IronGAF Cookoff (hosted by OnkelC) Vol. 2

Never tried a recipe by Stella Parks but her cookbook, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, just came out and it looks like it could be fun. Seems like something I'll keep my eye on (put it in my Amazon Wish List :D). Since she contributes to Serious Eats, I'm sure she's pretty meticulous in her instructions for her recipes, which I always appreciate. Also I could always try some of her recipes from Serious Eats to get a better idea of what her book might be like.
Stella Parks is pretty great. I <3 her takes on things like devil dogs, butterfingers, reese's, oreos, etc... When it comes to that type of stuff, I could vouch for her. Did not try the no-bake cheesecake although I wouldn't try a no-bake cheesecake regardless of whose recipe it is.
 
We make ours in an instant pot and we bought a $5 200 micron strainer that fits in a big bowl. You could make a gallon at a time that way.
Ah, now that's a thought. Never considered how an instant pot offers a greater capacity for making yogurt if one so desired. Thanks for the helpful info, thespot84.

Stella Parks is pretty great. I <3 her takes on things like devil dogs, butterfingers, reese's, oreos, etc... When it comes to that type of stuff, I could vouch for her. Did not try the no-bake cheesecake although I wouldn't try a no-bake cheesecake regardless of whose recipe it is.
Thanks for chiming in, hisgui. :) It seems overall people here have a favorable opinion of Stella Parks, so I'm definitely interested in checking out her cookbook and of course trying some of her recipes on Serious Eats. Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts on Stella. :)
 
Hrm, was wondering if there was a way to avoid the 24h wait to make biga, and so kept a piece of the finished dough from the first ciabatta batch as levain. Checked the recipe to confirm hydration on both stages and confirmed it always kept a 100% ratio. Did a second batch using levain instead of biga.

Can't really discern any difference wrt taste and crumb, so i guess it was a success >__>
 
Speaking of bread I made my first loaf in at least 6 months. I started simple with the NYT No Knead recipe. In the spirit of keeping it simple I measured by volume instead of weight. The dough ended up insanely high hydration. I wasn't able to score it. It was almost pancake batter. When it came out of the oven it was flat and ugly but wow the crumb structure was nice. Tons of large holes and it was very uneven. The crust had a good crackly sound and was the perfect balance of hard but not tough.



Whenever I read about bread online high hydration seems to be prized, but to be honest I don't really get why.

This will also be my last loaf until the weather cools. I forgot how much heating the oven to 500 for over an hour warms the apartment.
 
Whenever I read about bread online high hydration seems to be prized, but to be honest I don't really get why.
dry bread kinda tastes terrible, but i feel that the high hydration thing is mostly related to Big Holes Look Cool In Pictures. Silly, really, given that all they do is make it easier for warm butter to leak >___>
 

Cosmic Bus

pristine morning snow
Whenever I read about bread online high hydration seems to be prized, but to be honest I don't really get why.
Aside from the open crumb and more crackly crust, the higher hydration is beneficial when you're baking in a stone or brick oven, like most bread bakeries use, because the interior and exterior baked evenly instead of burning the outside like would happen with a more dry dough.

The variety of flours and grains used these days are also moisture-hungry, often changing from region to region. Wheat from France absorbs much less than some US or Canadian wheats, for example.

There's just a different approach to working with high hydration; much less kneading (if any), more stretches and folds, longer proofs, etc. We work with a number of 80-85% doughs that produce great results once you're used to how they behave.
 
Speaking of bread I made my first loaf in at least 6 months. I started simple with the NYT No Knead recipe. In the spirit of keeping it simple I measured by volume instead of weight. The dough ended up insanely high hydration. I wasn't able to score it. It was almost pancake batter.
The first time I made that recipe, it came out absolutely perfect. I have tried three times since then, and every time it has had the same problem you described. I don't feel like I did anything different, but clearly I am adding too much water. The recipe, if I recall, is printed as needing 1 5/8 C of water, but if you watch Mark Bittman's video, the dude from the bakery says 1.5 C. It's a small difference, but possibly important. I am going to try the lower amount next time and see how it goes.
 
Things like water additions depends on the local humidity where you're doing the baking, at the time you're doing it, how much liquid the flour has at the time, and how much the type of flour you're using can absord. I've been baking a basic white sourdough loaf (not high hydration though) each week this year and some weeks I need to add more, some less. To 500g flour I always add at least a cup, but then I fill that cup half full and add a little at a time until it feels right.

