure smooth texture.
  10. Add additional hot stock or water to achieve desired consistency (should not be as thick as baby food, leave it slightly more watery). Heat over low heat as necessary.
  11. Remove from heat, and whisk in 3 tbsp butter.
  12. Adjust salt to taste. If soup is a bit bitter, add optional honey to balance bitterness.
  13. Serve hot with crusty buttered bread. You can also garnish with heavy cream or sour cream.

Buns texture

Not bad at all!

Really nice soft texture. Crust is nice n soft. I think could use a touch more sweetness.

Burger buns

Inspired by Sally's burger bun recipe from allrecipes, I developed my own, worked ou the bakers percentages and then compare with Reinharts soft white sandwich bread from ABE, very similar.

Dough was extremely sticky, probably needs more flour. I handled it with oil.

Here they are, formed and ready to rise. Not too pretty because they were too sticky.

After rise (a really quick 40 minutes) I brushe the tops with milk, butter and whole beaten egg successively:

Now into the oven at 400 for 5 minutes and 375 for 15 min (20 min total). Not as much browning as I'd like but nice to compare the effects:

The bottoms browned up nice

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