Cold Weather Baking

Discussion in 'Baker Banter' started by Dan Gavrin, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. Dan Gavrin

    Dan Gavrin New Member

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    Hello! I am actually a product design student at university in the US and as an assignment I have been tasked to improve the whisking experience for people living/ working in cold weather climates. If there is anyone who lives in Canada, Maine, Alaska, etc... that would be willing to answer a few questions that would be wonderful. I'll write my questions below.

    If I am using this forum incorrectly, sincere apologies.

    Questions:

    What do you use whisks for most often?

    How often do you hand whisk egg whites?

    What temperature is your work space usually left at while whisking?

    Where do you feel the most strain when whisking?

    How long does it usually take to get to stiff peaks when whisking?

    If you use an electronic device such as a standing mixer to get stiff peaks do you have any complaints or compliments about it?
     
    Dan Gavrin, Oct 16, 2017
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  2. Dan Gavrin

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    1. Ambient temperature has nothing to do with making meringue.
    Simply heat the egg whites over a water bath, then beat. Problem solved.
    In fact, heating egg whites to 140° and above is standard for meringue buttercream. We heat egg whites no matter the ambient temperature.

    2. Few Americans hand whisk egg whites. Beating egg whites is usually for intermediate and advanced recipes. Those who bake at that level own a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 17, 2017
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  3. Dan Gavrin

    Dan Gavrin New Member

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    Thank you, that is quite helpful, I will look into the water bath idea.

    In that case do you have any idea when temperature would have an effect on the whisking process, regardless of egg whites?

    Are there cases where too much heat can disrupt a whisking process?

    Thanks again for your time.
     
    Dan Gavrin, Oct 17, 2017
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  4. Dan Gavrin

    ChesterV Well-Known Member

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    The only people I know who hand whisk egg whites are chefs on TV. Everybody else I know of uses electric mixing devices of some sort.

    I agree, that weather temperature has nothing to do with it, unless you are actually outside baking.
     
    ChesterV, Oct 17, 2017
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  5. Dan Gavrin

    ChesterV Well-Known Member

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    I would think, since it's eggs, if the heat is too hot, too long, or too steady, it can cook the eggs, even while being whisked.

    An old method I was taught by my granny, is that if you are in a hot kitchen, then you need to freeze your mixing bowl and mixer whisks before whipping egg whites. A pinch of salt was always thought to help stabilize them while whipping also (don't know if thats true or not). This also works for whipped cream.

    If you are hand whisking, the strain is going to be the center of your wrist, as you are having to keep that part of your arm/hand steady and loose at the same time. It helps to have one of those Carpal Tunnel elastic gloves on when whisking, to avoid any pain or strain in your hand or wrist.

    How long at whisking egg whites depends on how many egg whites you are whisking and how stiff you want them.


    Thats from my experiences in bakeries anyway.:)
     
    ChesterV, Oct 17, 2017
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  6. Dan Gavrin

    Dan Gavrin New Member

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    Thanks again!
    A couple more curiosities...
    How often are water baths used in bakeries when making Meringue? Or is there a better/ more frequently used way to heat egg whites up to the previously mentioned 140° (Fahrenheit I assume)?
    Also, does heating egg whites up make the process faster whether you are doing it by hand or not?
     
    Dan Gavrin, Oct 17, 2017
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  7. Dan Gavrin

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Three reasons for heating egg whites:

    1. Protein denaturalization: for egg whites to coagulate, protein denaturation has to occur. Protein naturalization is the uncoiling and bonding of hydrogen atoms inside the molecules. Heat is one of five ways to cause protein denaturation. When molecules are subjected to heat, it causes vibration that breaks peptide bonds and uncoils the hydrogen atoms.


    Link to slide presentation to explain protein denaturation.
    https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/spminal/denaturation-of-protein


    2. Dissolve sugar: meringue is very unstable. When stirred, it will deflate. In baking applications, meringue is used as leavening. So stability is key for successful leavening. Sugar will stabilize the meringue. But the sugar must be dissolved. Sugar dissolves faster in water. Egg whites are 90% water, so heating the egg whites dissolves the sugar faster


    3. Bacteria: heating the egg whites to 160° will kill harmful bacteria.


    Regarding whisking impact on ingredients...

    Hand whisking won’t generate much heat given the inconsistent strokes and stop and go movements. The concern with heat from friction is really with a hand or stand mixer.

    Where hand whisking friction potentially has an adverse impact is with an ingredient like butter. Butter melts at about 90°F. The temperature of butter definitely plays a role in baking. In most baking applications, butter should be between 65° and 70°. But no one is going to beat butter and sugar with a hand whisk.

    Aside from the work, the inconsistent strokes of hand whisking produces inferior results. So it’s not the tool of choice for beating egg whites or creaming butter.

