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James Beard Was Wrong. Garlic Powder Is Amazing.

James Beard Was Wrong. Garlic Powder Is Amazing. | Baking, Cooking, Eating | Scoop.it

"

Nobody is disputing that fresh garlic is a wonderful, magical ingredient. I’ve been growing garlic since the 1990s, at a rate of about 400 bulbs per year, so I’m quite familiar with its charms. It’s a gustatory chameleon that’s at once spice and vegetable, with a variety of flavors to give. When fresh garlic is added to a dish early and allowed to cook, its raw bite is replaced by sweetness and mild, permeating pungency. If added at the end of cooking, that same fresh garlic contributes piercing fireworks.


But garlic powder acts like glue behind glitter, adding a subtle fullness of flavor that may be more difficult to detect, but nonetheless makes the meal taste better. Like MSG, garlic powder may not be specifically discernable, but in a side-by-side comparison, the otherwise identical dish with added garlic powder will win."


Chris Lott's insight:

Annoying note: only halfway through the article does the author note that he's talking about homemade garlic powder (dehydrate thin garlic slices and grind them in a coffee/spice grinder).


The point is--and this is true for the common, store-bought variety as well--garlic powder isn't bad, it just isn't the same as garlic. Think of them as two different ingredients. There are many times when garlic powder makes more sense than garlic (on top of pizza, in various dips and devilled eggs, etc.)...they aren't, except in a real pinch, anything like a substitute for one each other.


FYI, Cook's Illustrated reviewed garlic powders and their top three were:

  1. Spice Islands Garlic Powder
  2. McCormick Garlic Powder
  3. Penzeys Granulated Garlic Powder


Their note on the third was that it was very mild, where the first two were virtually indistinguishable.

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Sourdough Starter, Step-by-Step & Side-by-Side

Sourdough Starter, Step-by-Step & Side-by-Side | Baking, Cooking, Eating | Scoop.it
Intro to a series on how to make your own sourdough starter. I used two different methods in order to compare the outcomes. Photos and advice galore.
Chris Lott's insight:

This witty and well-illustrated tutorial illustrates the "pineapple juice" method developed by Debra Wink to create a sourdough starter alongside with the same method using water. I used the pineapple juice method successfully a few years ago to create a really good starter (alas, I lost it in a move).


I love this tutorial because it shows that creating your own starter is pretty easy. If you are into the details, as I am, then you will likely enjoy Debra Wink's original posts on developing the pineapple juice technique: Part One / Part Two.


The toughest challenge for me was (and is) dealing with temperature differences. My idea of "room temperature" is cooler than some like it and my house's idea—in the middle of the Alaskan winter—can be cooler still.


The second issue I faced was coming to understand the process of keeping the starter in the refrigerator and "feeding" it appropriately. I ended up with a process like Paul's: once a week feeding for maintenance. Then, a day or two before baking, remove the starter from the fridge and feed it once per day until baking day, then use what's needed and put the rest back into the refrigerator to maintain.

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