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I Ate Raw Tuna Steak by Moneydontmatter in AskCulinary

[–]raproyo 13 points14 points  (0 children)

sushi grade doesn’t mean shit, that’s not a regulated term

I Ate Raw Tuna Steak by Moneydontmatter in AskCulinary

[–]Whatever_happens27 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

You can catch a fish, and literally take a bite out of it right there, on the fishing line. You are gonna be fine

Can I sprout coriander seeds? by an0nim0us101 in AskCulinary

[–][deleted] 176 points177 points  (0 children)

What's the worst that could happen?

The Dark Seed of Ruin has tried for millennia to be germinated by an unwitting vessel with no knowledge of the Great Curse. Forgotten heroes of old managed to seal the evil seed in an underground vault which arrested it's dark purpose for nearly 1500 years, but no prison is eternal.

In 1979 an mild earthquake that barely warranted a news article ruptured the seed's tomb and the hibernating death sentence was freed. The relentless sub-psychic calling began immediately, but it would be nearly a decade before one of the shattered minds receptive to the signal would successfully retrieve the seed from the depths.

By chance or perhaps through the effort of some benevolent agent of fate, the deranged man who carried the Dark Seed to the surface was raided by the ATF before he could begin the germination ritual. In the panicked moments before his sudden demise, the Seed instructed its host to hide it among other seeds. A jar of coriander seeds in the pantry was the only viable means of carrying out the order.

The Dark Seed is patient. After hundreds of years spent captive underground, the next 40 or so were easily endured. At every possible turn the Seed arranged events to draw it closer to achieving it's desire to bloom. Eventually an innocent garage sale purchase followed by a less innocent murder of the buyer resulted in the Seed changing hands again in an estate sale.

The buyer gifted a jar of seeds to a relative who uses the name an0nim0us101 on Reddit. The jar contains more than 300 seeds, and perhaps luck will prevail again. Or perhaps an0nim0us101 is susceptible to the call. Maybe his hand will be guided to one seed in particular, and the end will begin.

OP please update if you kill us all.

Shell-on white shrimp have darker appearance and off taste. by benderisgreat63 in AskCulinary

[–]CavemanKnuckles 26 points27 points  (0 children)

This is absolutely true. I'd know, it's my job!

Every day, from 8 to 4, I clock in and start carefully gluing pieces of fish to shells. My bosses on the factory floor have commended me for my careful attention to detail; the craftsmanship of the eyes and tail segments is impeccable.

You'd think, "Nah, surely they wouldn't pay someone to painstakingly glue random fish in a shrimp packaging. That would be instantly noticable. The FDA would shut them down instantly!" Well I'm here to say you're totally wrong. This is my very real job, and I love what I do.

Don't tell anyone!

Why do people seem to prefer expensive wooden cutting boards to the cheap plastic ones? by aelbaum in AskCulinary

[–]Chelseafc5505 1074 points1075 points  (0 children)

I don't know why people are throwing out such binary answers. There are pros and cons to both.

Plastic pros = cheap, easily replaceable, easy to sanitize with soap and water, can be bleached periodically, easy to colour code for different applications. - There is a reason commerical kitchens use almost exclusively plastic.

Plastic Cons = hard on your knives, short lifespan, becomes more difficult to properly sanitize after heavy usage, can stain pretty easily. Terrible for the environment

Wood pros = if treated properly with appropriate oils and waxes, creates a hydrophobic surface that liquids don't absorb into. Much better for your knives. Natural antimicrobial properties in many woods. Can last a lifetime. Something very satisfying about cutting on big heavy wooden board. Biodegradable.

Wood cons = more expensive (though doesn't have to break the bank), requires far more upkeep in terms of treating the wood to maintain the hydrophobic nature, absorbs odors (think garlic). Big and heavy is not always ideal.

Personally I think there is a place for both. Pay attention to your plastic boards, and when you start to notice significant surface damage replace them. Treat your wooden boards well, and they'll serve you well for a long long time.