    In the US, a hand whisk is a very minor tool. It’s used more for stirring dry ingredients, like salt and chemical leavening, into flour.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 17, 2017
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  8. Dan Gavrin

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Fahrenheit.

    A double boiler (placing a pot over another pot with simmering or boiling water) is used to heat egg whites as the heat is indirect, giving more control over the heat . The egg whites must be stirred continuously to prevent the eggs from cooking. So you cannot place in microwave or oven to heat eggs.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 17, 2017
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  9. Dan Gavrin

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    I'll weigh in that I use whisks to hand-beat whipped cream sometimes. If everything's cold, it doesn't take nearly as much time or effort as getting egg whites to the right stage, and in fact gives me more control so the cream isn't overbeaten. I also use them to whisk dry ingredients, hand-mixed batters (like pancakes, muffins, simple all-in-one cake batters that aren't creamed or foamed), and scrambled eggs and omelettes.

    I see Jacques Pepin still prefers to beat egg whites by hand in a copper bowl, on his TV shows. My understanding is that a small amount of cream of tartar will supply the same chemical reaction as the copper bowl, with far less cleaning and shining time. That said, I do think that unoxidized copper is the prettiest color in nature! :)

    I have always enjoyed the little history snippets that America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Country included in the introduction to some of their recipes. Baking soda was commercially introduced in the 1840s I think. Shows such as Manor House, a historical re-enactment of an Edwardian household made as reality television (it's on Amazon prime if anyone is interested), and dramas such as Downton Abbey, show us glimpses of how things were made by hand labor. Is there a book on the history of the cake, with all the inventions and innovations? I'd read it.
     
    Apocalypso, Oct 17, 2017
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  10. Dan Gavrin

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I love Pepin! I don’t beat egg whites by hand or in a copper bowl. But I swear by a scant 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar per large egg white
     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 17, 2017
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  11. Dan Gavrin

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    I love him too. I have been recording some of his programs that air on public TV and Create lately, after seeing him as the subject of an American Masters feature on PBS within the past year. (If you haven't seen it: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/american-masters-chefs-flight-jacques-pepin/8536/) I adored his show with Julia Child, where they sparred and kidded each other.

    I was trying to remember the name of a program or documentary film on how innovations changed the way we (Americans) eat - chiefly the railroad and refrigeration. I thought it was Moveable Feast, but, heck, that might have been 25-30 years ago that I saw it.

    Someone really ought to do a parody cooking show set in the 18th century.
     
    Apocalypso, Oct 17, 2017
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  12. Dan Gavrin

    ChesterV Well-Known Member

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    Since we are on the subject of egg whites here.....I have a question for you, if you don't mind.


    I've watched a lot of food shows where they make egg whites for whatever reason, add them to a recipe and then serve. The item they are making is already cooked before adding the whites, or it's just a "cold" dessert that doesn't need baking.

    I saw this on a rerun of The Great British Baking Show, where Mary added just whipped egg whites to a dessert and then folded it into the dessert before setting it and serving it.

    This isn't the first time I've seen this happen on a food show. Is this common? Aren't you eating contaminated food if the egg whites aren't sterilized somehow?

    I've heard that adding something like vinegar, alcohol, or something acidic to egg whites will neutralize the bad bacteria in eggs, is this also true?

    I don't know that I could eat anything with raw egg in it. I mean, I love eggnog, but I drink that store bought stuff thats pasteurized. I don't think I would ever drink any "from scratch" stuff.

    Just something I've always been curious about.
     
    ChesterV, Oct 18, 2017
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  13. Dan Gavrin

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    You can buy whole eggs pasteurized in the shell - Whole Foods carries a brand called Sunny Side - and most carton egg whites are pasteurized. (Egg Beaters whites, Pete and Gerry's.)

    I found this from an interview with Mary Berry: "I'm not worried about raw eggs. I buy British eggs with a lion on and use them in date. This means that the chicken has been inoculated against salmonella."
    Interview: https://www.gransnet.com/webchats/mary-berry
    Here's what I found on the British Lion Eggs: https://www.egginfo.co.uk/british-lion-eggs
    (The British Lion eggs do not appear to be pasteurized, fyi)
    Some more about US versus UK/European eggs, and why many across the Atlantic don't refrigerate their raw eggs: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/...w-shell-eggs-and-europeans-dont/#.WebS-WhSzIU

    I've seen a version of Swiss meringue buttercream that uses the pasteurized whites mixed with powdered sugar, no heating the eggs or adding hot syrup. I haven't made it though. You can use the pasteurized whites in royal icing too. I forgot to see if my supermarket carries whole pasteurized eggs, but they do carry the whites in small and tall cartons.

