This here is a Kamado Joe. We own one now, as you may have heard in passing on my recent podcast episode. It will smoke stuff but more interestingly for us it’s also excellent for slow-roasting large pieces of meat. Like brisket, which is something we’ve only just started to discover.
Brisket looks like this, when it’s covered in salt and pepper, which was our first plan:
Apparently this is ‘classic Texas style’ and yes that is a LARGE piece of meat. After cooking for… maybe 7 hours, it looked like this on the outside:
and like this on the inside:
It was far, far tastier than I had been expecting! J was a bit disappointed based on what he’d been reading that it wasn’t quite as soft as expected. We suspect part of this is about Australian meat being different from American meat, which I am COMPLETELY FINE WITH. We proceeded to eat it for several meals over the coming week, and it reheated very well indeed.
The next one we did, which was even bigger because that’s what the butcher had, was seasoned slightly differently. Less salt and pepper; more herbs such as thyme. I thought it tasted a bit better. It also cooked faster, which was a surprise… which may have had something to do with better control over the heat, perhaps something to do with less salt, or maybe just it was a different animal. Fortunately, it can rest for a couple of hours without losing anything. So that’s what it did.
I’m really enjoying this particular experiment. There’s going to be a lot more barbecues in my future.
Using the recipe in Indian Made Easy, we decided to run a roti experiment.
Actually it wasn’t deliberate; it was because we made the dough as written and realised it would make eight pieces, which would be too much for two people for one night.
Anyway: we made the dough, and we cooked four of the roti, and they were lovely; finished them with some melted butter and everything. Then, my beloved had already rolled out an extra one, but we realised that cooking and reheating the next night would probably be sub-optimal. This is when the experiment was hatched.
What would be better: to pre-roll roti, or to leave the dough in balls to be rolled out the next day?
Would roti made the next day even be ok?
The pre-rolled roti: intriguingly, the dough itself had a greyish tinge, which was odd; my beloved wonders if the air had gone out of it. At any rate it did not puff up as well when cooked, and actually went a bit transparent while cooking which it had not the day before. Very odd. Tasted ok; definitely not as good as fresh or the unrolled dough – a bit chewier.
The still-in-balls dough: looked more like the dough from the day before. Didn’t puff up quite as much and wasn’t quite as tasty as the very fresh roti, but still acceptable. Obviously it’s not exactly ideal, and making roti isn’t exactly hard… but for camping, for example, this would be quite easy to replicate. And it is good to know that it’s ok to save the dough if you plan on having it two nights in a row.
Finally, on the second night we brushed the roti with garlic butter – one clove of garlic, chopped, put into a dollop of butter than I nuked in the microwave. I let the garlic sit in the butter for a few minutes before brushing it on the roti and that was definitely a win. My beloved thought it should have been garlickier, but that’s nothing new.
When my beloved saw that I wasn’t happy with how my sourdough turned out, and that I wasn’t sure if it was the flour or if I’d over-proofed, he came up with the Scientist’s Answer: run an A-B test.
So this morning we went to Bee Sustainable and got some freshly-milled whole wheat, which is what I used the first time; and we also went and bought a thin rubber sleeping mat to insulate the cardboard box I had been using (because we don’t own an esky and I’m not sure what size I would need to fit boxes or bowls).
Now, I have made two bread mixes. One, in a container originally used for plain flour, using the Laucke bread; the other, in the SR container, using the wholemeal. I already expect there to be a slight difference because I used the same recipe for both, and white flour needs less water than wholemeal – but I used the same amount anyway. I figured it was a trade-off for the experiment: different flour AND different recipe, or just different flour? It might have an impact on the rise, I’m not sure; we’ll see.
Because I am not great at visually estimating size, I’ve also got the tape measure out, as you can see. I took measurements when I first put the doughs in; I plan to measure every 30 minutes to see what happens.