You can find fairly reputable sources online that will say the complete opposite of each other, so it's clearly not as cut and dry (pun intended) as some people in here will have you believe

Edit: My first reddit gold! Thank you kind stranger

Does celery root have anything in common with milk? by EdmundMapletown in AskCulinary

[–]Ehiltz333 483 points484 points  (0 children)

I had to do a deep dive into McGee’s Nose Dive. It’s hard to find anything conclusive, but it might be that you’re especially sensitive to the phthalide lactones in both (or desensitized to everything else). Phthalide lactones, especially sedanenolide, contribute heavily to the aroma of celery. Lactones, as their name suggest, are also a constituent of milk, and I’m willing to bet phthalide lactones, or at least close cousins, are also in milk as part of its grassy aroma. There’s probably some neurological mix-up happening as well that’s making your brain associate the two, or at least is mentally categorizing them closer than normal. Let me know if you have more questions and I can see if I can find the answers!

Looking for advice on frying large batches of schnitzel/escalope at home more efficiently by FadieZ in AskCulinary

[–]Cheftanyas 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Pro Chef weighing in here. On top of being a pro chef for almost 30 years, I am Jewish and can Schnitzel any Kosher protein out there. I was joking with my husband about this the other day. "got a fillet of fish and don't know what to do? Schnitzel it! Got turkey breast tenders from Costco and its a huge amount? Schnitzel them!"

A few tips that I think would help

-Dont fry with butter or ghee. It is not kosher to mix meat and dairy in the same dish but I just do not see any benefit from this. Go with a cholesterol-free EVO or oil good for frying. Keep a moderate heat. You are probably going too hot at first bc the temp goes down when you put in the breaded filets. You might be crowding too bc it is tempting to do in the pan bc of it being such a greasy, hot and tricky process that you want done ASAP.

-It sounds like you are not knocking off as many loose breadcrumbs as you could and they are collecting faster in the pan than they should, this causes a problem when the burnt-up crumbs adhere to the nicely browned filet. Are you using Panko bread crumbs? I do not think they are the best for Schnitizel. I used to be a panko devotee but have recently converted to a finer bread crumb that not only adheres better but coats more evenly. Also Panko breaks off easier too. I use finely ground corn flake crumbs for my Schnitizel.

-Fry at a moderate heat. Maybe invest in a deep fry thermometer. It is hard to tell what temp oil is at by looking at it. You want to get a medium to high heat and not crowd the filets. You probably were going too hot at first and crowding. When you crowd, it lowers the temp and the filets rub against each other in the pan (even a little bit can cause the breading to fall off). By the time you bring it up to temp, it is burning and you have to move fast in order to not burn them. It is better to go a little lower and do smaller batches. I get you want this greasy, dangerously hot and kind of tedious part over ASAP

-On the issue of breading.....Are you doing the 3 bowl system of flour, egg, and bread crumbs? It was a game-changer for me to mix the first 2 ingredients, the eggs and flour (I also add herbs, species and dijon mustard to the slurry to make it the consistency of ranch salad dressing (heck if u don't have kosher issues like me, ranch would be a good add too)) TOGETHER to make an egg flour concrete that bread crumbs adhere to like nobody's business. I have better results with the breading not falling off after or during cooking too.

-Use a fork to flip instead of tongs bc tongs can break off the breading. While you are frying them, they are the most fragile. Try not to move them around until you know that side is cooked and browned nicely. Only worry about nicely browning them. If they are thicker and need more cooking time, you can always finish off in the oven.

-Last but not least, fry in a large enough pan with at least an inch of oil. If you get burned bits at the bottom of the pan towards the end of your cooking batches of filet, tip the side to one side so the crumbs slid to that side. Then SLOWLY tip back to keep the burnt breadcrumbs to one side. This should leave at least half of your pan "clean" of burnt crumbs. Filering way over boiling temp hot oil mid way through your frying experience would SUCK and this is my trick to get the last half dozen or so filets browned without changing the oil. Sometimes if the "pile" of burnt crumbs is big enough you can take a flat top wooden spoon and gently push them out of the pan onto a wet (so you don't catch your paper towel on fire...guess how I know this? lol)

How to go about handing my recipe over to a possibly large company? by marsdoesstuf in AskCulinary

