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mansonlamps

A Cooking or Baking Tip, From Me To You

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I am not the greatest cook, but I have picked up a few tricks along the way that I use a lot and that make my life simpler.

I am making English muffins with a recipe from the recipe thread and every recipe I see says to knead the dough by hand or use the dough hooks on a stand mixer. A few years ago I read a tip by Mark Bittman to knead dough in the food processor . It works like a charm and takes less than a minute. What a time and aggravation saver for me!

If you are a baker who kneads by hand for therapeutic reasons this is not the tip for you . For the rest of us that are just trying to get the dough into the rising mode this works really well. And since I keep the food processor on the counter and the stand mixer in the cabinet, it also saves time from getting appliances out. I know some others would do the opposite with their appliances, but this tip was a real blessing to me, hope someone else likes it.

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That is a technique discovered by cutting fat (even oils) in the processor. It's cleaner, faster and more precise. Then adding the liquid just took to another lovely level. Never made pizza dough before.  Thanks to Pizza Studio I like pizza again. They do non gluten and have amazing toppings that suit a variety of tastes,  including traditional. With your technique it woulld be awesome to make them at home. Ummm, chicken,  pesto, bacon, jerk and truffle salt.

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Just read this, but haven't actually tried it so anyone who has, let me know if it works please.

How to make fluffier pancakes - Just separate your eggs, whisk the dry ingredients, add the egg yolks to the wet ingredients, combine the wet and dry together, then add the egg whites, and let it hang out for 5 minutes or so while you heat your skillet.

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12 minutes ago, DeLurker said:

Just read this, but haven't actually tried it so anyone who has, let me know if it works please.

Not sure how I missed this, but I'll certainly give it a shot fairly soon.  Making dough like this can be done in the period between when everybody has finished homework, dinner, taken showers and have settled down for the evening and when they go to bed.  And then the next day when I come home from work, there's the pizza dough ready for me to fire up some pizza.  

There are three basic differences here from what I normally do that makes me think it's worth trying:

1. Food Processor versus Stand Mixer with a dough hook.  I've made dough in the processor before, but I've settled in on the mixer because I own the mixer and figure I should use it when I get the chance.  Maybe the processor is important here, so I'll give it a shot.

2. Bread flour versus AP flour.  I was JUST thinking that maybe I should use bread flour for pizza next time, but whenever I look up recipes it says all purpose flour.  So now I have a reason to give it a shot.

3. Cold water. I've always used yeast and a little sugar in warm water.  Here it's the yeast and sugar in with the dry ingredients and then cold water, which means it isn't going to be ready in an hour.  

So I'll report back.

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I used to use the Mark Bittman pizza dough recipe, in the food processor.  I've recently switched to the ATK recipe, also in the food processor, which calls for mixing, then letting it stand for a minute, then mixing again for 30 seconds.  Who knows if this makes any difference or if it's all in my head.  

And hell no on cold water.  Essentially any ingredient for baking should be at room temperature except for pie crust, when the water and fat should be icy cold (I freeze the lard until it's just getting hard).  And any dough made with yeast requires water that is just slightly cooler than hot tap water. 

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I use the overnight recipe for pizza dough from Budget Bytes.  Last time, I substituted about half a cup of whole wheat flour for all purpose and it worked better than I could have hoped.

My tip is that if your recipe contains oil (or molasses) and eggs, crack the eggs into the measuring cup you'll be using for the oil.  The protein of the egg makes the oil stick to the cup less so it's easier to clean afterwards.  If measuring solid shortening or lard, line the cup with cling wrap first so the cup stays clean.

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I agree on the fluffy pancake tip!  I also will only use waffle recipes that call for separating the egg.  It really does make a substantially more fluffy product. 

A great tip for pancakes is to add extract or zest for extra flavor.  If you're making plain pancakes, vanilla or almond extract.  If you're making a berry pancake, lemon zest is amazing.  Coconut extract in banana pancakes tastes great.  And a little goes a long way-no more than 1 teaspoon of vanilla/almond, 1/2 teaspoon of coconut and test it and add more as you like.  So many mixes and recipes have no flavor to them!

A potato tip my great grandmother swore by:  Except for mashed potatoes, you should always cook potatoes two times.  So, if you're making roasted potatoes, boil them first, cool them, then cut into wedges or halves to roast.  The crust is unbelievably better than using raw ones, and I swear cooked potatoes soak up flavors like garlic and thyme so much better.

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My Godmother made wonderful apple pies & no one left any of the crust on their plate. One day she showed me why. After she places the bottom crust in the pie plate & adds the filling, she smears softened butter along the rim. She then sprinkles cinnamon sugar along the rim. Top crust goes on and is sealed with bottom. So the crust rim is like those rolled cookies filled with cinnamon (can't think of their name--rugelas??)

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The cookies I'm thinking of are rugelachs. Actually, my Godmother would makes cookies similar to rugelachs out of leftover piecrust dough + the cinnamon sugar. We loved them.

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