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Category: cooking

06/24/11 09:48 - ID#54570

Books on cooking

I have been baking a hell of a lot of bread lately. My brother gave me a book called Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. It's all about the the different ratios used in cooking. The bread ratio is 5:3 Flour, water. Apparently the amount of yeast is negotiable. Less gives a slower rise and more gives a quick rise but you lose some complexity in the flavor. Obviously salt is needed too but not the important part of the ratio. It's a very useful book for making bread, cookies, and pies off the cuff. I have always liked creating non-baked dishes without a recipe, but this book is allowing me to do way more in terms of baking.

I wish I had taken pictures of the bread I made last night. There was a recommendation to bake the bread in a dutch oven. This is supposed to trap all the moisture that the bread releases. It was super easy and worked perfectly. According to the book, professional baking ovens have a feature that allow you to inject moisture. He recommends compensating for this deficiency in home ovens by placing a cast iron skillet on the rack when you preheat it and then pour water into the hot pan when you start baking. I have noticed a huge difference in the texture of the crust when I do this. I have been getting some of the crustiest bread I have ever made.

While I love the texture I think the taste may need some improvements. There is a sourness that fresh bakery bread has that mine just doesn't. I want to try making a starter and letting it grow in my fridge for a while. Although that might be a little hardcore for home baking I just want to see if that would make a difference.

I have also been cooking quite a bit out of the Spice cookbook by Ana Sortun. She is the Chef/Owner of Oleana and Sofra in Boston. It is a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cookbook with her own twist. There are some really amazing recipes in this book. So many different ingredients I had never even heard of. My biggest problem is finding some of them. I do end up cooking a lot of vegetarian dished these days due to a couple of food poisoning incidents with my wife. I am 100% for eating vegetarian as long as it isn't that faux meat shit. Tofurky and smart dogs aren't food. I would definitely recommend this book for the Turkish Cheese Pancakes, Eggplant Souffle, and Flatbread with Za'atar alone. But the Crispy Chicken under a brick is the finest chicken dish I have ever made.
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paul said to ladycroft
Nice to "see" you. I let the CPR ads stay because at least it was something lol...

ladycroft said to joe
Sorry.....my finger went spastic. ...

ladycroft said to joe
Happy Birthday! I had my 30th with two of those peeps as well :) Remember the failed (but awesome)...

ladycroft said to joe
Happy Birthday! I had my 30th with two of those peeps as well :) Remember the failed (but awesome)...