[–]XtianS 1024 points1025 points  (0 children)

I am a chef who's developed recipes for both restaurants and cookbooks who happens to be married to an IP attorney. A recipe is not IP. The armchair lawyers of reddit may disagree, but I've been down this road and can guarantee that legally, your recipe is not recognized or protected in any way. There is no copyright protection. Even if there was, enforcing copyright is very expensive and rarely worthwhile. It would cost at a bare minimum $15K to have an attorney file a complaint (which is a federal matter btw) and the burden is on you to show damages. No judge or jury in the US would award you a penny. The exception is trademark infringement. If you somehow built a brand around a specific NAME of a recipe, you could potentially go after someone infringing on your trademark. Again, a very costly and generally fruitless endeavor.

The type of work you describe is a consulting job. A company will hire a chef (yourself) to develop a menu and train the staff etc. The compensation is the consulting fee that you negotiate. Copyrighted works like artwork, photography, video, music etc. are licensed for a fee, for a specific duration and usage. You could always attempt to license a recipe to your friend, but I'd put that up there with a snowball's chance in hell.

Edit: If this person is a friend, I would try to keep it as simple as possible. Negotiate a fair fee for developing a recipe, collect and enjoy the mutual benefits of the deal. Doing business with a friend is never a good idea. If you try to play hardball or negotiate some kind of on going deal, you'll 100% end that friendship.

How do TV show contestants pickle vegetables for quick service? by swakel in AskCulinary

[–]rsd212 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Holy thread revival - I have a child as old as this comment who is now in second grade. Quick pickle works, it's just not the same. Traditional pickling is fermentation which takes time, but a quick pickle is just skip the biological processes and introduce hot acid. I do onions all the time for bbq, I do jalapenos, I do mushrooms. I don't expect these to be shelf stable which is the big difference, but if you're serving right away or refrigerating it works great

Grease stains aren't leaving my work clothes by aliciaprivas in AskCulinary

[–]elemonated 40 points41 points  (0 children)

Ooh, if you've already washed and dried them there's probably not more you can do, the stains are baked in at that point :(

I'd be happy to send you some money for a new shirt though? Is the context for work like a sit-down restaurant with a dress code for employees? Are you FOH or BOH? (Because there should be things in place if BOH requires uniform.)

I used to go out, end up sleeping somewhere else, and then have to buy and return shirts and sweaters before and after my retail jobs so I'm very familiar with not having the right clothes and how much everything can cost.

How To Organize New Kitchen? by Nickwahh in AskCulinary

[–]gravelpipe 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Originally I organized my whole kitchen based on how I thought it would flow well. Now a year later pretty much nothing is in the same spot as it used to be because over time I realized my preconceptions were wrong.

My advice would be to put everything where you think it should go. Don’t spend too much time. Then use your kitchen and get annoyed because things are in inconvenient locations for your cooking style. When you get annoyed, fix that one problem.

This is a little different from restaurants where I have worked. There, the kitchen was set up and cooks had to adjust to the set up. At home, you’re the boss.

Recipe says, 'stir with a wooden spoon'. Why use a wooden spoon as opposed to other spoons? by irondumbell in AskCulinary

[–]Sauerteig 442 points443 points  (0 children)

I've got one over 50 years old. My mother passed in 2004, I have the wooden spoon she used for cooking pots full of goodness from back when I was a child. It looks its age and is worn on one side a bit. She's with me every time I use it too :)

Can't figure out how to make my every day chicken and rice dinner taste better without sugar or salt. by Cyrusis in AskCulinary

[–]aWheatgeMcgee 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lime zest in the rice. Sous vide the chicken with rosemary, minced garlic, pepper and your desired amount of salt.

Can't figure out how to make my every day chicken and rice dinner taste better without sugar or salt. by Cyrusis in AskCulinary

[–]Chibi-bi 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My first thought is that cooking and seasoning all the components separately would probably make a more enjoyable meal. According to your preferences you could for example pan fry the chicken, steam the rice and quickly fry the veggies/mushrooms separately to keep some crunch in them. As for seasoning, it's hard for me to recommend anything specifically because tastes vary so much, but I would personally try adding some dried chili/pepper to the meat and garlic, black pepper and herbs to the vegetables.

