Chefs Without Restaurants

Cooking Issues and Food Science with Dave Arnold - Part 1

November 16, 2021 Chris Spear Season 2 Episode 118
Chefs Without Restaurants
Cooking Issues and Food Science with Dave Arnold - Part 1
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode, we're joined by chef Dave Arnold. He’s the host of the Cooking Issues podcast, author of the cocktail book Liquid Intelligence, and creator of the Searzall and Spinzall. Dave is also the founder of the  Museum of Food and Drink, and the man behind the NYC bars Booker & Dax and Existing Conditions, sadly , both of which are no longer in operation. 

As I kind of expected going into this show, I  let Dave lead the way. I leaned into all those weird and intriguing food science topics. Like my episode with Daniel Gritzer, our discussion went long, so I broke it up into two episodes, and this is part 1. 

We discuss MSG, hacking your home kitchen equipment, pressure cookers, and grain mills. We talk about whole wheat flour and its shelf life and degradation. And find out which popular candy just might be benefiting from a hint of rancidity. 

Sponsors
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Dave Arnold

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Dave's Instagram
The (new) Cooking Issues Podcast
Buy the book Liquid Intelligence
Dig through the Cooking Issues blog

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Chris Spear:

Welcome to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. I'm your host Chris Spear. On the show. I have conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. They're caterers research chefs, personal chefs cookbook authors, food truckers, farmers, cottage bakers, and all sorts of culinary renegades. I myself fall into the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 11 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s, I've literally never worked in a restaurant. This episode, we're joined by Chef Dave Arnold. He's the host of the cooking issues podcast, author of the cocktail book, liquid intelligence, and the creator of the Searzall and pinzall. Dave's also the f under of the Museum of food a d drink, and the man behind the ew York City bars, Booker and ax, and existing conditions, sadly, both of which are no longer around. Dave has been a real inspiration for me. I've often said the reason I started my own personal chef business was because of him. Not because Dave's a personal chef, but I took a course with him at the French Culinary Institute in New York, almost a decade ago. And while I was there, he opened my eyes to a whole new world of food. At the time, I was kind of burned out with what I was doing and looking to do something new, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Social media wasn't really a thing at the time, except maybe Twitter, which I wasn't on yet. Dave gave me a list of blogs to read and people to follow on Twitter, and the rest is history. So I was really excited to have Dave on the show. I've been listening to his show for almost the whole time he's been on. I've asked him a number of questions on the show, and he's just someone I really want to talk to. As I kind of expected going into the show. I kinda let Dave lead the way. I didn't ask a lot of my usual questions and just kind of leaned into those weird and intriguing food science topics. Like my episode with Daniel Kritzer. Our discussion went really long, so I broke it up into two episodes, and this is the first part we discuss MSG, hacking your home kitchen equipment, pressure cookers and grain mills. We talk about whole wheat flour, its shelf life and degradation. We get into olive oil emulsions, and find out which popular candy just might be benefiting from a hint of rancidity All that and more after a word from our sponsors. Is a grits enthusiast I'm honored to welcome our newest sponsor, Professor Torbert orange corn. I've been buying their products for a couple years now so I can speak to the awesome quality of these products. Professor torwards orange corn is the result of its founders lifelong dedication to improving the world through science and agriculture. over 20 years ago, Torbert set out to answer a simple but revolutionary question. Can you naturally make corn more nutritious? Could you deliver the benefits of a vegetable through a grain? Today, non GMO orange corn is helping fight micronutrient deficiencies in more than 10 African countries. The vibrant orange color comes from significantly increased levels of carotenoids. Torbert decided to see what he could do with it here at home. To his delight, he found that not only could American's eye health potentially benefit from its higher levels of antioxidant carotenoids, but it also tasted unbelievably good. So when you choose Professor torwards you aren't just saying yes to better flavor. You're also helping deliver better nutrition on a global scale. Tastes good, feels good. All of Professor torwards products grits cornmeal and corn flour or non GMO gluten free and vegan. All their products are sold online at Professor Torbert calm on Amazon and wholesale. And now through the end of November. Professor turbots is happy to offer all Chefs Without Restaurants listeners 10% off on all orange corn products. Go to Professor Torbert calm and simply use the promo code chef's 10 at checkout that's c h e f s one zero. Did you know restaurants turnover employees four times faster than most businesses. What if somebody created an affordable and effective hiring solution for the restaurant industry. What if there were a job site that only focused on people looking for food service jobs? What if that site only cost $50 A year to advertise for every job your restaurant needed? Forget the big corporate sites like indeed and Monster, our sponsor, savory jobs has a job site exclusively for restaurants. The best part is savory jobs only charges $50 for an entire year, and you can post all the jobs you want. And for our loyal listeners, use the code savory 10 and get 10% off. That's S A Vory. One zero. So you go to savory jobs.com and discover the job site shaking up the industry. And remember to use savory 10 for 10% off. And now on with the show. Thanks so much, and have a great week. Hey, Dave, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for coming on. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to talk to you. You're one of my favorite chefs and people in the food world. And yeah, I can't wait to find out a little bit more about you and see where this conversation goes. Maybe down some crazy places, as I know happens on your podcast.

