Question: What are the characteristics of the different vanilla beans?
E.L., Tucson, Ariz.
Answer: Bourbon vanilla is creamy, brown, haylike and sweet with a vanillin flavor. Mexican vanilla is creamy, woody, spicy and sweet, while Tahitian vanilla is fruity, sweet, anisic and has cherry-like characteristics.
Question: What can we do with day-old donuts?
S.A., Farmingdale, N.Y.
Answer: I don't recommend using day-old donuts as they have a distinctive fried flavor. You can donate them to a food bank, or sell them at half price.
Question: We just bought a new donut fryer. Can you share some general tips how to avoid potential problems.
B.B., Richmond, Va.
Answer: Following these guidelines will help you produce a superior product and extend the life of the shortening and equipment.
- Do not heat the shortening for a long period of time without use.
- During slack times, allow the fryer to cool.
- Look for any possible contact between the oil and copper or brass parts.
- Replace worn parts when necessary.
- Remember that both animal and vegetable fats are flammable compounds, and that careful usage will prevent accidental fire and possible injury.
- Never overload the fryer. Follow the guidelines of the fryer manufacturer. Adhere to the proper cooking times.
- Skim off and filter out any excess particles.
- Do not allow drip-back from the hood or fryer cover.
- Carefully prepare foods for the fryer. Remove excess fat, loose parts and blot away excess moisture.
- Do not salt or season foods over or around the fryer.
- Keep the fryer spotless. Clean it on a regular basis.
- Remove all gum formations and rinse all soap away before drying.
- Do not allow the oil to burn.
- Check for hot spots in your fryer.
- Check the thermostat of your fryer with a separate thermometer.
Question: Do you have a formula for old-fashioned ginger snaps?
H.S., Fairbanks, Alaska
Answer: This formula uses leftover cake to retain moisture and give extra flavor to the cookie. The cake crumbs also are a great way to reduce cost. Make the cake crumbs by thoroughly drying stale (dark) cake with no icing in the oven. Then, finely grind it and sift to make it uniform.
|Granulated sugar||2.04 kg||4||8||18|
|Confectioners' sugar||2.04 kg||4||8||18|
|Vegetable shortening||2.27 kg||5||20|
|Cake crumbs, dark||2.04 kg||4||8||18|
|Lemon flavor||30 g||1||0.25|
|Ground ginger||170 g||6||1.5|
|Baking soda||140 g||5||1.25|
|Cake flour||5.67 kg||12||8||50|
|Pastry flour||5.67 kg||12||8||50|
|Total appr. wt.||26.29 kg||57||15||231.75|
|Method: Cream both sugars and shortening. Slightly warm the molasses, and add to the creamed mixture. Mix well, then add the cake crumbs and incorporate. Add the salt and lemon flavor. Sift the ground ginger and baking soda with the flour, and add to the mixture. Add the water to the mixture, and mix thoroughly. Roll the dough to about 2/8 ins., and cut with a 2-in. round cutter. Bake with little steam at 350°F.|
Question: I would like to make a graham cracker cake. Do you have a formula?
A.D., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Answer: Try this formula. I have found it to work well.
|Whole milk||910 ml||2||94.3|
|Graham crackers||910 g||2||94.3|
|Granulated sugar||1.755 kg||3||14||181.9|
|Vegetable shortening||625 g||1||6||64.8|
|Cake flour||965 g||2||2||100|
|Whole eggs||1.36 L||2||8||140.9|
|Baking powder||56 g||2||5.8|
|Total appr. wt.||6.894 kg||14||11||714.4|
| Method: Stir the honey into the milk, add the graham crackers and let stand until soft. Cream the sugar and shortening, and gradually add the eggs. Blend the flour, baking powder and salt, and add to the creamed mass. Then introduce the softened crackers, and mix until uniform. Divide evenly on two prepared full sheet pans, and bake at 375°F for 35 minutes or until done. Cool, and assemble with apple jelly and butterscotch icing. Various icings may be used to finish the cake in accordance with regional preferences. |
Question: I have heard that there is a Class K fire extinguisher for bakery oil fires. Would you recommend this extinguisher for the bakery?
