Bakeology: On Browned Butter

Sorry for the delay in posting!  Between Thanksgiving travels and work travels, I’ve been very preoccupied for the past week!  But enough excuses.  Without further ado, my next lesson…

Today’s lesson is in browning butter.  Many recipes call for browned butter, but, what does that mean, and, more importantly, why should I take the extra time to brown my butter?

The browning of butter gives it an extra layer of richness and a deep nutty flavor you simply cannot achieve without browning.  It is also called beurre noisette, meaning hazelnut butter, which is exactly what it tastes like.   It is a step most recipes can do without, but, once you try it, why would you want to?  Let’s start with the basics: What is butter?

Butter is a combination of butterfat, milk proteins, and water.  It is an oil-in-water emulsion* of water and fat with milk protein solids suspended inside.

Learn more…

Bakeology: On Pie Crusts and Gluten Formation

Pie Crusts and Gluten Formation

Welcome to the first post in the Bakeology series!

Since pie season is upon us, and the holidays are right around the corner, I figured my first Bakeology post, very fittingly, would focus on the star of my holiday meals:  Pie!  More specifically, pie crust.  And gluten.  And what is all that about?  I just recently tried a pie crust recipe with vodka in it, and had great success.  The crust was buttery, flakey, and delicious.  But why?  What does the vodka do that makes this recipe better than one with 100% water?  Let’s explore…

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First, what is gluten? 

Gluten is a strong, sticky, stretchy protein found in foods made from wheat and similar grains that helps give dough its elasticity.  When you add water to flour, the two wheat proteins, glutenin and gliadin, combine and form gluten.

Read more…