Baking great tasting, and looking sourdough bread with freshly milled wheat is only complicated if you are used to market-bought wheat. Like we all are.
These two loaves are pretty identical, the only difference in their composition was perhaps 1 tablespoon of extra water in the loaf that got the dusted linen crust. I eyeball water in the measuring cups and do not weigh anything.
I used 2 cups of King Arthur bread flour and 1 1/2 cups of the Hard Red Winter Wheat supplied by Grist and Toll for each loaf, as well as 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/3 cup of well-fed starter and 1 1/2 tsp of Trader Joe's fine sea salt.
I find the Grist and Toll wheat slows fermentation down. Everything I read suggested fresh wheat would speed things up, by my experience showed that more patience and more time are needed. In addition to giving the first ferment more time, close to 18 hours rather than a normal 12-14, I also engaged the use of my Rancilio Ms Silvia espresso machine. I put the fermenting glass bowls of dough on top of Silvia, and her warming tray helps kick the yeast into high gear.
Fresh whole wheat absorbs water differently than market-sourced wheat. 'Hydration' or ratio of flour to water in the dough is something a baker can pay a lot of attention to if said baker wants. I don't bother, but you do need enough water in the dough to get everything to stick together. Read the rest
My first real job was at a movie theater. On a good day I sold tickets, on other days I worked the concession stand with pals selling candy, drinks, and of course, popcorn. (Incidentally, we called this position the "candy whore.")
In my snarky-teen attempt to warn movie-goers that they were not in fact getting real butter on their popcorn, I would ask, "Would you like artificially-flavored buttered topping on that?"
Most people ignored me and added the oily substance to their popcorn anyway. Some people laughed... and added the oily substance to their popcorn anyway. In other words, no one wanted to see what was behind that curtain, especially not from a kid.
Some thirty years later, enter writer Stacey Ballis of Extra Crispy who shares the truth about movie theater popcorn butter:
Read the rest
Your movie theater butter has no butter in it, but it does have partially hydrogenated soybean oil (a.k.a. trans fats), beta carotene (a coloring, makes carrots orange), tertiary Butylhydroquinone or TBHQ (synthetic preservative that keeps the color and texture from changing as the product sits), polydimethylsiloxane (silicone based chemical that prevents foaming), and, wait for it, buttery flavoring. They do not say what exactly makes a buttery flavoring, but they do admit that it isn’t butter. So it is some sort of chemical that mimics butter.
And the part that is most egregious to me? Movie theater butter topping actually has 20 more calories per tablespoon than real butter. Forget the whole trans fat, bad cholesterol, chemically laden, artificially flavored part, it is also 20 percent more caloric?
Curious British Telly has done the work, finally, to assemble the penultimate collection of 1980s fashion errors and exaltations: 22 of the Most Hideous Jumpers on British TV in the 80s. Noel Edmonds is the presumptive winner, of course, but there are many more in store for aficionados of the era after UK scientists learned the dark art of fluffy polyester. [via Metafilter, where Devonian notes the sad omission of legendary British yarnlord and former politician Gyles Brandreth, imaged below by a probe orbiting dangerously close to the cultural event horizon.] Read the rest
Jan Castellano purchased a tub of butter from Trader Joe's with a pattern on top that looks either like three sphincters or Donald Trump's resting bitch face.
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Once a year, some folks get a little crazy about making butter lambs, and the results vary widely in quality, from the cool ones with wool (butter pushed through a strainer), to utilitarian lamb-shaped molds, to Cake Wrecks-level disasters below: Read the rest
For some reason it just seems funnier to me than all the other imitators of this peculiar marketing gimmick's moist, polyunsaturated semiotic corner. Two others deserve some kind of no-prize, however. Read the rest