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Jeff and the Cheater
Food Science! is fun. The result from the powdered buttermilk/regular buttermilk pancake test was interesting.

First, substituting powdered buttermilk and water according to the instructions produced a far, far thinner pancake than the same quantity of regular buttermilk. I wasn't sure how to address this without ruining the test buy, say, thinning the regular buttermilk pancakes with something else.

Still. The flavor of the resultant pancakes were really, really close. The powdered milk cakes, though thinner, had an extra tangy note at the end whereas the regular buttermilk was creamier and smoother when eaten without butter and syrup. I suspect much of the creaminess comes from the thicker batter.

When eaten with butter and Grade A fancy maple syrup, the tang of the powdered buttermilk was more pronounced and, I think, better highlighted. The regular buttermilk pancakes tended to swallow the syrup flavors because they were thicker.

With Grade B dark amber syrup, the regular buttermilk pancakes stood up better to the stronger flavor, likely because of the thicker batter. The powdered milk pancakes lost most of teir distinguishing characteristics with the heavier syrup.

So. I say the powdered buttermilk is an excellent substitute for pancakes if you reduce the water to keep the cakes thicker. I appreciated the extra tangy flavor notes lasting longer with it versus the regular buttermilk.

Time will tell if reducing the water is the easiest solution to thicker cakes. Something I will certainly explore soon!

Creme fraiche is still thickening. Our apartment tends to be cooler so it's taking longer.

I've decided i want to use the creme fraiche and some really good chocolate and make a sauce for a steak. I'm thinking roasted garlic, cardomom, cumin and cinnamon in the sauce with the creme and chocolate.

We're thawing some filet medallions currently. :)

Oh! I forgot! We successfully created a Chicago style hot dog on Monday. Steamed dogs and buns are key. I could leave the sprinkle of celery salt out though.

zOMG yay food!
27 comments or Leave a comment
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Questions and thoughts:

A1) Were you reconstituting the powdered buttermilk as per directions and then comparing a cup of buttermilk to a cup of recon buttermilk mix?
A1a) If that's the case, then your batter was thin because the recon buttermilk most likely doesn't have the same fat content that regular buttermilk does.
A1b) As a result, your recon batter mixture will be thinner because there's more water in it. Solutions could include: Less water, more flour, allowing for more time for the batter to sit so the starch can swell, introducing a warm or hot liquid, or reconning the buttermilk at proportions different than listed on the packaging.
B2) "Creamy" mouth feel is generally about the way that fats state change. Think about the creamy feel from chocolate or ice cream. If indeed the recon buttermilk had significantly less* fat, then it would lend itself to a seemingly "dryer" product. You can demonstrate this by making the same pancake recipe, but in one use a 1/2c of vegetable or soy oil and in the other omit the oil.
C3) Did you/have you considered reconing the buttermilk powder in buttermilk to create a super-buttermilk?
C3a) Furthermore, did you consider letting your super buttermilk ripen over a bowl of enriched uranium until you had your very own delicious superhero?
C3b) Did you consider that one day buttermilkmoxr will turn on you and destroy your family and city?
D4) Does your powdered buttermilk contain any modified starch or modified start proteins? Additionally does it contain any citric or folic acid?
E5) I recently learned that the composite of fats in chocolate depend on the region the tree was grown in. Subsequently not only do the different varieties of caoca trees produce chocolates that taste and act differently, but the climate of their origin significantly change the physical attributes as well. This is why chocolate and cocoa powder on the shelf have extreme variety from package to package even within the same label.

*Alternatively, depending on the process used to dry it, if the buttermilk powder actually has hydrophobic binders in it, then it's possible that cold water wouldn't dissolve the fats which would float or sink in your mixture.
abmann From: abmann Date: April 1st, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
A1) I mixed the powdered buttermilk in with the dry ingredients as recommended by Cook's illustrated.
A1a,b) I noted it thickened over time. I will also try reconstituting the milk first because the acid and the baking soda need to react to get proper lift.
B2) Ok. More butter it is.
C3) Um.. no?
D4) Unknown. I think it only contains the typical acids found in buttermilk.
E5) Neat! Grown me some cocoa.

