cooking chicken sous vide and pink juices

cooking chicken sous vide and pink juices

I haven’t found a lot of information on the matter. Seems a bit odd considering how much importance people give to the “cook until juices run clear” rule in a time when sous vide cooking is becoming more popular but maybe that’s just me not crawling the web more thoroughly.  If you’ve seen any good source of info let me know please… and I gotta warn yah, this post is probably a little graphic and off-putting but if you’ve been reading this blog…it happens. 

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eggs: the vinegar trick

steak and eggs

Ok, this is more of a question than an informative post. I can’t remember where but recently I came across a simple cooking tip that somehow I had missed all these years. No, it’s not the one about vinegar and poaching eggs… although that one is cool too… this one could have come in handy a million times. I’m talking about using a little bit of vinegar in the boiling water when hard boiling or soft boiling eggs. The shells are supposed to come of pretty easily. Some of my friends went like “oh yeah, first thing they teach you in cooking school” Well… not all that well documented elsewhere, or is it just me?? Anyways, I’ve tried it a few times and seems to work but maybe I got lucky and got friendly egg shells.  Have you tried it? I would love to know if this is pretty standard. It puzzles me that not a single cookbook I own mentions this.  If this continues to work… best cooking tip ever. 

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Chicken Nightmares.

If you’re a bit OCD,  you like chicken and you like to cook it yourself , this post might be of interest. I know I keep talking about chicken. I talk about chicken a LOT. Because I love chicken and I can recount the few times I have had a good chicken dish at a restaurant. In many cases is just a disaster. If at a BBQ, I will politely turn down grilled chicken breasts and stick to eating only the more heat resistant dark meat but even that goes wrong very often. A grill isn’t exactly devised for precision cooking. A smoker… it’s a step up in the right direction and can render some amazing results but how many of us have a smoker sitting in their backyard. I don’t even have a backyard. If I had one and some money, I’d get a smoker. Guess where I’d put it. In the backyard.

Today’s post. Chicken nightmares. In honour to all my overcooked chicken dinners. My chicken cooking improved dramatically after learning a few things about proteins and the effect of heat. Understanding what heat does to food is essential in improving cooking in genera. I find that cooking chicken is a great, relatively cheap and delicious way to fine tune the skill of heat application. Chickens are very complicated creatures. I’m talking about their meat, I’m sure they have very complicated lives too. They can be cooked whole at the same temperature but this isn’t ideal (I love roasting whole chickens, don’t get me wrong, but when on my OCD mood kicks in hard, the notion of roasting a whole chicken just makes me super anxious). Each muscle requires a different temperature and cooking time (same goes for pretty much any animal tissue).  We can average those temperatures and cook the whole bird that way for as long as the longest of the cooking times required… obviously there are compromises and the end result although pretty delicious won’t be “perfect”. Cooking chicken sous vide requires the extra step of browning the skin. This sounds easy. Pan sear the thing and done. Well. That’s ok, but I want better browning. I want even browning everywhere which means the chicken meat must be fully submerged in hot oil. Which means deep frying. If you know of a better way, I’m all ears. 

The photo above speaks for itself. Chicken disaster. In this case I wanted to come up with a way to sous vide whole chicken legs and deep fry them to get a crispy skin. Since I’ve bought my deep fryer a few months ago I’ve done some experimentation and I love using it to sear meats and other things. Turns out, chicken skin is the most resilient matter in the universe. At 375F which is the highest temp most deep fryers reach, it takes about 10-15 mins for proper browning. In 10 mins a chicken at room temperature will reach core temperatures around 80C-100C.  Not good. Not good at all. I want the meat to stay at 62C or cooler and then get the skin to crisp up and brown nicely. Pretty tricky stuff.

How about cooking the chicken sous vide at 62C for about 2 hours and then freezing it before it goes in the fryer. Seemed like it was worth a shot. The chicken leg thawed and overcooked. Like a lot.  With a core temperature of ~70C. Imagine what it did to the meat near the surface.