I'm not great at this by any means, but it really seems to me that experience is most important here, eventually you'll know when you've added enough because the consistency feels right compared to what you want to achieve. I made some bricks early on.

High hydration could be different (only done high hydration by accident :p) but I don't think so.
 
Quick question for you. My new flat doesn’t get very warm at all, so trying to proof/rise dough for bread is a bit of a challenge. I read a tip online about placing a pan of boiling water at the bottom of a cold oven and placing the dough in the middle or near top, effectively turning it into a proofing cupboard. Does this work? If not, what would you recommend?
 
Quick question for you. My new flat doesn’t get very warm at all, so trying to proof/rise dough for bread is a bit of a challenge. I read a tip online about placing a pan of boiling water at the bottom of a cold oven and placing the dough in the middle or near top, effectively turning it into a proofing cupboard. Does this work? If not, what would you recommend?
I usually just put the oven on 225F or so for a bit to warm it up and then proof in there for a bit with the oven door propped open with a spoon. Putting a pan of water in there is a good idea, I cover my bowls with damp towels.
 
today i decided to stop being so goddamn lazy wrt sauces and, for the first time in my life, did a bechamel sauce. Using an immersion blender, obv, since i'm not a masochist.

yknow when you taste an ingredient and realize that you found something that you shouldve started using WAY the fuck sooner? And get loads of flashbacks to all the dishes that you shoulda added the thing to?

was like that.

Then i promptly added copious amounts of grated parmesan to the thing and dumped a pound of cooked rotini in there. Because of course.

Quick question for you. My new flat doesn't get very warm at all, so trying to proof/rise dough for bread is a bit of a challenge. I read a tip online about placing a pan of boiling water at the bottom of a cold oven and placing the dough in the middle or near top, effectively turning it into a proofing cupboard. Does this work? If not, what would you recommend?
two methods, all work about the same.


heat up a glass of water for 1min in the microwave. After that, place covered bowl with dough in there along with the glass

blast gas/elec oven with heat at max temp for a minute or so. turn it off. put covered bowl inside. close lid. let it rise.

Both always worked here when the temp dropped to under 10c. Got the dough to double in usually 80-100 minutes.

boiling water on oven works too. Don't need a damp towel if you're using a plastic cover, fwiw.
 
I started a sourdough starter yesterday based on the recent Food Wishes video. I'm using AP flour since it's what I have on hand.
https://youtu.be/1FkGX3xGlog

I'll have to see how it turns out.
That mirrors most other starter recipes I've seen, as well as the one I used. I'm not really sure that the flour type is going to have much of an effect, the byproducts of the yeast and bacteria will largely be the same (alcohol/lactic acid). Maybe there are a few other good bacteria that make some need byproducts but I haven't seen that yet.

I do like his test to look for doubling. It's consistent unlike the water test in which you drop some in water to see if it floats. That test is so inconsistent it's worthless.
 

Datwheezy

Unconfirmed Member
That mirrors most other starter recipes I've seen, as well as the one I used. I'm not really sure that the flour type is going to have much of an effect, the byproducts of the yeast and bacteria will largely be the same (alcohol/lactic acid). Maybe there are a few other good bacteria that make some need byproducts but I haven't seen that yet.

I do like his test to look for doubling. It's consistent unlike the water test in which you drop some in water to see if it floats. That test is so inconsistent it's worthless.
This is the first I've seen use spelt, but I generally see some sort of whole grain flour get used (Tartine bakery recipe uses 50/50 white/whole wheat, King Arthur recipe uses 100% rye)

The reason King Arthur has for it is:

"Why does this starter begin with whole-grain flour? Because the wild yeast that gives sourdough starter its life is more likely to be found in the flora- and fauna-rich environment of a whole-grain flour than in all-purpose flour."
 
This is the first I've seen use spelt, but I generally see some sort of whole grain flour get used (Tartine bakery recipe uses 50/50 white/whole wheat, King Arthur recipe uses 100% rye)

The reason King Arthur has for it is:

"Why does this starter begin with whole-grain flour? Because the wild yeast that gives sourdough starter its life is more likely to be found in the flora- and fauna-rich environment of a whole-grain flour than in all-purpose flour."
For sure, I wasn't clear in that I meant basically anything but all purpose and unbleached. I started mine with whole wheat for that reason, i just don't think there's going to be a difference between spelt, rye, oat, wheat whatever.
 