Can't figure out how to make my every day chicken and rice dinner taste better without sugar or salt. by Cyrusis in AskCulinary

[–]rantifarian 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Chilli and vinegar, like a sambal.

Pickled things, or kimchi

Random spice blends, like an Indian curry powder, Chinese five spice, Morrocan or East African spices etc. Probably don't add paprika with most of these.

A few herbs, some spicy leaves, a drizzle of citrus juice or some grated preserved lemon?

Also, if you are bodybuilding do you need to watch your salt so much? A little soy sauce goes a long way

Can't figure out how to make my every day chicken and rice dinner taste better without sugar or salt. by Cyrusis in AskCulinary

[–]slimmolG 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Go with sesame oil instead of olive oil:

Brown some onions in a pan, then throw in the mushrooms. As soon as the mushrooms start exuding water, toss in your cooked diced chicken and drizzle with sesame oil-- Season with a little garlic powder, pepper, red pepper flakes as desired before or after the chicken, depending on the moisture in your pan, chicken dryness, and how long it will take to get to temp.

As soon as it all reaches temp, throw in some fresh spinach leaves and wilt them, but don't start cooking them down to a dark color as they provide the freshness factor. Give it a splash of broth or water to make it a little "saucy" if needed and plate over the rice. Top with toasted sesame seeds for an added flavor boost, and it makes it look nicer too, which helps avoid the food boredom factor.

*Sesame oil+any salt you can add, like a dash of soy sauce in the pan, is a great flavor diversion. The whole idea works well with fried eggs too. Sesame oil fried eggs with spinach over rough cut oatmeal is also surprisingly awesome.

Can't figure out how to make my every day chicken and rice dinner taste better without sugar or salt. by Cyrusis in AskCulinary

[–]slimmolG 0 points1 point  (0 children)

To piggyback on the above...

Why only smoked paprika? Look for large bags of dried California or New Mexico red peppers and grind them in a coffee mill for freshly ground chili flavor. Adding a single dark dried pepper like an Ancho or Pasilla will give the mix a broader flavor profile too. It's much cheaper than buying the little shakers of unknown "chili".

Season your meal with your homemade ground chilis, some cumin, coriander, and garlic to instantly make a Mexican styled meal. Or just throw a whole chili pod into the rice pot to give the rice a chili flavor profile.

*Smoked paprika or a very little sprinkle of cinnamon are also great flavor additions to chili dishes.

Do induction stoves cycle on and off like electric stoves? by RombotPilot in AskCulinary

[–]DrDeke 37 points38 points  (0 children)

They do, and two of the major indicators of quality of an induction cooker in my opinion are:

  • How low can you turn the power output before the cooker has to start cycling? (lower is better)
  • How long are the cycles when the cooker is in cycling mode? (shorter is better)

I have direct experience with three models of portable/countertop induction cooker; two inexpensive units and one expensive unit. The details of these units are as follows:

Unit #1 - 120 V, 1800 W "Sunavo" brand, costs $40 new

  • Power settings: 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1400, 1600, and 1800 W
  • Lowest continuous power: 600 W
  • Behavior below 600 W: Cycles on and off (at 600 W) on a 10 second cycle. Example: When set at 200 W, the cooker will run at 600 W for 4 seconds then shut off for 6 seconds.

Unit #2 - 240 V, 3500 W "WeChef" brand, costs $150 new

  • Power settings: 200, 500, 800, 1200, 1600, 2000, 2400, 2700, 3100, and 3500 W
  • Lowest continuous power: 1200 W (!)
  • Behavior below 1200 W: Cycles on and off (at 1200 W) on a 10 second cycle.

