Sunday, 8 May 2016

11:25 – We’re baking today. We just made up enough bread dough for a couple of large loaves, using the King Arthur Flour recipe for No-Knead Crusty White Bread as well as dough to make the Allrecipes.com Soft Oatmeal Cookies. If you’ve never visited the KAF website, you’re missing an excellent resource for newbie and experienced bakers alike.

One of the things I really like about KAF recipes is that they give measures in volume, traditional weight, and SI mass. Like most scientists, I’m uncomfortable using volume measures, which are by their nature imprecise and not reproducible. So I use metric mass units, weighed to the gram on one of our AWS SE-50 shipping scales. They cost about $25, run on the included AC adapter or AA cells, read out in pounds and ounces to 0.1 ounce resolution, or in kilograms or grams, with 1 g resolution from 0 to 20 kilos and 2 g resolution from 20 to 50 kilos. They’re extremely useful for many tasks other than shipping and cooking, including counting bulk items, repackaging bulk staples, and so on.


23 thoughts on “Sunday, 8 May 2016”

  1. King Arthur rocks. They’re down the road a ways from here in beautiful Norwich, VT, by the mighty Connecticut River. They do classes and videos and their products are great and they’ve been around for a long time.

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/VideoHome

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/

    Highly recommended.

    Overcast today with light rain showers and fog. Mrs. OFD will be working on her studio stuff and I’ll be trying to do whatever I can.

  2. WRT King Arthur, the flour that is: King Arthur is my preferred flour (when I am not grinding my own grain), have used it for as long as I can remember. It is really popular here on the left coast. I particularly like how consistent it is, both in flavor and moisture content. That consistent moisture content thing is important for consistent baking results.

  3. And they used to sponsor the King Arthur Flour Hour musical show on the radio….

    Many careers were launched/ built on that show.

    nick

    (IIRC) got too much to do to look it up.

  4. That consistent moisture content thing is important for consistent baking results.

    Yes, taking moisture into account can be important in baking.

    However, I don’t see the importance that much regarding the flour in the bag. I very seldom use an entire bag in a short period. Most often, I’ll pull a bag out of the pantry when the flour bin is empty, dump it in, use what I need, then loosely cover the bin until next time. Whatever the moisture content when I bought the flour, it’ll be adjusted by the house’s humidity in the weeks between purchase and use.

    Results might be different for cake flour. I never buy that, so I don’t have experience with it. (I don’t much care for cake, so I buy a box of cake mix only for birthdays or whatever.)

  5. WRT volume measure for flour, that is why the “sift” direction is important. When everyone used one of these

    http://www.amazon.com/Crestware-Stainless-Steel-Flour-Sifter/dp/B001BQOW88

    (or the smaller version) you probably got a reasonably consistent density, and volume measure was close enough.

    Some recipes will call for “packed” measure, some “sifted.”

    And of course, the tiny corrections for varying variables were handed down from master to student…

    nick

  6. One of the things I really like about KAF recipes is that they give measures in volume, traditional weight, and SI mass.

    Serious and professional baking recipes are all done by weight/mass instead of volume for most solid ingredients. It’s more precise, and baking is one of the few areas in cooking where precision in ingredients is required. Pastry chefs are the oddballs of the cooking field, like drummers are in pop music. It’s believed that one of the reasons Thomas Keller is so successful at his restaurants is that he trained in pastry as well as savory cooking. He demands precision and consistency from his chefs, cooks, and prep staff.

  7. The US and Canada are about the only places left where volume measure is still commonly used. To complicate matters further, we now live at 3,000+ feet elevation, which greatly complicates cooking and particularly baking.

  8. “And they used to sponsor the King Arthur Flour Hour musical show on the radio….”

    Not so fast, Mr. nick; King Biscuit, not King Arthur:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Biscuit_Flower_Hour

    “Serious and professional baking recipes are all done by weight/mass…”

    Their catalogs always have various scales for sale, but I’m guessing they can be found cheaper elsewhere.

    “…we now live at 3,000+ feet elevation…”

    Ours is about 98 feet here. And the lake has come up over the road, not by us, but a couple of hundred yards north, during the two big storms we had a couple of years ago. As fah as I’m concerned, it can come over the shore road north and south and STAY there, thus closing that road permanently except for boats. That will cut down drastically on summer asshole traffic.

  9. Yeah, King Arthur didn’t go by that name until 1995, IIRC. The company was founded in something like 1789.

  10. asshole traffic

    I was going to make jokes about how that sounds like porn, and then speculate on what farmers do during the summer between planting and harvest. But I didn’t, because I’m being all mature n stuff.

    Man, I don’t like this maturity stuff. It’s boring and it cramps my style.

  11. “…speculate on what farmers do during the summer between planting and harvest.”

    It’s not the farmers who are the problem; it’s their damn litters of nasty and noisy white trash brats who speed past couples with baby strollers, scrub out for a hundred yards, throw trash onto the lawns, and otherwise make of themselves royal PITA nuisances. They’ll even take a drab Toyota Corolla or similar rice-burner car and punch holes in the muffler or take it off entirely, paint the wheels purple, and just go back and forth to make noise and indulge in the same old little-boy syndrome “Hey everybody, look at ME!” Or they take dad’s pickup truck and do the same thing, blasting up and down the shore road and going back and forth for hours.

