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Yeast Bread Basics

The added cushioning also helps stabilize a slightly warped board. Wash in the top rack of the dishwasher as necessary. Or even 20 minutes for white? Simply cook it in advance and freeze it for later. This works well with leftover rice, too. Make a batch of rice and let it cool. Try one of these recipes. Spoon meal-size portions into freezer-safe, microwave-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let stand for 2 minutes before fluffing and serving. Pomegranate seeds fancy term: Score the skin into sections, cutting where the membrane is thickest this will minimize damage to the seeds.

Submerge the pomegranate in a bowl of water and gently pry it open into sections. Still working under the water, remove the internal membranes and gently pull out the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl; the membranes will float to the surface. Discard the pieces of skin and skim off the floating membranes, leaving only the seeds behind. Lift the seeds out of the water and transfer them to a paper towel to dry. The seeds can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Sure, you can remove fat from a soup or a stew or a sauce by gingerly and repeatedly skimming the soup as it simmers. But doing so requires constant attention and eliminates only some of the grease. Make the soup in advance and do the following. Transfer the soup to a container and cool it in the refrigerator for several hours.

The fat will rise to the surface and solidify. Using a spoon, lift off and discard the fat. Reheat the soup as desired. Place the vegetables—green beans, carrots, or potatoes, say—in the colander, cover the pot, and steam until tender. Place the fish fillets on the plate, cover the skillet, and steam until the fish is opaque throughout. Want a recipe for avoiding holiday-baking overload? Mix up and freeze dough ahead of time, then bake it when you need it. A small, spring-loaded scoop will give you nice, equally sided rounds, but a measuring spoon will work, too. Transfer the frozen balls to a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Place the frozen balls on baking sheets no need to thaw and bake according to the instructions, adding 1 to 2 minutes to the total time. But raw dough on a warm pan will produce unevenly baked cookies that are thin and overly browned around the edges. Rather than waiting 4 to 5 minutes for the temperature of the sheets to drop, try this quick fix: Outline just inside the edges of the cookie—use royal icing in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.

Let the icing set slightly, 20 to 30 minutes. To fill in tight corners, use a toothpick to drag the icing outward.

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You can also use the toothpick to pop any air bubbles that form. Let the icing dry partially before adding sprinkles, and completely four-plus hours before piping other colors on top. It happens every year: Just before bringing the turkey to the table, drizzle the slices with a little hot chicken broth to warm and moisten the meat. Preparing potatoes in advance for gratins and mashes can be tricky: Once peeled and cut, spuds can turn an off-putting shade of gray. To maintain their creamy color, refrigerate the pieces in a container of cold water. On a piece of floured parchment or wax paper, roll out the dough to an even thickness, rotating the paper as you go.

Occasionally lift the dough and flour the paper underneath to ensure that the dough can roll freely. Dough too soft to roll? Place the paper and dough on a baking sheet and refrigerate just until firm. Run your hands under the dough to loosen it from the paper, then position the paper and dough over the pie plate.

Place one hand under the dough and use your other hand to pull the paper out. Gently fit the dough into the bottom and corners of the pie plate and crimp the edge before filling. To remove a pit easily, follow these steps. Face the blade away from you. Pull out the pit. Chop or slice as needed.

To remove the excess starch that can cause stickiness and clumping, rinse uncooked rice in a sieve or a mesh colander until the water runs clear. Thirty minutes before you plan to cook, take the meat out of the refrigerator so it can come to room temperature. Then pat it dry with a paper towel. Get your skillet good and hot—a drop of water should sizzle on the surface. Add a splash of oil.


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Season the meat just before adding it to the pan; do it any sooner and the salt will pull juices from the meat. Cook the meat and wait until it releases easily from the pan before turning it. The meat will release once a nice crust has formed. If there is any resistance and the meat sticks to the pan, let it cook for an additional minute before checking again.

As the plant grows, gritty soil gets trapped between its layers. Cut off and discard the dark green leaves an inch or so above the white part of the stalk the greens are bitter and tough. Then trim and discard the roots. Halve the remaining stalk lengthwise, then cut into pieces of the desired size. Fill a bowl with cold water, add the cut leeks, and swish them around a few times. With your hands loosely cupped, lift the leeks out of the bowl and place them on a plate or work surface.