Dave Arnold:

I mean, more than likely, I will spiral into some kind of random set of facts. Yes.

Chris Spear:

Well, as I started listening to podcast, cooking issues, was the first podcast I ever listened to, you know, how long have you been doing it now? Is it like 10 years?

Unknown:

11, like, almost 11 years. And we just actually switch networks recently, which, you know, for any of you out there in the podcast world can be trying, we're still kind of, we're still kind of dealing with the kind of repercussions of that, of that shift. But yeah, we've been doing it for over over 10 years, I started when I was still at the French Culinary Institute. So, you know, way back in the day, I had a blog called Cooking issues. That was kind of chronicling what we were working on at the French Culinary Institute. And the reason to do a blog back then was, you know, if you didn't have a restaurant, you know, even if you were teaching chefs, like, you know, like, we were at a culinary school at the time, you know, there was no kind of no one was writing about what you were doing, there was no permanent record of the idea. So you came up with an idea. And it was kind of gone. And so we started that blog, but it was taking up so much of my time that, you know, like, the way that I was approaching the work was, you know, 4000 words on, you know, an externalization. And those 4000 words weren't just like, 4000 random words. I mean, it was all dance and everything, but it was like, you know, it's taking a lot of energy and time to produce it. So I thought it would be better to do a podcast where I could take people's questions, and interact with them more directly, almost like I would do when I was teaching classes, but in that podcast form, and so we've been doing it ever since it's become I guess, more of just kind of, you know, Anastasia and I ranting and raving at each other over the years. But, you know, there's still hopefully, a healthy dose of cooking information sifted in, you know,

Chris Spear:

we have a great report. I mean, it's a, it's like, an interesting relationship. You know, it's like, kind of siblings is the way like, I would listen like the way I listen to my kids talk. And converse is sometimes how it seems like the two of you are talking on the show, and I find it hilarious. It's definitely not like a dry cooking science show. So

Unknown:

Well, I mean, I guess that's in a way why it works. Because you know, if it was for me, like I'm prone to, I can go off on tangents that are very in the weeds forever. Yeah, right. Yeah, I'm having that problem right now. Actually, I'm working on, you know, my second book. And my wife is proofreading, proofreading. But editing and proofreading is a derogatory, she's editing, right? And it's, she's like, man, you're so like, I mean, it's so boring. Like this discussion of like, the different fatty acid profiles in this oil is just so boring. And I'm like, Yes, I need someone to check me and bring me back from that, you know, because I'll always often go on on rants like that, as I will, like random. You know, stories are rants. So it's Yeah, yeah. Well, I

Chris Spear:

I've asked a number of questions over the years that you've answered on the show. And I was actually looking back so I'm not going to trigger you here. But on Episode 49, I definitely was the one who asked about MSG, and that turned into like a half hour conversation with you totally going crazy when Natasha said she does not eat MSG. And I just think it's like one of the most hilarious things but that was like way back episode 49. So I have

Unknown:

completely blocked that from my memory like that, like her saying that she didn't eat MSG. I have completely completely blocked it out of my memory. Because I mean even thinking about her saying that he irritates me now like the like the fact that she ever said that 10 years later. I don't know because the thing is, she should know better. You know what I mean? She should know better. Alright, we won't we won't

Chris Spear:

I but it was really helpful because I actually ran corporate food service place. So I had the same customers every day. And I had this like one woman who came in every day and wanted to literally see the labels on every single thing I had in the kitchen. And like, we had to make her special food. I'm just like, This is not a real thing. I'm just going to ask Dave and like, I literally asked you, you answered on my show, and I played it for my general manager, I'm like, can you take this guy's word for it? Like, is there some way we can work with this woman? So we don't have to do this every single day. So it was very helpful to me. Look,

Unknown:

when you as you you deal either in foodservice or when you deal with a commercial industrial producers, right? You realize that, like anyone who's on the consumer end, when they get too hyped up in these in these things, like on the label, that they're actually just getting the wool pulled over their eyes. And that's what irritates me kind of the most is that it's not just, it's an inconvenience for you as a cook, right? Because whatever we deal with that all the time somebody has preferences or their preferences, it's that you're jumping through these hoops for someone who's being lied to, and is believing the lies they're being told, right? About, you know, they're like, Oh, I'm fine. I won't have any MSG, but add all of the hydrolyzed vegetable protein that you want. You're like, what? They're like, I can't have any MSG. But hydrolyzed vegetable protein?

Chris Spear:

Yeah, we got into that. Because like the basis, you know, us, you know, I was doing like 1000 covers a day. So we would use like, the pre made chicken bases. And you know, exactly, that was one of those things where it didn't say it had MSG, but there's hydrolyzed protein in there. It's like, this is gonna be like quite the thing. But yeah,

Unknown:

you know, but fortunately, people haven't seem to pick up on that, like, so the people who are anti MSG are literally just looking for the words MSG, on their, on their network. It is also true, some people need to reduce there, many of us, most of us do not some people need to reduce their sodium content, right. But they have other forms of free glutamates out there that aren't the sodium version. You know, it's like there's like, oh, you know, Oh, you don't use MSP? Ah, you like you like miso soup? You like dashing? Oh, yeah. Love it. Oh, but that's, you know, it's natural. It's from seaweed. Well, like, Well, wait, again, this is probably not what you want to spend the entire time talking about.

