Posts Tagged ‘fermentation’

Nordic food lab

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013


Tables set and decorated for the best lunch at a scientific conference ever!

I mentioned in my blog post on “The Emerging Science of Gastrophysics” symposium held at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen that we were treated with what was for me the best conference lunch ever. Later on the same day we even had a chance to visit the Nordic food lab, located on a house boat anchored up in Christianshavn, right next to restaurant noma. Here are some pictures and impressions from the lunch and the following visit to the Nordic food lab. (more…)

TFP2010: More inspiration from Asia (part 3)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010


Sang Hoon Degeimbre (chef at L’Air du Temps) on stage at TFP2010. Photo by Piet De Kersgieter.

As mentioned in my previous post on The Flemish Primitives 2010 (TFP2010) two chefs had taken their inspiration from Asia. Peter Goossens had come across high pressure processing during a study trip to Japan, and had developed this further in cooperation with Stefan Töpfl. Korean born Sang Hoon Degeimbre (of L’Air du Temps) on the other hand had returned to his roots to study kimchi, the ubiquitious Korean staple food. It is a pickled dish made of vegetables with various seasonings, and it is a very common side dish in Korea. In fact, it’s so common that Koreans say “kimchi” when being photographed, just like we say “cheese” in English.
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Sourdough work in progress (part I)

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

apricot-starter
Attempt to make a sourdough starter using dried apricots, using my immersion circulator for temperature control. I got some bubbling yeast activity, but the final bread dough never rose properly.

Inspired by the Swedish bread blog Pain de Martin which I recently discovered I decided it was time to have a go at sourdough breads! Although one of my favorite types of bread it’s a long time since I gave it a try and even longer since I actually succeeded. Leaving apple peel covered with water for two weeks in a cool place (15 °C) I got a light apple cider which I used to make a starter some years ago. I followed a recipe from the Norwegian artisan bakery Ã…pent bakeri and it gave a marvelous bread. But since then I’ve tried to repeat this twice without success. No wonder that even Rose Levy Beranbaum in her book “The Bread Bible” writes that she didn’t intend to include a chapter on sourdough at all. There’s no doubt that sourdoughs are tricky, but I was a litte surprised and disappointed that someone who sets of to write a 600+ page book on bread even considered to skip sourdough… Luckily she changed her mind and the introduction has a fascinating nice-to-know fact: 1 g flour contains about 320 lactic acid bacteria and 13000 yeast cells!

I believe one the reasons why sourdoughs seem to live their own lifes sometimes is that they need to be kept in a warm place. My kitchen isn’t that warm so I figured it was time to use my immersion circulator and give sourdough another chance (who says you can only use immersion circulators for sous vide anyway? – I think my next project will be to make yoghurt!). With a thermostated water bath keeping a sourdough starter at constant temperature is as easy as 1-2-3. But surprisingly I haven’t seen any blogposts yet from people using their sous vide water baths for sourdough starters (although some have built their own water baths for this purpose using aquarium equipment).
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Chocolate sauerkraut cake

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

After giving a presentation about molecular gastronomy I was asked if I had ever heard about a chocolate cake baked with sauerkraut. I admitted that this was new for me, but that I would be very interested in the recipe. Could it be that this is a new flavor/flavour pairing? Remember, the hypothesis is: if the major volatile molecules of two foods are the same, they might taste (and smell) nice when eaten together. Perhaps there’s some one out there with access to a headspace gas chromatographer that could check this out? Or perhaps someone who has access to the Volatile Compounds in Foods database could do a quick search? If you’re unfamilier with such flavor pairings, another nice pairing with chocolate is the one with caramelized cauliflower and chocolate jelly.

I did get the recipe and it turned out that it was from a cookbook called “Food that really schmecks” by Edna Staebler. The book is a collection of recipes from the Mennonite community in Ontario. Many Mennonites came from Germany, hence the word “schmecks” in the title which is German (zu schmecken = to taste). According to the cookbook, leftover sauerkraut makes the cake moist and delicious – which I can certainly confirm! And the strange things is you can’t really taste the sauerkraut. Here is the recipe (the way I made it):

Sauerkraut chocolate cake
170 g butter (ca. 3/4 cup)
300 g white sugar – less than the 1 1/2 cups in the original recipe
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (either essence or vanilla flavored sugar)
2.5 dL water (= 1 cup)
6 dL flour (= 2 1/2 cup)
1.3 dL unsweetened cocoa (= 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda (sauerkraut is sour, therefore the recipe calls for soda!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
330 g drained  sauerkraut (1 1/2 cup) – more than in the original recipe

Mix butter and sugar. Add eggs, water and dry ingredients. Stir in the sauerkraut and pour batter into greased pan. Bake at 350 F/180 C for 30-50 minutes.

chocolate-sauerkraut-cake

The cake was a little too moist in the center when I made it and could have needed a couple more minutes in the oven. Make sure you check if it’s all set by inserting a wooden match or a knitting pin in the center of the cake!

Interestingly, the cookbook “Food that really schmecks” was recently presented in the blog Cream Puffs in Venice, with the following statement attached: “There is no haute cuisine or molecular gastronomy to be found here”. But chocolate and sauerkraut might turn out to be another flavor pairing based on sound chemical reasoning.

Update: Read the followup on this post with more about chocolate and caraway (the main spice in sauerkraut)