Category ... Equipment
May 14, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Has it ever happened to you when reducing/concentrating liquid in the microwave: Suddenly you hear a loud blast, open the microwave oven door, and find that most of the liquid has spattered all over the walls, ceiling, and base of the oven.
It's been happening to me once too often since I've moved from an apartment building in New York City to a house in the country. So I finally had to get to the bottom of the problem.
Essentially the problem is that a high powdered microwave will have more power in a private home than in a building where many people are using electricity for various appliances. The solution turned out to be so simple: Set the microwave at lower power.
My microwave at high power is over 1000 watts so I set it at medium power which is 550 watts. It took longer to concentrate the juices but they didn't bubble over or explode.
Always use a container much larger than the liquid. Spray it with nonstick cooking spray, and that will ensure that the liquid will not bubble over the top.
Stir the liquid often while reducing it.
If you have a scale that allows you to turn off the automatic shutoff, you can use weight instead of volume to reduce liquids. For example, tare out (remove) the weight of the container, and add the liquid. If it is 100 grams and you want to reduce it by half, then as it thickens you can weigh the container and continue reducing until it is 50 grams.
Mar 12, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Some months ago, when one of my favorite Alpha Bakers, Patricia Reitz, who is baking her way through The Baking Bible, posted a photo of her cherry pie, I was charmed by the pastry cutout which graced the lattice topping. I immediately wanted to have one but was hoping for a larger size. Finding nothing on the web, I decided to design one of my own with the help of the amazing cookie cutter maker--Betsy Cukla of Hammer Song Tin.
The resulting Cherry Cookie Cutter is now available on her Ebay site via Facebook and also from La Cuisine, The Cook's Resource in Alexandria, VA, 800 521 1176
The lovely border was created effortlessly by pressing the dough into the deeply fluted edges of Rose's Perfect Pie Plate. (Note: this is a standard size, not a deep dish pie plate.) It can also be ordered from La Cuisine.
Jan 24, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
Photo by Woody Wolston
Rose Levy Beranbaum's Perfect Pie Plate, 9-Inch, Ceramic, Rose
The pie plate originally came in a hatbox with a small recipe booklet containing 4 recipes. As it is no longer packaged this way, here is a link to purchase a new booklet which contains my top 10 American pie recipes, my favorite pie crust recipe, tips and step-by-step photos. The pages are laminated.
Rose Levy Beranbaum Signature Series Rose's All Original All American Pie Recipe Deck, Multicolor
Jan 21, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
I'm delighted to share with you a special sale from Thermoworks on one of most valued pieces of equipment in my baking kitchen, the Extra Big & Loud Timer. The sound is variable and when set on the loudest I can hear it 2 floors away. I also love the large readout and buttons which are easy to operate. And once the timer goes off, if not shut off, it reverts to a time-elapsed mode. The sale will last until Monday, January 25, 2016.
The Thermapan by Thermoworks is the fastest and most accurate instant read thermometer for the consumer, essential for so many baking processes. It is also highly valued by professional chefs.
The Rose Scale by Escali was created for me as a testament to spearheading the movement toward weighing rather than volume measure in baking.
Escali Alimento Rose Limited Edition Digital Scale, 13-Pound/6kg
These are the three top items on my essential baking equipment list.
Jan 02, 2016 | From the kitchen of Rose
What a way to start a new year! The choice of a cooktop and sink is something one has to live with for many years. The last time I renovated my savory kitchen was over 20 years ago and I probably could have lived with my old Thermador cooktop and large stainless steel sink surrounded by a granite countertop for many more years to come.
A few years ago, however, I noticed that the granite was cracking slightly around the sink area. I decided to consider it a 'rustic country kitchen' look, until recently when the cracks became so large water leaked into the cabinet below. The image that came to mind was of an ant thinking it had fallen into the Grand Canyon. What happened was that the foundation of the extension that had been constructed to make a longer kitchen had gradually settled.
I realized that if I was going to put in a new sink and countertop, this was the time to replace the cooktop at the other end of the counter that did not have a much desired and useful simmer setting. My step daughter Beth Beranbaum, who is an architect, told me that one of her clients recommended the Capital cooktop. After researching on line it looked like the best choice and indeed it is the most precise and beautifully designed cooktop of my cooking experience.
Next, I needed to find a stainless steel sink and countertop that would be custom designed to fit into the existing kitty corner area. I wanted it to be seamless as it is so much easier to maintain and clean. Elkay sinks have an excellent reputation and they worked with me and Phillipsburgh Marble (the installer) to create the perfect sink.
Having gone this far, I rationalized that such a stunning new sink deserved the best high rise faucet by Dornbracht. Since I have been enjoying this faucet for 2 years in my baking kitchen I knew that it would be ideal.
