Tag Archives: how to

How to make the perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

…well, first off, one shouldn’t boil the egg, at least to Hervé This (pronounced Tees), one of the group of people involved in molecular gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy is the application of science to the making of food.

When approaching cooking as science, perfection can be qualified. So what does a perfect hard boiled look like? When you cut the egg open, the hardened yolk should be centered. The egg yolk should not have the green sulfur on the cooked outside. And the whites, when cooked, should be soft and tender. But how to get to that state of perfection?

The idea is to cook the eggs slowly. As This notes in his book, “Molecular Gastronomy – Exploring the Science of Flavor“:

How do eggs cook in the first place? The white consists of about 10% proteins (amino acid chains folded upon themselves in the shape of a ball) and 90% water. During cooking the proteins partially unfold (They are said to be “denatured”) and bind with each other, forming a lattice that traps water – in other words, a gel.

The tenderness of the cooked egg white depends on the quantity of water trapped (the loss of a part of this water is what makes overcooked fried eggs rubbery and overcooked egg yolks sandy) and on the number of proteins making up its lattices (more lattices mean that more water is trapped, rigidifying the entire system)…

…When an egg is cooked in boiling water, at a temperature of 100° C (212°F), not only does its mass progressively diminish as water is eliminated from the gell that forms, but many kinds of protein coagulate as well.

By cooking the eggs at a temperature of 154° F (68° C), water loss of the egg is prevented. As long as there is no water loss

As for keeping the cooked yolk in the center of the egg? Prevent it from rising within the shell by rolling it continually.

Technorati Tags: Molecular Gastronomy, Hervé This, Eggs

How to Toast Almonds

When you toast your almonds, it extracts a bit of the almond oil and chars it, giving the almond a deeper flavor that adds complexity to whatever recipe you add almonds. And it’s ultra simple. I’ll give you two ways to do it.

Via the Saucepan

Place your almonds in a heavy, ungreased skillet. Stir often over medium heat until golden brown, 5- 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Via the Oven

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts in one layer on ungreased shallow pie tin or baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden.

The Twelve Stages of Bread

The folowing is a basic primer for the creation of bread. It comes directly from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart, so if you have any issue with it, you need to take it up with him… (need.. get it?!? It’s a PUN!!).

I’m publishing this mostly for reference purposes. Remember, this is a brief over view of the 12 steps. If you want more detail, get the book.

1. Mise en place: Setting up your workspace/kitchen with all measured ingredients and tools at the ready.

2. Mixing: Kneading, either by hand or machine.

3. Primary Fermentation:Allowing the yeast or other leavening agents to do their duty. This is one of the more crucial aspects of making bread.

4. Punching Down (Degassing): Burping the bread dough in order to release some stress from the dough.

5. Dividing: Dividing the dough into appropriate sizes and weights.

6. Rounding: Giving the dough its initial shape…usually a boule(ball) or bâtard (torpedo).

7. Benching: Resting the dough, allowing the gluten to rest and de-stress.

8. Shaping: Shaping the dough to give it the distinctive look.

9. Proofing (Secondary Fermentation): Allowing the dough to rise a bit before baking. It’s also the time you put any wash you wish to put on.

10. Baking: Scoring the dough and placing into the appropriate oven.

11. Cooling: Allowing the dough to cool down enough to set. The bread is still cooking even after it leave the oven.

12. Storing and Eating: Pretty much self-explanatory, no?

How to boil water

I’m not being snarky here (snarky = to be a prentetious, patronizing butthead). There is great debate on what is the proper way to brew/steep tea. You will need the following:

  • tea kettle
  • ceramic or porcelin tea pot
  • tea strainer
  • A cup from which to drink

The steps are as follows:

1). Using non-chlorinated water. (I’m serious about this bit, more than any. Chlorinated tap water makes a bigger difference in tea than it does in water alone).
2) Pour water into tea kettle and bring to either a) a boil if your making black tea…or b) almost to a boil if your making green tea.

3) While water is heating, put a tea spoon full of tea for every cup of tea you wish to make (sheesh.. sorry about that) into the tea pot. If you want to be British or Irish in your tea making, add one additional tea spoon of tea for the pot. This will insure a deeper taste of flavor, sometimes to the detriment of the tea, but that’s those crazy brits for you. (NOTE: Do NOT use that metal tea infuser that comes with all tea pots. Let the tea leaves sneak there ways to every area of the pot to ensure that you get an even steep. Use the infuser for something more practical…such as a small cage for house flys)
4) Once the water arrives at the temperature you need, pour water from kettle into tea pot.

5) Allow to steep. Get out your timer (You DO have a timer don’t you???). Black teas need to steep for three minutes, green teas for two.
6) Pour tea into cup, using a tea strainer to catch tea leves.

7) Drink and feel superior to all those folks still drinking tea made with tea bags.

That’s it. Enjoy!