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The Strangest Thing Just Happened to My Water Buffalo Milk. . .

Yoghurt, cheese, beer and bread all involve spoilage. But it's controlled spoilage- and, in the case of dairy- very controlled spoilage. When you get into uncontrolled spoilage, you're at the mercy of whatever micro-organisms caused the food to turn- and some micro-organisms can be pretty nasty.

Your milk went bad. It took the heat of the microwave to be the final catalyst for the reaction, but it turned. Eating rotten food, even though it outwardly might resemble food obtained via controlled spoilage- it's not the best idea, imo.

1 day ago
scott123 in Home Cooking

Malai kofta curry sauce

If you're asking how to replicate the Malai sauce from your favorite area restaurant, that is not an easy task. I've spent decades trying to crack the code to Indian restaurant food, and I'm still not where I want to be. Here's a few things that I've learned along the way.

1. Toss the Cookbooks

Indian restaurant food, at it's heart, is short order cooking, and short order cooks don't write cookbooks. I've searched far and wide and I've never come across a cookbook written by someone's who's actually worked in a domestic Indian restaurant.

2. It's All About That Base, 'bout that Base :)

Every sauce in an Indian restaurant starts from a base sauce. 'Curry' is just base. Korma/Malai, is base + cream. Chicken Tikka Masala is base + tomato + cream + additional sweetener. This website here offers a good introduction to the 'base' concept:

http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/...

It's UK based, though, and UK Indian restaurant food and American Indian restaurant food is a little different, so I wouldn't necessarily suggest grabbing a base recipe and jumping in.

3. If you want any semblance of authenticity, get rid of any notions of healthy eating.

It's incredibly easy to recognize the sugar and msg in Chinese restaurant food. While Indian restaurant chefs do a better job of hiding it than their Chinese counterparts, it's still a very core component. While bases may vary from restaurant to restaurant, the common denominator to all Indian restaurants is onions- LOADS of slow cooked onions. When you cook an onion for a long time, either by sweating or by simmering, you break down non sweet long chain fructan molecules into shorter simple sugar molecules in a process called hydrolysis. People like to toss around the term caramelization, and, while caramelization involves some hydrolysis, most caramelization instructions produce very limited hydrolysis.

Indian restaurant chefs maximize sweetness by both hydrolyzing a boat load of simple sugars from a ton of onions by cooking them for very long periods- as well as by adding sugar itself.

They also aren't the slightest bit afraid of MSG. While Chinese restaurant chefs frequently get all their glutamates from soy sauce, Indian restaurants reach for the purer form- MSG.

I know that this isn't a recipe, and it's probably WAY more complicated than you wanted to get, but if making Indian restaurant at home is what you want to do, this is where you should start.

1 day ago
scott123 in Home Cooking

Malai kofta curry sauce

While the original poster didn't specifically state that they were looking for a restaurant style recipe, I think the fact that they're in the New York area implies that they're looking to replicate the sauce from a typical restaurant in the area. While the recipe you provided is most likely very authentic from an Indian home cook perspective, it bears little resemblance to NE American Indian Restaurant fare.

1 day ago
scott123 in Home Cooking

Malai kofta curry sauce

I've purchased sauce from restaurants before. I've also asked to purchase sauce at a couple places and they gave me a pint and wouldn't take any money. It all depends on the owner. If you're a frequent customer and they know you, it helps. It can't hurt to ask.

1 day ago
scott123 in Home Cooking

Pizza makers: has anyone tried to replicate Marta's recipe?

Yes, the bake temp is going to make a significant difference in crunchiness. As will the toppings. Sauce creates a much moister bottom crust. The patate alla carbonara has no sauce, so that aids in crackeriness.

Out of every ingredient that goes into this replica, the most important, by far, is going to be the thermodynamics of the oven. As I said, 700 on the floor. The dome temp is going to be a bit of a question mark. A lot is riding on the configuration of your oven. Marta uses twin Mugnaini ovens. Mugnaini's are well known for being really horrible for Neapolitan (at least high volume Neapolitan), but, at lower temps, they seem to shine.

