Monday, August 22, 2016

Notes: August 2016

3 August 2016

White Sandwich Bread

Recipe from KQED

Our local PBS station is not often a source of recipes, but this one is quite good. I had been making sandwich bread using an easy, two-hour recipe. The bread tastes good and easy to make, but it doesn't toast very well, so I went looking for another recipe. I baked a few loaves using a Test Kitchen recipe and then tried this one. 

The KQED bread took a little over 2½ hours to make, most of it hands off, a little longer than the "easy" recipe I had been using. It also took a little more work, but not that much. Most of the mixing and kneading are done in a stand mixer so not much effort needed by the baker.

The resulting bread is good in all respects. It tastes good, toasts well, has a good texture, and keeps well, too. I keep homemade sandwich bread in the refrigerator. This is not the best place to keep it, but given the rate at which we use our bread it would start to mold well before it was gone. It does get a little brittle after a while, but I think that is true for any bread kept at low temperatures.

20 August 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Recipe from America's Test Kitchen

It has been many years since I had rhubarb, it is not readily available in San Jose. A year ago I brought some back from New York, my cousin Jon grew it, and kept it in the freezer. Finally I got around to using it to make a pie. Fortunately I had enough rhubarb, the recipe calls for 2 pounds of rhubarb and 1 pound of strawberries. I spent most of an afternoon in the kitchen making the pie, including the crust and filling. Some special effort goes into removing water from the rhubarb and the strawberries so the pie is not too soupy. 

When served fresh the pie had a sour taste, to me it was more sour than tangy. I don't know if this is normal or if perhaps it was a side effect of the rhubarb's age. Certainly, the pie would have had a different texture if the rhubarb had been fresh. The filling did not hold together as well as it might have with fresh rhubarb. 

The second time we had the pie it had sat at room temperature for a few days. This seems to have improved the pie, it no longer had the sour taste it had when fresher. Also, the second serving was accompanied by whipped cream which provided a nice contrast to the tangy pie.

I would make this again if I should ever have rhubarb again. I would like to try it with fresh rhubarb rather than frozen, I think that would be a big improvement.

28 August 2016

Simple Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated,  July 2000

I have written several times about making pulled pork. I used a method I have used several times before to smoke the pork on our gas grill. The search for the best sauce to serve with the pork, however, continues. For this dinner I tried a promising recipe from Cook's Illustrated. It was easy to make as you just combine the ingredients and simmer them for a while. This is a tomato (ketchup) based sauce, which is what I prefer, after having tried mustard and vinegar based sauces. 

Is the winning sauce? Unfortunately, no. It is OK but not what I am looking for. It did improve over time as it sat in the refrigerator. It was a little spicy thanks to the inclusion of hot sauce (I used Sriracha) and chili powder. I think I am looking for a sweeter sauce without the spice. It is possible I found it with the indoor pulled pork I prepared earlier this year, I will have to try that again.

28 August 2016

Potato Burger Buns

Recipe from America's Test Kitchen

Apparently I have made, and written about, this recipe before, but I didn't look at my own blog posts before choosing this recipe. The primary change was making twice as many buns as the recipe calls for, so instead of 9 burger buns I made 18 slider buns. I weighed the dough and the buns as I shaped them, each was made with 40 grams of dough. The dough balls were flattened into disks about 2½″ in diameter. They were then baked using the directions in the recipe and the cooking time wasn't significantly different than the larger buns.

It would be nice to say I have found a great recipe for buns, but that is not the case. I am looking for a soft bun that still has sufficient structure to hold up to a moist filling, including the condiments. These have the structure but not the soft crumb that I desire. They are also a little fragile and in some cases would break into pieces while we were eating. It could be they were over baked, but that seems unlikely. So, when the large collection of buns in the freezer is used up, I'll try another recipe.

That being said, I am happy to learn that I can make slider buns by halving the amount of dough that is used in a normal burger bun.