Chef Tips/Techniques

Tempering Chocolate is Easy with Mycryo.

Years ago while in culinary school, I learned how to temper chocolate using the old method of tabling.  I loved it because it was such an art to working warm chocolate on a cold marble slab until it was properly tempered.  This method is the traditional method but it requires a lot more time, patience and skill to get it right.  Because of this, my desire to make chocolates almost diminished: I just didn’t have the time to make chocolates anymore.  That is until my pastry chef friend, Teresa, shared a new way of tempering chocolate.  Mycryo!

What is Mycryo (pronounced mee-cree-O)?  In essence, it is 100% pure freeze-dried cocoa powder.  According to http://www.mycryo.com, it is made by cryogenisation of the cocoa butter.  The cool thing is that not only can you easily temper chocolate with it, you can also cook savory foods with it by substituting it for other frying fats.  In fact, they say it is a healthier than olive oil butter and the like.

I took my friend’s knowledge and did a little more research so I could understand Mycryo more.  Next, off to the kitchen I went to test it out–and test it out I did.  Dark chocolate coated truffles, peanut butter patties, caramels, nougats and more.  Each batch tempering perfectly and with ease.  It was so much fun with no extended time requirements and work in comparison to the tabling method, that I couldn’t stop myself.  I even started creating my own types of chocolate coated candies.

So, if you have learned how to temper with the tabling method and are just not confident or don’t want to take the time, be afraid no longer.  Mycryo is your knight in shining armor.  It is available online through several vendors.

Are you ready to try your hand at chocolates?   This is what I did for dark chocolate.

I very slowly melted my 61% dark couveture chocolate over a warm bain marie and when it was all melted, I added 4.45 grams of Mycryo per pound of chocolate.  I stirred it into the melted chocolate being careful to fully blend it in without adding air to the chocolate.  I then let it sit for about 10 minutes without bothering it.  Once it was 88 degrees F, I went to work filling my seasoned polycarbonate molds.

After the molds set, I added the fillings then topped them with more tempered chocolate to seal the candy shells.  A short time later, when the chocolate was fully hardened, I simply turned out the most beautiful, shiny gourmet chocolates.  They were absolutely beautiful and, of course, delicious.

On a last note, please remember these simple facts about chocolate:

  1. Do not let dark chocolate heat past 120 degrees F.  It breaks the chocolate down and it will not be able to temper.  (Milk chocolate and white chocolate maximum temperature is 115 degrees F. )   If you get the chocolate too hot, use it instead for ganache.
  2. Water is NOT chocolate’s friend.  One miniscule drop into the chocolate and it will seize and there will be no salvaging it.
  3. After letting the Chocolate-Mycryo mixture sit, it is ready to use.  The proper pouring temperature is 88 degrees F for dark chocolate and 83 degrees for milk and white chocolate.
  4. Work fast.  Properly tempered chocolate sets up quickly.
  5. Chocolate needs chocolate to release from molds.  If you are using brand new molds, run a few rounds through it before you start on your real work.  Never wash out your molds.  (Or if you do, re-season them before using them again.)  Think of your molds like cast iron pans, you have to keep them seasoned for them to work right.

Well, it is time to go.  I need to make my truffle filling now.  🙂

Until next time….

Chef Boof

*****

Prep Ahead of Time and Reap the Rewards All Week Long.

How many of you love your fresh veggies but just don’t want to or have the time to cook them from scratch every night?  Well, stress no more.  You can have your veggies and eat them too!  Take green beans, for example.  Will you actually eat them daily if you have to pinch off the wiggly end part and snip off the stem before cooking them each day?  I’m guessing not.  My technique will give you the ability to have fresh green beans in minutes with just one prep day earlier in the week.  Here’s what you do.

Buy enough fresh green beans at the market to last you and your family 3-5 days (the fresher the beans, the longer they will last).  When you get home, put a large pot on the stove, fill it with COLD water, cover and bring up to a boil.  Meanwhile, prep you beans by twisting the little wiggly end off.  If there is a stem, you can either pinch, cut it or snip it off.  If there is no stem, you don’t have to mess with that end at all (unless there is a nasty spot on it.  then just cut it off).

When your water is boiling, salt it heavily– and I mean REALLY HEAVILY.  It should taste like the sea and you should kinda gag a bit.  (Don’t worry, the salt won’t stay in the beans.)  Add the beans in small batches.  You don’t want to put so many in that it reduces the temperature of the water.  Cook them for a few minutes.  You know when they are done by testing them.  Take a part of a bean and chew on it.  If it squeaks against your molars, it’s not done.  As soon as the squeakiness is done, lift the beans out with a slotted spoon or similar utensil and place them into an ice water bath for rapid cooling.

The ice water bath doesn’t just stop the cooking process, it also serves as the platform for reverse osmosis to take place.  You see, objects like to be a state of homeostasis (equal).  The salted beans will want to add salinity to the water and vice versa.  The result becomes a perfectly seasoned bean which will hold its brilliant green color.  Now that the beans are cooled, place them in a sealable container and place them in the refrigerator for use within 3 to 5 days.

What do you do with them now?  The options are endless.  You can use them cold in a salad or just eat them like a carrot. You can reheat them easily in the microwave for a quick side dish.  You can saute them up with garlic and butter. The possibilities are endless.  Simply use them in any dish that calls for green beans and you will be guaranteed to have amazing results.

Enjoy.

*****

Size Matters

Cutting your produce and proteins into similar sizes are not just for a dish’s aesthetics, it is also important for proper cooking times.  For instance, if you are making a batch of stew and you slice your carrots in varying widths, your carrots will finish cooking at different times.  The result will be a mixture of over, under and properly cooked carrots.  Meat will behave in the same way.  A larger piece of meat will be tough or/or chewy and a smaller piece of meat will become mushy and lose its texture.  On the other hand, if you cut the meat in roughly the same sizes, all the meat will be properly cooked at the same time.   Below are examples of properly and improperly cut carrots.

[Photos coming soon.]

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2 Responses to Chef Tips/Techniques

  1. Kimbo says:

    I can’t wait to read more from you!!! Very entertaining!!!

  2. Summer says:

    I’m liking these tips! – Summer

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