Is your oven hand built or from a kit, and, if from a kit, which brand/model is it?

Another aspect that might be impacting crackeriness is the type of yeast Marta is using. In a few interviews, Nick is referencing "live" yeast. Between my substantial respect for Danny and Nick being a friend of a friend, I'm not going to jump on him for seemingly not knowing that dried yeast is 'living,' but, rather, I'm going to give Nick the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's using this terminology as a kind of marketing speak to talk up his product while not divulging too many details.

With the vague terminology, though, comes questions. There's a chance this could be sourdough. Nick brings up the term 'Mother,' which is usually associated with sourdough. Sourdough would, to a point, bolster the gluten and aid in crackeriness. Neither Nick nor Danny ever mentions sourdough, though, which, considering the marketing potential, seems odd. As far as I know, none of the Roman Pizzerias Nick is patterning his pies after are sourdough either. Sourdough is also incredibly difficult to achieve consistent results with in a commercial setting- and Nick's pies seem to be very consistent.

My gut feeling is that it's just normal baker's yeast, most likely added as old dough or even dry, in a very small quantity, and allowed to grow via preferment.

Btw, I crunched the numbers for that recipe, and, depending how you measure the flour, it could be a pretty typical dough, or it could be a batter. Based on how the dough looks in the photos, here's how I'd convert it to weight:

bread flour 613g
whole wheat flour 14g
water 395g (63%)
1 package instant dry yeast
1.5 tablespoons sea salt

May 22, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Pizza makers: has anyone tried to replicate Marta's recipe?

While some styles of pizzas rely less on precision bake times than others, when you get into fast baked pizza such as this, bake time, by far, is the most important ingredient because it dictates crust texture and char.

From doing a little research, it looks like they're baking the pies for about 3 minutes. Every wood fired oven is different, but I'd shoot for around 700 on the hearth (as measured with a non contact thermometer).

As far as the dough goes, I'm always skeptical of restaurant recipes that have been converted for home bakers, and even more skeptical of recipes that utilize volumetric measurements, but, this seems like a half decent jumping off point:

http://www.designsponge.com/2015/02/i...

That will give you a rough sketch, but I think this will be more helpful overall:

http://ny.eater.com/2014/10/3/6900399...

as it reveals how the dough looks during different stages of the process.

May 21, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Tortilla dough springback

I'm more of a pizza guy than a tortilla one, but, as far as soft tortilla recipes go, that one looks pretty sound. The lard, the cold water, the cold lard, the food processor- He's basically adding a little very sound pastrymaking science into a tortilla, and, for those that want soft tortillas, I think that's brilliant.

Just measure by volume and then weigh that, and, the first time you make it, use a little less water (.75 Cups weighs 177g, so I might give 160g water a try at first).

You dough should be a little on the dry side- not quite pastry dry, but still pretty dry. The drier the dough, the more tender/less springback you're going to get.

I noticed in the comments section you asked about cake flour. The cake flour that I've used has had a chemical-y smell and taste to it, but unbleached pastry flour (not whole wheat), would help to make a more tender final product, but you'd have to adjust the water for less protein- and I think also substitute only a part of the AP with pastry. At the end of the day it's probably a bit more simple just to stick to All Purpose.

If you have a Southern American All Purpose, like White Lily, that would be good too, although, again, you'd have to dial back the water a bit.

Edit: 238g is a good starting point for 2 C. flour (based on the King Arthur website conversion). Here's how I'd convert the existing recipe:

238g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
57g cold lard, preferably back lard (see note above)
160g cold water

May 20, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Tortilla dough springback

First, if volumetric measurements are imprecise (which they are), then stop measuring volumetrically and get a digital scale. The water to flour ratio in this dough isn't quite as critical as the water to flour ratio in pastry (where less water is generally better- to a point), but more water is going to encourage gluten development, which, in turn, will encourage springback. Get a scale and use it.