Discard the water and grit. Fill the bowl with fresh water and repeat until the water is clear. Shaping ground beef, pork, lamb, or turkey into meatballs can be a sticky business. To keep meat from glomming on to your hands, wet them in cold water first repeat as needed. The moisture will create a barrier between your skin and the meat. Try this method with burgers and meat loaf, too. Remove skillet from heat. Gently pull the food to one side of the skillet, being careful not to disrupt the burned bits on the bottom.

Tip the pan in the opposite direction and add a few tablespoons of water. Scrape up the burned bits, pushing them into the water. Using a wad of paper towel try holding it with tongs , sop up the water and the scraped-up bits; discard. Repeat on other burned areas, if necessary. Start by putting the knife down. Instead, leave the chocolate bar in its wrapper and whack it against the edge of the counter several times. Neatly corralled pieces—and zero kitchen cleanup. Want your stars and snowmen to cut an impressive figure? Ensure that they retain their crisp, sharp edges by following these cool instructions: Roll out the chilled dough on floured parchment paper, then chill it again for at least 15 minutes before cutting out shapes.

Use a floured cookie cutter to punch out a clean shape, and reflour it before every cut. Place the shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill once again, for at least 15 minutes, before baking. Use a sharp paring knife to split the pod lengthwise from tip to tip. Run the dull side of the paring-knife blade down the length of each half, scraping up the seeds. Use as the recipe indicates. Put the empty, but still potent, pod halves in a jar of sugar to make a vanilla-scented sweetener for coffee and tea. Think the key to three-alarm chili or any other flavor-packed dish is dumping in tons of spices?

Next time, place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet before putting it in the oven. It will catch any spills and keep pot holders sauce-free when you remove the finished dish. For even easier cleanup, line the baking sheet with foil.


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Try this with juicy cobblers and pies, too. For an even, intact crust, follow these steps. Remove the pizza dough store-bought or homemade from the refrigerator, place on a well-floured surface, and dust lightly with flour. Let sit until the dough comes to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes. Resting makes the dough more pliable. With both hands, hold one edge of the dough, allowing it to hang. Inch your hands around the edge, letting gravity gently stretch the dough to the desired size. Transfer to an oiled or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet and add the toppings of your choice.

There's only one sure way to know if your bird is done: But if your instant-read thermometer is off, then who's the turkey? Check its precision in a glass of water mixed with enough crushed ice to be slushy. Be sure the tip isn't touching the sides or the bottom of the glass. If it doesn't, the thermometer needs to be recalibrated.

Here are two easy methods that work for most models. For a digital thermometer: For a dial thermometer: Tripling a recipe for your holiday crowd? Use this handy list of equivalents and you'll never have to measure out 12 teaspoons and lose count! Tying a turkey makes it look pretty and prevents the wing tips from burning. Here's how to do it without getting all tangled up.

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Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together, looping the twine around the legs several times so that they are secure; finish with a knot. Twist each wing so that the wing tip tucks under the neck cavity of the bird. You may need to twist with a bit of force.

The weight of the bird and the tension of the wing should keep it in place. Season and prepare the bird according to the recipe directions. Produced by simmering vegetables, aromatics think herbs and peppercorns , bones, and often meat scraps, stock is the gold standard to use as a base for soups, stews, and sauces. Despite having little or no salt, it adds complex, robust flavor to any recipe it touches. Not up for the two-hour time commitment that making stock requires? Opt for store-bought broth instead. Usually just stock with salt added, this ingredient can be used in the same ways as homemade stock.

Last—and least desirable—is bouillon , dehydrated stock formed into cubes or granules. Thus the liquid it produces is fairly weak and one-note, despite being intensely salty. Use it only in a pinch. In most cases, you can use dried herbs instead. Follow this simple formula: Since dried herbs tend to have a strong, concentrated flavor, the substitution works best for hearty varieties, like oregano, thyme, and sage, which are added early in a recipe and mellow with cooking.