Update 2: Continue reading “More sourdough experimentation”
Having a look around at sourdough recipes, we came across Cultures for Health. Which means I found a bunch of recipes to use ‘discarded’ starter, including one for pancakes.
So I decided to try sourdough pancakes. I over-estimated how much oomph would come from the starter, so I used plain flour instead of self-raising; I realised this was a mistake when the pancakes didn’t get very fluffy and were in fact a little on the gooey side. Nonetheless, they were quite tasty and I would definitely make them again with discarded starter.
I’ve also made more bread, and experimented this time with different flour. I know I’ve seen baker’s flour before but couldn’t find it anywhere I looked – well, except for in 10kg bags and that seemed a bit much just at the moment. So I got Laucke bread mix, since the yeast is separate – I figured it was likely to be good for bread since it’s designed for bread machines… right?
My first slice, when admittedly it was still a bit warm, suggests that it might be a little on the gooey side. Additionally, the crust came away from the loaf proper, which might mean that I over-proofed it. Also, as you can see from both the cob and the log, it seems the oven isn’t uniform in temperature, which is interesting – the last loaves didn’t do that. I guess more experimentation is required. WHAT A SHAME.
I have finally made my first batch of sourdough bread with my leaven (who might be Geoffrey… or Godfrey… or something like that…) thanks to my sourdough course at RedBeard.
Win: I managed to get the bread out of the bannetons without any hassle! This suggests I had floured the baskets well enough, which pleased me.
Slight loss: I think the bread is a bit doughy. I’m not sure whether this is a result of the house not being a constant temperature, or me not making quite the right mixture, or… what. But it tasted pretty good, so
Win!: it tasted pretty good! And it was mostly wholemeal (freshly milled and everything, from Bee Sustainable), but it wasn’t too heavy at all.
Experiment: I made fruit-ish bread. That is, it’s definitely got fruit in it – dried apricots and currants, and cinnamon and nutmeg, all added about an hour… ish… after it started rising. But I haven’t tasted it yet so we’ll see what it’s like… eventually. Sure looks pretty, though, doesn’t it?
Aim: to recreate our spit-roast experience from earlier in the year c/ camping friends
- A new spit-roast ensemble
- A Bannockburn chicken
- Masterfoods All-Purpose Seasoning
- Kipfler potatoes
- Meat thermometer
- Buy the spit-roast and have it delivered to your door and get VERY EXCITED.
- Buy all groceries.
- Start a fire in the chiminea to get coals.
- Season the chicken.
- Spike the chicken and put it onto the spit.
- Use the shovel to move coals over to the spit-roast tray, being careful not to burn yourself.
- Lower the chicken over the coals and turn on the rotisserie function.
- Wait. Drinking wine and staring dreamily into the fire are optional at this point.
- Having salted and oiled the potatoes, put them in the handy cage and place that on the spit too.
- More waiting. Drinking wine becomes less optional at this point.
- Using the meat thermometer, check the chicken’s progress.
- Add more coals to the tray because it’s clearly not hot enough.
- Get impatient, figure it’s SURELY done by now, and take everything inside to carve and serve.
Unfortunately we probably were a bit too impatient, and we probably didn’t have enough hot coals under the chicken and the potatoes for long enough. One end of the chicken (closest to the pole, in the picture) really didn’t cook at all. The breast meat was mostly fine but we were a bit leary of the thighs so most of the chicken has gone into the freezer to be made into stock whenever I’ve got time. The potatoes looked good but also weren’t as cooked as we had hoped and wanted. We didn’t realise that the cage thing came as part of the ensemble, and hadn’t intended to get it; when camping we’re more likely just to do them in the dutch oven in the coals proper. However, it was very pleasant to sit outside with the fire and this was, as stated, our first experiment.
More coals are needed. Next time we will probably do it over the fire pit rather than the tray to get a bit more heat happening. If it’s windy the coals needs more attention. The potato cage may not be worth it. We like fire.