Secondly, any dough recipe worth it's salt will provide either a brand and/or protein content for the flour. All purpose is WAY too vague, since some AP can be low protein, and some high. When you change the protein content of the flour, it changes it's ability to absorb water, so different flour requires different quantities of water. Instead of following the recipe by rote, I would try adding enough water to create a cohesive dough- and no more- and making note of the weight you use for future reference.

Third, as discussed, knead less- and also, be careful about processing as well- process just until you get a ball, and no more.

Oh, and when you roll the tortillas, don't be too aggressive with your movements. No slapping or pounding- just press the dough with enough force to thin it out.

May 20, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

A dairy farm to tour

2003? That's before my time. That was the 1st potluck. I attended the 3rd (and last).

I miss that. Shortly after, Egullet got all legal about it's gatherings, and that pretty much shut everything down. $5, bring your own dish, can't beat it. And, back then, I was a total noob. I have real skills to show off now. Inferior wood fired pizza oven or not, I could rock the pants off that thing.

May 14, 2015
scott123 in New Jersey

A dairy farm to tour

Egullet had a potluck at Bobolink 10 years ago. It was a blast. The owners were super friendly. I was more focused on the Egullet gathering/smoked pig than on the cheese tour, but it was fun watching the cheese being made. The cheese is NOT cheap, but, when you get into handmade, artisanal anything, that's par for the course.

I think that was the first time that I ever saw a wood fired oven. At time, I was impressed, but, now that I know what I know about WFOs, I'm a little less impressed. I'm sure it does fine by breads, but, for pizza, it's not a Stefano Ferrara.

A lot can change in 10 years, but, based on their laid back attitudes, I get the feeling the farm hasn't changed all that much. I highly recommend a trip.

May 14, 2015
scott123 in New Jersey

Suggestions to improve this bread (which is already pretty good)

There are very few foods on this planet more complicated than bread.

You may start with only four ingredients, but dough, unlike many other foods, contains process derived ingredients. These include:

Gluten (kneading/biochemical development)
Carbon Dioxide (yeast activity)
Alcohol (yeast activity)
Sugar (enzyme activity)
Maillard compounds (enzyme activity/yeast activity)
Steam (heat from the oven)

and these all interact with both each other and the initial 4 ingredients to influence the flavor and texture of bread. In addition, because they are all process derived, by modifying the process, you can, individually, modify the quantity of each ingredient.

You can make good bread without knowing about these additional ingredients, but if you want something like getting the most volume as you can out of a given dough, you definitely need to understand the bigger picture.

May 12, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Suggestions to improve this bread (which is already pretty good)

While I can sort of understand the reasoning behind bumping up the water for no knead bread, there's absolute no reason whatsoever, imo, to add more water to this recipe. More water does NOT automatically produce a lighter loaf.

Another poster said this is 63% hydration. Based on this page here:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

stating that a cup of flour weighs 4.25 ounces (with obvious variations depending on how you're measuring it), your hydration comes to 75%, not 63%. For bread flour, I'd probably recommend going down a little bit in water, not up.

That aside, the goals you're describing are basically the path to better bread- especially the volume. Volume is basically the baker's holy grail.

I talked about this in another thread recently, but what you're working with is a beginner's recipe, and, while the results look pretty good, if you want better, you need to step up to an intermediate approach.

That includes:

1. Weighing your ingredients. Get a scale, and, at a minimum, measure your flour and water by weight.

2. Moving away from a huge yeast quantity. Beginner's just add a whole mess of yeast to dough, let it double (and then sometimes let it double again) and then just bake it up. As you move into intermediate bread making, you want to get into the habit of using just enough yeast- not too little and not too much, and let it proof considerably longer.

3. Knead according to how the dough looks, not by time. I'm not a big of fan of the window pane test because it takes the dough to peak gluten development, and, if you're doing an overnight ferment (which you should), extended fermentation will develop a load of gluten on it's own. In other words, ferment overnight, and don't take the dough to window pane during kneading. A good rule of thumb for kneading, imo, is somewhere between smooth and cottage cheesey- but closer to smooth.

4. Cold ferment. That's where the flavor happens. I find it also aid texture by causing the gluten to be a bit more extensible. I also have a working theory that cold fermentation helps to dissolve more CO2 into the dough. More CO2 = greater volume during baking.