    But of course I’m a bitter old fart holed up here in the only brick house on the street, clinging to my guns and religion….

  12. king BISCUIT, oh right!

    I guess I didn’t RC….

    Most restaurants use whatever their wholesaler carries. Until you get into some sketchy low cost stuff that might have fillers/etc it’s pretty much all the same for basics.

    n

  13. For y’all down in the great Lone Star State, the wunnerful libturd NYT has a piece for ya:

    “People throughout the state say they believe that their way of life is under assault and that they are making a kind of last stand by simply being Texan. It is this fear, anger and sometimes paranoia that lurks beneath the surface of Texas politics and that underlies the expansion of gun rights, the reflexive antagonism toward Washington, and the opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and other issues that seems essential for succeeding in state politics these days.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/us/what-makes-texas-texas.html?_r=0

    Now if y’all weren’t so dang fraidy-cats and paranoid, y’all could be on yer knees worshiping the goddesses Diversity and Democracy like the rest of us, and be joyful and chit about the Brave New World dat’s got such peeps in it, etc. (stolen from De Vere’s “Tempest” caper, sorta)

  14. Don’t forget worshiping “Lurch” and his “the world has open borders” speech. That means no wall for you Tejas. What a dope.

  15. Now c’mon, MrAtoz; Lurch is a fellow ‘Nam combat vet, and not only THAT, I’m effin related to him! You believe that chit? I just found out a few months ago and I think I reported it here, too. He’s a distant cousin, through the Forbes crew back to semi-colonial times. I want one of them islands he owns off Martha’s Vineyard, dammit.

    Yup, open borders worldwide, Mr. Lurch; we see how swell and dandy dat’s workin’ out in Old Europa. And on our complete joke of a southern border. Maybe you can swing on down there with Mr. James Taylor and sing “You’ve Got an Amigo” to the swarms crossing over. Say, you such a swell feller and you got all that room on them islands and on Beacon Hill, why doncha take in a few of them? Will the ketchup heiress throw a fit?

  16. Watched the first three episodes of “Containment (TV series)” this weekend. Was pretty good and pretty unnerving. The basic premise is that a Syrian immigrant brings in a H7N8 flu virus that is human transmittable via liquids only and 100% fatal (no way!). And then the blocking in of four square miles of Atlanta is totally unreal.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Containment_%28TV_series%29

  17. For y’all down in the great Lone Star State, the wunnerful libturd NYT has a piece for ya:

    What is this NYT that you speak of, sir? Is that short for New York Transgenders?

  18. Watched the first three episodes of “Containment (TV series)”

    I saw the Belgian version, and like most media nowadays, it became very “politically correct”. So no lesson for Europe regarding open borders and the current influx..

  19. I want one of them islands he owns off Martha’s Vineyard, dammit.

    He doesn’t own much. His wife has all the money.

  20. “WRT volume measure for flour, that is why the “sift” direction is important.”

    I don’t understand why any recipes still use volume measure for non-liquids. For things like flour and sugar, there are huge variations, depending on how they are produced. While sifting might even this out somewhat, it is extra work and completely unnecessary for the vast majority of recipes.

    For things like butter, molasses, peanut butter, ketchup, etc. – measuring by volume is a complete pain. Weighing is much easier, though you do need to compensate for the density variation. I have a big table of volume/weight equivalents taped inside a cabinet door, just for use with old-fashioned recipes.

    The density depends on your local products. For things like ketchup, usually both weight and volume are written on the label, so you can calculate from that.

  21. I’m effin related to him!

    Yah, you did mention that a while ago.

    You know how some people have terrible secrets, like “I eat my own poop”? Yah, you might not want to go around admitting any kinship at all to Lurch. Hell, I’m not willing to admit being a member of the same species as that tool.

  22. WRT Lurch: he would not have lasted a day on my boat, he would have been greased and tubed (details left to your imagination, but less messy than fragging).

    Sorry for your scum bag relation @OFD.

    I believe that makes you responsible for getting him back in that locked closet? And don’t forget to throw his “medals” in.

    @brad – you learned your cooking/baking skills well. I admit I am more than a bit OCD when it comes to weighing my ingredients but I also like the consistent results.

    With that said, when @RBT mentioned making no knead bread the other day I came across this old link: http://nokneadbreadcentral.com/

    This guy gives hope for those who do not want to weigh, yes you can make successful no knead bread without being OCD about it. BTW, his videos are worth a watch because he does have good technique (note, he starts out in a fairly upscale kitchen and then devolves into a bare bones kitchen). After the third video you will realize that he is just repeating the same process just with different ingredients, baking pans, and/or baking methods.

  23. Watched the first three episodes of “Containment (TV series)”

    I saw the Belgian version, and like most media nowadays, it became very “politically correct”. So no lesson for Europe regarding open borders and the current influx..

    Bummer. BTW, I forgot to mention that we are three days into containment and the four square mile area is already running out of food. There are 40,000 ??? people and 11 cops. Not a good place to be.

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