Baking Bagels without Boiling? Yes, in a CVap Oven

I ran across a post on social media about New York style bagels. It got me thinking…can I do that in CVap oven? I already knew that I could proof in CVap, but I wanted to know if I could mimic the step where the bagels are boiled.

I found a generic recipe on King Arthur Flour’s website. This was an easy, straightforward recipe. As usual, there’s a point in the recipe that calls for the bagels to be boiled. I chose to go with tradition and boil some, and prepare the others in a CVap oven (as sort of a test and control). I also prepared the water with honey instead of lye, baking soda, malt powder, or other ingredients that people often use, simply because I was aiming for a sweeter bagel.
I prepared my bagels, let the dough proof, shape and rise again. The next step was to boil. Boiling bagels is the traditional method.
 
I brushed the proofed bagels with the honey water, and placed them in the CVap Cook & Hold. The unit was set at 200 Doneness and 1 Browning, Constant Cook ON. I elevated the bagels on a baking rack to ensure that the vapor would reach all sides of the bagel for five minutes.
Raw bagels prepped for baking.
The CVap results were better than expected. The bagels were very similar to the ones that I boiled, but they didn’t rise as much as the boiled bagels.

The next step involved baking. I reserved a few bagels to bake in a conventional oven, and baked the rest in the CVap (90 Doneness, 10 Browning, Constant Cook ON). The recipe recommends baking the bagels, then removing them from the oven to add toppings. This was a bit difficult – the bagels were hot and had to be sprayed with water to make the topping stick. I chose to make a variety of flavors; everything bagel, asiago bagel, asiago jalapeno bagel, and a few plain bagels. The bagels destined for the CVap were much easier, as I was able to top the bagels right after boiling them.Topped bagels ready to bake.
Not only were the CVap bagels easier to prepare, they also browned more evenly.

Baked in a conventional oven.
Baked in a conventional oven.
Baked in a CVap oven.
CVap Baked

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When they had cooled just enough to not burn my mouth, I dug in. The boiled/oven-baked bagels were much chewier on the exterior, and the toppings fell off. The CVap bagels were a little denser and crisper on the exterior. Both were delicious! A bit more tweaking of recipe and technique would probably result in a seamless process in the CVap. No boiling, no adding toppings mid-bake – painless and delicious!
 
Bagels for days.

Perfect Fried Chicken Every Time

Everyone’s fried chicken is the best! Or everyone has a grandmother that made the best fried chicken. I get it, I really do! Everyone has their own techniques, tricks, and superstitions when it comes to making their ‘famous fried chicken’. Well my fried chicken is never the same. I do not prefer one technique over another. I am a fan of all styles. I don’t care if its buttermilk fried, Korean fried, or country fried – as long as it’s delicious and crave-able! Below, I have a recipe for a damn good piece of fried chicken. And at the end of the day, I really think that is paramount!

What makes this particular recipe great, besides that it tastes so good, is the fact that it is less greasy and can be prepared, mostly, ahead of time. CVap is the KEY to all of this. What I have done is taken the fry time from 12ish minutes down to 3ish minutes, resulting in a super moist, less greasy, and crave-able fried chicken. A quick tip: by reducing the time the chicken is in the oil, the less grease the breading will absorb!

CVap Chicken Process

The day of, I wanted something with Asian flavors. So that’s where my approach came from. Let’s get into the details of the process!

Brine:

Salt – 1 tablespoon
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Water – 2 cups
Lemongrass, chopped and pounded – 2 stalks
Star Anise, toasted – 4 each
Soy Sauce – ¼ cup
Black Peppercorns – 1 teaspoon
Ginger, fresh – 1 small knob
Lime Juice – 1 tablespoon
Jalapeno, halved – 2 each

Place all the ingredients for the brine in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Cool to room temperature. Strain and cool in refrigerator until it goes below 40 F. Heat the CVap Cook and Hold to 155 F + 0 F, Constant Cook On, Time of 3 hours.