Other than adopting more intermediate methods, I see one aspect of your recipe that needs adjustment. Steel is counterindicated for bread, because it's high conductivity bakes the bottom of the bread too quickly, and, if you compensate and turn the oven down, the top of the loaf will bake too slowly. Steel throws everything out of balance. Use the steel for pizza (with the broiler), and use a stone for baking.

May 12, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

A no-knead bread question

Maria,

Bottled water and fresh yeast aren't baby steps, they're no steps at all. I've studied water chemistry's impact on bread extensively, and, while chlorine can be detrimental to yeast, Cindy has already made it clear that she doesn't have a chlorination issue. Ph SchmeeH :) Variations in pH are not going to produce any visible changes.

And the difference between instant and fresh yeast is a non starter as well in this type of environment (where fermentation is very loosely tracked). If her dough is inflating and deflating, the yeast is doing it's job. Instant yeast will inflate and deflate the dough just as well as fresh yeast will.

"Follow the method as written"

Correct me if I'm wrong (I haven't read every post in this thread), but it's my understanding that Cindy is using a hybrid method culled from two recipes. If you're suggesting that she commit to one or the other, that's not a horrible idea, but I'm trying to suggest a means of making her current recipe/current workflow work.

May 12, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

A no-knead bread question

For now, stick to the same water temp that you've been using.

There are a mind boggling number of variables that impact airiness in bread, but, generally speaking, as I talked about above, wetter doughs have a propensity for less volume. One of the best no knead breads that I've ever seen is the link that Chowser provided above:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/06/th...

and one of the densest we seen so far in this thread is the other link Chowser provided:

http://ruhlman.com/2011/02/no-knead-b...

I don't think it's coincidence that the super airy loaf (link #1) is 70% water and the dense loaf is 86% (link #2).

Can you make airy bread with 86% water? Absolutely, but I strongly believe that it's more difficult.

As far as the numbers I gave you, I took the recipe you first posted to this thread, converted it to weight and then dropped the water to 75%. If you were portioning it before, then keep doing that.

Between everything that's been discussed so far, I sincerely believe that your best bet is a drop to 75% water and a switch to bread flour. Neither are extreme or complicated, and both are fully within the scope of traditional no knead bread.

May 12, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

A no-knead bread question

Yes. Here's the formula I'd go with:

783g King Arthur's Bread Flour
590g water
15g salt
1 T. yeast

That's 75% water. Btw, are you using instant yeast or active dry? I think instant has a slight advantage in that it's a bit more forgiving with cooler initial water temps.

May 12, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

A no-knead bread question

Chowser, measuring ingredients precisely, by weight, is not a 'factory method.' If you walk into Jim Lahey's, Chad Robertson's, or Nancy Silverton's bakery, you're going to find a scale being used. And these all fall under the umbrella of artisanal, hand crafted bread. They will make adjustments based on variations in milling, flour age and humidity, but these adjustments are infinitesimally small and involve a level of expertise that's above even advanced baking. They might tell their assistant, "hey, this batch of flour is a little dry, bump the hydration up a percentage." This is entirely different than a recipe for the home baker specifying 4-5 cups flour and 'going by feel.'

I agree that flours with different levels of protein require varying amounts of water, but, just like measurements need to be nailed down, so, too, does flour strength. I know that authors attempting to craft recipes for the home baker have certain limitations they have to work within if they're going to get people to buy their books and make their bread, but, any recipe that doesn't specify at least a single strength of flour, is worthless. Specifying a generic 'flour' or stating 'ap OR bread' and then compensating for the varying specs 'by feel,' is the wrong approach for every skill level. This is why I'm specifying 'bread flour.' While Better for Bread and KABF vary by a few percentage points of protein, in the context of this recipe, that variation will not be noticeable.

There are aspects of baking where you absolutely have to go by feel- such as when a dough is kneaded sufficiently or when a dough is finished proofing. These are variables that you absolutely cannot avoid. But variables based on haphazardly measured ingredients- those you can avoid. And the less variables, for the beginning baker, the better, so that when they change something, they're more able to see the impact of the change and learn from it.

