📖 Read pages i-39 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

📖 Read pages i-39, Acknowledgements, Preface, Introduction, beginning of Chapter 1. What is it About Bread, of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart (Ten Speed Press, , ISBN: 978-1-60774-865-6)

The opening is perhaps overly romanticized, though still interesting. He does relatively quickly get into the good stuff though.

📖 Read pages 195-244 of Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

📖 Read pages 195-244, Part 5: The Custard Continuum, of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman (Scribner, , ISBN: 978-1-4165-661-3)

The Custard Continuum may have been one of my favorite parts of the book. I particularly like that he includes a recipe for butterscotch, which he’s right in saying that there are so few.

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📖 Read pages 163-194 of Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

📖 Read pages 163-194, Part 4: Fat-Based Sauces, of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman (Scribner, , ISBN: 978-1-4165-661-3)

Mayonnaise: 20 parts oil: 1 part liquid: 1 part yolk
Hollandaise: 5 parts butter: 1 part liquid: 1 part yolk
Vinaigrette: 3 parts oil: 1 part vinegar

Rule of thumb: You probably don’t need as much yolk as you thought you did.

I like that he provides the simple ratios with some general advice up front and then includes some ideas about variations before throwing in a smattering of specific recipes that one could use. For my own part, most of these chapters could be cut down to two pages and then perhaps even then cut the book down to a single sheet for actual use in the kitchen.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Part 4: Fat-Based Sauces

But what greatly helps the oil and water to remain separate is, among other things, a molecule in the yolk called lecithin, which, McGee explains, is part water soluble and part fat soluble.

Highlight (yellow) – Mayonnaise > Page 168

Added on Sunday, February 4, 2018

The traditional ratio, not by weight, is excellent and works beautifully: Hollandaise = 1 pound butter: 6 yolks. This ratio seems to have originated with Escoffier. Some cookbooks call for considerably less butter per yok, as little as 3 and some even closer to 2 to 1, but then you’re creeping into sabayon territory; whats more, I believe it’s a cook’s moral obligation to add more butter given the chance.

Highlight (yellow) – Hollandaise> Page 185

more butter given the chance! Reminiscent of the Paula Deen phrase: “Mo’e butta is mo’e betta.”
Added on Sunday, February 4, 2018


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Happy Fornicalia

Celebrating the Ancient Roman religious festival in honor of the goddess Fornax

As we coast toward the nones of February whence we’ll commence the celebration of the Fornacalia, by all accounts an Ancient Roman religious festival celebrated in honor of the goddess Fornax, a divine personification of the oven (fornax), and was related to the proper baking of bread, I thought it only appropriate to call some attention to what should be an international holiday for bakers.

While shamefully few, if any(?), now celebrate the Fornacalia, I’ve always looked at the word as a portmanteau of a festival along the lines of a bacchanalia for bread with tinges of seeming Latin cognates fornicati, fornicatus, fornicata, and fornicatae or the Greek equivalent porneia (πορνεία). Knead these all together and you’ve got the makings of a modern day besotted festival of bread immorality. And really, who wouldn’t want to celebrate such a thing?!

I’ll celebrate myself by doing some baking, listening to the bread related episodes of Eat This Podcast, while reading and looking at bread porn on Fornacalia.com. Special thanks to curio maximus Jeremy Cherfas for providing entertainment for the festival!

How will you celebrate?


Featured photo Bread is a flickr photo by Jeremy Keith aka adactio shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license.

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📖 Read pages 127-162 of Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

📖 Read pages 127-162, Part 3: Meat: Sausage, Mousseline, and Other Meat-Related Ratios, of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman (Scribner, , ISBN: 978-1-4165-661-3)

I like the idea of considering the traditional American hamburger as a special kind of sausage. This general abstraction appeals to the mathematician in me. It also encourages one to be geared toward the closer end of 70/30 meat/fat ratio when making hamburgers! Too often I’ve had people’s homemade burgers made with 92/8 ratios and they’re just dreadful. However, he does stop short and doesn’t encourage one to use pork fat in their burgers…

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Part 3: Meat: Sausage, Mousseline, and Other Meat-Related Ratios

There is no such thing as a good, lean sausage.