    When I was a kid, we scraped the bowl and licked the beaters, and many a batter had raw eggs in it. I don't even remember hearing about salmonella from raw eggs back then. Thankfully it never made me sick. My father was a soldier in Europe during World War II, and though he didn't talk about it much, I remember him telling of a farm family which had a barrel full of eggs preserved in some kind of wax.
     
    Apocalypso, Oct 18, 2017
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  14. Dan Gavrin

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    P.S.: what is this "cold weather" you speak of? - Floridian here
     
    Apocalypso, Oct 18, 2017
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  15. Dan Gavrin

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Eggs in most other countries are not contaminated with salmonella. In 2005 I was at a culinary school in Italy. When we were making zambone, all the American students screamed, No! You can’t eat raw egg!” The culinary director explained it was perfectly safe to eat raw eggs in Italy and most European countries.

    There is essentially no salmonella in the chickens there. Breeding stocks are rigorously managed to keep them salmonella free. Laying hen in Italy are also routinely tested. Salmonella is transmitted from the hen into the embryo. So if the hen is infected the egg will be infected. After the hens are tested the eggs are labeled indicating the hens are not infected.

    The key to the control of salmonella is in the breeding stock. Our country refuses to implement any kind of regulation to address the salmonella infection rate in the poultry industry. In the US 200,000 people a year are stricken with salmonella from poultry.

    Americans use the most unsanitary agricultural practices in the world. It is completely unsafe to eat any undercooked poultry and raw egg in the United States because the practices here have resulted in an overwhelmingly high rate of salmonella infections in chickens.

    It’s so bad in the US that most countries will not allow any American chickens or egg products to be brought into their countries.

    Salmonella will grow in a ph environment of 4.0 and above, The ph of vinegar varies depending on the type and how much it’s diluted. A pure white vinegar may be around 2.7 and an apple cider vinegar around 5.0. But the issue is also how much the entire ph mixture is changed. You would have to add enough white vinegar to change the entire ph level of the egg. And in most cases that amount would mean you would radically change the flavor of the egg.

    Heat is the most common way to kill salmonella bacteria. A lot of Swiss meringue buttercream recipes instruct heating the egg whites to 140°. But I do not believe that is sufficient. I heat my egg whites to 160° to 165°. I know some bakers who even take it up higher

    Staying at my brothers house during this fire storm event, I baked two batches of cookies with my five-year-old niece. Aside from loving to bake, she loves to eat the cookie dough. My sister-in-law is born and raised in Japan. She couldn’t understand why I would not let my niece eat the raw cookie dough. She said in Japan it’s perfectly safe to eat raw egg. And she’s correct, it’s safe to eat raw eggs in Japan. After I explained the salmonella situation here in the US she said she would not let her daughter eat the cookie dough anymore.

    I bleach my sink and countertops after cooking chicken and using eggs. All utensils, dishes, and bowls that have come in contact with raw chicken or eggs are sterilized in the dishwasher. My ex used to walk in the door after work and say, “Yum, I smell bleach, we must be eating chicken tonight!”

    I’m a neatnik. When it comes to raw meat of any kind and eggs, I’m totally neurotic with the clean up.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Oct 18, 2017
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  16. Dan Gavrin

    ChesterV Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm not neurotic, but I am a clean freak. I like everything clean and in its place. I'm not OCD about it all though.

    I understand the bleaching. I keep a soap bottle of bleach water right next to my bottle of dish soap on the counter. I bleach anything that is porous or might have the ability to transfer germs and bacteria. I definitely bleach all of my wooden utensils and my plastic cutting board. I don't eat meat often anymore, but if I do, I bleach the counter top and sink afterward, just in case.

    Yeah, I know the US government is ass backwards in allowing this country to move forward in technology and education (and other things). I've watched plenty of documentaries where the FDA refuses to allow high tech life saving devices they use in Europe, into the USA. The same with updated drugs. Sad to say our government is so corrupt, if they cant make a buck off of it, they wont allow it in the country.

    Still.........the thought of eating raw egg..........ICK!

    I rarely eat eggs anymore, unless I get a craving for deviled eggs. And I make sure I steam the heck out of those!

    The only other eggs I use now is when I make desserts for friends.

    It's funny...........I used to love runny eggs when I was little. I remember asking my granny where eggs came from one day, and she told me straight up. Since then, my fried eggs have to be FRIED BROWN! LOL
    If it's ANY kind of egg product, like an omelette, it's got to be cooked till the outside is BROWN!

    So, yeah.......I like my eggs like I like my bacon......brown and crispy!!!

    HA HA HA!

    Thanks for the info. I think I heard this before on a cooking show, but it's been so long, I forgot.
    I do love the science part! It makes baking fun all over again!

    Thanks!
     
    ChesterV, Oct 18, 2017
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