Latest News

Why did my green tea muffins turn black?

I made green tea muffins following the recipe here. I like my muffins moist and fluffy, so I added banana as suggested by the recipe and replaced half of the baking powder with baking soda. I also added a teaspoon of rice vinegar to activate the baking soda.

Right before baking the mix was vibrantly green, but after 13 minutes in the oven the muffins had turned very dark — and this morning they were even darker.

What happened, and how can I prevent it?

…read more

Alcohol evaporation of beer in a cake

I’d like to bake a Guinness flavored cocoa cake. My direction say to start by beating room temperature butter with brown sugar, then eggs and a mixture of flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Finally, incorporate the Guinness as it is. The picture show also the foam.

My question is: I’d like to heat the beer beforehand in order to have the alcohol evaporate; bring it back to room temperature and then incorporate it.

Do you think it will affect a good raising/cooking and the texture of the cake? …read more

having problem with chicken pot pie crust

I made two chicken pot pies last night, and the crust turned out like a giant cracker. Not soft and flaky at all like the store bought ones.

I think I have identified two probable reasons:

1) I skipped the egg was at the end. So the top layer was just really dry.

2) I probably overworked the dough. I used the pizza dough setting on my breadmaker which takes 90 minutes.

I used butter that was almost frozen. And I chilled my water in the freezer for 10 minutes before mixing. I think I did those parts right.

Next time I will try just working the dough by hand and handling it as little as possible. And I definitely won’t skip the egg wash.

My question is: Next time I do this, how can I know if I’ve done it right without just simply cooking the pie directly. This was a TONNE of work. It would be nice if I could focus on mastering the crust before I make another pie. Can you just cook a crust by itself in the oven to see what happens?

Edit: After reading some related topics, there seems to be a technique called “blind baking” which may be what I’m looking for.

Should I just omit the filling and keep baking crusts until they start turning out the way i want? …read more

Sous Vide ribs — can’t eat for 2 days… best choice?

Cooking ribs in the fairly new Sous Vide cooker seemed like a great idea, right up until the schedule changed and we can’t eat dinner as a family tonight. Right now, the ribs are about done with the 36 hours of cooking time we’d planned on (a couple hours left). Tomorrow dinner is no good, so we’re about 2 days away from being able to eat them. We know that you can cook longer than planned without any problems with Sous Vide, but an extra 48 hours seems like we might be tempting fate.

Are we better off

letting the ribs cook for another 48 hours, or
pulling the ribs out on time and refrigerating/freezing them for the 2 days, and then finishing them in the oven right before we serve them, or
pull the ribs out tonight, finish them in the oven, then refrigerate them for 2 days, and reheat them?
Any pro/con for those 3 options would be most helpful! …read more

Is there any point in considering sous vide for unskilled newbie cook?

I was considering sous vide as a present for someone, but – being wholly unfamiliar with that cooking method myself except it being trendy – don’t know how use(ful|less) of a present that is for them.

Is there any point in considering sous vide for unskilled newbie cook who doesn’t have too much time to devote to cooking?

Specifically, by that I mean someone who doesn’t have the time, drive, or natural inclination to be a more expert cook. They don’t even use thermometers. They don’t cook fancy (or even simply complicated) dishes and most of the time cook same simple staples (steak, stew, soup, simple pasta, roast fish, stir fry, etc…). As far as I’m aware they never cooked a sauce, or anything requiring two stages of cooking. They don’t usually have the time to cook anything that requires constant supervision for more than an hour; they are at home for 2-3 hours after work 6 days a week; during which time they are busy.

Assuming such a cook continues in the same vein of skill and interest of improving that skill and time commitment; what are the tangible benefits; if any (or downsides, if any) of their having and using sous vide? …read more

What causes butter to “hiss” in the frying pan until I shake it?

When frying an egg, I drop about a tablespoon of room temperature butter in the frying pan and turn it on medium flame. As it’s melting, it starts to make a hissing sound, and bubbles a bit. Then, I take the pan and give it a shake, spreading the butter around the pan – and the hissing stops, even after putting the pan back on the heat. What’s going on? …read more

How to cook whitebait without overcooking?

I think I keep on overcooking whitebait. Here is what I am doing:

Quickly bring water to a boil, lower to simmer,
Add whitebait(which may remove simmer since food lowers temp),
move heat to high until water is starts simmering again,
simmer for 1 minute,
turn whitebait over.
simmer for 1 minute.

Basically fish should spend 1 minute in poached water and 2 minutes in simmering water.

My problem is that even after the above I notice the overcooked fish smell which tastes nasty.
I know people say look at the texture for measure of doneness however I think the cooking time is so short and when i check it it is done.

Can you see where im going wrong? Is it that the two minutes are on a simmer, but it should be on a poach?
Should it only be two minutes from the time the fish is added and not more? …read more

Could oxidation of oil in frozen fish be causing smell which I am mistakening for overcooking?

I posted some questions about overcooking whitebait and am wondering if the cause of this smell, since it appears so quickly is overcooking or fish oil oxidation. I found the following which makes me think it could be due to oil oxidation when freezing and hence not due to any overcooking:

“In frozen fish, bacterial action is reduced to negligible levels but oxidation of the oil, especially in oily fish, will continue during storage and will lead to a loss of eating quality. Some of the proteins in fish undergo changes, not fully understood, during long periods of frozen storage which lead to undesirable toughening of the flesh.”

It’s extremely difficult to get fresh whitebait so I have nothing to compare it against or verify that this is a frozen fish oxidation issue. I am also sensitive to chemicalssmells so it could be that I can sense the oxidised oil wherease most people can’t. …read more

cant cut cookie dough when in tube

new to this forum and newish to baking. I have rolled my cookie dough (eggless recipe) into a tube and put into the fridge overnight (in clingfilm). When I come to cut it the next day, it crumbles half way through the cut. I have tried a thin knife, a serrated knife, even tried the floss method. I just end up with half the cookie intact and the other half in crumbs. What am I doing wrong to such a simple process? Any ideas would be most appreciated
tks …read more