Sunday, December 31, 2006

Alton Brown kinda scares me...


I got 'I'm Just Not Here for the Food-baking' cookbook from Food Network's Alton Brown for Christmas, at my request. I think Alton is pretty cool on his show and has a way with words and explaining things down to every minute detail. I knew he'd do the same thing with a baking book. Many people, Rachael Ray included (is she a bit overexposed these days-down to the Triscuit box?) are afraid of baking. Alton explains that baking is an 'exact' science. You can't go around messing with how much butter you put in your batter as you will mess with the formula. Cooking is different-you can toss in a little more, say chili powder to your pot of chili and it will still be basically chili.
Alton suggests a few things that made me rethink the way I've been baking for over 30 years. For instance, you should really be weighing your ingredients instead of scooping them out of the flour jar, etc. He suggests getting a digital scale in your kitchen. He also aerates his flour with his food processor before he uses it in the recipe. I always skipped even sifting it, but he doesn't like sifting-the food processor 'fluffs up' the flour. And did you know there are different mixing techniques? I really screwed up mixing the first time I used my KitchenAid when I decided to make muffins. I should have never used a mixer for muffin batter. I incorporated too much gas in the muffins and their lids fell flat.
I am learning many new things. Alton does include measuring we are all familiar with, but I am thinking about getting a scale now. There are oddles of new ideas in this book. If you like to bake and want to be more of a pro at it or even learn new techniques (like me), I'd invest in this excellent and informative book.
I guess I'm not really scared of Alton, I just need to try things in a new way.

2comments:

  • At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Interesting post, Dianne! I've been thinking of getting a digi scale, mostly to weigh my bread dough as I portion it out. Now I have even more reason to purchase one.

    I'm not a sifter either. Sometimes I'll use my whip to mix the dry ingredients, but that's as far as I go. I also tried to use my Bosch mixer to make biscuits over Christmas, but ended up tossing the whole thing and starting all over cutting in the butter and mixing by hand. I know my grandma always said you need a light touch with quick breads. :)

    Loved the pics of your home this Christmas! Happy New Year! :D

     
  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger Zoey said…

    I bet that is an interesting book. I like Alton.

    I doubt, however, that I would take the time to weigh every cup of flour I need to bake. I am sure it would be more accurate, but I am also sure it would be way too much trouble for me to do! I do sift flour quite often.

     

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