May 12, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

A no-knead bread question

Yes, I know :) The dutch oven traps steam, and steam delays the crust from setting, which, in turn, aids in oven spring and mitigates the impact of high hydration, but... it can only mitigate this impact so much. There's going to be a point where more water is a detriment, not an aid- and 86% water is most definitely a detriment.

Might I also point out that, in that link you provided, Kenji is producing that stunning looking crumb with 70% hydration.

I rest my case :)

May 12, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

A no-knead bread question

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Ascorbic acid is a gluten strengthener. It's used to make weak flours stronger. Beyond strengthening dough, it's antioxidant/preservative properties impact yeast activity, flavor compound generation and browning ability- all potentially negatively unless you know what you're doing. If you have sufficiently strong flour (in this case, bread flour), you absolutely do not want or need the complexity of working with vitamin c.

Vital Wheat Gluten (VWG): Vital Wheat Gluten, like C, is another dough strengthener, except without the antioxidant properties. It has a different downside, though, in that it tastes like wet cardboard. Because of this, you never want to work with VWG- ever. If you live in a country with absolutely no access to strong enough flour (not the case here), then you'll want to take the vitamin C route (or another acid, like the yogurt they add to naan). No matter what, no one anywhere ever needs to ruin the taste of their bread with vital wheat gluten.

Bottled water: You've already stated that the water you use isn't heavy chlorinated. Even if it were heavily chlorinated, it would only inhibit the yeast to a point- which could be easily compensated for with additional yeast, time and/or a higher proofing temp. Since your dough is rising and then, eventually deflating, your yeast is not being inhibited- quite the opposite, actually. Deflating it typically a sign that you're using too much yeast and/or letting the dough ferment too long or at too high a temp. I guarantee you, changing to bottled water will do nothing for you.

Salt: According to my calculations (see below), you're at 2% salt. That's about as classic as you can possible get for salt quantity. More than that and the bread starts tasting too salty, less and the bread isn't flavorful enough. And it's not just about more/less flavor. Salt, like vitamin C and VWG, is a gluten strengthener. If you reduce the salt, you make a weaker dough, which, in your case, thanks to the obscene amount of water, is already too weak. Please, do not reduce the salt.

I took a couple minutes and converted your current recipe to an approximate weight, using these pages as a guide:
http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

and this is what I came up with:

783g ap flour
680g water 86.85%
15.625g salt 2.00%
8.5g yeast 1.09%

As I said before, this is not the territory that you want to be in, water wise. If you're working with bread that needs sufficient structure to rise and have an open crumb, you should NEVER be working with dough that's anything close to a batter. Water weakens structure. No structure, no open, airy crumb.

As already has been discussed, more than once, obtaining a scale and using it is absolutely critical. Weighing the flour is the only way to get consistent results.

Beyond weighing ingredients, here are my suggestions:

1. Bread flour. You're making bread, use bread flour.
2. Less water. If I can't talk you into a more classical range of water for bread, then at least go with 75%- that's still fully within the typical parameters for no knead breads such as this.
3. Use cooler water and/or less yeast. Generally speaking, you want to make bread with dough before it deflates, not after. If you're going to cold ferment dough for 24 hours or longer, you always want to start with either room temp water or below- and no pre-fridge warm up either. Straight into the fridge after the dough is made.
4. Let the dough warm up longer at room temp. Oven spring is caused by heat expanding the gases in the dough, as well as water being converted into rapidly expanding steam. Water takes a tremendous amount of energy to heat, so the more water that's in the dough, the more dampening effect you'll have on this expansion. It's literally like a wet blanket. Cold will curtail this reaction as well. You want to give dough at least 3 hours out of the fridge to warm up a bit. Ideally, during this time, it will rise a bit, but not too much that it deflates. If it does deflate, then, next time, use a little less yeast or a cooler water temp.

These will resolve your crumb issue. I still think these tweaks are lipstick on a pig, but, you should at least be happy with the results.

