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Old 05-31-2005, 01:29 PM   #1
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What's the Problem - #2?

Since Lyndalou wanted another one ....

I'm going to take some liberties and use some of our DC Family as participants in these problems - picked because they participated in the first "Problem" and I know where they live. They are fictional characters in these accounts and are just to help demonstrate something in the answer.

In this one the only problem is the flour - each recipe calls for plain old everyday all-purpose flour.

1. CAKE: Andy, in MA, posts a request on DC for a recipe for a certain cake and Lyndalou, in FL, sends him her tried-and-true recipe she got from her grandmother. Since it doesn't need anything special like cake flour, just everyday all-purpose flour, Andy decides to make it. The batter is very thick - and the cake turns out dense and dry. Andy is sure that (a) it is the worst recipe he has ever seen, (b) it wasn't TNT, (c) something got left out of the recipe, (d) Lyndalou has never had a good cake, (e) Lyndalou needs to up her meds.

2. DINNER ROLLS: In gratitude for getting the cake recipe from Lyndalou - before he tried it - Andy sends her a recipe for some yeast dinner rolls that you can make in a food processor. But, instead of it forming a ball like the recipe said - it's just a sticky glob. So she adds a tablespoon more flour, but that doesn't do it ... so she adds another, and then another. Finally, after she has added 1/2 - 3/4 cup more flour it finally makes a ball.

3. PIE CRUST: Alix, up there in Canada, hears about Chef Paul Prudhomme's (New Orleans, LA) recipe for sweet potato pecan pie and wants to give it a try so someone posts it. Well, the filling turned out perfect, but the crust was a nightmare. At first, the liquid hardly dampened the flour and it was too dry to make a dough. So, Alix added a little more liquid at a time until it finally formed a dough - but it was so tough it was hard to work with. And the end result was less than tender and/or flaky.

What's the problem?

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Old 05-31-2005, 01:47 PM   #2
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I love this, Michael.

I'm guessing the problem is the same in all three scenarios - lack of proper amount of shortening.
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:17 PM   #3
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Michael:

You're getting really geographical on us now.

Lindalou is from Florida where she uses flour made from Southern wheat which is 'softer', containing less gluten.

Andy (that's me ) is from Massachusetts, where the AP flour is harder and contains more gluten than the southern flour.

Alix, from Canada, is accustomed to the hardest wheat of all. It has a higher gluten content than either Lindalou's or Andy's.

The gluten content directly effects the amount of water that can be absorbed and the ultimate texture of the finished product. That's why Alix's crust was so tough. Paul P's recipe was probably based on a relatively low gluten southern flour. Alix's AP flour is close to bread flour and will create a tougher product.

The problem is the same in all three examples. Water to flour ratios are off due to the differences in gluten content.

I should have added more water, Lindalou should have cut back on the water she used and Alix should use a softer flour such as cake or pastry flour.
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:30 PM   #4
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Oh, I bet you're right, Andy.
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:18 PM   #5
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Oh Andy, I am not worthy! I was going to make some smart arse comment about humidity levels but I think you are right on the money.

I LOVE THIS PLACE!!! I learn so much from you all.
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:50 PM   #6
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I agree with Andy.

(Can I be in your next round? Californians are known for doing weird stuff with their food)
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:21 PM   #7
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Okay, jkath .... I'll put you down for the French Bread problem.
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:26 PM   #8
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jkath, here's a hint - there are no avocados in recipes for French bread, even in SoCal. :)
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:36 PM   #9
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hee hee hee!

or would that be............ oui oui oui!
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Old 06-01-2005, 11:27 AM   #10
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I LOVE this thread - and similar ones! WAY TO GO Michael!
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