Construction and reconstruction are always fraught with the unexpected and much agonized hand-wringing, but I have to say that his time around, thanks to the professionalism and cooperation of the company representatives, the vigilance of Bob Baron of Phillipsburgh Marble, and the incredible artistry and skill of Dave McNally (who is a first rate cook and baker in his own right), my upstairs savory kitchen is as much of a joy for cooking as my downstairs kitchen is for baking.
Nov 27, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I use my Escali Limited Edition Rose Scale every day for both baking and cooking.
Escali Alimento Rose Limited Edition Digital Scale, 13-Pound/6kg
An accurate and speedy thermometer is a must. I rely on my Thermapen and the newest model is the best yet--you can set it down on the counter and it will turn off by itself (the timing can be programmed easily).
Oct 31, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
Many years ago, when chef Daniel Patterson had his first restaurant Elizabeth Daniel in San Francisco, I had a marvelous dinner with my friend, the journalist Leslie Harlib. What was most memorable was the lamb chops that were extraordinarily plush in texture.
When we asked Daniel the secret, he only had to say one word: "sous-vide."
Translated from the French it means cooking "under vacuum." The method for sous-vide cooking, is to place the food that is to be cooked in a water tight (preferably vacuum sealed) bag, which is then heated in a water bath close to the temperature at which the food is to be served. Some foods that benefit from a browned exterior are then finished off briefly by another cooking method, such as pan frying or grilling.
As I explored the possibilities of how I could do this in my home kitchen, I discovered that beyond needing a vacuum device (which I already had), it also required an expensive and high rent counter space "circulator" to maintain a constant low temperature and movement of the water for even cooking. It was at this point that I came to the conclusion that sous-vide was best performed in restaurant kitchens.
A few months ago, along came J. Kenji López-Alt's terrific new book The Food Lab, in which, among other great ideas, he detailed a brilliantly simple way of cooking sous-vide using reclosable freezer storage bags and a beer cooler. I tried it, loved it, and quickly graduated to a dedicated "circulator" from Anova. Not only is the design stunning, it can attach to just about any pot of appropriate size, and it is reasonably affordable. I love the convenience of not having to check the temperature every 30 minutes and then having to add more hot water. (The water in the Anova drops only 1 inch every 8 hours, which is a lot longer than I need to sous-vide the things, I'm cooking. I cook steak and chicken 2 hours, and burgers only 1 hour.) After sous-viding, I grill or brown the meat on the cooktop for just a few minutes.
The Anova even has a free app, which enables one to program time and temperature from a cell phone. Kenji has partnered with Anova to create recipes with wonderfully detailed explanations and choices of how to achieve precise final results. These guides, along with step-by-step color photos, are on the ap and on the on-line site listed in the link below. A new guide will be released every month.
Here's a link to the first one on cooking steak.
Here's a link to several other guides.
Woody and I have been using the Anova several times a week to cook steak, hamburgers, and chicken breasts. Not only is the meat more tender, it's a lot more velvety and moist.
As far as I'm concerned, sous-vide cooking has graduated from a thing of the future to a cutting-edge thing of the present. Thank you Kenji and Anova for making the leap so fun and effortless.
To find out more about Anova click here.
And here's the link to purchase on Amazon:
Anova Culinary Precision Cooker (Black)
Oct 19, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
Alice Medrich has written a fantastic article on the virtues of weighing ingredients for baking as opposed to measuring by volume. Click here to read it.
Oct 03, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I've tried oven stones and baking steels, preheating them for the recommended one hour at my preferred temperature of 475°F/250°C. The stones were somewhat helpful, the baking steels a better choice, but I have recently made a great discovery: Preheating a cast iron pizza pan in the same way will give you a pizza crust that is just as perfectly browned and crisp. And it also works on the grill! It is so fantastic I no longer order pizza out.
My 12 inch pizza crust, as shown in the above photo, is thin but with a bubbly rim. When I set the dough on top of the preheated pan, I can see through the oven window that it immediately starts to bake and bubble up just like in a beehive brick oven!
I first stretch my dough on parchment and slide it onto the preheated pan. I bake it for 5 minutes and then remove the pizza by sliping a large metal pizza peel between the parchment and the pan so that the pizza is directly on the peel.