I tried it again. This time for only 10 mins and here is an image… not as scary as the previous one:

IMG_4049

This wasn’t bad. Some browning and some crispiness but some soggy areas too. The meat was overcooked close to the surface obviously, but the core temperature remained at 23C-30C. Yeah, a bit cold but the chicken is already cooked before it goes in the fryer so no worries there. Also, carryover heat will bring the core up to about 30C-40C in a few mins. If you want hotter core, you can always stick the chicken in a warm over for a few minutes and done. Delicious and juicy but not “perfect”.

For “perfection” I need to figure out a way to brown the skin faster. I can think of 5 ways:

  1. Hotter oil.
  2. Alkaline solution.
  3. Sugar brine.
  4. Drying the skin before frying.
  5. Liquid Nitrogen.

 

Hotter oil is probably the most practical and effective one. I’m not gonna rig up my fryer to go higher than 375. But I can definitely use a cast iron pot and heat up the oil to 450F which would be ideal (careful here, that’s near the auto-ignition point of most cooking oils. Stick to avocado oil or ghee). Dangerous though. I know what a kitchen fire looks like. A kitchen nightmare. Anyways, it’s on my list of things to try.

The alkaline solution might work. Upping the alkalinity of something speeds up the maillard reaction. The same concept behind making pretzels. But I don’t know in what way it will affect the flavour, plus… Browning and crisping are not the same thing, one can happen while the other one lags behind.

Some sugar in the brine. This is something that I’ve definitely done in the past and it does render beautiful golden brown skin rather quickly but little crisp factor. I’ll take soggy beautiful golden brown skin over pale and soggy any day though. The crisp factor is proportional to the amount of water in the skin. Zero water. Absolute crispiness.

Drying the skin before frying helps a lot. Basically, leaving the chicken in the fridge over the course of 12-24 will do the trick. Usually the chicken is brined prior to this. If you’re concerned with bacteria growth over this period of time you can always blanche the chicken in boiling water for a few seconds. Then add the chicken to the chilly brine solution and that should be extra safe.

Liquid Nitrogen. One day I will play with this idea.

Sounds like the best combination of techniques to get chicken that is cooked to the temperature of your liking and to get the skin to crisp up should involve brining the chicken with some small percentage of sugar in the brine yet to be determined. Cooking the chicken sous vide or by poaching.  Allowing the chicken to dry in the fridge overnight. Freezing the chicken. Deep frying at 500F for a few minutes. How many minutes? Not sure sure. I’ll let you know once I get over my fear of kitchen fires.

Here here are my technical notes on this experiment:

Sous Vide Chicken Whole Legs. 2 hours @ 62C 12h saline brine.

Most successful test:

10 mins deep-frying @ 375F. Subpar browning and crispiness. Meat remains moist. Core internal temp: 23C-30C. Semi-fail.

Chicken nightmare:

15 mins deep-frying @ 375F. Acceptable browning and crispiness. Meat overcooks. Core internal temp 75C-80C. Fail.

IMG_4015

Happy chicken nightmares. Halloween is around the corner.

Boeuf Bourguignon Sous Vide : 24h : 60c

Boeuf Bourguignon Sous Vide

I’ve posted about beef bourguignon in the past, but for the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking of trying a different approach. Since this sous vide-meat kick doesn’t seem to end, I figured I’d try something fun. Making it sous vide. I was curious to see how this would turn out. I had to rearrange the order in which things are done (traditionally) in order to incorporate the technique, but I think I have a fairly easy procedure that allows making adjustments easily and control the final result without stress.

Boeuf Bourguignon Sous Vide

 

Also, the meat can be cooked to medium or medium rare, which is unusual for any traditional stew in which the cooking temperatures for the meat can reach the boiling point. Even the temperatures in slow cookers at the warm setting cook at over 70C which is technically well done. In this example, the meat is cooked to medium at a gentle 60C for 24 hours. 

 

Ingredients (4 servings):

Beef Stew:

2 lb beef for stew
1/4 small cubed bacon
1 bottle of nice burgundy wine
20 pearl onions
1 lb coarsely chopped mushrooms
1 white onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
2 mashed garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
sugar, salt and pepper to taste
1 rosemary sprig
about 1/2 Tbsp AP flour
Parsley for garnishing.