Chris Spear:

But I just wanted to mention it, but I thought I'd put that out there. Yeah.

Unknown:

So you agree it's a lie. That's the problem. It's the idea that companies spend millions of dollars to make pseudo clean labels, that people then spend, like a lot of hard earned money on. And not for the right reason. That's what it that's what really kind of calls me the whole, that whole system really has bothered me for a long, long time.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, I mean, at least we have access to labels. Now. I mean, I remember the day back in, you know, like the early 90s, where you couldn't even get calorie information on a package. So at least we're getting some information now. But I'm sure it's just a big money making thing for someone somewhere.

Unknown:

Right. Right. But then but but we're still like laboring under the false concept that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, not the case. You know, what I mean? Like how you consume it, where you consume it, you know, how all the stuffs masticate. I mean, the whole thing is, like, again, it's important to know all that stuff. But I think people rely people rely on information, like to a large extent that is, in fact, unreliable, you know, in terms of what they want, what people want is to live forever, and to never get fat. And that's not gonna happen, right? You're gonna die. And if you eat too much, or you know, at the wrong times, or whatever, you're gonna put on some weight. That's fine. You know what I mean? But it's like, I digress again, you know?

Chris Spear:

Well, let's back up a little bit. How did you get into food and cooking and food science?

Unknown:

I was, I was always supposed to be a science guy. Like when I say that, like in high school, when I went to college, you know, my whole family. Like I say, medicine and engineers, like the assumption was always I was going to end up being a science guy. But I had a, let's say, problems, you know, necessarily going to the classes early in the morning or doing all of the homework especially because, you know, in high school, I didn't really need to do homework to do well on high school classes. But you know, once you're taking like the really hard college science classes, you kind of actually need to do the work. You can't just skim through it. So I got kind of pulled away from science more towards liberal arts. But that kind of mentality always stayed with me. I ended up getting a master's degree in Fine Arts. And the more most of my work was in sculpture was also things like building machines. I was always kind of very invested in kind of gear and equipment and science to a certain effect. For a sense, like, you know, one of my pieces was I got fresh frog mussels, I euthanized frogs, built these skeletons and then built little microprocessor controlled boards and put the you know, the the frog muscles onto the skeletons and then made the skeletons move like they were alive, which of course is ridiculous because they weren't they were dates with dead muscle that was the whole point of that. The whole point of that piece was the, the kind of the false creation of agency of kind of this kind of the, the Frankenstein myth. So like, that was the kind of work I was doing. But I was getting pushed further and further away from the art world, and I really wanted to be, you know, I was getting more and more invested in and I've been cooking since forever, right? My mom, even when she was in medical school, and, you know, working, you know, 100 hours a week would always be cooking. We always, you know, big, you know, festive dinners were always a big thing in my family. And ever since I was a kid, I would, you know, go downstairs and cook myself. But it became more and more something that I really wanted to focus on and do professionally. You know, at the time, I was more interested in historical kind of aspects. Personally, I was invested in, in kind of the same kind of analytical way of thinking that I have now but it wasn't focused on kind of modern techniques. Instead, it was like, okay, I can go to a restaurant auction, and I can buy a salamander I don't own a rotisserie How can I build a sap? How can I build a rotisserie unit that fits into my Salamander?

Chris Spear:

Yeah, like hacking your oven in your apartment, right to get it hotter? Right, hacking

Unknown:

the oven like hacking, you know, hacking vents, that I could properly ventilate my you know, commercial deep fryer, I

Chris Spear:

know your pressure cooker, like you've talked a lot about like pressure cookers, like especially electric ones to get them up, right. Like there's a way to kind of work around that.

Unknown:

There is although the the original one that I had to happen all Cuisinart to up the temperature on it. And it eventually did crap out at the higher temperature. I really don't know why. I once spoke to the one of the VP of design at Queen's and art. And he said to me, Well, why do you want it to go to the higher pressure? And I said, well, because I've run tests, and it cooks faster and tastes better at the higher pressure. So why wouldn't you do it? You know, and I think the you know, the reason is, is that the electric pressure cooker is by and large, are not controlling based on pressure. So is an old school pressure cooker is literally like you know, it's just got a valve and after a certain amount indicate some indicate by venting, some indicate with a spring, and then you you adjust it right, so you're not really setting the temperature, you're setting the pressure. Whereas in most of these electric pressure cookers, they have an overpressure valve, but they're not directly sensing the pressure, like you would in say, an espresso machine. So espresso machines, strangely of like, you know, traditional espresso machines have what's called they don't have a thermostat, they have what's called a pressure stat right and so they're they're adjusting the pressure of the boiler to adjust the temperature of the product because it's above boiling and so it's always there at an elevated pressure, but they don't ever use pressure stats and electric pressure cookers they use temperature so I think the theory is is that they want to set a temperature such that the pressure never exceeds 15 psi and so they have its actual target pressure be lower, that's my guess. Although having tested as high as I think 22 or 25 to go back and look at my data having tested at substantially higher pressures. I mean, they could make the pan withstand the forces get astronomical after a while as the pressure increases because the pot lids are so big, you know, so the the average force only creep increases linearly but you know, the the force on the lid goes up as the square because you know that surface area anyway, you know, I've run tests on it and you really don't need to get above 15 So I don't know what psi you know a gauge I don't know why they don't do it they things cook substantially faster and they have Meteor flavors at those higher temperatures. I don't know why they I don't know why they don't I haven't yet bought an instapot and cut it open just you know to see what's kind of going on with them