Highlight (yellow) – The Noble Sausage > Page 132

Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

The fat of choice is pork back fat, […] it’s better for you than the more saturated fat from beef or lamb.

Highlight (yellow) – The Noble Sausage > Page 133

Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Indeed, the word sausage derives from the Latin for salt.

Highlight (yellow) – The Noble Sausage > Page 133

Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Never use iodized salt, which adds an acrid chemical flavor to food. Use kosher or sea salt only.

Highlight (yellow) – The Noble Sausage > Page 133

Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Morton’s kosher is the closest to an even volume-to-weight ratio (a cup of Morton’s weighs about 8 ounces).

Highlight (yellow) – The Noble Sausage > Page 133

Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Pork sausages should be cooked to 150 deg F before being removed from the heat, and poultry-based sausages should be cooked to 160 deg F.

Highlight (yellow) – The Noble Sausage > Page 134

Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

I make sausage in 5-pound batches, since that’s the maximum that will fit in the 5- or 6-quart mixing bowl standard for most standing mixers;

Highlight (yellow) – The Noble Sausage > Page 135

Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

[When making] Fry a bit-sized portion of the sausage and taste…

Highlight (yellow) – The Noble Sausage > Page 136

Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

One secondary and salutary effect of a brine is that it can actually carry flavors into muscle, …

Highlight (yellow) – Brine > Page 154

For those watching closely, he’s made a pun on the word salutary whose Latin root is also the word for salt.
Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

Sodium nitrite, often simply referred to as pink salt (it’s dyed pink), is a curing salt that’s inexpensive and available from www.butcher-packer.com, which sells pink salt under the name DQ Cure.

Highlight (yellow) – Brine > Page 158

Oddly this line is repeated twice in the footnotes on opposite pages, but provides a useful link for ordering supplies for making Canadian bacon and Corned Beef
Added on Saturday, February 3, 2018

🎧 Bread as it ought to be: Seylou Bakery in Washington DC | EatThisPodcast

Bread as it ought to be: Seylou Bakery in Washington DC by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast
Jonathan Bethony is one of the leading artisanal bakers in America, but he goes further than most, milling his own flour and baking everything with a hundred percent of the whole grain. He’s also going beyond wheat, incorporating other cereals such as millet and sorghum in the goodies Seylou is producing. I happened to be in Washington DC just a couple of weeks after his new bakery had opened, and despite all the work that goes into getting a new bakery up and running, Jonathan graciously agreed to sit down and chat.

And almost as if to prove my point after writing about Modernist BreadCrumbs the other day, Jeremy’s latest episode is a stunning example of love and care in a podcast dedicated to food. I’m really so pleased that he can take a holiday, have so much fun with bread, and simultaneously turn it into something like this.

Even the title reads as if he were trying to out-do the entirety of eight episodes of Modernist BreadCrumbs in one short interview. I think he’s succeeded handily.

There’s so much great to unpack here, and simultaneously I wish there was more. I found myself wishing he’d had time to travel to some of the farms and done a whole series. With any luck he actually has–I wouldn’t put it past him–and we’ll be delighted in a week or two when they’re released.

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🎧 Modernist BreadCrumbs | Episode 8: Breadbox

Modernist BreadCrumbs | Episode 8: Breadbox from Heritage Radio Network
Bread is immeasurable, no longer bound by precepts. The new dictum of baking bread is built on shapes and sizes we haven’t even dreamt of. This episode, the proverbial breadbox of the series, will hold all the bits of bread we haven’t gotten to yet, or have yet to be made.

This episode did a bit too much waxing poetic on bread. As a result, it probably would have done a far better job of having been episode one of the series instead of the last and instead edited to provide an introduction to bread and its importance. Even more so when I recall how dreadfully put together episode one of the series was.

On the science/tech front there were only one or two vignette’s here that were worth catching. The rest was just bread poetry.

One interesting aside was a short discussion about the “free” bread that restaurants often put out. Sadly, while still all-too-common, most places really put out bad bread instead of good bread. I often think how much I’d rather actually pay for such a product at a restaurant, particularly if it’s good. Perhaps I just need to leave more restaurants when they put out bad bread knowing that things probably aren’t going to improve?