Mashed Potatoes:

2 Russet potatoes
3 Tbsp heavy cream
Salt to taste

Pre-searing the meat. This is a key step in stewing meats. Develops flavor as the meat browns. Make sure the beef cubes are dry before heating the searing hot pan or not only oil and water will splatter all over the plate, but there’s a big chance that the meat ends up boiling in the pan rather than browning. Flouring the meat cubes before searing them is another approach to develop nice browning and keeps the cubes drier for a bit longer, this flour will eventually help thicken the sauce as well. I chose to skip this and sear the meat conventionally. So, on a cast iron or stainless steel wide pan, add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom by 1mm.  Add the bacon cubes and allow them to render their fat and start browning. Allow the oil to get really hot but don’t burn it.  Add the meat in batches if you fear the pan isn’t wide enough and might get too crowded in there. Once seared, reserve the meat and the bacon cubes in a container. Reserve the cooking fat. Deglaze the pan with some wine or water. Scrape the brown bits off. Reduce until syrupy, remove pan from the stove and Allow meat glaze to cool before adding it to the sous vide bag. Notice I didn’t salt the meat. I was trying to work fast. Salt will draw some moisture out, which will mess with the searing step. If you have enough time, about 1/2 to 1 hour. You could salt the meat and dry it with paper towels before searing. I chose to season later. It’s going to cook for 24 hours with plenty of seasoning anyways.

Browning the mushrooms. In the same pan, about 1/2 Tbsp of butter over medium high heat. When the butter stops bubbling is time to get the mushrooms in there. Brown mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Cover the pan, cook for another minute or two. Reserve mushrooms. Deglaze as well. With some wine or water. Don’t discard the butter. Who discards butter? Reduce, and reserve this glaze as well.

Browning the pearl onions. Follow the same procedure for the mushrooms. Cooking mushrooms and onions together is also an options. Make sure the pan doesn’t get too crowded though. Deglaze and reserve this glaze as well. All these glazes can be store in one jar.

The wine reduction. No wine reduction, no beef bourguignon. I used the same pan again. Remember that bacon fat we render in the first step. Add it back to the pan. Over medium high heat, add the chopped onions, celery and carrots. Sweat for about 7-10 minutes. Now I started adding salt. Add 750ml of your favorite burgundy here. Yeah, the whole bottle. Add the glaze from the meat, bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions into the pan. Garlic and the bay leaf. Reduce. I also added the browned bacon bits to the reduction to extract all their flavor which would be hard to do at 60C.  This could take a while, be patient. And by a while I mean, about 30 minutes or until the carrots are super soft. Add water if the reduction is going to fast and the vegetables haven’t had time to release all their potential.  Some might want to add some tomato paste, fish sauce… all great additions, I didn’t.  Strain the wine reduction (fine strainer like a chinois) Remember to scrape the bottom of your strainer and get as much sauce as possible. Return strained sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer.   Dissolve the flour into about a Tbsp of cold water. Add to the reduction. Allow to cook for a few minutes. Now the sauce should be fairly thick. Thicker than it will be in the final dish but that’s ok. During the 24 hour in the bag. The meat will release water and thin the sauce again. As this reduction cooks, keep tasting and adjusting. I keep good white wine vinegar and sugar at hand, along with salt and pepper. Once you’re happy with the reduction. Allow to cool.

The sous vide step. The simplest step actually. Setup your water bath to 60C. Add the wine reduction, beef cubes, mushrooms, pearl onions, and the rosemary sprig into the bag. Adjust seasoning. Vacuum seal, or remove the air using the water displacement method. Add the bag to the water bath and cook for 24 hours.