Chris Spear:

once a great marriage of food and science and you know you've got your company now I backed this years all when you first launched it on Kickstarter ages ago such a fantastic tool actually I won one of the blow torches from you because I posted a video Instagram I guess of me like blow torching a whole pig's head with it. So yeah, so you sent me a torch. I've had my series All for a number of years and so you've got that you have the spins all what else are you working on? You have anything in the works?

Unknown:

Well, I do have I have a lot of things in the works. I mean, we had a bit of a hiccup, more than a bit of a hiccup. So you know last year right before the holiday rush so when you're selling things, you know, even in restaurants, right? We all know that the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year is where you're gonna, that's where you're really, you know, making solid money. So if anything happens to you during that season, it's kind of it's a nightmare. And for any of you out there that are going to ask a chef to leave their restaurant, like don't ask them to leave during that high season, because like, that's when they need to kind of be there pushing pushing the restaurant. Similarly, in doing you're selling consumer goods, you know, a lot of the sales are kind of in that holiday period. And last year, you know, Amazon, the automatic, someone's basically put in a comment that flagged something on Amazon's automated robot, and they turned off the series all sales, and it took us six months, six over six months to get them to go back online, and we had not his thing to people keep in mind, we had not diversified our sales channels at all. So it completely hosed us. And you know, we haven't yet we haven't yet recovered. So we're still kind of working on it. So for a while, people were like, oh, you know, are you out of business is the sizzle as like, it's it hasn't been discontinued, where we're, you know, we're working on it. In the meantime, a lot of knockoffs came onto the market who are infringing our patents are totally illegal, most of them are really crappy too, in terms of they don't use very good metal for the screen. And so they burn out, or they throw carbon flakes or they throw metal flakes onto people's products. They're just a nightmare. So they infringe our patent, the and they make us look bad. It's gotten to the point where people are hashtagging, Sears all on Instagram using knock offs. And I'm like, come on, come on. You know, we haven't done the spins off. So we we had some bad luck, right? So like, what should have been a good period of time, people bought a lot of stuff at home during COVID. Right? Because they were at home cooking a lot more than they than they used to be. So it like for other people who are in our business. It was our my bar existing conditions got wiped out by, you know, like COVID. So that's done. So like a lot of us in that part of the industry got ruined, right, but including myself, but you know, a lot of people who are on the sales side, like people who sell knives, people who sell pots, it was very good for people who sell like home milling equipment, because those guys were all about to go out of business. And now like everyone wants to know flour at home, I know flour. Now, although not as a result of the pandemic, it's strange.

Chris Spear:

Do you have a good recommendation on on a male because I've looked at those and you know, the reviews are all over the place.

Unknown:

Ah, yeah. So what are you looking to do

Chris Spear:

just like very entry level, but something where I'm not going to spend a couple 100 bucks on a cheap version and then want to upgrade. So you know, within reason. I'm just interested in whatever good applications would be but just some very basic milling of flour at home,

Unknown:

the one that I use now, right, so like, nine tenths of the mills that are on the market. My nuts naturally, because they have micronizing Mills, I would stick with a stone mill. I have not used one of the micronizing mills. But I have used the mills that I have used are in my house. I mean, I've used other Mills outside of my house, but in my house, I've used a mock mill 100 I've used the Como Mio. I have used the KitchenAid mill, I have used Corona mill, I've used several wet Mills, I have used the next ematic mill for masa, right? I've used blender. So that's the range of ones that I've used. So Oh, and I had an old mill, which is called a Mormon mill. It's like an old kit mill that you know, it's an upright version is also stone, right? And the the KitchenAid was a nightmare. I hated using it. I bought that thing. I bought the thing when I had no money because I was so excited to mill flour. This is in the 90s. And it came out and I was so stoked, and it just makes terrible flour. It's really bad.

