Q: Do you have a formula for a sandwich roll that we can use for paninis and other toasted sandwiches? M.B., Manhattan, Kan. A: Here is a tested formula that reaches its full flavor potential after it has been toasted.
A: Here is a tested formula that reaches its full flavor potential after it has been toasted.
|Bread flour 11.2 percent protein||3||5||1.5||15|
|Total appr. wt.||5||2.25||2.33kg||23.3|
Method: Combine all ingredients on low speed until cohesive dough is formed; rest for 15 hours at 41°F (5°C) in a covered container.
|Dough conditioner, optional||5.25||150g||1.5|
|Total app. wt.||37||8.75||17.03kg||170.3|
Method: Combine all ingredients, and mix 4 minutes on low and 5 minutes on medium speed. Desired dough temperature is 75.2°F (24°C). Bench rest for 20 minutes, scale into 3-oz. pieces, shape as desired, and proof with high humidity to full proof. Bake at 392°F (200°C) with moderate steam for 10 to 12 minutes.
Q: We make a great chocolate cake, but can never get a rich chocolate color, even when we use a variety of cacao products. How can we enhance the chocolate color? Dominic, via email
A: Add a few drops of red food coloring to the cake batter, which will greatly enhance the appearance and depth of your chocolate cake.
Q: What is the best way to zest citrus fruit? K.R., Washington, D.C.
A: You can zest citrus fruit using a micro plane, zester, sharp knife or vegetable peeler. The main objective is to extract the essential oils from the outer skin of the fruit but not the bitter white pith. I use an 8-in. micro plane. Place the lemon skin on top of the grating edges, and glide on the zester, then rotate it slightly while holding the micro plane at an angle.
Q: In the past, we have run out of baking powder during production. What is a good substitute? E.B., Kingsburg, Calif.
A: If you have no baking powder on hand, mix your own by combining two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda.
Q: Many formulas recommend using European-style butter. How is it different from “regular” butter? Norman, via email
A: In the United States, products sold as “butter” are required to contain a minimum of 80 percent butterfat; in practice, most American butters contain only slightly more than that, averaging about 81 percent butterfat. European-style butters generally have a higher ratio, up to 85 percent. Therefore, European-style butters contain less water. The lower moisture creates cakes that rise higher, cookies that crisp more evenly and flakier pastries.
Q: Do you have any tips for melting sugar? A.S., Miami
A: Sugar is naturally a crystal and will always try to go back to its natural form during cooking. Stirring sugar too much once it starts to boil causes the sugar syrup to crystallize, rendering it unusable. As a sugar syrup cooks, water evaporates, the sugar concentration increases and the temperature rises. Temperatures reached by the sugar syrup will determine the texture of the cooled mixture–these are known as sugar stages. When boiling sugar for candy-making, adding a spoonful of glucose will prevent it from forming crystals and absorbing moisture. Always work with care when melting sugar–it is very hot and can cause serious injuries.
Q: How can we check if the dry yeast we have is still active? A.P., Cleveland
A: Combine 1 oz. dried yeast with 1 tsp. sugar and 6 ozs. 110°F (43°C) water. If it begins to bubble within 5 minutes, the yeast is still active and can be used. If there is no activity, it is time to purchase new yeast.
Q: Is it possible to make our own buttermilk? Zari, via email
A: Yes, combine 2 ozs. white vinegar or lemon juice with 30 ozs. milk, which yields 1 qt. buttermilk. Let stand for 5 minutes before using.
Dr. Klaus Tenbergen is certified as a Master Baker in Germany, South Africa and the United States. He is currently an assistant professor at California State University in Fresno, directing the Culinology® program, which blends culinary arts and the science of food. For more information about Culinology®, or to submit a question, contact Dr. Tenbergen at firstname.lastname@example.org.