Making the mashed potatoes. Peel and cube the potatoes. I usually cook potatoes whole with the skin on. But russets are very starchy and tend to make the potato mash gooey. Not a good texture. Peeled and cubed potatoes release more of their starch into the cooking water, which you could discard. I reserve a bit of the water though. Has good potato flavor. Once the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Strain, return to the pot. Turn the heat off. Add the heavy cream. I also added some butter. Nobody said this was gonna be a light meal. If you have a potato ricer, use it. I don’t have one. I don’t have a masher either. I used my fine strainer and worked the potatoes through it using a silicon spatula. It was a lot of work but possibly the best mashed potatoes I’ve made here at thatothercookingblog.com. Adjust The seasoning. I only add salt.

After sous vide. Remove the meat, onions and mushrooms form the bag. Discard the rosemary sprig. If the sauce is too thin. Return it to a wide pan and quickly reduce it until syrupy again. Check for seasoning. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and add the meat. Allow to cool. The sauce should coat the meat nicely. The stew can be cooked in advanced and kept in the fridge for a week, in the sealed bag. The flavor would develop during that time. Or you can devour it right away which is what usually happens here.

A few thoughts. Another advantage of cooking this using an immersion circulator (or a water bath) is flavor. Since no aroma is released during the cooking time, the flavor intensity is incredible. Also, make it impossible overcooking the pearl onions and the mushrooms. Those stay cooked al dente. It’s really wonderful to have this amount of control.  A few things could be improved though. I would like to try a 36h cooking time, or a fattier cut of meat. If the meat is too lean, it will release more liquid over long periods of cooking time. Fattier meat could work better with the sous vide approach. I would also like to have more liquid in the final sauce. The yield wasn’t good enough. I could have used more flour to thicken it, and increase the yield this way, but that would decrease the flavor intensity. Not an option.  I might need to add stock or demi-glace. Adding extra butter would also help. Everybody knows that when in doubt, add more butter.  Until the next one!

 

Boeuf Bourguignon Sous Vide

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home : Sous Vide : 134.6 °F for 2hr

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

 And more on eggs… this is turning into an obsession now! can’t let it go!!!… I don’t think there’s any other ingredient I find as fascinating as the mighty egg. In my previous post on homemade mayo/aioli, I talked about an incredibly easy way to get the emulsion going with the help of a hand blender. I wonder how many people were concerned with eating raw eggs. Although, I’ve never gotten sick (knock on wood!) it does happen, and salmonella will probably land even the fittest individual right in the hospital. There are options, specially here in the US. Buying pasteurized eggs is a possibility. They can be pricey too. The good news is, pasteurizing eggs at home is doable.

 

With the help of an immersion circulator is dead simple, but it can too be done with an inexpensive probe thermometer and a big pot filled with water. The idea behind pasteurization is simple. Heat something to a specific temperature by an specific length of time and eventually pathogens die. The lower the temperature, the less the targeted product will change state (phase) or flavor. In the case of an egg, we want to kill the bacteria but we don’t want to cook the egg. It is a well documented fact what different temperatures do to an egg. Take a look at this chart on www.cookingissues.com. It is also a well documented fact what temperature is required to kill the salmonella bacteria. Here’s is a little excerpt from the wikipedia entry on salmonella:

“Salmonella bacteria can survive for weeks outside a living body, and they are not destroyed by freezing. Ultraviolet radiation and heat accelerate their demise; they perish after being heated to 55 °C (131 °F) for 90 min, or to 60 °C (140 °F) for 12 min. To protect against Salmonella infection, heating food for at least ten minutes at 75 °C (167 °F) is recommended, so the centre of the food reaches this temperature.”

The chart suggests 57 °C  (134.6 °F) for 2 hours which is well within the safety range stated above. Not only salmonella will be destroyed but all other pathogens present as well. Another source I used was this exciting iphone app which suggested 1 hr 31 minutes for complete pasteurization at the same temperature.

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

Notice how the white has gone slightly cloudy. My immersion circulator has been operating with a 0.1 degree over the target temperature, maybe that contributed to the cloudiness and the fact that extended periods of time will continue to slowly denature proteins even at such slow temperatures.