Chris Spear:

I've read a lot of reviews that are also kind of like burnout the motor on your KitchenAid

Unknown:

I believe that it's just not a good product, just don't use it. And it caused a cost enough that it should be a good product. But it's just not. You know what I mean? It's like, I wonder whether and they don't let you do things like Masane I don't even have it anymore. Because I was like, I hate this. I used it like once or twice. I was like I hate this. And you know, I would say that the mock mill, the one from the 70s that I was telling you the Mormon mill and the Como Meo which is the one that I have at Right now, they all make equivalently good. Flour. The KOMO that I use now is significantly quieter than the than the Mormon mill, which was loud as hell so loud. I mean, this one's not quiet. But the other one was so loud that you know, it bothered my family. So the Como Mio, they all right, there's the mock no 100, the mock mil 200. There's the combo meal, which is the one with a plastic trim. And then there's the all wood Camos. And I would say that at 299 The como mio is probably the cheapest thing that you're going to get it does a really good job, you know you the trick with them is is that you? You can't start them with grain in them. Huge nightmare, right. So what you do is you lightly open the mill a little bit, you start it and then you rotate it to adjust the grind down to just where the burrs start to touch. Then you add your grain and then you tighten it a little bit more to get the super fine flour. And then I also sift mine through a 60 mesh sieve using a vibratory thick for bread. I don't for quick breads I don't for so like we have style waffles. I sift bread, I sift pizza sift pancakes, I do not save to banana bread. I do not sift. So it's like, you know, it all depends on how much I'm requiring the structure of it. But if you've never used fresh milled flour before, it is amazing stuff. Like I will never ever purchase holy flour ever again. I mean, there are some people who will mill you whole wheat flour and ship it to you like right as it's milled. And if you use somebody else's whole whole wheat flour that was milled within a week or so of the it's great. But even by one month old wheat flour is significantly degraded in tests that I've run, like significantly degraded. And so yeah, so this is why like most recipes that use whole wheat flour, they're using, oh, it's some small percentage of whole wheat flour or they're using you know, they're they have to dope everything with a bow ton of oil and sugar and a bunch of other stuff to get it to taste good or to have a good texture and really 100% whole wheat flour. It's never going to have you know as giant and airy structure as you know a bread flour and a pea flour will on for instance like the the Jim Lahey, no need bread recipe, but you don't need any adjuncts with it. it bakes great and tastes great AP flour and bread flour also make great tasting bread. But it's a fantastic to experiment with and when you when you do it, I think you'll also notice that you know, one of the issues with whole wheat bread is it's a lot more active than AP flour, there's a lot more stuff in it right. And so, you know, one of the issues is is that a lot of the flowers that I have have very high enzyme activity in them. So if you allow the the bread dough to exist for too long, right, so like a lot of people are doing, you know, they're retarding in the fridge that we're targeting their bread dose for like 72 hours or, you know, whatever. If you do that with a whole wheat dough, it can get really slack because the enzymes are gonna break down and ditto on like, you know, sourdough Holi is great, but, you know, but if they go for a long, long time, you can have problems with the dough getting to slack. I have that

Chris Spear:

problem the last time I did like a 72 hour and it was not right.

Unknown:

Yet on a whole week. Yeah. Yeah. They get slack you know what I mean? And so you know, a lot of the arguments that people haven't run this test yet but a lot of the arguments people make on retarding dose to get extra flavor, I think is can be key with AP or with a you know, with a standard bread flour. But I think you kind of have to look at things differently when you're switching to an entirely different product which holy flowers again, sorry, I knew we were gonna end up in the weeds somewhere but no,

Chris Spear:

that's really interesting stuff. I love these I just had Daniel grits are from Sirius eats on my show. And it was a very similar thing where we're like talking and then we got into like this 20 minute sidebar on olive oil and like we're just gonna roll with this because the food nerds are gonna love it.

Unknown:

Yeah, what do you save on album in 20 minutes? What but yeah,

Chris Spear:

I mean, it was it was just about the like, bitterness or perceived bitterness and we're talking about almost in like relation to putting it in a blender. Like there's a lot of people who say you can't make vinegar in a blender, but like, why can't you and does it get better? Why or why not? And it all comes down to like polyphenols and he suspects like in the presence of like water or like a water based thing like that can affect it. So it was just kind of like his overview of what he's he's found in the science of like blending olive oil.

Unknown:

It's a well known fact that olive oils can go intensely bitter specifically in the making of men. I have never heard Anyone, for instance, say that their pesto turned to crap? Because they have used a blender. Right? And so I mean it has he, I've never heard of anyone saying another word. So

Chris Spear:

it's no not at all. And he found it to be kind of like a hit or miss thing that it's, you know, there's so many variables like what kind of olive oil you're using, you know, it's hard to it's hard to isolate it to kind of say yes or no.

Unknown:

And it Yeah, and it's, you know, and mayonnaise is, you know, such a fine in malt. It's something about making the emulsion with mayonnaise that can cause olive oil to get better. And I've never experienced it in any other blended oil, blended olive oil application with that. So like, I've never had pesto go bitter. I've never had and chimichurri because I use olive oil. And that too. I've never had that go bitter. Same thing, right. But you know, not really, you know, I'm saying they're the same thing. Two flavors I've never had. What else do we blend olive oil with? I don't really blend integrates, because I don't but you know, if I have ever blended Ninigret I have emulsified Ninigret. And I don't ever remember them going bitter. But in general, I don't plan to Ninigret anyway, you know what I mean?

Chris Spear:

We would just do it like, you know, you've got a dinner for 200 people and you're making vinegar and the easiest way to keep it emulsifies just throw it in the Vitamix for, you know, like a couple minutes and I'll stay together, you know, so you don't have to keep shaking or stirring.

Unknown:

Yeah. You ever do the ticker? Lloyd for that?