After topping it, I slide the pizza back onto the cast iron pan and continue baking for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
In summer, rather than heating up the kitchen, I use my Weber 4 burner gas grill. I set the cast iron pizza pan on the grill and preheat it with all burners on high for 10 minutes at which point it is over 500°F/260° C. Then I open the lid, turn all 4 burners to medium, and allow the grill to cool for about 5 minutes to bring the surface of the pan to about 475°F/250°C. I slide the pizza onto the pan (be sure first to trim any overhanging parchment), lower the lid, and bake for exactly 3 minutes without opening it. I then remove the pizza pan to a rack, turn off the center 2 burners, and after topping the dough, set the pizza (without the parchment) in the center, directly on top of the grill grates. It takes about 9 minutes to finish baking the pizza, which becomes exceptionally crunchy with grill marks on the bottom.
The Lodge cast iron pizza pan is 14 inches in diameter and also has the advantage of having handles which make it easy to remove from the oven or grill.
Lodge Pro-Logic P14P3 Cast Iron Pizza Pan, Black, 14-inch
The cast iron pizza pan is also the solution to achieving a crisp, nicely browned bottom crust on a pie. The photo below is a slice of cherry pie, inverted, so that you can see what a first rate job the pizza pan does. The pie was baked for 35 minutes with the pie pan set on the fully preheated pizza stone. I used my "Rose's Perfect Pie Plate" which is ceramic.
The apple galette, which is like a dessert pizza, also works splendidly, when the pan is set on the preheated cast iron pizza pan, to get a crisp bottom crust!
Sep 02, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I thought that my favorite thermometer couldn't get any better but as of this moment I was wrong! I just watched the youtube video of the newest model and it has 3 new features that I find to be a major improvement:
1) No matter which direction you insert it, the readout is always right side up.
2) It has a backlight making reading in all light situations much easier.
3) It automatically turns off when set down but wakes up when lifted. No more having to try to close it part way to save battery power and not get the case dirty.
Also, the battery life has been extended to 3000 hours and with the use of one standard AAA battery.
Here's the link.
If you'd like to watch the video, put this link in your browsesr:
May 30, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I am beyond delighted to see that so many baking authors and home bakers are making the transition from measuring ingredients to weighing them. Any one who is on the cusp of deciding which way to go MUST read this great article in the Telegraph Media Group for the United Kingdom's audience. And even if you are already a devoted proponent of weighing, read it anyway. It is not only persuasive, it is very clever and fun reading.
May 16, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have long understood that with convection baking the oven is usually needed to be set at a temperature about 25°F lower than for conventional baking. I assumed that when an accurate thermometer was used to measure this temperature that it would register the same temperature as conventional baking, but I was wrong.
Using two highly accurate thermocouples to check the temperature of four ovens, I found that although when setting the ovens 25°F below the temperature normally used with conventional baking it actually registered lower but it baked within the same time parameters.
With convection, heat is transferred more efficiently, so the effect is that of a higher heat than what is registered on a thermometer. The benefit of convection is more even heating.
Every oven is different so use the range of time given on a recipe, such as one of my cakes, to determine the best setting. This is the ultimate gauge and more reliable than any thermometer.
Note: Baking at a higher setting for less time, or for a lower setting for more time will have markedly different results in texture and shape of baked goods.
Apr 11, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have a huge collection of loaf pans, and for a long time the clay loaf pan was my favorite just because it was so earthy and bread-like looking. Also, the clay absorbed moisture yielding an extra crisp crust, But one day I noticed that the crumb toward the bottom of the loaf was a little dense which meant it was not getting enough, what is known in the industry as, oven spring.
As I started thinking about it, I realized that even though I was placing the pan on a well-preheated, thick oven stone, the clay did not conduct the heat as quickly to the dough as does metal. Assuming that there might be a difference even between two different brands and types of metal, I decided to test the same exact bread dough side-by-side in two different metal pans: my favorite All Clad metal pan and my new USA pan. Both pans yielded excellent results and had oven spring superior to the clay pan. I also discovered that the USA pan had a slightly superior oven spring and, because it was less wide, a higher rise and, to my taste, a more attractive shape.
Jenny Yee, my dear friend and colleague in New Zealand, who is a food scientist, advised me many years ago, when I was writing The Bread Bible, that the most accurate way to analyze the crumb of bread or cake is by photocopying it rather than photographing it so here are both the photocopy and the photograph to illustrate the difference between the final loaves.
Jan 24, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
Ceramic coated pans are great but eventually the lining wears. When I discovered this 100% ceramic pan from Trema I knew I was going to have to try it out. Although it is not as non-stick as ceramic coating it has many other virtues that ceramic coating is lacking: it is microwavable, it can be used both on the cooktop on high heat and under the broiler, and is scratch-proof--it can even be cleaned with a scouring pad if necessary.
One of my favorite uses of the Trema ceramic pan is cooking salmon. I sprinkle the salmon with a sugar and spice seasoning. I start by preheating the broiler. Then I begin heating the pan, first on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes and then on high heat. I add a little oil and place the salmon skin side up if I want to preserve the skin intact or skin side down.