*That would be stupid if you're supposed to reconstitute with WATER as directed. :)
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Re: A1) Definitely less water then, or replace water with whole milk, heavy cream, creme freche, or just handfuls of delicious lard.
Re: B2) Butter makes everything better. Failing that, egg yolk makes everything mostly better. Failing that, corn syrup makes everything shinier.
Re: C3) Your mad scientry will destroy us all.
Re: D4) Interesting thing about buttermilk: Once upon a time it was a byproduct of fermented butter. That is, raw milk was skimmed, then the cream was allowed to cultivate, then churned into butter. During the churning excess seepage was skimmed, making butter milk. Cultivated butter has much better shelf life back in the days before refrigeration. So essentially it was a kind of high fat, high water cheese (imagine blending up a triple cream bree with some water). As industrialization set in, it became increasingly more cost effective to make "buttermilk" out of unhomogonized, pasteurized milk by just lacing it with acid and letting it coagulate a little bit. Now technically this is what the bacteria are doing as they grow in your milk, but in industrial processing, folic or citric acid is way cheaper than lactic acid (which is surprisingly hard to segregate). Now, some butter milks are made just with a cultivator, some are made with part cultivator/part acid, and some are made with all acid additive. Generally, that kind of information is on the package (look for "contains live active culture"), but the difference can obviously affect taste, but also effect things like baking. For example, "high-acid" buttermilk will burn through your chemical leaviner faster than "low-acid" buttermilk. Similarly, less acid with help your chocolate cakes turn out darker.
Re: E5) The world of chocolate is awesome. For example, did you know that the green bean harvested from the caoca tree looks and tastes nothing like chocolate? It's only after it's been allowed to ferment in the hot sun for up to several weeks do the fats and amino acids that we know as coco develop.

Re *: Not necessarily. If they're using some simple process of dehydration like freeze drying, then they'll need to add a binder that will separate the fats. Otherwise their produce won't be shelf stable. Up until the late 90s, most powdered milks were fat free because they had to sacrifice the fat in order to keep it from going rancid.
abmann From: abmann Date: April 1st, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
A1) I don't want to reconstitute with milk necessarily as I want to keep the powdered around all the time for tose spur-of-the-moment biscuits and pancakes. I'm as bad at keeping milk in the house as I am buttermilk. So. You know. LAZY.
B2) Ugh. Corn syrup. I bought sweet relish for Monday's hot dogs and very narrowly bought relish with corn syrup in it,. gross.
C3) Yay!
D4) Oh shit. Can I make brie pancakes?? I think that would be incredible!
E5) I did know that, actually. I watch way too much FoodTV.

I also ate 98% dark chocolate once. That was an experience.

*The shelf life is about a year if stored in the fridge after opening. I suspect there is SOME fat in there. not sure how much overall though.

**what are the odds I can get xantham gum at my local grocer?
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Re: A1) That makes sense.
Re: B2) Interesting corn syrup fact: actual corn syrup is enzymatically treated corn starch that renders glucose. Glucose is a really good sugar for your body to have in that it is easy to process and processes quickly. An additional enzymatic process can convert glucose to fructose. Fructose in the sugar found in fruit and is what makes corn syrup sweet. So sugary drink bottles will say "high-fructose corn syrup". If you get light corn syrup, you're likely just working with glucose, or a very low glucose/fructose mixture. Now, all those protein shake drinks and mixes are essentially four ingredients: whey protein, glucose, flavorings, and color/texture agents. Whey protein is the fastest metabolizing protein you can consume and is predominately harvested from processing milk. If you make your own cheese, you're likely to have a lot of it around. It's incredibly good for you. So, if you want to make protein shakes for the cheaps and/or have more control over what you're consuming, just reserve whey, mix it with some corn syrup, and add whatever flavorings or other agents you want (like blend it with some fresh fruit or yogurt or something). Beats the hell out of paying 50 bucks for a canister of powdered mix.
Re: D4) Not only can you make brie pancakes, but if you think about fats that are a high water-in-oil emulsion, like creamy cheeses or lard, you can use them to replace any or all of the butter in puff pastry. Thus you could make a puff pastry out of triple-cream bree and wrap your steak in that for the most delicious beef wellington ever. I know a chef who did just that for an event she catered.
Re: E5) Okay, did you know that the beans, post ferminting, are hulled, and ground. At that point, if you compress all the particles in the mixture, you have cocoa powder. If you continue grinding and emulsifying the mixture, you have bakers chocolate (or 100% chocolate). Or, if you cut in sugar, and grind and emulsify over hours, you have chocolate mass or chocolate liquor. That chocolate liquor is then cut with more sugar, stabolizers, dairy, and all sorts of things to produce the chocolate we know. The percentages on the chocolate that we know reference the percentage of chocolate liquor to other ingredients at that last stage of creation. The exception to this is high-ratio chocolate, which actually has a higher ratio of coaca particles (also called cocoa nibs) to cocoa butter in the initial mass. High-ratio chocolate is more expensive, has a deeper chocolate flavor, and functions very differently in cooking.

Also white chocolate couldn't be called chocolate in the US until 2003.

Re: xantham gum) You should be able to find it. Look for the Bob's Red Mill label along with the specialty flours (Rye, spelt, potato, etc). If not your normal grocery store, definitely a whole foods or hippy grocery. Should be around 10 or 12 bucks a lb I think.
abmann From: abmann Date: April 1st, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
B2) We also get whey as a by-product of making creme fraiche. :D
D4) D: *dies*
E5) Yup. Mmm.. chocolate.

