What are You Baking the Week of March 12, 2023?

Home Forums Baking — Breads and Rolls What are You Baking the Week of March 12, 2023?

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      Today I made orange muffins, using a chopped up orange and Tang added to my usual muffin recipe.

      Mike Nolan

        Maybe if you took a hot knife and made score lines it'd break more cleanly? How thick is the chocolate?

        When I was at Chocolate School, they were playing around with a device that cuts baked goods using high pressure water. It is designed for cutting cakes, allowing clean cuts, less waste, and even doing complex shapes, but they were testing it to cut chocolate. They had programmed it to cut a big piece of chocolate into an outline of the Chicago skyline. It was fascinating to watch.

        I've seen numerous videos showing how to make tempered chocolate in a double boiler or even in a microwave.

        Tempering chocolate is easier if you have something that give you good control over the temperature. Of the various methods to temper chocolate that we learned in Chocolate School, I prefer to use the seeding method:

        First I heat the chocolate to 40 degrees (C) to make sure all the fat crystals are melted, then I cool it down to about 32 degrees, and add 1% shaved cocoa butter silk (cocoa butter than has been tempered.) Stir for a minute to make sure the cocoa butter silk dissolves and you'll have a pot of tempered chocolate, it's amazing to watch how quickly the seeding works. In school we did it with a large steam table pan holding several pounds of chocolate, it only took 2-3 minutes for the entire pan to reach a good temper.

        I made the cocoa butter silk using my sous vide cooker, putting the cocoa butter in a sealed jar, heating it above 36 (C) to make sure the fats are all melted, then holding the temperature at around 33 degrees for 24 hours. Once you have it in that state, pour it into a container, it'll stay in that state for a year or longer.

        It should be possible to use the same process to make tempered chocolate using a sous vide cooker, you just have to make sure the jar is well-sealed and you don't get water into the chocolate afterwards. I may have to try that the next time I'm doing chocolate work, it would be convenient to have tempered milk chocolate and tempered dark chocolate available at the same time.

        Beta-5 is the desired fat crystal state for tempered chocolate, it is stable at room temperatures. There's actually a Beta-6 state, but it is something that chocolate won't reach unless it has been stored for a long time.


          We ran out of bread, so on Saturday, I baked three loaves of my adaptation of Grandma A's Ranch Hand Bread. My changes are substituting a lot of whole wheat flour, using part bread flour and King Arthur AP, adding flax meal and special dry milk, replacing most of the milk with buttermilk, and using 4 Tbs. olive oil rather than butter. We will start slicing one loaf tomorrow, and the other two will go into the freezer.


            Thanks Mike. I like the tips on tempering. It may be time to buy a sous vide.

            I've tried scoring the chocolate with a hot knife and it didn't work. It's about inch thick blocks. It also may be time to start ordering chocolate in callets.

            I have one of those giant forks to break up the chocolate but I always gouge the counter or wreck a cutting board with it.

            I wonder if I could score it and then soften the chocolate and then break it. I may have to experiment.

            Mike Nolan

              If it is well-tempered chocolate, the beta-5 cocoa butter crystals melts at 92.8 degrees (33.8C), so if you get it that warm it will melt and possibly lose temper, but it may soften a bit below that.

              I've been getting 11 pound bags of Callebaut callets from Stover & Company in Cheswick PA (Pittsburgh area) when we visit our son there, but they also do mail order and their shipping prices seem reasonable. Once the weather warms up they won't ship chocolate unless you pay for cool packs. I'd like to get some ruby callets from them, that's the only place I've seen the ruby chocolate at, other than the small packages of them that Trader Joe's had. Maybe we'll go out to visit our son and granddaughter this summer.

              Anova makes a rectangular box designed for their sous vide machines, in two different sizes. I don't have one, yet, mainly because I'd have to figure out where to store it, but it looks like it does a good job sealing the top, which would save energy and reduce evaporation, and it is designed to hold your food under the surface of the water so it all cooks evenly.

              Although I don't need it for sourdough, the Brod & Taylor sourdough home device strikes me as interesting because it can hold something at temperatures both above and below room temperature. I'm hoping they will adapt that technology to handle other types of food. There are some complex rye breads with a multi-stage starter that had fairly specific temperature for each stage.

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