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Common baked cheesecake recipe problems

Common Baked Cheesecake Recipe Problems

My Aunt Wendy was one of the greatest cooks I’ve ever known. Any time we went to her house, even just for a quick visit, there was something great to eat happening in the kitchen. She made chicken and dumplings with dumplings that were like little clouds, never gooey or floury like so many are. She made cakes, pies and cookies that were the winners of blue ribbons at every contest in town. And her holiday dinners were the most sought-after invite in the entire family.

However, Aunt Wendy until the day she died could not make a cheesecake that didn’t come out of the oven with a top that didn’t look like a topographical map of California. Cracks, big and little, narrow and wide, shallow and deep would crawl all over the top of the cheesecake, often endangering the structural integrity of the whole.

Cracks in the top of the cheesecake are one of the two major problems home cooks encounter, and they can make your beautiful labor of love into the ugly duckling of the dessert tray.

However, there are two simple steps you can take to avoid cracks. First, place a water pan in the oven with the cheesecake while it bakes. The added moisture in the air will keep the surface moist and keep it from cracking, in much the same way that moisturizing cream will help your hands. You can also mix a teaspoon of cornstarch into the batter before putting it in the pan. This natural thickening agent will guard against the separation that leads to cracking.

The other major hurdle most cooks encounter from time to time is the lumpy cheesecake. Unlike cracks, which don’t affect the overall flavor, lumps indicate poor or incomplete mixing, which will affect flavor. To guard against this, bring the cheese and the eggs to room temperature, to make the fats in the two mix more readily and completely.

Remember those tips and you’re on the way to baked cheesecake recipe success!

All you need to know about kitchen cutters

All You Need To Know About Kitchen Cutters

Pastry and Biscuit Cutters

Basic plain and crinkly edged cutters are simple pieces of apparatus for small pastries and cookie making; they are frequently found in graded sets which fit neatly inside each other in their own tin for convenient storage.

There are also ‘fancy’ cutters; these are out there in each and every imaginable shape, from hearts and stars to wizards and Christmas trees. Fancy cutters are usually enjoyable to use for cookies, pastry, cake, icing, marzipan, canapes for every feasible situation.

Pastry and cookie cutters are generally available in metal or plastic. When purchasing, make sure that the top edge is rolled and the chopping edge is sharp. A rolled edge provides the cutter added strength, and makes it much more comfortable to use.

Aspic Cutters

A miniature variation of pastry or cookie cutters, and is utilized for fiddly decorative work.

Pastry Wheels

These kinds of cutters are used to cut straight or crimped lines through pastry. They may also be employed to cut sheets of pasta for parpardelle or maybe ravioli.

Ravioli Cutters

Right after layering the filling between two sheets of pasta, this gadget allows you to stamp out the ravioli shape whilst closing the edges. They are usually made up of a stainless steel fluted-edged cutter together with a wood handle. Various shapes and sizes are accessible.

Pizza Cutters

This particular gizmo is utilized to cut through cooked pizzas in order to divide them up in to portions whilst maintaining the toppings neatly in place. It comprises of a stainless steel cutting wheel set onto a handle. Make certain that the cutter includes a finger guard between the blade and the handle, and that it seems comfortable and well balanced in your hand.

Chip Cutters

These are helpful gadgets for chopping chips, offered in 2 types. The first is a single wavy blade set into a handle and applied to create crinkle-cut chips. The second is a gadget for slicing large amounts of chips at once; the whole peeled potato is positioned under it and then the stainless-steel cutter pushed down, transforming the potato into a pile of beautifully produced chipped potatoes, all ready for frying.

This is just a selection of the extensive range of kitchen and cook’s cutters which are available on the market today. In addition, there are a number of speciality cutters that are outside the scope of this particular article, but which you will undoubtedly find it you browse through the racks of your local supermarket or kitchen equipment store.