May 12, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

A no-knead bread question

Cindy, I'm a little late to this conversation, but here's my thoughts on the subject.

These no-knead recipes were created to help the home baker produce something very good with the least amount of effort. They weren't written with either consistency or truly world class results in mind, though. Home bakers swear by them because, with very little work, they can produce something that's far superior to what's available commercially- at least, what's available in supermarkets.

If your palate is a bit more demanding, though, and you want to move up to the next level, you need to move away from these recipes. I promise you, there's absolutely no tweaks you can do that will consistently produce something better than what you're producing now. Your time and energy are too valuable to devote to beginner's recipes that will never produce anything better than beginner's results.

"If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!"

That's pretty much how I feel about bread recipes. Great bread isn't about finding the best recipe, it's about developing a set of skills. You're not going to find your bread making Buddha somewhere else. You're going to find it in yourself.

Your best bread, by far, is going to be your own recipe. No one else has the combination of your climate, your water chemistry, your yeast/yeast age, your flour/flour age, your mixer/your kneading technique, your proofing containers, your fridge temperature and your oven thermodynamics- your environmental variables.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you have to venture into the kitchen and blindly combine different quantities of ingredients and hope one of them gives you breadmaking bliss. You can learn, to an extent, from the people that have gone before you- and that learning can be conveyed in a recipe. But the recipe will just be a fairly loose framework from which to begin- and, for what you're trying to achieve, it won't be either of these recipes that you're looking at.

First of all, you're never going to get a light and fluffy crumb from 80% water (80% hydration). For the crumb you're looking for, you want to be in the vicinity of the absorption value of the flour you're working with. For bread flour, that's probably around 62%, give or take.

But that's formula, which is just the tip of the iceberg. Like I said before, the magic is in the acquisition of skills. Learning how to feel when the dough has been kneaded long enough. Approaching an understanding of how time, temp and yeast quantity impact fermentation and determining the ideal amount of fermentation in dough- and how to get there. Working with enough dough to be able to form loaves in such a way that minimal de-gassing occurs. Understanding the role thermodynamics plays in oven spring and tailoring your oven setup for ideal results.

"I don't want to have to get a PhD in breadmaking, I just want to make slightly better bread than I have now" is what you might be saying at this moment :) I get it. I do. Just about anyone can make half decent bread at home. But if you want a soft, tender puffy crumb, you're officially leaving beginner's territory- and that requires real homework, real knowledge, not recipe tweaks.

May 10, 2015
scott123 in Home Cooking

Wegmans is coming to Morris County!

Thanks for the heads up. I was googling this every couple months, but, after hearing nothing for so long, I eventually gave up.

"However, since there's not yet a firm construction schedule in place, there's no projected opening date for Morris County's first Wegmans right now, according to Colleluori."

Should be start a pool? :) 2016? 2017? Perhaps my great grandchildren will get to shop at this store :)

In all seriousness, though, breaking ground is great news.

Speaking of supermarket opening delays, I've been tracking the progress of the Morristown Whole Foods. I recall, at some point, seeing a mention of a January 2015 opening. Based on where they're at now, I don't see that happening. Still, though, construction is occurring on a daily basis.

Jan 21, 2015
scott123 in New Jersey

Great Delivery Recommendations in Kensington/Ditmas Park

Lo Duca has a pretty spectacular grandma slice

Sep 07, 2014
scott123 in Outer Boroughs

Pizza Stone ... Which one?

If you read the earlier posts in this thread, you'll see that baking steel has been discussed extensively. My thoughts are the same as they were two years ago, steel plate is great (for most people), but baking steel is a price gouging company that lacks honesty and forthrightness in their advertising.

For those that are considering steel, FIRST, look at your setup and your desired style (steel is not for everyone) and, then, if you're a good candidate, save yourself a load of money and get it locally. The details on what steel can and cannot do can be found here:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

Jul 20, 2014
scott123 in Cookware

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

I think I found the problem. Callebaut is around 20% fat. That's double the fat of Hershey's cocoa. The fat is clumping and giving you textural issues.