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

Improvising a sous vide water bath at home isn’t difficult. You do need a thermometer, preferably one with a probe so you can throw it in the pot and forget about it (I wouldn’t let it reach or be to close to the bottom, try suspending it in the middle of the water volume) Start with hot tap water (to save some time) and heat up the pot on medium heat. Checking the temperature and stirring the water. When the temperature reaches 134.6 °F set the stove to the lowest setting. It will be impossible to maintain the water at an exact temperature but some over or undershooting is ok, as long as you don’t go near the temperatures at which the egg will cook. Some practice will be required, just to get familiar with the stove and how fast water heats up and cools off.

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

 

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

Since I’ve made mayo, I figured I could use the same idea and pasteurize my mayo as well. The same principle applies and makes making mayo at home extremely convenient as safe. With the addition of yogurt, the shelf life of homemade mayo can be extended from a few days to a couple of months. Vinegar also helps keep pathogens under control.

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

I added my aioli to a sealable baggie and and sucked the air out of it using my vacuum chamber sealer. Not all that necessary though. Since we’re pasteurizing a liquid, we could place the mayo in jars, make sure to tighten the lid well and submerge the jars in the water placing an object over them to keep them submerged. If using the improvised sous vide bath, don’t place the jars directly onto the bottom of the pot which is the hottest, the mayo could be cold and the jars could crack. To prevent air pockets in the jars, you could cover the mayo with vegetable oil, which you could drain afterwards.

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

Place the baggies in the water bath for the required time and done. The Mayo didn’t separate. Once done, you can store your pasteurized eggs or mayo back in the fridge!

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

 

Pasteurizing Eggs or Mayo at Home

Hope you find this useful!!! Thank you for stopping by!  Safe egg eating! I hope you feel more encouraged to try making mayo at home even without having pasteurized eggs at hand. Take care!

 

 

Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise : Aïoli : In 2 minutes or less? YES

Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise

A few nights ago when preparing the tilapia croquettes, I had to improvise a tartar sauce to go with it. I had all the ingredients. I even had everything I needed to make the base mayonnaise and I was excited. It had been a long time since I had made mayo at home, and I still remember how much better than store bought stuff it can be. It really is to die for, for those who like mayo of course. I love this emulsion. If you are one of those cooks who likes to make everything from scratch, then mayo is probably in your repertoire. It isn’t easy. Beating this emulsion into submission by hand is a workout to say the least, and in my case, I fail more times than I succeed. Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise isn’t easy. 

Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise

Maybe you’re a mayo-making devil in which case your secrets are extremely welcome if you care to share them, but if you aren’t, I’m surely not, maybe this post can be helpful. Using the food processor is a popular way of making, but you have to make a large quantity. The blades sit too high (at least on the model I own) and making mayo out of 1 yolk is pretty much impossible. I went online with the typical google search “mayo making science tricks”and a few links popped up.  Some told me about stuff I had already read before, but then I came across a link by one of the food sites I follow religiously: www.seriouseats.com In their weekly column, The Food Lab, Kenji Lopez-Alt (what a crazy cool name, right?!) talks about food science and he is great at it too. He has debunked so many kitchen myths he is one of my culinary heroes along with the modernist cuisine team and Harold McGee. Anyways, back to mayo in 2 minutes!!! click here! I hope you find this as cool as I did. Making mayo at home will never be the same. Requires a hand blender, but those aren’t expensive and can also be the perfect birthday present ! Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes about a cup):

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
Kosher salt
1 garlic clove minced (leave this out and you have mayo)

Method:

Really simple. Get all your ingredients in a tall container that fits nicely the head of your immersion bender (hand blender). This is important. You want the liquid ingredients to cover the moving parts as shown in the pics. Blend throughly. I added the garlic and salt after I had a nice emulsion going, but I think it could be added at the beginning as well. It is hard to control the flavoring that way though. I added a little bit, tasted, adjusted the salt, added more garlic. Until I was happy with it.

Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise

Microwave Brioche : Gas Expansion and Starch Gelatinization : The basic idea behind bread

Microwave Brioche | First of all, if you haven't, please follow me on Instagram! :) Brioche in the microwave... well... the soft tender interior that is. I came across this clever idea while browsing the book VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers at a Barnes and Nobles on 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica. Pretty awesome book full of interesting ideas and new and modernists approaches to cooking. I haven't bought it but it is definitely on my list. Although I got the idea from the Voltaggio Bros'. I've also seen similar recipes by Ferran Adrià @thatothercookingblog.com

First of all, if you haven’t, please follow me on Instagram! 🙂 Brioche in the microwave… well… the soft tender interior that is. I came across this clever idea while browsing the book VOLT ink.: Recipes, Stories, Brothers at a Barnes and Nobles on 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica. Pretty awesome book full of interesting ideas and new and modernists approaches to cooking. I haven’t bought it but it is definitely on my list. Although I got the idea from the Voltaggio Bros’. I’ve also seen similar recipes by Ferran Adrià, who used to run one of the most innovative kitchens in the world at El Bulli restaurant. He might have been the first one to try this, but I can’t find much information about it. Do you know? Share it in the comments please!

Microwave Brioche

El Bulli has been recently turned into sort of a food idea development center… Ferran now owns and runs the recently founded restaurant  Tickets Bar in spain. Back to the microwave brioche… the “gimmick” in itself is simple but only after understanding how it works. A light batter is placed inside a cream whipper which is then charged with nitroux oxide cartridges and leavened this way. The cream whipper will scatter thousands of tiny little bubbles of NO into the batter.

There are 2 important principles at work behind microwave brioche:

 1. gasses expand when heat is applied

2. flour starches gel at little under 212F (water boiling point at sea level)

Microwave Brioche

These are the principles behind traditional bread too.

In traditional bread, yeast does the work of creating the tiny bubbles that will eventually cause the bread to rise.

Yeast does other wonderful things as well, it ferments and imparts a very special flavor must of us love. Our modernist bread recipe isn’t yeasted, so the flavor isn’t as complex but it still works and with some creativity, this bread can be flavored in so many interesting ways.

I believe that this bread could be made with yeast too in which case the cream whipper wouldn’t be necessary. I want to try this soon (and in a way I had when I made the Baozi buns).  Anyways, when the whipped batter is heated, the water in it heats up, causing the tiny bubbles to expand and on top of that, some water evaporates and the steam helps the expansion even further. In the end it looks like a very yummy sponge. There won’t be any browning or crust of course. Caramelization and Maillard reactions* can only occur well above the water boiling point temperature which is what is reached inside the microwave (fats in a microwave will heat up to much higher temperatures than 212F, please do not try to heat up a cup of oil in the microwave, it is dangerous. It will get extremely hot.)

* The Maillard reaction actually happens at room temperature but it is greatly sped up by applying heat.

Ok, so lets get ready to make this.

One important thing to keep in mind, the sponge will deflate a bit while still in the microwave oven. This is something that wouldn’t happen to bread in a real oven (it does happen but at such small scale is not really that noticeable) because the starches have been given enough time to set. Once our bread deflates a bit it’s a good sign that microwaving time is enough and the brioche is ready.  Gasses and water vapor have left the bread. Further microwaving would dry out the bread and turn it into a solid dry stale piece of brioche. 

Microwave Brioche

Gear:

Blender
Isi Cream whipper
2 NO cartridges
a few paper cups
small spatula or butter knife microwave

Ingredients:

200g AP flour
2 eggs
50g unsalted butter
4g kosher salt
50g sugar
150g milk

 

Microwave Brioche

Here is what you do.

Prep a paper cup (I had multiple ones ready just in case, and there is enough batter for a few tries). You can butter the inside of it or oil it so the bread doesn’t stick. It has been suggested that you puncture holes on the dixie cup, but after some testing, I don’t see much of a difference in the textures. Perhaps the sponginess of the brioche cooked in the punctured cup was better, but I have to run more tests.

Blend all the ingredients together and strain (if it isn’t too thick otherwise just don’t)  into the cream whipper canister.  Then load it with 2 cartridges of nitrous oxide. shake really well. We want 2 cartridges because the batter is thick and it isn’t easy to whip gas into it. One cartridge wouldn’t have enough pressure to achieve that.

