Science in the Kitchen

Spent this morning in the kitchen, doing three things.

A new batch of peanut butter cookies.

  • Hypothesis: They’ll be as good or better, made with peanuts finely chopped in my fine chopper instead of peanuts.

  • Method: Follow recipe, but substitute 265 gm finely chopped salted peanuts for 265 gm peanut butter.

  • Results: They are as good, or better.

  • Methodological flaws: Judgement based on memory rather than simultaneous double-blind assessment.

  • However: Two relatively independent judges concur fully.

Two starters and but a single loaf.

  • Hypothesis: There’s no difference between my home-made ??-year-old sourdough starter and the Tuscan centenarian I was entrusted with some time ago.

  • Method (for 1st experiment): Use identical amounts of each starter to bake the standard loaf as suggested by the suppliers of the Tuscan pasta madre. 1

  • Results: The two bigas (or should that be bige?) look and smell identical. More tomorrow.

  • Methodological flaws: The Tuscan starter begins life stiffer (75%) than my own (100%), and this time contained a couple of flax seeds left over from the last bake.

  • However: Get real.

Fermented cabbage can repeat.

  • Hypothesis: Last month’s sauerkraut was not a one-hit wonder. 2

  • Method: Do it again.

  • Results: For now, the jar is packed. Come back in about three weeks.

  • Methodological flaws: This time I added caraway seeds and peppercorns, and I left out the red cabbage. I also severely misjudged the amount of cabbage needed, so the jar is only half full.

  • However: Maybe none of that will matter.

  1. You can guess what the 2nd experiment might be.

  2. Too busy to blog it, but boy it was good.


Bread and Cheese, Geeky

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