G.L., Upper Saddle River, N.J.
Answer: Due to changes in commercial cooking methods, certain fire suppression systems currently installed in bakeries may not provide adequate fire protection. The use of vegetable oils has helped lower the fat and cholesterol content of food, but they burn at a higher temperature than animal fats and create fires that are more difficult to extinguish. The Class K extinguisher was developed to combat this new hazard. This extinguisher uses wet potassium acetate, a low pH agent that has a greater fire-fighting and cooling effect for this type of oil. Most of these extinguishers can be safely used on Class A, B, and C fires also. When using these extinguishers, be sure to check the label first. Their range is 10 to 12 feet and last for about 40 seconds. Class K extinguishers should be placed where deep fat fryers are in use.
Question: We always have excess egg whites. Do you have a cookie formula using egg whites?
D.M., Athens, Ga.
Answer: Walnut kisses are a great way to use egg whites.
|Egg whites||1.815 L||4|
|Granulated sugar||3.63 kg||8|
|Cream of tartar||14 g||0.5|
|Vanilla extract||14 g||0.5|
|Chopped walnuts||1.815 kg||4|
|Total appr. wt.||7.401 kg||16||5|
|Method: Beat the egg whites until they begin to foam, then gradually add half of the sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Sift the cornstarch with the remaining sugar twice, and fold this into the beaten meringue. Carefully fold in the nuts. Deposit through a large star tube and bake in a very moderate oven, about 250°F, with the damper open until the cookies are dry, about 20 minutes, depending on size.|
Question: Can you explain how induction cooking works? I want to replace our gas stove with this technology.
Fred, via e-mail
Answer: Induction works by creating a magnetic field that extends just a few inches above a flat cook top. This magnetic field excites the molecules in a pan, thereby-heating the pan. The pan itself, rather than a flame, then becomes the source of heat. Induction is a highly energy efficient method of cooking, with temperatures reaching more than 600°F. Only pans made with ferrous metals, such as stainless steel and cast iron, can be used in induction cooking. Specially designed induction-ready pans are strongly recommended because they produce the most even heat and most efficient cooking.
Question: Some of our formulas call for blanched almonds, which we do not stock. How do I make my own?
John, via e-mail
Answer: Blanching means to make the nuts white by removing their skin. To make your own blanched almonds, you will need to boil the nuts. Select the size of the pan according to the quantity of almonds you want to prepare. Add water up to the middle of the pan. When the water starts to boil, add the almonds (washed, with their skin), lower the heat and bring them to a boil two to three times in an open pan. Strain them. While the almonds are still warm, press the large end of each almond to pop it from its skin, and pat the almonds dry. You can add a small amount of baking soda to make this process even easier.
Question: We have problems with our cocoa and cocoa products. Our chocolate gets a whitish/grayish-"film" during storage. What causes this?
D.H., Racine Wis.
Answer: Cocoa and cocoa products are very sensitive to light, humidity, heat and strong odor. The best way to store these products is in temperatures around 59°F (15°C) and a relative humidity of about 65 percent. If the product is stored at higher temperatures, part of the cocoa butter will move to the surface and eventually seize-up, resulting in a grayish "film". At higher humidity levels, cocoa powder lumps easily and is receptive to mold growth. I suggest storing milk chocolate no longer than 6 months and dark chocolate no longer than one year.
KLAUS TENBERGEN is a Bäckermeister ( Germany), Certified Master Baker (USA), Master Baker (South Africa) and Chef Instructor at Kendall College-"The School of Culinary Arts" in Chicago. For more information about Kendall College, call toll free 877/588-8860. You can contact Chef Klaus Tenbergen via e-mail at: email@example.com.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION about formulation, make-up procedure, equipment application or other technical point? E-MAIL your question to firstname.lastname@example.org or FAX it to 847/296-1968.