I prefer thighs and legs of the chicken for my fried chicken so that is what I used. In two freezer bags, I placed six pieces of chicken in each bag and split the brine between the bags. When closing the bags, try and remove as much of the air as possible to ensure that the chicken is making contact with the brine as much as possible. Once your CVap is to temp, load the chicken and press Start. Tip: For older chickens or larger cuts of chicken, increase the cook time to 4 or 5 hours. This will help breakdown the connective tissues and make it much tenderer.

 

 

 

 

 

Breading Process

As the chicken is cooking, prepare the breading. There is a wet and dry step. For the wet I mixed equal parts buttermilk and coconut milk. The flour, I used bread flour because there is higher protein in bread flour. Higher protein makes for a better crunch!

Wet:
Buttermilk – 1 cup
Coconut Milk – 1 cup

Dry:
Bread Flour – 1 ½ cup
Onion Powder – 2 teaspoons
Garlic Powder – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon

When the chicken is close to being done, prepare your pot of oil. You will want to use peanut oil because we will be frying 390 F to 400 F for this round. Tip: Cover your stove with foil to make cleanup much easier!

Once the chicken is done and you have the oil heating, remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. When your oil comes to temp, turn down the heat to maintain that temperature and start the breading process. Dip the chicken in the wet mixture first and move to the flour mixture and back to the wet and back to the flour. That’s how you get EXTRA CRISPY. If you do not want extra crispy just go through the process once. You will want to do about four pieces at one time as to not overload the oil and you don’t want the chicken to sit breaded as it gets gummy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carefully put the chicken into the oil. When it is in, increase your heat on the oil to bring the temperature back to 390 F – 400 F. Since the chicken is already cooked, all you are trying to do is brown the breading! About three minutes in the oil will do. When you have reached your desired color, remove the chicken from the oil and let it rest on a rack. Season with a little salt.

The nice thing about this is if you don’t want to fry all the chicken you do not have to. Leave it in the bag and place it in the fridge and the next day you can fry the chicken from cold. You will need to heat the oil to about 330 F – 340 F, but the rest of the process remains the same. The cook process will take longer, about 8 minutes, but hey it’s still packed with all that flavor and the chicken is already cooked!

I topped mine with a mixture of sesame, scallions, soy, chili paste, lime and fresh ginger! Enjoy!

It’s All in the Proof! CVap® Focaccia

Focaccia bread (Italian pronunciation: [foˈkattʃa]) is one of the most versatile breads baked today. Not only can the bread be baked either thick or thin, the endless array of toppings to choose from compounds flavors in a complex yet delightful way. Most people think of Focaccia as the free basket of bread provided before the meal at your local Italian eatery, but the bread can be used many different ways including as a pizza base, sandwich bread or even as a cake.

One of the more surprising things I encounter as I visit regions all over the world is how few people realize the CVap Cook & Hold and CVap Thermalizer ovens can be used to bake breads. CVap ovens are perfect for baking applications since users can customize the environment inside the oven to create the ideal conditions for proofing.

I had a great time with this project. It is getting the wheels turning for what other bread items we can cook in the CVap Cook & Hold or Thermalizer ovens.

Recipe:

Bread Flour – 1.82 Kilograms
Water – 845 Grams
Fresh Yeast – 60 Grams
Olive Oil – 140 Grams
Salt – 60 Grams
Sugar – 58 Grams

Method of Prep:

Preheat Cook & Hold to 90 Food Temperature + 1 Food Texture, Time 1:15.
Mix the water and flour. Autolyse for 20 minutes.
Add sugar, olive oil, and yeast. Mix for five minutes.
Add salt and mix for two minutes.
Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan greased with olive oil.
Place dough in center of pan and stretch the dough into a flat, oval. Make sure both sides are greased with Olive Oil
Place dough in Cook & Hold to proof.
When the timer goes off, pull dough out of Cook & Hold.

Punch and stretch the dough to the shape of the pan and make indentations in the dough with your fingertips.

Place the dough back in the Cook & Hold and set timer for 20 minutes.

