That Waxy Taste

What is it about unstable cocoa butter crystals that give chocolate that soft, waxy consistency? It’s not because “unstable” fat crystals are inherently softer or more likely to fall apart, though that would be a reasonable guess. One of the many interesting things about fat crystals is that they melt at the same temperature at […]

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Temper Temper 3

The thing that separates true tempering from the rest of the so-called “tempering” that happens in kitchens is that it involves both controlled heating and cooling. Just like in metal casting, chocolate tempering means manipulating the liquid goods so that specific types of crystallization can occur. Different types of cocoa butter crystals form at different […]

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Temper Temper 2

A few weeks ago I rather breezily dismissed “tempering” as just one more case of chef-show fancy-speak. Most of the time it is. It’s become a word that gets thrown around food show sets any time a chef wants a fancier word for “warming”. But you don’t “temper” a pot of chicken stock any more […]

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Zap It

What’s the best way to melt chocolate? Hands down, the microwave. No other melting method gives you as much control, as long as you do it slowly. You want to break or chop your chocolate up into small-to-medium sized pieces, put them in a glass or ceramic bowl, and zap it on high for intervals […]

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The Candy Arts

You may be wondering what the heck candy has to do with pastry. Quite a lot, as it turns out. As anyone who’s ever watched one of those pastry competitions on the Food Network knows, candy-making techniques make up the lion’s share of what people consider pastry nowadays. It’s actually a bit irritating to old […]

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Great Comment…

…on last Friday’s pig post. The Old Foodie points out that pigs and baking do go hand-in-hand, since lard makes such excellent pastry. And oh my yes it’s true. Lard, being extremely rich in flavor, can be turned into the best pie, quiche, tart and pizza crusts known to man. It’s also indispensable in corn […]

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Civil War Hangover

Even though it’s a new week with no Civil War-related baking projects on the docket, I wanted to address an interesting email I received over the weekend. The question it put, and I’m paraphrasing, was this: with all the pillaging of the countryside that went on during the Civil War, why were food supply lines […]

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For the Week of April 17, 2006

Hope you had a happy Easter! Indeed I did, but now I’ve got more chocolate on my hands than I can stand. The wife is busy squirreling her share away in hiding spots all over the house. Me, I’d rather fiddle around with it. I’m going to make some: Peanut Butter Cups And since my […]

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Off now…

Heading to St. Louis to be with family for the Holiday. Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Easter if you haapen to be a Christian. Regardless, it looks like it’s going to be nice warm Spring weekend just about everywhere here in the US. Have a happy one!

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