Chris Spear:

I have. I haven't done that in a long time. But yes, that's the kind of stuff that like taking the hydrocolloid class with you was really beneficial for?

Unknown:

Yeah, so like, that kind of stuff. Because like, that's where you get a real quality issue, right. So like at home, I literally just pour this stuff on my green separately and toss the greens. But if you're serving like 200 people, right, then you know, you're not what are you going to, you're going to finish salt each individual bowl, you're not going to, you're not going to make sure that the ratio is right, and then you're going to get such separation over time. Like that's when something like Tic loi, which for those who don't know what we're talking about, it's a mixture of gum arabic, and xanthan gum, and the gum arabic is an actual emulsifier, that it's natural emulsifier that helps the oil, vinegar mixture be more stable. And the Xanthan, like energetically more stable. And the Xanthan is like a light gelling agent to actually stop it from separating at all. And it's fantastic. It's salad dressings, and you know, serums for bar and anything you're going to put fat into that you're then either going to dilute or let sit around for a long time is great stuff.

Chris Spear:

And this could get us further off the track. And I have a question I want to ask you because I don't know if I'm crazy and imagining it. But I thought I remembered in your class. Did you not talk about the flavor and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups being that the peanut butter is rancid? Was that you? Yes. Okay. I like I was not sure if it was like in my imagination. And it was like one of these like weird anecdotal things that for years I had in my head. I'm like, I'm pretty sure that's what Dave Arnold said. But like, I Googled it. And I can't find any information about it anywhere on the internet. But I thought it was you.

Unknown:

Right? So yeah, so what? What happened was I was at the Jacob Javits Center, which is a, it's a, what's it called to trade? It's a trade center hall, right. And this is back when trade shows were still kind of a thing. The trade show industry has been, you know, slowly dying as the internet gets more and more

Chris Spear:

like the Fancy Food Show, right? Or whatever. Yeah.

Unknown:

So this one was for food packaging, equipment, and materials. And I used to live a block two blocks from the Javits. So whenever a show like that would come up, I would just, I would just go whether or not I had a reason to go, it'd be like, food packaging equipment. Yeah. You know, I mean, so I went and this guy, have you ever worked a trade show before?

Chris Spear:

I've never worked a trade show before.

Unknown:

They're a complete nightmare. And so like, you know, when you go, like, the worst nightmare is to go to, like, you're paying money, you have to stand there all day, and be receptive all the time. Even though 99.9% of the people walking past you want nothing to do with you, you have to make the eye contact and shake the head. And, you know, and then try to get people to come in and interact with you with your product. But at the same time, if you know, if they're not actually going to buy you're wasting time, and you could have been spending time, it's just a huge nightmare. It's a terrible thing. It's especially bad if it's not what they call a writing show, ie one where someone's coming in and writing a bunch of orders. You're just sitting there and you're in your you feel like you're wasting your company's money, you're wasting your own time. Everything's a waste. It's a nightmare. And it's punishing and brutal and you hate being in those tradeshow venues for that long. Okay, so, I approach a guy who's clearly having one of those kinds of days, and I was talking to him about oxygen scavenging packaging, because back then it was, it still is but you know, like, you know, relatively newer back then they would put inserts into packages that would absorb the extra oxygen. So, for any food preppers out there, you know, who were, you know, waiting for the zombie apocalypse. Like, you know, nowadays, a lot of companies, when you buy things like grain, they'll put them into a vapor type, you know, bag, they'll throw a bunch of oxygen scavengers in there with her, you know, the simplest ones are fundamentally iron filings, they just absorb and turn to rust in the package, seal it, close it, and then the oxygen will get consumed. And you know, you're in a stable place such that 25 years from now, when the zombies show up, your your brain stores will still be good. Okay, so I'm talking to this guy about oxygen scavenging, and I think it was after lunch, I think he'd already been drinking. Because like, he started talking to me about like, he's like, yeah, he's like, you know, we tested these wants these oxygen scavengers on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And they were too fresh. It turns out that they needed to have a little bit of rancidity tumor. Nobody liked him. So I couldn't get resist by the patent like he was going on. I was like, am I supposed to be hearing this? My supposed to know this that like the secret of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups is, it's like, like Susana rancidity. And so from then on that that story, and I tell it all the time, I'm like, you know, one person's rancid is another person's results. Because you need to have, like, it's what you're used to. So, and you always have to, you know, in your mind rearrange, you know, what is negative versus what is what people expect. There are certain things that, you know, inherently we think of rancidity as being bad. But it turns out that a little bit of it is what gives this characteristic flavor to something that we all love. Right? Yeah, there

Chris Spear:

was a great article. It was lucky peach magazine, I think they did. It was the apocalypse issue. And it was like a discussion about you know, like expiration dates and how an expiration date is based on the given change, positive or negative and something so even if something's, say getting better as it sits in a can, the expiration date has to be before that, because it's changed from whatever the baseline was. And I just found that to be really interesting. I think that was a Harold McGee article.