Fill cup half way with mixture, I recommend working one cup at a time because like crepes, the first one is always thrown away. But in this case you want to test different times until your brioche is just right. Every microwave is different so you will have to test and fine tune! how fun!

The microwaving.

I microwaved the cup for about 1 minute and a few extra seconds but yours could take more or less time. Immediately take out of the microwave and flip upside down, if you oiled or buttered the cup, the bread will slide right off. Be gentle when handling it and also be careful, it is a hot hot hot delicate sponge. If you didn’t oil the cup, you will need a spatula to help you extract the bread from the cup, it will be slightly stuck in it. And that is it

Microwave Brioche

Have you tried microwaved brioche?! Share your experience with us! Until the next one!  

how does salt affect eggs in cooking: I’ve had enough! gotta test it myself!

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

I know I am way in over my head when it comes to food science, but I will give it my best shot here, what do I have to lose? 4 eggs? that’s worth the risk. We’re going to get down and dirty with this salt affect eggs business. Please read and don’t make me “begg” ah! 

After having eaten possibly one zillions eggs in my lifetime (actual number) I have finally stopped and taken a look at one of those kitchen controversies, to salt or not to salt eggs…before cooking them. I hear Julia and Jacques have tested this, I hear they both disagree. I hear Ramsey is all about salting after cooking them, makes them retain that fluffiness he says, Heston salts his eggs before they go in the sous vide bath. Maybe you know of more examples, but this egg thing does seem to be a common subject of debate out there. It probably doesn’t matter which way you go as long as you understand what salt does to eggs and what effect you are looking for in the end. I personally thought salt didn’t really have a big effect on eggs, but boy was I wrong. Let me show you what I found  on my latest test:  

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

For my test I wanted to make sure that I was dealing with as few variables as possible. I wanted to judge salt’s effect on eggs while being cooked. I used my immersion circulator to ensure the cooking conditions were the same but this experiment could be easily repeated by just cooking the two samples on the same pan and using egg cooking rings. Here is what I ended up doing:

1. Crack some eggs, label a couple of  baggies, and measure egg’s weight! 

I used 4 eggs, whipped them together until yolks and whites were nicely mixed, about 2 minutes. Then used my scale to measure the final weight of the eggs so I could divide them in 2 equal parts.

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

2. Whip!!! then divide the weight by 2 and fill 2 baggies for vacuum sealing!

Mix all those eggs together, we want a homogeneous mix to make the test a bit more reliable. Wouldn’t want any differences in the individual eggs ruin my night!

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

3. Add some salt to one of the baggies and label accordingly

Added about a teaspoon of kosher salt to one of the baggies. And shook the baggie for a bit to incorporate the salt into the eggs.

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

4. Vacuum seal baggies and let rest in the fridge for about an hour,preheat water bath.

The first thing that became obvious was a change in the color of the eggs, at first thought it was due to differences in vacuum, maybe one of the baggies had lost more air, had less bubbles and therefore looked more translucent… so tried it again. Same deal, salt was doing something to my eggs!

baggie with salt: deeper yellow,clearer, more translucent
baggie no salt: milkier color, less saturated, less translucent

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

 

5. cook at 75 °C –  167°F for 15-20 mins

After resting the baggies in the fridge for about an hour (I wanted to make sure that if salt had an effect on texture, the eggs spend enough time with the salt to emphasize this more) the went in the water bath for about 20 mins, making sure that the entire baggies where under water. Wouldn’t want any raw eggs for the tasting part.