Remove the dough from the Cook & Hold and heat to 200 Food Temperature + 10 Food Texture, time :45 minutes.

Top the dough with desired toppings and place back into the Cook & Hold.

 

One focaccia was topped with charred ramps, roasted garlic and rosemary. The other was topped with dried figs and fennel seeds. Both were seasoned with Maldon sea salt.


Consistent and efficient proofing is crucial when preparing leavened breads. The CVap promotes a consistent and great environment to proof! This is what generates the fermented smell and flavors of great breads. With CVap we can adjust the environment of the cabinet to tailor the proof. By doing so we can create compounding flavors while the bread is fermenting (or proofing).

The crumb on the finished product was excellent. It created a very light and soft finished product without making the exterior of the product too hard.

If you notice in the pictures, one of the pans of focaccia was too close to the elements (right). This is due to my portioning of the dough between the two pans. User error!


This project was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Please let me know what you think of the product once you have tried it. I look forward to hearing from you.

For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at http://www.winstonindustries.com

 

Bringing Cuba to the Table: Embracing the Flavors of the Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban sandwich has made its way onto menus across the country and was in fact iconicized in Florida with its origins stemming from the Cuban culture. Here is a simple version with some additional ingredients. I have added herbs to the marinade, which is completely optional.

Often when you order a Cuban sandwich, the meat can be very dry and overcooked. Let’s face it, we are double cooking a piece of pork; once in the oven and once on the panini press. Utilizing CVap® Cook & Hold Oven to prepare the mojo pork makes it possible to cook to a specific temperature where it will never go over.

Another great advantage to using a CVap Cook & Hold Oven is the High Yield option, because it will maintain the meat’s juiciness and maximize yield. In this case, we are using a piece of pork for the mojo that is generally has low yield results. Because the oven calculates the best heat curve during the cook cycle, we can achieve the maximum number of servings from the pork. That translates to a couple of extra Cuban Sandwiches for you!

Mojo Pork Marinade Ingredients

6 pounds, 2 pieces boneless pork shoulder
2 each oranges, zested & juiced
2 each lemons, zested & juiced
3 each limes, zested & Juiced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch oregano, picked & chopped
2 tablespoons cumin, ground
3 tablespoons salt, kosher
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper, ground

Sandwich Assembly IngredientsYield: 1 Sandwich

1 each soft roll
About 4 ounces Cuban pork
1 slice Swiss cheese, sliced
2 each dill pickles, sliced
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon butter

Method of Preparation

1. PREPARE citrus, herbs, and spices for marinade
2. In a container or mixing bowl, COMBINE all the ingredients for the marinade, except for pork. Mix well.
3. In two zip lock gallon bags, place the pork. POUR the marinade over the pork EQUALLY.
4. PLACE in refrigerator overnight.
5. PREHEAT  CVap Cook & Hold Oven to Constant Cook Off, 180 F + 4 Browning, 4 Hours.
6. PLACE the pork in a hotel pan with the marinade.
7. LOAD the pork in the CVap and COOK.8. Once the pork is cooked, place in a refrigerator to COOL; about 3 hours.
9. Thinly SLICE the pork and RESERVE for assembly.

marinadeCuban_Sandwich_open-ziplockCuban_Sandwich_cooked

 

 

 

 

 

Assembly

1. PREHEAT flat Panini press to 350 F.Cuban_Sandwich_cut
2. SLICE the roll in half all the way through.
3. SPREAD the mustard on one side of the bread.
4. TOP the mustard with sliced pork, pickles, cheese and other half of roll.
5. BUTTER the Panini press and place sandwich on the press.
6. COOK in the Panini press for about 4-5 minutes. You will start to see the cheese melting off the sides and the bread should be nice and golden brown before removed.

ENJOY!