Cosmic Bus

pristine morning snow
Using fresh or dried fruit is another way to begin a starter with some interesting flavor and aromatic notes. You can either do a yeast water first and then use that as your starter liquid or just plop some fruit directly in with the initial flour and water. Apples, pineapple, raisins and grapes, berries, tomato... I've heard tea leaves can make an extremely fragrant one as well.
 
I bought a giant bag of Salted Roasted Pistachios from Costco and I have a ton of basil to use before the weather turns, so I want to make a pistachio pesto, but every recipe I read says to use unsalted pistachios....will this be totally unedible if I do it with salted pistachios? What if I rinsed the salt off? Any advice?
 
I bought a giant bag of Salted Roasted Pistachios from Costco and I have a ton of basil to use before the weather turns, so I want to make a pistachio pesto, but every recipe I read says to use unsalted pistachios....will this be totally unedible if I do it with salted pistachios? What if I rinsed the salt off? Any advice?
I have no experience in this but I'd assume rinsing the salt would remove enough, but I'd be afraid that it may add too much water and hurt the emusification. You could always rinse and then dry them in a low oven.
 
If you have a mortar and pestle I'd just make a micro batch and see how it goes. Most pestos have salt added to them via the parmesan, so it could be you just balance that with a little more oil for the fat and omit the parmesan.
 
Nice looking wok and nice looking stir fry.

My sourdough starter still stinks a week after I started. It's pretty warm in my kitchen right now. Should I just continue as long as no mold grows and eventually the good yeast will win, or is this a sign that it's not working and I should just toss it?

I've tossed 200g of the starter and added 100g water and 100g AP flour every day. Every morning when I feed it there is hooch on top that I mix in before tossing half.
 
Nice looking wok and nice looking stir fry.

My sourdough starter still stinks a week after I started. It's pretty warm in my kitchen right now. Should I just continue as long as no mold grows and eventually the good yeast will win, or is this a sign that it's not working and I should just toss it?

I've tossed 200g of the starter and added 100g water and 100g AP flour every day. Every morning when I feed it there is hooch on top that I mix in before tossing half.
the float test is bullshit. It depends on so many things that you can't get consistent results out of it. If you're producing hooch and it smells tart you have a live culture. I've made a number of loafs with starters that sank. I look for lots of bubbles instead, since CO2 is the primary biproduct.

 

Applesauce

Boom! Bitch-slapped!
Nice looking wok and nice looking stir fry.

My sourdough starter still stinks a week after I started. It's pretty warm in my kitchen right now. Should I just continue as long as no mold grows and eventually the good yeast will win, or is this a sign that it's not working and I should just toss it?

I've tossed 200g of the starter and added 100g water and 100g AP flour every day. Every morning when I feed it there is hooch on top that I mix in before tossing half.
Mine have taken an average of two weeks each time no matter the time of year. I started with Rye flour though, then used bread flour for the feedings.
 
the float test is bullshit. It depends on so many things that you can't get consistent results out of it. If you're producing hooch and it smells tart you have a live culture. I've made a number of loafs with starters that sank. I look for lots of bubbles instead, since CO2 is the primary biproduct.

I haven't even tried the float test. I'm not even considering using this until it smells better.
I'm producing a few bubbles that I see on the top but it doesn't look anything like the picture.

Mine might be a little too wet to hold onto the bubbles. It's about the consistency of pancake batter. Thicker like muffin batter when I just feed it, but thin again the next day.

Mine have taken an average of two weeks each time no matter the time of year. I started with Rye flour though, then used bread flour for the feedings.
Two weeks until they stop stinking? Mine doesn't smell as bad as it did, but it's still bad. Before it smelled like rotting food, now it's more musty with the smallest rot smell.
 

Applesauce

Boom! Bitch-slapped!
Two weeks until they stop stinking? Mine doesn't smell as bad as it did, but it's still bad. Before it smelled like rotting food, now it's more musty with the smallest rot smell.
Yeah, I waited until that smell went away completely and then started keeping it in the fridge for use whenever I needed some starter.
 

Applesauce

Boom! Bitch-slapped!
Fridge is great but remember it helps to take it out the day before to feed to get things awake again
That is not necessary for routine feedings though. An active culture is alive and well even in the fridge, it just doesn't grow as fast as it does at room temp. The longest I ever kept a culture was a little over 6 months and I always did the feedings cold which was about once every 2 weeks. Made some incredible ciabatta rolls too!

Edit : I think I misread your post.
 