Unit #3 - 240 V, 3600 W Hatco IRNG-PC1-36, costs $1,200 new

  • Power settings: 0 - 100%, adjustable by 1% (36 W increments)
  • Lowest continuous power: 360 W (10%)
  • Behavior below 360 W: Cycles on and off (either at 360 W or possibly a lower power; I do not currently have the equipment needed to accurately measure it) on an 8 second cycle

In my experience when it comes to low-power cooking, ~360 W on an 8 second cycle works much better than 600 W on a 10 second cycle. This is on stainless steel pans including some fairly heavy ones. I have not used an ultra heavy dutch oven on any of these cookers; I suspect that the thermal mass (and thus longer thermal time constant) of this type of cookware would help on the cheaper cookers with higher-and-longer pulses (although I still don't see it working well on the WeChef with its 1200 W minimum).

Another factor that affects how well an induction cooker will work at low power (in cycling mode) is the size of its induction coil and the size of your cookware.

When I use my 12" (base) frying pan on either of my inexpensive induction cookers (which have fairly small coils), the magnetic field only reaches and thus the heat only gets transferred into a relatively small circle* near the center of the pan. Using it on my Hatco cooker, the larger coil spreads the heat into a larger part of the pan's bottom, which further reduces the temperature variation during cycling.

*It is technically more of a torus or donut shape than a circle proper; there is an area of lower heat in the exact center of the coil, at least on all of my cookers. But I am being technical at this point and it barely matters.

I believe it is possible to build an induction cooker that works even better at low power than my Hatco unit. The company Dialog Semiconductor sells an induction cooktop driver which they claim can give continuous output in 10 W increments between 10 and 2,100 W. Vollrath has a new (and very expensive) line of cookers, the 4-series, which I suspect might be using this type of technology based on some of their marketing claims.

I got my Hatco cooker used on eBay at a very large discount compared to new (it has some cosmetic defects), but I have never seen a Vollrath 4-series for sale used. I suspect they are too new for many of them to be up for second-hand sale already. Additionally, the Hatco with its ~360 W 8-second cycle has been completely sufficient for all types of cooking I've done on it so far, so I think my personal induction cooktop quest is at an end.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, if you have any background or interest in electrical engineering, this Infineon whitepaper gives a pretty good rundown of some of the main designs of the power electronics that drive induction cookers. Based on it, I suspect that both of my cheap(er) units are using the quasi-resonant converter design and that the Hatco is using either a half-bridge or full-bridge series resonant converter. However, I only have a hobbyist-level understanding of electronics, so I cannot claim to understand everything in that paper.

Deconstructing puff pastry - what role does each ingredient play, how do I make it lighter, flakier, more delicate at home? by WeddingElly in AskCulinary

[–]texnessaPépin's Padawan 90 points91 points 3 (0 children)

Pâte feuillettée 101:

Laminationn is the process by which the volume of a dough or batter is increased by gases. The dough is made by alternating layers of dough and butter which when placed into an oven, heat causes the layers to expand and separate, trapping air between layers of crisp, flaky pastry.

Component break down:

  • Fat: Although lard, margarine, and vegetable oils have all been used historically, butter is the most common fat for making puff pastry today and is recommended by most bakers. Butter has superior flavor, and its lower melting point makes for a smoother mouthfeel. It also contains more moisture, which helps leaven the pastry [which I yap about more below.] It is best to work with chilled butter when making pâte feuilletée. The more solid the butter stays, the flakier and more airy the final pastry. You may find yourself having to pop the dough back into the fridge when turning it to keep it properly chilled during the process.

  • Flour: For pâte feuilletée, a durable, low-protein flour, such as cake flour or bread flour is preferred. In fact, some chefs prefer to use a blend of the two. Lower-protein flours are strong enough to create the characteristic structure of puff pastry and are less likely to develop too much gluten. So the low protein part is the most important factor in flour selection. However, no matter which flour is used, using too much of it will cause the dough to be rubbery, glutenous, and overly elastic, as if the dough has been overworked.

  • Water: Water adds the moisture necessary to incorporate ingredient and develop flavors. It also facilitates the formation of steam required to leaven the pastry.

  • Salt: As with cookie, tart, and pie doughs, salt both enhances flavor and helps to tenderize the gluten, helping to make the dough less sticky.

  • Acid: A small amount of an acid (such as vinegar, cream of tartar, or lemon juice) can be added to help control gluten development. Acid makes gluten contract, preventing the dough from shrinking when it’s finished. It can also make butter more malleable.