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Stick with the fresh versions of herbs like basil, mint, and parsley, which have a more delicate flavor and are added just before serving. With this easy removal technique, it will be much more appealing. Stand it upright on one of the cut ends. Working from top to bottom and following the curve of the orange, remove strips of the peel, including the white pith, to reveal the orange flesh. Working over a bowl, hold the orange in one hand. Make a cut on both sides of each segment along the membrane.

Release the segment into the bowl and repeat, working your way around the fruit. Have you ever felt dumbstruck standing in the canned-tomato aisle of the supermarket? Why so many choices? This is the best way to think of fire: You could even argue it's calorie-negative, since it melts fat out of meats. He throws meat directly onto smoldering coals, scores steaks to yield more surface area for fire to char, and moves chops around on the grill frantically for maximum, even fire effect. Fire is easy, if you live year-round in Florida or SoCal and have someone to maintain your backyard fire pit.


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  4. For the rest of us, it seems seasonal. However, with a bit of creativity, you can deploy the power of fire in your kitchen all year long. If you have a gas stove, of course, you can directly char peppers over a burner. If you have a winter woodstove, you can throw a whole eggplant into the firebox and retrieve a charred, perfectly cooked, smoky vegetable for curries or soups.

    You also have the power of the broiler—basically an upside-down grill—which is great if it's gas but fine, too, if it's a red-hot electric element. You can get creative with a culinary torch, like we did. You can create stovetop devices that impart fire's flavor cousin, smoke right. You can heat pans—for the right pans, see page —to searing temperatures, creating a char that approximates that of direct fire. For his vegan stock, Rich Landau uses intentional scorch to great effect: Then we add [fresh] vegetables and liquid on top of that. The levels of flavor it gives you are so beautiful and so intense.

    You taste the difference. When grill season arrives, expand your horizons. Broccoli and other rugged vegetables benefit from fire, as do greens, dressed with a little fish sauce and then grilled—a treatment Duguid maintains will have kids fighting over them. Chef Wylie Dufresne likes to scorch lemons; it brings out their sugars and adds a pleasing bitter note. Patience may be the least prized, praised, or practiced of kitchen virtues in America.

    In baking, especially, where precision is mandated—weigh your flour! Consider the creaming of properly measured butter and sugar. It can take a full five minutes of slow work until the mix is perfectly light and fluffy. If a cake recipe calls for the cook to fold in flour in six batches, a shortcut four will compromise the crumb. Butter that needs to soften for cake or cookies takes time; rush it in the microwave and you'll likely melt it. As goes baking, so, too, does most of cooking. The chemistry and physics happen in their own time.

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    A few tools accelerate matters by attacking the problem at the molecular level: A pressure cooker raises the boiling point of water to allow food to cook at a higher temperature without coming to a destructive boil. Microwaves agitate the water molecules deep inside food faster than conventional heat reaches them. Marvelous tools, but limited. For most dishes, proper cooking happens when you submit to the sweet, natural reaction pace of chemical processes. True caramelization of onions requires 50 minutes or more; less, and you're just burning some bits while softening others.

    A proper roux acquires its chocolate color at a pace as pokey as a New Orleans August afternoon. Chicken stocks should never boil. Pizza dough that's allowed to proof for 24 hours or more gains superior yeasty flavor and springy texture. Slow-cooked Dutch oven dishes involving hunks of tough meat will not develop properly at a fast bubble—they will do that strange thing that can happen in wet cooking, which is to dry out. Patience extends beyond the stove to the cutting board, where meat must rest, gathering its juices back into its center; the patient cook knows that texture, in meat, trumps the temperature at which it's served.

    A properly cooked roast or turkey can rest for an hour. When foods are to be brought to room temperature before eating, such as cheese or salumi, that takes time, too. Chops need to stand outside the fridge for a while before hitting the pan, lest the chill interfere with browning. The Slow Food Movement embodies the basic equation: Flavor equals quality of ingredients altered over time.

    Microbial-action philosopher Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation , points out that "if you walk into a gourmet food store anywhere and you look around and think about the nature of foods we elevate on this pedestal, almost all are the products of fermentation. They're created by micro-organisms with the benefit of time.