Summary of the series: It wasn’t horrible, but it also wasn’t as great as I would have hoped. The primary hosts always sounded a bit too commercial and I felt like anytime I heard them I was about to hear a bumper commercial instead of the next part of the story. Somehow it always felt like the interviewer and the interviewee were never in the same room together and that it was all just cut together in post. It was painful to follow the first episode, but things smoothed out quickly thereafter and the production quality was generally very high. Sadly the editorial didn’t seem to be as good as the production value. I almost wonder if the book went out and hired a network to produce this for them, but just found the wrong team to do the execution.

Too often I found myself wishing that Jeremy Cherfas had been picked up to give the subject a proper 10+ episode treatment. I suspect he’d have done a more interesting in-depth bunch of interviews and managed to weave a more coherent story out of the whole. Alas, twas never thus.

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Lemon marmalade by Jeremy Cherfas

Lemon marmalade by Jeremy CherfasJeremy Cherfas (jeremycherfas.net)
One of my dreams, when I first arrived in Rome, was to be able, on a hot summer evening, to walk out to my own lemon tree and pick a still-warm fruit to grace my ice-cold G&T. Sixteen years and four removals later, that tree, bought from a lorry at the side of the road, is still with me and, this wi...

Just as I’ve managed to score a major load of lemons and was looking around for recipes, Jeremy naturally comes up with a brilliant answer.

Also reminds me that I ought to pester Jonathan for his recipe for limoncello as well.

A Digital Food Diary on My Own Website

Food and Drink on my own website

I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, but I’ve finally started making eat and drink posts. The display isn’t exactly what I want yet, but it’s getting there. For myself and those reading, I’ll try to continue tweaking on templates, but with the start of the new year, I wanted to at least start capturing the basic data. Most of the heavy lifting will be done by David Shanske’s excellent Post Kinds Plugin.

I’m hoping that, much like the dieting advice about getting and using a clean plate for every single thing you eat, consciously posting will help me to subconsciously eat better too. I’ve already begun to notice some of the subtle effects, and not just for composing better photographs of my food.

I probably won’t post everything publicly after some time because, really, who really wants to see all this (perhaps aside from others interested in doing the same thing themselves)? Eventually it’ll probably devolve into only the more fabulous looking restaurant meals and specialty cocktails while I’m out.

🍴 Ham sandwich with muenster on rye, strawberries, oatmeal and raisin cookie with Coca-cola zero sugar

Since the ham sandwich post is so vaunted and maligned in the social media space and I can more properly support it, I’ve already made my obligatory first personal ham sandwich post.

Previous Food related posts on Silos

Back in the day, I’d used services like Eat.ly and Foodspotting. The former was bought out by the latter and development and customer acquisition seems to have died altogether. These did a reasonable job of melding eating and checkin post types, but the genre seems to have died out for lack of interest and or development. Since some of what they did was interesting and useful to me, I’m recreating portions of it on my own site.

Courtesy of David’s Simple Location Plugin, I’ll also be able to add location data to my eating-related posts to also make them checkins in a sense much like some of the functionality of these older silos.

I did like some of the health related and calorie data that Eat.ly made possible, and might consider adding some of that into my site in the future as well. I’ll have to take a look at services like WeightWatchers that I would expect might add that type of functionality as well. This also reminds me that Leo Laporte has a wi-fi scale that Tweets out his weight every time he stands on it. That sounds like useful quantified self data, though I don’t think I’d go so far as to post it publicly on my site (or syndicate it) in the future.

Feeds for these posts

I can’t imagine that anyone but potential stalkers would care, but for posterity, here are the feeds associated with these posts:
Eat: http://www.boffosocko.com/kind/eat/feed/
Drink: http://www.boffosocko.com/kind/eat/feed/
Eat & Drink (combined): http://www.boffosocko.com/feed/?kind=eat,drink

If you’re subscribed to my full feed and don’t want these in it, it’s possible to redact these posts from your stream, just drop me a line and I can help you subscribe to just the content you desire. Those subscribed to the “Food” category needn’t worry as I don’t expect to be clogging that category up with these posts.

