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Syzygies last won the day on June 28 2016

Syzygies had the most liked content!

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About Syzygies

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 11/29/1955


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    New York, NY and Concord, CA
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  1. Yes, I have a firm rule to not use my smoke pot above 275 F (210 F to 240 F is ideal). To further confuse the thread title, a cast iron smoke pot may be the "Firefly 2" of the barbecue world: Half the people who've tried it love it, the other half can't manage to get smoke out of it. I light my low & slow fires with a weed burner, taking special care to heat the underside of the smoke pot itself, and I've never had a problem.
  2. I sometimes go a month, with starters on both coasts. I often bring bread from CA to NY, and my NY starter gets neglected. After a summer in CA, I always bring some of the CA starter to NY, in a very stiff, dry paste in a sealed chamber vacuum pouch. I agree with the above comments. The two issues are acid balance, and rising power. On the second feeding after a hiatus, I leave only a small amount as carry-over, to reduce acid. This is also mostly controlled by the timing of the last feeding before actual use; shorter is less acid, at the possible expense of going under the sweet spot for rising power. As for rising power, I always augment my bread with a tiny bit of yeast, which provides a boost and security. I don't view anything as an authenticity contest; sourdough provides flavor and better shelf life. One can quickly restore rising power by feeding twice a day and observing. I've read something about a float test, but it's pretty obvious if you just eyeball it. There's a view that an authentic starter (I was once offered one "from the California gold rush") is the same idea as the aliens that looked after early life, terraforming our planet. After a month with whatever flours one actually uses for feeding, any sign of the founder aliens are long gone. This extends to yeast; if you've used commercial yeast in your kitchen, it's going to get into the starter no matter what. I've embraced this on occasion, adding a pinch of yeast to my starter itself. In fact, for anyone who's had trouble with starter, recognize that there's a continuum of methods from reusing a bit of yesterday's dough (saves on yeast, back in the day), to biga preferments and such, to actual sourdough starters. A continuum is a math term meaning you can jump in anywhere you like. Follow the procedure for a sourdough starter, but instead of whispering in socks while adding pineapple (or whatever voodoo you've heard for this), just add a half teaspoon of yeast to the flour, water the first day. Now keep feeding this as if starter, while telling yourself it really is starter. It's certainly something that works, and if there are other organisms in your flour feed that stand a chance of joining the chorus, they will. Over time this faux starter will become indistinguishable from anyone else's starter, and it works right from the beginning. Easy to do again.
  3. A magnum is such a difficult size! Too much for one, not enough for two.
  4. Oh wait! That regulator is for my argon tank, for saving part bottles of wine.
  5. Insert for 22" grills I already have various baking steels. I use a round Baking Steel in my KK for various purposes like shown in the video. The advantage of inverting the geometry is not having to reach over flames to work. I'm not sure a patent would hold up, if they are attempting to protect this idea. First, the idea is obvious. What they're doing is committing to this idea and bringing it to practice, always the hard part. Second, I've seen variations on this idea in the Asian cooking world, going back centuries. "Obvious" doesn't seem to matter to patent inspectors, but "Prior Art" does. Dennis could make something like this for us, if it's a good idea. Not having to reach over the flames, grate in center...
  6. Yes. What I don't know is the micron range for espresso, and whether they've actually bracketed it. My Pharos manual talks about 1/2 - 3/4 turn as the adjustment range for espresso, with the most powerful machines best able to handle the finer grinds. I don't know what this is in microns.
  7. Kruve Sifter I grind espresso fairly fine, for a La Pavoni Europiccola with 18g aftermarket baskets. It would be good to know what "Sifter Twelve: 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100" actually means in my context.
  8. Yes, I keep exploring the idea of getting some kind of USB microscope, or similar. I would use it to monitor and understand the grind from my Pharos hand coffee mill. To understand sharpening using my Shapton Glass waterstones. If sufficiently powerful, to understand what's going on in my sourdough starter and my various (e.g. hot sauce) fermentation experiments. My rough take is "junk or $4,000". Sound familiar? Not as generally useful as a KK, so I haven't.