That is not necessary for routine feedings though. An active culture is alive and well even in the fridge, it just doesn't grow as fast as it does at room temp. The longest I ever kept a culture was a little over 6 months and I always did the feedings cold which was about once every 2 weeks. Made some incredible ciabatta rolls too!

Edit : I think I misread your post.
yeah we're saying the same thing, no worries. I shoot for once/week while in storage, but if I want to bake I take it out a day before and feed it.
 
Quick lunch today. Farmers' market tomato and basil with a little sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil. A little shave of pecorino romano to finish it off.
Very nice. Had a terribly mediocre tomato the other day prepped in a similar way (balsamic instead of pecorino) and it was so disappointing.

Boring run of the mill stuff but it's been a bit quiet so why not. Omelette made with our eggs and then soyrizo sauteed in onions and cotija as the filling. Doesn't look like much but it is pretty damn tasty. Side note: we are now a registered farm with registered goats.



This weekend's no-knead. The other day I needed to make this for the girls and realized I was out of my usual lager. Did a fuck-it and used an IPA I had laying around. That was... interesting. Definitely had the odd citrus notes in there. Not terrible but... weird. This loaf was unevenly hydrated after the 24 hour rise and so I had to knead it a bit to get homogenous consistency which made it a bit overworked with very tight crumb. Pretty though.



My ten year old daughter is obsessed with Great British Baking show and has been making recipes from one of Mary Berry's books for the last few weekends. This is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache and chocolate frosting. Cake came out a bit dry; in general I feel like you're taking a chance with any Berry recipe that doesn't have a tipple in it. But it's fun to see her learn how to work a piping bag, etc.

 
So folks im in the market for a cast iron skillet.

Any recommendations or things I should look out for?

Bear in mind I'm in Ireland so not sure on how postage would work on one of those from abroad.

Price isn't that big an issue tho But nothing insane I'm not a millionaire

Thanks in advance!
 

Datwheezy

Unconfirmed Member
Nice looking wok and nice looking stir fry.

My sourdough starter still stinks a week after I started. It's pretty warm in my kitchen right now. Should I just continue as long as no mold grows and eventually the good yeast will win, or is this a sign that it's not working and I should just toss it?

I've tossed 200g of the starter and added 100g water and 100g AP flour every day. Every morning when I feed it there is hooch on top that I mix in before tossing half.
I would increase the feeding to twice a day if you arent already, and/or try and use cooler water/find a cooler spot for it. In a warm environment, I've found that consistent hooch on top usually means it's 'over-feeding', and you either want to slow the process down (cooler water), or give it fresh flour/water more often (additional feeding)
 
Just back from a 10 day stay at Disney World, and oh boy did we eat some great things. Though hands down our best meal was at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge.

Braised Short Rib Bolognese
Farm Egg Pappardelle, Alba Mushrooms, Aged Cow's Milk Cheese, Greens



14-oz Berkshire Pork Porterhouse



Truffle Macaroni & Cheese
Orecchiette Pasta



Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette



Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
Cherries, Gooseberries, Honey Crunch



Everything was delicious, and I had perhaps the best tasting Brussels Sprouts I ever had during this meal.
 
I would increase the feeding to twice a day if you arent already, and/or try and use cooler water/find a cooler spot for it. In a warm environment, I've found that consistent hooch on top usually means it's 'over-feeding', and you either want to slow the process down (cooler water), or give it fresh flour/water more often (additional feeding)
Thanks for the advice but it's better now. Today makes 2 weeks. It now smells acidic, boozy and yeasty. It has more bubbles now and produces less hooch but still isn't rising.

Here's what I've changed since then:

I ran out of flour and am now using unbleached AP compared to what I had before which I'm fairly sure was bleached.

I now have the mason jar covered with a paper towel and the lid secures it on. Before I had the normal lid on just loosely. That lets it breathe a lot better.

I've also started putting it in newly sterilized mason jars that I rotate every few days. Whenever I pour half out tons sticks to the sides and doesn't get incorporated in so i worried that those parts were getting funky.
 
Anyone else here go through periods where they don't want to cook shit at all? Sometimes I just get burnt out,cooking a meal for hours and hours only for it to be destroyed in a matter of minutes gets to me from time to time. Savor the flavor people shit lol. Sorry for the mini rant.
 
Anyone else here go through periods where they don't want to cook shit at all? Sometimes I just get burnt out,cooking a meal for hours and hours only for it to be destroyed in a matter of minutes gets to me from time to time. Savor the flavor people shit lol. Sorry for the mini rant.
I can get like that. When that hits it helps for me to try to cook something I never have before. You could also put limitations on yourself, like trying to make a multi course vegan meal.