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The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart

The Bread Baker's Apprentice, 15th Anniversary Edition: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread: Peter Reinhart: 9781607748656: Amazon.com: Books by Peter ReinhartPeter Reinhart (Tenspeed Press)
Co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper’s Bakery, author of ten landmark bread books, and distinguished instructor at the world’s largest culinary academy, Peter Reinhart has been a leader in America’s artisanal bread movement for more than thirty years. Never one to be content with yesterday’s baking triumph, however, Peter continues to refine his recipes and techniques in his never-ending quest for extraordinary bread. In this new edition of the award-winning and best-selling The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Peter shares bread breakthroughs arising from his study in France’s famed boulangeries and the always-enlightening time spent in the culinary college kitchen with his students. Peer over Peter’s shoulder as he learns from Paris’s most esteemed bakers, like Lionel Poilâne and Phillippe Gosselin, whose pain à l’ancienne has revolutionized the art of baguette making. Then stand alongside his students in the kitchen as Peter teaches the classic twelve stages of building bread, his clear instructions accompanied by more than 100 step-by-step photographs. You’ll put newfound knowledge into practice with fifty master formulas for such classic breads as rustic ciabatta, hearty pain de campagne, old-school New York bagels, and the book’s Holy Grail—Peter’s version of the famed pain à l’ancienne, as well as three all-new formulas. En route, Peter distills hard science, advanced techniques, and food history into a remarkably accessible and engaging resource that is as rich and multitextured as the loaves you’ll turn out. In this revised edition, he adds metrics and temperature conversion charts, incorporates comprehensive baker’s percentages into the recipes, and updates methods throughout. This is original food writing at its most captivating, teaching at its most inspired and inspiring—and the rewards are some of the best breads under the sun.
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️ Modernist Bread by Nathan Myhrvold, Francisco Migoya

Modernist Bread (The Cooking Lab)
Modernist Bread: The Art and Science is a revolutionary new understanding of one of the most important staples of the human diet. Created by the team that published the award-winning Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, this massive treasury of practical knowledge and groundbreaking techniques captures over four years of independent research and collaborations with leading industry professionals; the result is the most in-depth look at bread to date. Stunning photography brings the complete story of bread to life across five volumes—uncover its incredible history, loaves from every corner of the world, and the breath-taking beauty of scientific phenomena at work above and below the crust. In addition, you will discover innovative recipes and techniques developed by the Modernist Cuisine team that have not been published anywhere else. Housed in a sleek stainless steel case, this five-volume set contains more than 1,500 traditional and avant-garde recipes, as well as a wire-bound kitchen manual so that you can easily bring all of the recipes into the kitchen in one compact collection. Spanning over 2,300 pages, Modernist Bread will become an invaluable resource for anyone who has a thirst for knowledge about bread or wants to advance their craft. This book is a call to arms for any baker—whether you are a strict traditionalist, avid modernist, home baker, restaurant chef, or an artisanal baker—to embrace the possibilities of invention and follow your inspiration to make breads in your own way. The Modernist Cuisine team is an interdisciplinary group in Bellevue, Washington, founded by Nathan Myhrvold. The team comprises scientists, research and development chefs, a full editorial and photography department, and business and marketing staff—all dedicated to advancing the science of the culinary arts through creativity and experimentation.

I thought McGee’s 60 page synopsis of milk was interesting, but how is this to compare to a $520.00 treatise on bread that spans over 2,600 pages?

I’m thinking this would be an awesome Christmas present!! Hint, Hint

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Modernist Bread Crumbs

Modernist BreadCrumbs (Heritage Radio Network)
Modernist Cuisine founder Nathan Myhrvold and head chef Francisco Migoya join Michael Harlan Turkell on Modernist BreadCrumbs, a special series taking a new look at one of the oldest staples of the human diet: bread. Each episode explores bread from a different angle; from its surprising and often complicated past, to the grains, tools, and microbes we use to make it, and the science behind every loaf. The show looks at the discoveries and techniques from Modernist Bread, as well as interviews with the scientists and bakers who are shaping the future of bread.

Subscribing to/following this. Looks interesting. Jeremy Cherfas may appreciate both it and the entire network itself if he hasn’t heard of them before.

Can’t wait to start listening to episodes.

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