Social networking and outdoor cooking

Social Networking And Outdoor Cooking

The first meat that I ever wanted to cook on a barbecue was a chicken using the rotisserie and I’ve never really stopped to think about why. I guess it’s down to «the boy with a new toy» mentality in that the BBQ spit came in the pack with the grill and a rotisserie cooking process adds dynamism. Looking back not only is it visually appealing but also the spit does the work for you leaving plenty of time beer or two!
Maybe I did one too many beers on that first cookout because the results weren’t quite up to standard. I tried to light my grill with paper and wood which sent ash all over the chicken. I didn’t balance the chicken very well on the spit so one side cooked before the other. I made every mistake in the book.
Having said that, getting that first taste of BBQ smoke was still a defining moment and even after my first disastrous attempt with the rotisserie I was (and still am) hooked on outdoor cooking.
I progressed gently onto sausages and burgers learning as I went that the fat off the food causes the smoke and also the flames and when flames appear, the food doesn’t cook, it burns. Since discovering this point I’ve had to adjust every charcoal barbecue that I’ve ever bought with an extra notch to raise up the grill and keep the flames from lapping up at that first spit of the fat. Grill manufacturers take note!
For greater variety I later invested in a copy of Ainsley’s Barbecue Bible and this took me to higher levels even to the point where people were starting to look at what I was cooking and asking how I’d done it. If they were lucky they even got to taste it!
Anyway, barbecuing has become a way of life for me and now the internet provides so many free barbecue recipes and easy smoker recipes there’s plenty of menu ideas for my next cookout. Social networking though is still my favourite way to learn and by that I’m referring to talking with fellow enthusiasts and not necessarily over the web.
I tried barbecue cookout competitions and whilst there was a great sense of occasion and lot’s of fun, it was a little too competitive and recipes kept as closely guarded secrets. So where can you go to meet like minded people? Where can you find more barbecues, smokers and outdoor grills in one place and people sharing and having fun?
At a sports event!
Being a petrol head I regularly hit Les 24 Heures Du Mans (that’s the Le Mans 24 Hour Endurance race to you and me) in France. Not only is there a mix of barbecue nutcases and pyromaniacs they come from all over the world so where else is there such a wealth of knowledge, experience and above all a sense of fun?
Camping by a race track with cars flying past at 150+mph, what could be better? OK so it might not appeal to everyone and it doesn’t have to be as exotic as Le Mans, I found a similar atmosphere with a completely different crowd down at Twickenham for the rugby cup final, everyone focused on partying, enjoying the food, the event and the other people there. The event isn’t important, it’s the occasion and the people that make it what it is.
So in my book social networking is the answer for new ways to barbecue. For free barbecue recipes, get down to you local sports stadium and have a wander around before the ball game and the inspiration for your next barbecue menu ideas will be right in front of your eyes. This is my idea of social networking!
Bon Appetite!

Bread baking made easy

Bread Baking Made Easy!