After about 3 minutes I transfer the pan with the salmon to the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy (or, if skin side down, until the top of the salmon is golden. I like my salmon medium rare so i test it with a metal skewer and if it feels warm it's perfectly cooked. For those who like salmon cooked longer, simply turn off the broiler and leave in the oven for a few minutes more.
Slip a spatula under the samon and transfer it to a serving plate.
Dec 15, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I created "Rose's Perfect Pie Plate" to enable everyone to have beautiful borders for her or his pies effortlessly. All you need to do is press the dough into the deeply fluted edges which are shaped in a way to hold the design and prevent the pie crust from slipping down the sides of the pan.
Not only does the quality of this ceramic produce even browning, it also is a nonstick surface, making it easy to remove the slices of pie. And it looks beautiful on the dining room table.
This past weekend, Woody and I did a book signing at Fante's in Philadephia, one of my top favorite cookware shops in the country. I was delighted to discover that they carry my pie plate at a discounted price of $23. When I asked co-owner and dear friend Mariella Esposito why this was the case her answer was: "I want people to have this pie plate!"
If you order now, you will have the pie plate (they call it a pie dish) in time for holiday baking.
Dec 06, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
Scissors are one of the most important tools in a baking and cooking kitchen. For baking, I use scissors to cut parchment, to cut dough when making bread or trimming pie crust, to cut open plastic bags of ingredients, and countless other activities.
For cooking, I use scissors to cut herbs from the garden and to snip them into fine pieces by first setting them in a small glass to contain them. I use scissors to cut through pizza, to snip the ends off string beans, to cut apart raw chicken and roasted chicken, and also for countless other activities.
I set aside a pair of scissors never to be used for paper or plastic so that they maintain their sharp edge for critical ingredient related chores because it is so frustrating to find that scissors have dulled and what could have been an easy task becomes an unpleasant effort. But now I no longer need to worry. I have found a scissors sharpener that is a breeze to use and in under a few minutes per scissors has restored my many pairs of scissors to their original sharpness.
The Edgecraft ScissorsPro can be used for all the scissors in your home. And if you give it as a holiday gift, be sure to put a note on the wrapping paper to "Open This One First."It will make cutting through all the other wapping paper that much easier.
Dec 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I'm delighted to report that the amazing little device I find so useful has been funded fully on Kick Start and can be ordered on Amazon:
Crack'em (Cobalt Blue)
Oct 29, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
ThermoWorks Pro-Series High Temp Air Probe with Grate Clip for ChefAlarm and DOT
ChefAlarm by ThermoWorks - (Yellow)
For those of you who already have the Thermoworks Chef Alarm (which I use for grilling and oven roasting), you will be as delighted as I am that they have just come out with the "pro-series high temp air probe" and oven rack clip to hold it securely in place.
Oven temperature is the key to successful baking so I'm always on the look out for a truly reliable oven thermometer that does not require opening the oven door or peering into a spattered oven window to read the temperature. This is THE ONE!
Oct 25, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I didn't think I needed another piece of baking equipment but was just proven wrong with the arrival of these wooden 'wands,' designed for rolling pastry into perfectly even sheets.
The 'wands' are made from hard maple with a hole drilled into one end so that they can be hung from a hook. The set includes wands of the following sizes: 1/16"/1.6mm, 1/8"/3.18 mm, 3/16"/4.67 mm, and 1/4"/6.35 mm.
The dough is placed on the counter between two of the 'wands' and the rolling pin rides over the pastry until it is flattened to the thickness determined by the height of the 'wands' that serve as 'tracks' for the pin.
This system is far superior to that of rubber rings placed on the opposing ends of a rolling pin as they are a fixed size and the rubber rings become thinner when stretched over the pin.
They can be purchased from the manufacturer.
Oct 11, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
I've been keeping my huge knife collection sharp using Chef's Choice Diamond-Hone Knife Sharpener for years, but always wished I could also sharpen my serrated knives. After using the long ones to level many a cake, and the small ones for all manner of culinary activities, I am delighted that the company has produced a model called Chef's Choice EdgeSelect 120 which sharpens serrated knives as well as the conventional straight edge knives. It also offers the option to create an edge for gourmet cutlery, butcher type knives, and sportsman's blades. There are excellent directions in the detailed instructional booklet that comes with it, and on line.
The serrated knife option creates what they refer to as an "the new astonishlingy sharp Trizor-Plus edge with secondary cutting microflutes. My serrated knives are virtually restored to new but actually they are even better than ever before.
Chef's Choice 120 Diamond Hone 3-Stage Professional Knife Sharpener, Chrome