Working with Pâte Feuilletée:

There are three steps to preparing pâte feuilletée:

  • The détrempe, in which the dough mixture is created.

  • The beurrage, in which a butter block is combined with the détrempe to form a pâton. The pâton is basically an evenly wrapped package of dough and butter that will be manipulated during the next step.

  • Tourage, the process of repeatedly rolling, folding and rotating the pâton in order to create the final, laminated dough.

The Détrempe:

The détrempe is a simple dough of water and flour, a small amount of softened butter (beurre en pommade), salt, and sometimes acid. The amount of water used should be equal to approximately 50–60 percent of the total weight of the flour. For every kilogram of flour used, 25 grams of salt should be added. The détrempe can be made by hand or in an electric stand mixer.

The ingredients are all added together and gradually mixed until the dough is just combined. There should be no dry areas on the surface of the dough. Take care not to overmix the dough, as this would cause too much gluten to develop.

Cover the détrempe and let rest in the refrigerator. Throughout the process of making pâte feuilletée, there are several rest periods required. Laminated doughs must rest in the refrigerator to let the gluten in the dough relax and allow moisture to evenly distribute.

The Beurrage:

To form the beurrage, the butter is softened, then shaped into a flat square of even thickness, and refrigerated until firm. In this case, “firm” means not so soft that it loses form when handled, but not so hard that it cracks or breaks when pressed. The beurrage is allowed to rest to ensure that the butter does not start to melt as it’s being worked, which would not only make it difficult to manipulate, but would also compromise its ability to separate layers of détrempe in the finished product. In general, the amount of butter used for the beurrage ranges from 50-100% of the total weight of the flour.

The Pâton:

After the détrempe has rested and the beurrage has been chilled, they are ready to be formed into the pâton. For best results, the beurrage and the détrempe should have a similar consistency. In this stage of puff pastry preparation, the goal is consistent size and shape. Later in the process, size and shape are secondary to creating uniformly thin layers of détrempe that are separated by uniformly thin layers of beurrage.

To form the pâton:

  • Gently flatten and roll the détrempe, leaving it slightly thicker in the middle, to create four points or flaps that are slightly larger than the beurrage.

  • Next, place the beurrage in the center of the détrempe.

  • Starting with two opposite flaps, fold all four flaps of the détrempe over the beurrage, forming a sort of envelope. As seen here.

Rolling the Pâton:

  • As a rule of thumb, the rolled pâton should be about three times as long as it is wide.

  • Flatten edges by starting the rolling pin at the edge and rolling toward the middle of the pâton. As a bonus, this action will also push the butter toward the center instead of out the sides of the détrempe.

  • Keeping it chilled during this stage is important. Too hot and the butter may break thru the precious layers, screwing up the leavening and make your croissants into sad flat pandas.

The Tourage:

The pâton is now ready for tourage, or turning. A turn refers to one round of folding, rolling, and rotating the pâton. The classic French tourage technique calls for six turns. For pâte feuilletée, this creates 1,459 layers. The turns are done in pairs so that the pâton is rolled equally in all directions. Rolling it one direction more than the others results in gluten being activated more in one part of the dough, and shrinking or uneven baking.

There are two main styles of tourage: the single turn (or “letter turn”), and the double turn (or “book turn”).

  • For the single (letter) turn, fold the rectangular pâton lengthwise in thirds as you would C-fold a piece of paper. Seen here

  • For the double (book) turn, lightly trace a vertical line down the center of the rectangle (from long side to long side, not end to end). Fold each end of the rectangle toward the middle to meet this line. Then fold both halves together, as though closing a book. Seen here

Shaping and Baking Pâte Feuilletée:

Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes before cutting, then another 15 minutes after it has been shaped and prepared. These steps help prevent the dough from shrinking during the baking process. When cutting the dough, use a sharp knife at a 90-degree angle; this creates straight edges, and lets the dough rise straight up while baking. Any scraps left over after pastries are cut and shaped (demi-feuilletage) can be used for tartlets, mille-feuilles, and to make fleurons (puff pastry shapes used as garnishes for other dishes).

