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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Ratio Cookbook

On Christmas morning, I surprised cubes with breakfast in bed. The pancakes - dairy-free - were the first thing I made from Michael Ruhlman's Ratio cookbook (a wedding gift).

If you regularly substitute ingredients, this cookbook is for you. Ruhlman presents basic ratios behind your favorite dishes (breads, pies, cookies, etc.) and explains clearly how you can change a ratio to obtain different results, for example a different texture.

This is not the type of cookbook where you go straight to a recipe and start cooking or baking. At a minimum you should read the preface before turning on an oven. Why? Well in the case of pancakes you'd miss the fact that you should measure your flour by weight not volume. Depending on humidity and the flour you're using the volume varies greatly. He estimates the volume of 8 ounces of flour at 1 to 1 1/2 cups of flour.  The two mornings I made pancakes 8 ounces of flour translated to 2 cups and 1 3/4 cups of flour. The pancakes came out exactly the same.

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