Weekend Mailbag I

Reader Joe D. writes in with this question about choux:

I’ve seen recipes that use water, milk and ½ of each. Can you tell me if the use of milk or a combination with water adds anything to the end product?

Interesting question. Milk is about 87 percent water. The rest of its is made up of sugars (lactose makes up about 5%), fat (about 3.5%), protein (about 3%) and a few minerals. All those non-water components are essentially incidental to the end product, particularly the fat, given how much butter there already is in choux. So the enrichment really isn’t needed, nor is milk’s color-enhancing properties, since again, the butter and the cheese pretty much take care of that. All of which is a long way of saying water is all you need.

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