Friday, May 31, 2013

Q & A #1

Hello everyone, this week on Tamgood, I will be answering your questions.  In my cooking classes I am often asked questions by my students about different things about cooking.  I thought I would have some Q&A entries here with any cooking questions you might have.  Here are some questions I have received so far. 


Q:  Are you better to chill tortilla/pizza/dumplings /etc dough, or use it right away at room temp?

A: It all depends on what kind of dough, for example pizza and touton dough you can use right away as chilling will stiffen up the dough.  You can chill pizza or touton dough, but it doesn’t make that much of a difference.  Butter based dough, like sugar cookie dough or short bread is best chilled because it solidifies the butter, making the dough more malleable and easy to work with, holding its shape during the baking process.

Q:  How about eggs?  Some recipes say to use eggs at room temperature, what is the difference between refrigerated and room temperature eggs?

A:  Some recipes, especially baking recipes call for “room temperature eggs”.  This is most often accompanied with “butter, softened”.   We know that softened butter blends better into a batter or dough than cold, hard butter, and room temperature eggs are also more easily blended in than cold eggs.  Cold eggs also may bring down the temperature of the butter, hardening bits of it and making the dough or batter uneven.

Q:  When I try to make rice noodle dishes, the noodles break up in tiny bits.  Why is this and how do I keep this from happening?

A:  This is happening because the noodles are overcooked.  Rice noodles are made from rice flour and are very easily broken down in water.  To remedy this, when you boil the noodles, only put them in long enough to break apart from the bulk and soften a bit.  Then you rinse off the excess starch by running the noodles under cold water in a strainer and leave to dry out a bit.  The longer you dry the noodles out, the less they will break.

Q:  What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda and can you substitute one for the other?

A:  Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents designed to help a baking product rise.  Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, while baking powder is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and starch.  The cream of tartar is an acidifying agent which neutralizes the basic sodium bicarbonate, while the starch is a drying agent that forms a web to create suspension and lift in the baked good during the baking process.  You can substitute baking powder for baking soda in a recipe, but you can NOT substitute baking soda for baking powder due to ph, texture and taste.

 Q:  I want to make my own vinaigrette for my summer salads, what is the ratio of oil to vinegar?

A:  The ratio is 3:1:1 for oil to sugar to vinegar.  One of my favorite simple vinaigrettes is honey balsamic vinaigrette which is 3 parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar and honey.

Q: When I make merengue for pies, it turns into a watery mess, how do I avoid this?

A: When making merengue pies (for example lemon merengue pie) you need to make sure the pie filling is hot.  If the filling is cool when you put on the merengue, then the steam from the filling just reaches the surface between the merengue and filling.  When the pie cools, this steam condenses, leaving the sweet watery mess.  If the filling is hot, the steam will more easily pass through the baking merengue.


If you have any cooking questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me through this page or at .  I should respond to you within a few days and will use your question and answer in s future blog entry.  Cheers!

No comments:

Post a Comment