Posts Tagged ‘thermostat’

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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Upcoming books on sous vide

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

A number of books related to molecular gastronomy and food science will appear this fall – I’ve previously mentioned the Fat Duck and Alinea cookbooks. But there is more, much more! This time I would like to draw the attention to two books on sous vide which are due to appear in October. And notice how nice the titles compliment each other – one is under pressure, the other one under vacuum!

Thomas Keller, known from the French Laundry, Bouchon and per se, has written the book “Under Pressure – Cooking Sous Vide” (the Under Pressure title was also used by NY Times in a 2005 feature article on sous vide). According to the publisher, Keller and his chefs de cuisine have blazed the trail to perfection through years of trial and error and they show the way in this collection of never-before-published recipes from his landmark restaurants.

The book “Sous-Vide Garen im Vakuum” (Sous vide cooking under vacuum) by Viktor Stampfer (known from the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai) has received much less attention, but certainly deserves to mentioned. The title is in German, but do not despair – it seems to be a bilingual edition with German and English text (can anyone confirm this?), but so far it’s only available for preorder from the German Amazon. According to the publisher the book gives an introduction to the equipment used including sealing devices and recommended temperatures for cooking together with numerous recipes.

These are not the first books to appear on sous vide – enthusiasts have probably obtained one or more of the books by Roca, Farber, Ghazala, Leadbetter, Choain/Noël and Calmejane/Barrier – but I’m quite sure that the new books will complement these very nicely, and they will certainly be more available as several of the others have unavailable for some time.