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

6. taste and draw conclusions on a full belly

After cooking, the color difference became a bit less noticeable but it was still there. I think had I used more eggs, the difference in color would have been stronger. But the difference in texture was remarkably different to my surprise:

eggs with salt: softer, more tender texture
eggs no salt: rubbery, less interesting

how does salt affect eggs in cooking

how does salt affect eggs in cooking | thatothercookingblog.com

Conclusions:

I would love to hear your opinion on this subject. I have to admit that before this test I had no idea why or how using salt would affect the texture of cooked eggs. I’m not gonna waste my time or yours pretending that I know exactly why (the chemistry behind it) this happened. Instead I did some reading after the test, and I am going to quote Mr Harold McGee, who is quite possibly the most reputable food scientist in the cooking arena today. If you haven’t read his book On Food and Cooking The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and you are interested in the science of cooking, there’s no better book out there (You could include also the Modernist Cuisine collection of books, but often they too quote Harold McGee). Anyways, here’s what I read in a chapter dedicated to the all mighty egg:

On color:

“Add a pinch of salt to a yolk (as you do when making mayonnaise) and you’ll see the yolk becomes simultaneously clearer and thicker. Salt breaks apart the light-deflecting sub-spheres into components that are too small to deflect light – and so the yolk clears up”

On texture:

“There is no truth to the common saying that acidity and salt “toughen” egg proteins. Acids and salt do pretty much the same thing to eggs proteins. They get the proteins together sooner, but they don’t let them get as close together. That is, acids and salt make eggs thicken and coagulate at a lower cooking temperature, but actually produce a more tender texture.”

What he said… the full chapter has in-depth information if you want to better understand the forces at work behind eggs, salt, and cooking, history, chemistry, etc. I will simply say I was glad I tested this myself and my understanding on the subject is significantly better. As for cooking eggs using salt, I might run a couple more tests when making scrambled eggs, but I would be inclined to add the salt earlier before cooking just based on this experience. I hope you enjoy and find this post useful! Until the next time! cheers!!!

related article: 1hr 63°C egg. The “perfect” soft “boiled” egg.

What are your thoughts on the chemistry of salt affecting food? It is pretty obvious that food is changed in the presence of salt. 

Hershey’s pâte à choux with a coconut twist!

I tried something a little different today. I made pate au choux and flavored it with hershey’s chocolate syrup AND used coconut oil instead of butter. The combination of coconut and chocolate is incredibly delicious, so why not make puff cream using both. The result is an incredibly delicate and tasty pastry treat. Fill them with creme patisserie, they crave it! Here’s what I did, enjoy:

Gear:

1 quart sauce pan.
1 burner.
1 silicon spatula.
1 digital scale.
Few containers for the mise en place.
Cookie sheet or mini cupcake mold.
Parchment paper or silkpad if using sheet.
Nonstick oil if using mold.
Pastry bag fitted with the round tip.
Spray water bottle.
Oven at 400f.

Baker’s percentages (rounded):

100% water
100% eggs
60% flour
40% chocolate syrup
40% coconut oil
40% sugar

Ingredients:

150g water
150g eggs
090g AP flour
063g Dr.Bronners Virgin Coconut Oil White Kernel.
063g Hershey’s chocolate syrup
063g sugar (the sugar can be adjusted to taste, I used less)

Method:

If using sheet, line with parchment
If using mold, spray with nonstick

01. Saucepan on medium heat
02. Mix water, coconut oil, sugar, hershey’s chocolate.
03. Simmer
04. Add flour
05. Mix with spatula until smooth
06. Turn heat off
07. Let cool a bit (can be let cool completely) *
08. Better if dough still pretty warm, easier to mix
09. Add eggs, 3 tbsp at a time and mix well **
10. Its a bit of a work out
11. Lots of fast spatula mixing action
12. Add cheese
13. Mix well with spatula
14. Fill pastry bag with dough
15. Push little dollops on sheet or mold
16. Give them space to expand
17. Wet finger in cold water
18. Kill any pointy bits or they’ll burn
19. Place in preheated oven
20. Spray with some water
21. Bake until awesome

Related posting: Gougeres.

* I dont even think its necessary to simmer anything. There is no cooking involved? maybe the flour starches hydrate better after the simmering water is added. I want to try making this without any heat involved.

** I also don’t think adding the eggs bit by bit help, I added them all at the same time, and waited a bit, eventually the flour absorbs them and the mix become rich and smooth like you’d expect.

done.