Don’t you just hate it when you follow a recipe to the letter and when the bread baking is finished the bread not only looks nothing like the recipe book’s picture, but tastes terrible as well? 
There is no denying that bread baking as with baking anything is a delicate process. 
Bread baking involves so many things that first time bakers are often discouraged after a few failed attempts to turn out professional looking and tasting loaves. 
Little do they realize that if they only possessed the professional Baker’s secrets bread baking would be so easy that the bread would practically make itself! 
For instance: How many amateur bakers know the secret to keeping bread from sticking to the pan every time? 
None! So when they try their hand at bread baking for the first time their bread sticks to the bread pan, and ends up a crumbled mess if they try to force it out. 
Then they cry and give up thinking that the problem lies with them. 
The shocking truth is that it doesn’t!  
The problem lies with their lack of knowledge of THE baker’s bread  
baking secret. 
The secret professional chefs and bakers won’t tell you, the secret they guard so jealously. 
My father happened to learn this bread baking secret in his younger baking days and has passed it on to his children ever since. 
Okay, okay, I know you’re probably screaming at me by now »Beth, get on with it! Tell us the bread baking secret already!» 
So here it is; You will need only one tool besides for the oil and bread pan you already have, and that is quite simply CORNMEAL (you shouldn’t need more than 1/4 to 1/2 cup for two loaves of bread). 
»Cornmeal?» you ask doubtfully. »YES, cornmeal!» 
No, you do not add the cornmeal to the bread ingredients! That is not the bread baking secret. 
What you do is you oil your pan as usual, and you lightly sprinkle cornmeal on all of the sides and bottom of the bread pan. 
Now you can safely place your bread dough into the pans without fear of it sticking to them. 
While your bread is baking instead of sticking to the pan, your bread will stick to the cornmeal and slide easily out of the pan when done baking. 
You may need to use a butter knife and slide it in between the pan and the bread before turning the pan over and allowing your bread to pop out. 
A lot of the time this will be unnecessary however and your bread will pop out just by your turning the bread pan upside down. 
You will probably also want to use the butter knife to scrape the excess cornmeal off the bottom and sides of the bread as you may not care for the taste of cornmeal. 
This bread baking secret will work whether you’re baking a batter bread or a rising bread (also called yeast bread). I personally use it for both. 
Here is another treasured bread baking secret, this one only for batter breads:  
On the last ten minutes of its baking time cover the bread pan containing the batter bread with another bread pan (a steel bread pan works best), and leave it on until the bread is finished baking. 
This will keep the batter bread from burning or becoming too hard on top. You may vary the time you leave the steel bread pan on according to how your batter bread usually looks when it is finished. 
If it is a very dark brown on top and difficult to slice because the top is so hard, then 20 minutes will work best. But if it is just a little too hard on top and a little too brown the 10 minutes should suffice. 
Do not cover the bread at all if it usually comes out golden and soft on top after the baking is completed. 
You may also glaze a batter bread on top with a tablespoon of melted butter mixed with a tablespoon of honey, and sprinkle some flaked coconut or sliced nuts on top of that.  
To glaze you start by taking the bread out of the oven five minutes before the required baking time is finished, then spread the butter/honey mixture on top of the bread, sprinkle on your coconut or chopped nuts and bake for the remaining 5 minutes. 
Here is another useful bread baking tip for rising breads… 
If your bread loaves over rise (say because you were busy and forgot about them), then you can use a pair of scissors to cut off the excess sides, being careful not to cut any dough from off of the top. 
You may then use this excess dough to make rolls. You simply oil a pizza or cookie sheet and form the dough into several small balls. 
Rise them for another half hour and then bake on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. 
Do yourself a favor and put these tried and tested bread baking secrets immediately to use in your kitchen, and your family will rave over the results.

Captains need experience

Captains Need Experience

My live in girlfriend and I eat fish for dinner at least three times a week. Our favorite fish is Flounder because it does not take long to prepare and it tastes great. We buy our fish at the local market and trust the dates on the package to know if the fish is fresh. One day after shopping I opened up my package of Flounder and it smelled awful. There was something wrong so I returned to the market and asked for a refund. The manager offered me a replacement and explained that occasionaly a spoiled batch gets thrown in with the fresh fish and it is impossible for him to control. He said the only way to be sure that the fish was fresh is to catch it yourself. I thanked him for the advice but refused the exchange and had my money returned.

After both deciding that it was wise to catch our own fish,the next weekend we both were at the boat dock at six in the morning. There we saw two fishing boats that were going to spend the day searching for Flounder.One of the boats was brand new and had a sign up saying that this was going to be its maiden voyage. We marveled at its beauty and start going abroad. On the boarding plank stood the captain. He was dressed in whites and wore the most impressive cap. It had a gold eagle broadly displayed on the brim. He introduced himself and spoke about his ivy leauge education and his top grades but he admitted that he was never out to sea. My girlfriend was so impressed with him that she was ready to sign on. but I said before we do that lets check the older fishing boat and find out why it seems to be getting more fishermen going on board. We then spoke to the other captain who was an old man with over fifty years of fishing experience. He said that his boat may be old but it was sea worthy. I spoke to some of the fisherman on board and they told me that they never returned from a fishing trip with less than twenty five fish. I was sold and ready for a fishing trip on the old boat. But my girlfriend insisted on going on the maiden voyage with the handsome new captain. We compromised and decided she would have her choice, but I would stay with the experienced captain and we would meet on the dock at six on the return of the boats.

At six oclock I was waiting on the dock for the return of the fishing boat with my girlfriend on board. My fishing bag was packed with ice and there was over fifty large Flounder in it. At nine there was no sign of the boat she was on. I asked some of the workers on the dock what had happened to the boat that was on its maiden voyage. They replied that it had run aground and was being towed in. At midnight I saw a broken down boat coming into port towed by a coast guard cutter. My girlfriend was on the deck and weeping. I welcomed her as she came down the plank. We then went home and had a great Flounder dinner. She promised that she would never go on a boat again with a captain without sea experience. Even if the captain was handsome.