White chocolate is just cocoa butter and sugar. It is gross.

I think I'll be able to get the gum and other stuff in the same place where Bob's Red Mill stuff is sold after asking the madisonwi group. I'm rather excited to play with it in various recipes.
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: April 1st, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Re:Re: D4) I MUST TRY THIS! Give me more info... straight brie? or brie mixed with something else?

abmann From: abmann Date: April 1st, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Triple cream brie gets really runny after setting out for a little while. May be able to thin the batter with water or milk.

OH! Swap some butter for brie in your croissant recipe!!
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: April 1st, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was the idea... I'm just wondering if it's a 1:1 swap, or if there should be something else added... it's not quite the same consistency of butter...
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Other thoughts for you:

Making your own butter is as simple as over mixing cream. Take heavy cream, throw it in a stand mixer till it's butter.

So consider that you can flavor heavy cream with just about anything. If you need to heat it up, then all you have to do is chill it completely before whipping it. Thus, instead of working with a compound butter, which can mess up your baking, you can actually make a flavored butter that will function structurally just like regular butter, but impart some fantastic flavors into your croissants. Some flavor considerations: berries, nuts, chocolate, herbs, flowers, cured meats....
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: April 1st, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are going to make me very fat.

Essentially, heat the cream to infuse whatever flavor, strain it, cool it, then butter it? Is that the general idea?

Wouldn't things like berries alter the water content, thereby screwing things up? Or would that come out in the churning process?
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's the idea.

When you whip butter, you're creating a water-in-fat emulsion. Butter can actually hold a whole lot of water. However, any additional liquid that won't incorporate or you don't want in the butter can be skimmed off by wrapping the butter in cheese cloth and hanging it for an hour or two.
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: April 1st, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Because I remember hearing something about salted butter containing more water, hence being WORSE to bake with... I guess there's no real way to ascertain water level in home-made butter... hmm..
abmann From: abmann Date: April 1st, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think this idea better than compound butter. We could try making like a smoked paprika butter for use in savory cooking.

Or a maple syrup butter for breakfasts.
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: April 1st, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree.
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh oh, you could smoke the cream itself using simple cold smoking!!!
abmann From: abmann Date: April 1st, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
It would curdle because the bacteria in it would thrive at the temperatures. We could maybe do it with creme fraiche because the bacteria/enzymes could preserve it. But it may be to strongly flavored in the end.
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh contrar monOHme....

Find a large baking pan or roasting pan that you can inset a tray inside with some space left over. Fill the in-set tray with very cold cream. Now take your wood chips, saw dust, nut shells, vines, herbs, whatever and put it in a small mesh strainer, like a tea strainer. Hold the strainer over your stove burner until the contents catch on fire. Now very quickly, blow out any flames, drop the entire strainer in the large baking pan next to the inset pan, and tightly wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap so the smoke stays contained. Throw the whole thing in the fridge. Every couple minutes for the first ten minutes or so, shake the pan around in order to break the surface tension of the cream. Let it cool for an hour or so and you should have smoked cream. Repeat if you want a deeper, richer, or more intense smoke flavor.

It's an easy home method for cold smoking delicate items like seafood, dairy products, and jello.
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually it's much easier to figure that part out. Your cream should have a percentage on it. So if you're using 36% heavy cream and whip 100g of into butter, then strain off 15g of liquid your butter content is very close to 49g.

Total amount: 100g
percentage fat: 36% or 36g per 100g
Starting water: 64g per 100
Liquid skimmed off (which is almost all water): 15g


Yes, salted butter is going to have a much higher water content because of how much water salt grabs on to. It's also bad for baking because it doesn't easily let go of that same water.
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: April 1st, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
You realize I'm never going to let you not talk to me again, right? You're entirely too helpful. ;)
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Metric FTW!!
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you're making puff, then you want the whole thing to be very cold and you'll end up chilling it at least 2 or 3 times in the course of turning. So brie is fine.

More importantly, so is that duck fat that I've already used for confit 2 or 3 times and need to replace.
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: April 1st, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep. Definitely going to try this.

We need a chest freezer.
nathan_lounge From: nathan_lounge Date: April 1st, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not my idea originally. Here's where Linda originally blogged about the idea. Depending on what you're going to replace the butter with, you'll have to tool around with ratios. Something very similar to butter can work on a 1:1.
world_rim_walke From: world_rim_walke Date: April 1st, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)


Do I detect potential Order of the Key members?
abmann From: abmann Date: April 1st, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Pancakes

world_rim_walke From: world_rim_walke Date: April 1st, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Pancakes

The Order of the Key! We delve into the secrets of the Universe and Pancakes, and wear skeleton keys as necklaces. I think we have four members right now.
27 comments or Leave a comment