    If there's any consolation, it's that many cooks, like many cheeses, get better over time. We have a built-in capacity to develop greater patience as time passes. Scrambled eggs bond to stainless steel like Satan's own scorched breakfast if you don't add enough fat. The horror of this sort of cling causes many cooks to flee to nonstick pans: However, slick surfaces like Teflon and the new ceramics—which are generally not meant to be heated to high temperatures— isolate food from the properties of metal that build the deepest flavors in cooking, especially healthy cooking.

    Nonstick is great, but for a lot of dishes, we need to harness the full power of certain metals. Metals that get really hot. Searing and browning are the basis of so much flavor development, and that often requires serious heat. Any steel or iron pan can be made hot a wide burner under a broad pan is ideal for even browning , but none is dedicated to its purpose quite like the carbon steel wok.

    It's thin, light, and expansively concave, designed to sit on a rocket-engine blast of flame that works its way up the sides while the cook shakes the wok and tosses the ingredients inside. The goal is maximum searing, giving food what cookbook author Grace Young famously translated as "the breath of a wok.

    Widely available online, these pans become virtually nonstick when seasoned. Metals that are very heavy. Cast iron is beloved because, though slow to heat up, once it's hot it stays hot. Mass is the key. Chef and science geek Maxime Bilet notes that many cooks fail to recognize how much the addition of food can drop the temperature of a pan, even an expensive one, if that pan lacks mass: You have to understand the relationship between the metal and the food you're putting in. Recipes often call for placing the food inches away from the broiling unit.

    To cook quickly over high heat, causing the surface of the food to turn brown while the interior stays moist. To apply a liquid with a pastry brush to the surface of food. To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a clear syrup ranging in color from golden to dark brown. An oven equipped with a fan that provides continuous circulation of hot air around the food.

    To mix a solid, cold fat like shortening or butter with dry ingredients until the mixture takes the form of small particles. It can be done with a food processor, a handheld tool called a pastry blender, a fork, or two knives. A very small amount of seasoning added to food. To reduce a mixture's strength by adding liquid usually water.

    To lightly coat a food with flour, cornmeal, or breadcrumbs before frying or baking. Lightly coating a food with a powdery liquid, such as flour or powdered sugar. Egg yolk or egg white mixed with a small amount of water or milk. It's brushed over baked goods before baking to give them gloss and color.

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    The amount of dry ingredients you can hold in a pinch between your thumb and forefinger. Some are shaped to scrape sides of the mixing bowl; others are shaped to flip foods, or to stir ingredients in a curved bowl. To cook food gently in liquid at a temperature low enough that tiny bubbles just begin to break the surface around degrees. A cooking method in which food is placed in a steamer basket over boiling water in a covered pan. To quickly fry small pieces of food in a large pan over very high heat while stirring.

    A utensil with looped wires in the shape of a teardrop, used for whipping ingredients like batters, sauces, eggs, and cream. The whisk helps add air into the batter. A utensil with tiny cutting holes on one end that creates threadlike strips of peel when pulled over the surface of a lemon lime or orange. It removes only the colored outer portion of the peel zest. A to Z Guides Feature Stories. Yeast Bread Basics Most bakery products are made with yeast, baking powder, or baking soda.

    If you're following a recipe that calls for yeast, here's what you should know: Yeast feeds on sugars and starches in the dough. When it grows, it produces carbon dioxide , which makes your dough rise with air bubbles. Too much heat, sugar, or salt can kill the yeast, so follow recipe instructions carefully. For yeast to grow, it needs a warm but not hot environment. This is why recipes often call for warm milk or water. Yeast bread recipes usually call for some sugar, to feed the yeast, and salt, for taste and to help control the yeast's growth.

    Bread-machine yeast and rapid-rise yeast are specially formulated for the bread machine. They become active more quickly and can be mixed in with other dry ingredients. When using a bread machine, be sure to add the ingredients in the order recommended by the manufacturer or in the recipe. In a bread machine, the mixing and rising take place inside the machine.

    The baking can also be done in the machine. Or, you can press the "dough" cycle and when the first rise is over, the machine will stop.