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Bringing Home the Ballotine… with CVap®

As I have worked my way down the east coast I have always taken away something from restaurants. Whether it is a technique, preparation, a specific recipe, etc… there is always something to be learned. In 2012 I spent some time in a Philadelphia kitchen that was one of the most creative I have ever been in. We would manipulate products in directions that I had not considered possible before; such as juicing onions for a soup. There were also items on that menu that were so easy and so delicious, you would wish you had thought of them first.

insert 1Well, the recipe that I am offering is one that combines both: easy preparation and wonderful manipulation of the product. This is a tried and true recipe that never came off the menu, and its preparation is simple enough that one can serve a restaurant quality menu item at home.

Definition of Ballotine:
In the culinary arts, a traditional ballotine is a deboned leg of a chicken, duck or other poultry stuffed with ground meat and other ingredients, tied and cooked. A ballotine is usually cooked by braising or poaching. In modern kitchens, a ballotine is sometimes made from other parts of the poultry, such as the breast, not strictly the leg. Moreover, a modern ballotine can be made using any type of meat, not limited to poultry. Source: culinaryarts.about.com

Chicken Ballotine

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 4 Portions

RECIPE

CVap Cook & Hold Settings: 165: 0: 2:00 hours

Ingredients / Quantity

Chickens, whole / 2 each
Mushrooms, crimini, sliced, cooked / 8 ounces
Thyme, picked, minced / 2 tablespoons
Cream / 1 cup
Salt / 4 teaspoons
Chicken, thighs (fat, bone, and connective tissue removed) / 2 cups

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat the CVap Cook & Hold to 165: 0: 2:00
  2. Lay the chicken breast side down on a cutting board.
  3. Score the skin of the chicken from the top of to the bottom of the bird along the spine. Remove the wings at the top of the breast.IMG_0019
  4. Flip the chicken over and remove the breast from the keel bone. Make sure you do not separate the skin on the back of the bird while doing this.IMG_0021
  5. Flip the chicken back over onto the breast and peel the skin from the neck all the way down and off the leg of the bird. Make sure to keep the breast meat attached to the skin. Repeat this process on the other breast.IMG_0023
  6. Once all the breasts are removed from the birds, lay them meat side up. Cut the breast at a 45° angle from the top of the breast to the tail. Do not cut all the way through the breast.
  7. Refrigerate the breasts until they are ready to be filled.IMG_0027
  8. Remove the legs from the bird. Debone the legs and remove all the fat and connective tissue from the meat.IMG_0028
  9. In a food processor add the leg meat and salt (2 teaspoons). Turn the food processor on and combine the ingredients.IMG_0030When all the ingredients are combines and smooth, about 1.5 minutes, slowly drizzle in the cream. Add the mushrooms and thyme. Place the forcemeat in a piping bag and reserve.IMG_0034
  10. Remove the breasts form the refrigerator and lay them out breast side up. Season with remaining 2 teaspoons of salt.
  11. Pipe the force meat into the cut breast.IMG_0037Roll the breast so the skin is completely covering the breast meat.
  12. Line a counter/ table with plastic wrap. With the box of plastic wrap at the top of the table, tear off a piece that it 20 inches long and place the rolled chicken breast about 6 inches from the bottom.
  13. Roll the plastic over the chicken breast and continue to roll the breast to the top of the plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is tight to the breast.IMG_0039
  14. Once the chicken is rolled, grab the edges of the plastic wrap at the ends of the chicken breast and hold firmly. Roll the chicken on the lined table/ counter surface to tighten the ballotine.IMG_0040
  15. Once the ballotine is tight, tuck the ends of the plastic wrap to the bottom of the ballotine and wrap in another piece of plastic wrap to secure them. Repeat this process with the remaining chicken breasts.IMG_0041
  16. Place the ballotines in the CVap Cook and Hold.IMG_0044
  17. Heat a pot of oil to 350° Fahrenheit to fry the ballotines when they come out of the Cook & Hold.
  18. Once the ballotines are cooked, remove them from the Cook & Hold and let stand for 2 minutes.
  19. Remove the ballotines from the plastic and pat dry.
  20. Fry them in the oil until they are golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.IMG_0047
  21. Remove from oil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing and  serving.
    IMG_0048feature1