Work with a fat free cocoa- you should be fine.

Jul 13, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Baker's chocolate contains more fat than cocoa. When you pour melted chocolate into a cold smoothie, it will immediately set up, and you'll have little hard chips.

Jul 13, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Ah, okay, I think we're getting somewhere. It sounds like your cocoa isn't hydrating properly. It could be that there isn't enough available water in your smoothie to hydrate it or that it hasn't seen enough heat.

One piece of good news :) As long as these undissolved cocoa particles are relatively evenly distributed throughout the smoothie, I can pretty much guarantee you that a gum will do nothing to solve the problem.

How are you tempering the cocoa with water? I looked at DIY Hershey's syrup recipes and they all involve bringing cocoa and water to a boil. This leads me to believe, much like dissolving peanut butter in water, cocoa, a fatty dry particulate, requires heat. You want to be really careful when bringing cocoa/water mixtures to a boil, as cocoa is really easy to scorch, not to mention, high heat will most likely drive away some desired volatile flavor compounds. You could probably avoid boiling altogether by exposing the water/cocoa mixture to some heat, but letting time do the work- maybe leaving it at 150 for a couple hours.

I would also, just as a test, give Hershey's syrup a try. the sugar most likely won't work for your formula, so you most likely won't be able to use it in production, but, for testing, it should show you that cocoa + water is feasible.

Btw, there's no chance that your cocoa is gritty, right?

Jul 12, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Halleyscomet, I'm still not getting a clear idea of what you're trying to do.

Over the years, it seems like chocolate ice cream has lost a lot of it's chocolateyness, so I've been adding cocoa to shakes. I don't even use a blender- I add it just with a spoon.

I also make a homemade hot chocolate where the cocoa will have a tendency to sit on the top of hot milk, but some quick whisking tends to resolve that. If I let it sit for a while, the cocoa butter will have a tendency to rise to the top, but I've never seen this happen in cold settings.

As far as blending goes, as long as you're blending the right quantity of liquid for your blender and maintaining a good vortex, I see no reason why cocoa shouldn't incorporate just fine.

Could you describe the problem in further detail?

Jul 12, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Some brands of guar taste beanier than others. Smell the jar, if it smells beany, it'll taste beany.

How are your smoothies not holding together? What's in them?

If your clients have issues with more than 1 odd ingredient, you can tell them you're adding 'vegetable gum' and add both guar and xanthan.

Jul 11, 2014
scott123 in Home Cooking
1

Regional Pizza Styles - Are there any missing?

It's not an official style, and most likely never will be, but I think the world would be a better place if people could start making the distinction between NY area NY style pizza, and the debased Dominos-ified McPizza that the majority of the rest of the nation/world seems tragically compelled to call 'NY style' pizza.

Jul 05, 2014
scott123 in General Topics

Neapolitan pizza - is is supposed to be soggy in middle?

Calling Neapolitan 'soggy' is like calling expresso beans 'burnt.' It's a pejorative perspective typically stemming from limited cultural exposure.

Traditional Neapolitan pizza is typically soft and wet in the center- at least, when a sauce is present. On some white pies, where you might find only oil and cheese, the lack of water from the tomato causes the undercrust to crisp up much faster, producing a dramatically drier end result.

Some people like their pizza soft and wet, others prefer it crispy. To each his/her own. A restaurant reviewer should have a more expanded perspective than to throw around terms like 'soggy' when describing Neapolitan pizza, especially when it doesn't even sound like they're attempting to denigrate it.

Jun 22, 2014
scott123 in General Topics
1

Brooklyn or Queens pizza joints

You're going to find different opinions on this, but, for the classic NY style slice, I think Williamsburg does a slightly better job than New Park.

Stuart, if you do go to New Park, be very careful with the 'well done' request they talk about in the Slice review. The last time we asked for it 'well done' it was pitch black on the bottom. I was part of a big group, and we were on a schedule, but if I was there on my own, I'd have sent it back. They should be able to give you a pie that's charred, but isn't incinerated.

Jun 12, 2014
scott123 in Outer Boroughs