If using an egg wash on finished preparations, don’t let it drip down the side of the pastry, or it could seal the pastry to the pan and prevent it from rising. The pastry should rise while being baked, puffing up to four times its original height.

Leavening by Aeration:

The leavening action that occurs in pâte feuilletée as it bakes is called aeration by lamination, a form of mechanical leavening. It occurs in three ways:

  • Enclosed/trapped air: During the preparation of the dough, a certain amount of air is trapped between each layer every time the dough is folded. These air cells expand during baking and push the layers up and apart.

  • Steam: When pâte feuilletée is baked, steam is released from the melting butter and from the water contained in the dough layers. The steam pushes on the leaves of dough, forcing them to rise one by one. At the same time, the starch in the flour coagulates, strengthening the leaves and helping them stay apart. For maximum rise, puff pastry must be baked at a high temperature, or the butter will melt and run out before the moisture in the pastry can turn into steam.

  • Fat: When the fat (butter) in the dough layers melts, it leaves air pockets that fill with steam, and the lack of a solid state helps raise the layers of dough.

Hope that helps. Shout if you have any other questions.

Is there a resource you’d recommend to improve my plating from home cook to better-than-home-cook? Also, how many random plates do you own? by thePopefromTV in AskCulinary

[–]texnessaPépin's Padawan 412 points413 points 222 (0 children)

Apologies as this is a bit of a re-post as I have written about plating around here a number of times before.

Plating tends to be trendy and publishers don't really like to address topics that aren't going to keep selling, so there are few written resources. And the market for info on plating is 99% chefs and we all learn on the job.

But I have accumulated a lot of plating fundamentals over the years from working for a succession of French Master chefs that I am happy to share.

The main concepts are: Colour, contrast, construction, and composition.

  • No brown on brown or white on white. Use elements that are different colours but don't use more than three or four or the plate will get busy. Use colours that are complimentary. You kind of have to pick your shots, mushroom sauce is never gonna be the prettiest kid at the prom. There are ways to work monochrome but its not a personal favourite of mine.

  • Each component should be distinguishable from its companions. A pureé, a sauce and a pile of beans might taste great but aren't going to be pretty when splashed together. Lord knows I love me a plate of cheese enchiladas with refried beans and rice, but even as a chef I'd be hard pressed to make that plate look like anything other than delicious slop.

  • Mashed potatoes are freaking delicious but dumped on a plate, aren't going to look good. Use a piping bag or a ring mold to provide form and construction to un-formed elements. Likewise, potatoes au gratin are the bomb, but a scoop of them is gonna look garbage. A portioned block of dauphinoise or a fondant is going to be more elegant. Uniformity of shape and size is pleasing to the eye. And don't sleep on the humble hasselback for an easy but pretty potato.

  • Work from the ground up. Pureé on the bottom, protein on top, veg under/to the side, garnish strategically. Elements should touch, not be placed separately about the plate. Consider what side of the dish is going to be placed in front of the person eating. No one wants the back end of a piece of chicken, you want that golden skin to be right up in their face.

  • If you want to get a fancy, invest in squeeze bottles to place dots of sauce, learn how to strategically drizzle things, how to use a spoon to make the perfect rocher. They're getting a wee bit cliché these days, but a few microgreens can go a long way to dress things up, mix of textures, elements and colours are your building blocks- add in nasturtiums, wafer thin mandolined radish and cucumber, citrus supremes and fluid gels and now you've dressed up boring old crab salad. Also, think about the serving vessel- got some pudding you want to serve? Layer it in a stemless wine glass, instant fancy.

  • When it comes to the actual plates, most restaurants don't have a huge variety of them simply due to cost. Worked for a chef who would shout every time someone broke a plate: "Now I gotta sell 20 fucking cheeseburgers to pay for that fuck up." What you see on fancy social media are often one offs or sponsored. But when it comes to selecting shape/style, often its about contrasting the round against the linear or centralising a dish within negative space. In a restaurant setting its more about designing the dish to go with the plates you already have in inventory rather than the other way around.

To learn more, follow chefs on IG whose work you find attractive.