  9. That's an empirical question. In fact, both the friction feeling and the sound are similar feedback loops to playing a musical instrument, and even other species get pretty good at making music. I had other, softer old-school (presoak) water stones, e.g. Japanese from Hida Tools, and the Norton combo stones. It was less fun, more hassle to get started so I wouldn't, and what I'm getting now is twice as sharp. Not sure where the idea of checking a knife with one's finger came from (or cutting paper), seems a parlor trick like manipulating the smoke ring for judges with blown-out taste buds. I notice these are much sharper on actual kitchen tasks, like thinly slicing across the grain of less-than-ideal ginger, or slicing salumi as thin as the vacuum packs of already prepared slices. I can believe a machine could do a good job, though I'm suspicious after the machines I've actually used. Again an empirical question. People who use angle assistance on stones like these view them as clumsy training wheels, that they ditch as soon as possible.
  10. This is about $550 per kitchen, and I did it twice. I'm easily amused, but my knives are about twice as sharp as I thought humanly possible. This thrills me every single night, worth the price of admission. (One needs some holder, there are inexpensive alternatives. One needs some flattener, I don't trust other choices with the finer grade stones. If one skimps, the starter set is $264 + some way to hold stones + some way to flatten stones.) Shapton Glass 4pc Set 500x, 1k, 4k, 8k Shapton GlassStone 2000 Grit Shapton Sharpening Stone Holder Atoma 1200x
  11. I have multiple Baking Steels, and multiple Fibrament-D baking stones. I take at face value any claims that a given solution works, but one can only make comparisons by trying both. People who make baking stones understand all sorts of heat transfer coefficients not generally revealed to the public. Dennis in particular understands this for his stones, which I have no doubt are as good as Fibrament-D. The rough idea is how quickly the stone returns heat energy to the baked good. One has seen something similar with bouncing rubber balls of different materials. Some balls bounce high, some are nearly dead, on purpose. To hit a given target, one compensates with different balls by how hard you bounce them. Here, good cooks can adapt and get great results from either Baking Steels or stones. Yet we're fighting a strong current here; to adapt, it helps to know which way it is flowing. A Baking Steel is optimized for returning a lot of heat in a hurry. A stone is tuned to return heat at a measured pace. Thus, I prefer a Baking Steel for thin crust pizzas, e.g Neapolitan style cooked very quickly. It also makes a great burger griddle, working on the KK. I prefer stones for baking bread; I don't like my bread to burn. A special problem, baking in the KK, is that heat comes from below. An unprotected steel or stone, left too long, gets too hot. One ends up cooking entirely from below, when ideal (think how a classic wood-fired pizza oven works) is mostly radiant heat from above. I work around this by stacking everything I've got, as a heat shield. For example, I had bought a thick rectangular kiln stone for baking bread. It didn't quite work, again the wrong thermal characteristics. (I'm of a certain age, and hippies loved appropriating objects that "the man" intended for other purposes, even if the redirection doesn't quite work. The old literature is filled with references to lining one's oven with kiln stones.) So I ordered a matching, also thick, Fibrament-D stone to set on top. It nicely fits two loaves of bread side-by-side, and the stack is thick enough to not overheat in my time frame. My giant cast iron skillet, filled with chain (meant for producing steam) also helps to turn the KK into an indirect oven.
  12. I believe that creating an account will do the trick. It's no more that choosing a name and password, that you'll want in any case for order tracking.
  13. I have written Dennis privately for advice on the best gasket retrofit for my 2009 23" KK Ultimate. For indoor ovens, a common warning that comes with using ample steam is possible damage to the oven. Electronics? Glass door? Hasn't been my problem. For a KK, the gaskets are perhaps the most vulnerable component. When steam condenses back to water, it transfers a massive wallop of energy; that's why steam burns are so dangerous. Perhaps the KK gaskets are glued on fine for normal use, but can't withstand constant bombardment by steam. I'm too hooked on bread to give up this practice, I'll figure this out, but in the interest of full disclosure I wanted to raise this possible issue.
  14. Whole shoulder (15 lbs butt + picnic) for a party tonight. A friend from South Carolina will be making the sauce. I forgot to replace my 16" terra cotta plant saucer after the last one cracked, so I improvised with a foil-lined 42cm paella pan.
  15. Back to regular Red winter wheat berries (Giusto). The Fife red just wasn't behaving. Or was it the einkorn?