Unknown:

Yeah, I did a tasting with Harold McGee of 10 year old. Sardines. One thing was 10. Might have been more. Yeah, they were different. But they were they were they were good. They were fine. And the other thing about food is you have to put an expiration date on, right. So it's like, Mountain House, which is one of the companies that makes a lot of Mr. E's. And they make up, you know, freeze dried foods for camp and all this other stuff. They recently reevaluated their all of their they're like, listen, we had never, we just hadn't been in business long enough to know how long this stuff would last. So we put, I forget what it was we put like, a 20 year date on it. It turns out, it's good for 30 because like a lot of these things like it's hard to test what the actual expiration date is like hydrocolloids have to have an expiration date on them, even though they last fundamentally most of them forever. You know, there's not really a lot of static, that a lot of change, because there's not a lot of moisture content. I mean, the things that change most radically are things with high moisture content are things that contain fats, you know, flour, as long as the moisture contents low and it doesn't get invaded by insects is you know, it's, well, not whole wheat flour, you know, just straight endosperm is like, it's good to go. It's fine.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, how long does whole wheat flour? Like, what's the perishability on whole wheat flour,

Unknown:

and almost immediate in the tests that I've run, and I'm in the process of running more tests. So I have to say, my, my end, as they say, is not very high. Right. But so far, the tests that I have run our tests of same day, one week, and one month. So Holy flour is complicated, right? Structurally, it's complicated. And anything that people tell you about, oh, well, the reason that whole wheat loaves don't rise is because the brand acts like tiny knives, and it cuts through the garbage. It's not garbage, just maybe partially true. But it's like they're like, it's so much more complicated than that. So as you know, the the brand that's in whole wheat. As soon as you start as soon as you grind it, it starts to oxidize, and the the oxidized brand interacts very differently with the dough than fresh brand does. And so there are things that are happening in the flour, where the quality of it for baking is improving, right, which is why with white flour, you typically don't want it fresh, you want to age for a while, whereas in the whole wheat aspect of it, I'm guessing starts getting worse the minute that it's made. And so, I think what you have is is you have kind of, you know, one quality is going up while the other quality is going down. So so far in my tests, I had that like the low volume on like a one week old whole wheat flour 100% Whole wheat not sifted 100% You know ground is giving you the parameters ground such that 90% of it would pass through a 60 a number 60 mesh. But again, unshifted just we salt, water, yeast, right? That's it, no oil, no adjuncts, no sugar, no, nothing all raised the same amount of time, your low volume on the one week was higher than your low volume on the fresh. And so for some people that makes a lighter, that makes a lighter, bigger air structure. For some people, that's a higher quality value. Now, I preferred eating the same day loaf. Now, is that just because I really wanted that same day loaf, too, when maybe you don't. I mean, like I don't, I'm not going to trust myself on that. But you know, I'm fairly confident in saying that there are multiple things going on, and that both the fresh loaf and the one week loaf are very good. The one month old love didn't taste as good, it didn't rise as well, it was much denser, and it started turning into what mean, it wasn't awful, but it started turning into what everyone worries about when they worry about whole wheat loaves, then it's just going to be some leaden little, you know, poorly textured, like Sandy gritty sack of garbage. Right? hadn't made it all the way there yet, but it was on its way. So I currently have a whole bunch of flour samples, aging, so I'm going to try to do like, for month, three month to month, one month to week, one week, you know, we're gonna try to like do it a little more, with an n of three at each repetition point just so that I can be more you know, I can speak with more certainty about the actual say, also all same week, same batch. So I had to start my own test because I ran out of that wheat. So I have enough of the wheat that I'm using that I can continue this test through until the bitter end.

Chris Spear:

It doesn't make me optimistic for using grocery store whole grain or whole wheat flour.

Unknown:

Yeah, don't don't even the good

Chris Spear:

stuff. I mean, you know, you go to like these expensive, like Whole Foods type places that have like, this beautiful einkorn flour or whatever. It's like, uh, you know, doesn't even matter at that point.

Unknown:

I mean, for certain applications tasted like if it tastes okay, I'm just saying in bread applications, I would, you know, maybe in a quick bread, it would still be okay. You also have to change, you have to change your expectations. And also you have to really understand like, you know, how your hydration is going to dip there's, like, you can't need it as long because remember back when I said a lot of people are like, Oh, if you need it too long, the quote unquote, the tiny knives from the brand are going to cut through the thing. Well also, the other thing that's happening when you needed a dough, one of the reasons you do need a dough is to incorporate a certain amount of oxidation into the dough, the actual Air Contact, right? And so you'll talk about, like, you know, you know, when they do the crappy Charlie wood process bread, it's like it's turning very white, because it's oxidizing as it's being blended. Well, if you over need, or you need the whole wheat dose, you're also oxidizing all of the brand components through oxidation. So meeting isn't just this tiny Naya phenomenon, which may or may not be true or exist. But it's also this oxidation phenomenon that's going on. So it's, again, one of those things where the simple thing that everyone tells you like, maybe it has some value in your cooking, but it's not really telling you what's going on. And the real story is more complicated than that. There are a couple farms, it's going out of my head right now, but I think it's maybe the Severson are CVS and farm out of Illinois, one of these places, will if I forget what it is it but it's great when you when you when you order from them, I order a whole grain from them, so it doesn't matter. But they're like, listen, we only ship we only ship once a week. And what happens is, is we gather all of the orders, and then we mail them all on Monday and Tuesday, and we mail them out on Wednesday. And so they don't keep any flour in house. So someone who's gonna like contract mill your stuff for you, you know, I would buy that in a heartbeat as in fact, like, I would say before you start buying your own mills and stuff. I would order some some contract milled stuff like that, because they'll do small amounts, like they'll they'll send you like five pounds or two pounds of a wheat that they milled this week. And then you'll really get the idea of what it's like to bake with actual fresh whole wheat flour. And I highly recommend that anyone that has never done it before, do it. But please don't gunk it up. Like let's say you're going to do bread. So usually when you're doing like a like a bread, like your hydration is really just dependent on the protein content, right? So if there's the style of bread you want to make but then if you're using a bread flour, you're using a higher hydration and people say that well that's because you know The gluten absorbs more, more water rice you need. Well, really, that's one of the reasons. The other reason is that the harder flowers, the harder wheats, which tend to have higher gluten contents, although the hardness of the wheat and the gluten content aren't actually caused by the same proteins, which is interesting. There's more starch damage in the higher protein flowers. And this damage starts requires more water for given it'll hold more water. And so you have the ability A, the gluten structure is stronger. So we can make these like bigger holes that hold well when they're when when it's bait. But also, the damage starts means that it can hold more water as a dough and rise when it hasn't been baked yet. And so it's kind of a double whammy wears brand. The whole week, you know, the brand absorbs more water, but it doesn't really increase its ability to hold it in a dose structure, if that makes sense. Right. So I would just not expected to rise as high as you know, your your No need bread with a giant holes in it. But I would start you know, I would get a decent protein flour somewhere between, like somewhere between 1113 to start on a hard wheat for bread. And I would start in the hydration ratio of like 75% 75 to 77%. I would do it with yeast to start I wouldn't start with sourdough and all that because like I say these things can be very active and they can get very slack. And I would try to just do a one day bake, I wouldn't do like a super long retarding on it. I would use SAF red as a good base ease that doesn't provide a lot of off flavors the way some instant, you know, use can and I would not don't add oil and I would stick it around 2.2% salt, and that'll just give you a baseline for like how that we act then you want to go sourdough go sourdough you want to you know, retard it and see how the dough go slack great. But for when you're first starting with fresh whole wheat flour, I would keep your rice times relatively short I would do with yeast so that it's reproducible. And you can figure out just what the flour is doing, not what you're doing with your starter. And I would keep the hydration levels right at right around there between 75 and 79 in that in that area that again sorry,

Chris Spear:

no no all good tips like yeah, I'm gonna I think I'm gonna try that there's some really good small wheat purveyors producers around here. And I think I'm gonna reach out and go that route. I have a lot of friends who have you know, bread baking businesses and see if they can get me to hook up and kind of start there.

Unknown:

So like here in New York City, there's a place called farmer grown grains, but they don't contract Mills so they mill in batches and you get to but you can also buy whole grains from them. Yeah, in general, it's better to have contact with someone that has contact with the Miller Yeah, you don't I mean, and then you can you know, if you if you have never freshly milling corns kind of a pain because the corn that it uses is is bigger, but I made some, you know, you fresh mill and look the fancy stuff like like, you know, Geechie and Anson and all those folks down in, in, in, you know, Charlson and whatnot. They're cornmeal, and their grits are fantastic. I'm not gonna say anything negative about them at all. But I mean, when you mill your own, it's nuts. cornmeal, please.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, I have five different varieties of grits right now from down there. I've relatives in Charleston and we just came back and I just brought back like five different types of grits.

Unknown:

Yeah, which ones do you remember though? You know, Geechie boy

Chris Spear:

mill, which is now Marsh hen mill. I think they changed their name because of because he's not he. Yeah, he's not he. So you know, I've got their unicorn grits which is like a pink ish grit. And then they're Flint. Is it Guinea Flint grits? The white the yellow and the blue?

Unknown:

Yeah, I've had the blue it's good. I've had the what's it called Jimmy read.

Chris Spear:

Oh, yeah, the Jimmy read. I didn't get any this time but those those are good. Great. Yeah, really. You know, the blue the blue. I like for the color especially for some things like it looks really nice to do like a scallop and grits on the blue corn.

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I've been using I've been grinding at home bloody butcher, which is real good.

Chris Spear:

I have some of those right now a friend just gave me some it's really big

Unknown:

kernels are really big and it's like it's it's really hard on my mill so like that's one of the few things that I actually I do a double pass I like move the stones way far apart and just crack at going through and then mill it to its its final stuff but I've been having a lot of fun you know taking it to more of a flowery consistency and less of a cornmeal consistency and it it operates in a fundamentally different way from the way corn meal does when you take it down closer to a flower but it's a it's a it's a lot of fun,

Chris Spear:

huh? Just another project when I have some free time I guess. Go to Chefs Without Restaurants dot org to find our Facebook group, mailing list and ship database. The community's free to join. You'll get gig opportunities, advice on building and growing your business and you'll never miss an episode of our podcast. Have a great week.