With your specific issue of all that work disappearing in minutes, you could try either things that are quicker to make like say stir fry, or things that once you make it last for several meals like soup or lasagna.
 
Anyone else here go through periods where they don't want to cook shit at all? Sometimes I just get burnt out,cooking a meal for hours and hours only for it to be destroyed in a matter of minutes gets to me from time to time. Savor the flavor people shit lol. Sorry for the mini rant.
Yeah thats why I don't cook delicious meals for my family anymore only for friends and customers who will appreciate it LOL.

My parents probably wonder how the hell I even have customers based off the food I cook for them when I have time.

But its easy to fall out of love with cooking from time to time. Now that I'm older I prioritize my time for things that matter and only once in a while do I try to do some real cooking. Thats also why I try to travel alot so I can go out there get some ideas and relax as well.
 
Yeah thats why I don't cook delicious meals for my family anymore only for friends and customers who will appreciate it LOL.
You can pretty much substitute any job/talent here... there's a reason I will never touch the computers of family members. "Aren't you a computer guy?" "No, I'm a, uh, mathematician. Go buy a Mac and schedule a Genius Bar appointment."
 
Hey IronGAF. I feel a bit silly sharing this here, but I've been cooking without access to an oven for years now, which has been pretty maddening to say the least. I love to cook, but I've basically been relying on some gas stoves and a microwave for the majority of my life! I'm 20 to be clear here so it's not all that dramatic. But still.

That all changes today though! I've finally been able to get a really nice dual fuel range, and that's just really exciting to me. :')

...no pics though, the rest of the kitchen is still a mess.

Anyway, I've realized I basically don't know what to do with the darn thing! I'm definitely going to put some serious time into baking sweets, and I've always wanted to bake a loaf of homemade bread, but I'm looking for proper meals here and I just... lack the experience? Are there any dishes you would immediately go for in my situation? What would you crave after finally having access to an oven after a good few years without one?

Perhaps a roast is an obvious pick... I'm really not sure, I guess I'm feeling a little overwhelmed now that I've actually managed to sort this cooking situation out.
 
Hey IronGAF. I feel a bit silly sharing this here, but I've been cooking without access to an oven for years now, which has been pretty maddening to say the least. I love to cook, but I've basically been relying on some gas stoves and a microwave for the majority of my life! I'm 20 to be clear here so it's not all that dramatic. But still.

That all changes today though! I've finally been able to get a really nice dual fuel range, and that's just really exciting to me. :')

...no pics though, the rest of the kitchen is still a mess.

Anyway, I've realized I basically don't know what to do with the darn thing! I'm definitely going to put some serious time into baking sweets, and I've always wanted to bake a loaf of homemade bread, but I'm looking for proper meals here and I just... lack the experience? Are there any dishes you would immediately go for in my situation? What would you crave after finally having access to an oven after a good few years without one?

Perhaps a roast is an obvious pick... I'm really not sure, I guess I'm feeling a little overwhelmed now that I've actually managed to sort this cooking situation out.
You could try chicken pot pie or shepards pie or meatloaf. Easy starters for an oven meal. Then you can try lasagna (use those no boil noodles). Don't try roasting a bird for Thanksgiving for a first try. It takes a bit of practice.
 
Hey IronGAF. I feel a bit silly sharing this here, but I've been cooking without access to an oven for years now, which has been pretty maddening to say the least. I love to cook, but I've basically been relying on some gas stoves and a microwave for the majority of my life! I'm 20 to be clear here so it's not all that dramatic. But still.

That all changes today though! I've finally been able to get a really nice dual fuel range, and that's just really exciting to me. :')

...no pics though, the rest of the kitchen is still a mess.

Anyway, I've realized I basically don't know what to do with the darn thing! I'm definitely going to put some serious time into baking sweets, and I've always wanted to bake a loaf of homemade bread, but I'm looking for proper meals here and I just... lack the experience? Are there any dishes you would immediately go for in my situation? What would you crave after finally having access to an oven after a good few years without one?

Perhaps a roast is an obvious pick... I'm really not sure, I guess I'm feeling a little overwhelmed now that I've actually managed to sort this cooking situation out.
Casseroles would be the obvious choice. If you're adventurous you could try Flying Jacob, but I'm always a bit hesitant with recommending it; it's a weird dish.