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Tech tools for modern baking-survey and discussion-great brioche recipe!

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clazar123's picture
clazar123

Tech tools for modern baking-survey and discussion-great brioche recipe!

I finally have all my recipes in electronic format and now I am in the process of formatting them and putting them in cups/gram. Quite a feat! Currently, if I am baking, I will print out the recipe from the computer which is in a room adjacent to the kitchen. This is  a somewhat paper hungry method and I am trying to reduce that. It is not feasible(or good for our marriage) to have my husband's laptop (a mini) that close to the baking area and have it survive chronic exposure to all the ingredients so I have to buy my own tech tool. I like my tools to be multipurpose,reasonably priced,sturdy and easy to use.

So the question/survey/discussion is this:

  1. Does anyone use a tablet/Nook/Kindle as a cookbook? What do you like/not like about your setup? Does it interface with a printer?
  2. What software/app do you use to save your recipes? Easy? Free? Easy to navigate/edit?
  3. What format? Spreadsheet?Tables?Text? My recipes are being converted to cups/grams format for scalability and consistency. See sample below. See italicized note before recipe...
  4. Is there a software you like that will be easy to use when developing a recipe? Currently what I do is  print out a blank table on paper and write in my possible ingredients and add info as I go. Editting and crossout and notes in the sideline are extensive. Paper and pencil are what I use now to edit a recipe in progress and keep notes. Then I type my results into my electronic format and save it as  a "being developed" or as a "final". I haven't found an easy electronic way to do all the editting while in process yet. Have you?

My current favorite format is to save them in a microsoft Word document that looks like this:

                   (In light of the season, I'll use my favorite Brioche recipe! Well-used,wonderful recipe! Thanks Floyd!)

NOTE:  All measures are as I meaure- using my tools in my kitchen-please do NOT make this a discussion about accuracy or how it compares to your measures. If you feel my "cups" are different from your measurements-just use the gram measures and develop your own "cups" measure that you feel is accurate.

______________________________________________________________

Lazy Man’s Brioche   (from Floyd)      Makes 12 buns-3 oz dough each
 

INGREDIENT

AMOUNT

GRAMS

 

Bread flour

3 ¼ cups

500g

 

Salt

1 to 1 ½ tsp

5g-7g

 

Yeast

4 tsp

15g

Use 2-3 and let raise longer

Sugar

¼ cup

50g

 

Milk/Cream/Almond/Soy

1 cup

250g

 

Eggs

2 large

 

 

Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick)

113g

Can sub 1/3 c oil and ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)

 

 For chocolate dough brioche: Add 1 serving packet instant coffee and 4  pouches pre-melted cholcolate (equiv to 4 squares) and increase sugar by 20g or ¼ cup
Filling=1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) (Chocolate chips and solid choc re-hardens after baking-kind of a chunk.) =Can be stuffed with anything sweet or savory(Indian? BBQ pork?)

=Other ideas: Jam-1 tbsp, Chocolate ganache, White cho with orange marmalade, Almond filling, Any pie filling, Add pannetone fruit and flavor? 

Egg Wash
1 egg
a pinch of salt
a teaspoon water

Add all of the ingredients to your mixer and mix it until the dough becomes silky. This takes a long time, somewhere in the 10-20 minute range (I think I did around 15). If the dough sticks to the sides or the paddle too much, take breaks and scrape the dough back down into the bowl.

When it is well mixed, shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. Degas the dough and allow it to rise a second time, for another hour or so.

Cut the dough into 12 pieces (I used the scale and weighed them out at 3 ounces each). Shape the dough into balls. This fits a large muffin paper very well. If you want to fill them, do so here by placing the chocolate chips on them before pinching them closed. Make sure they are sealed!

Place the dough balls seam side down in brioche pans or muffin tins. Cover loosely and allow to rise until doubled in size and well above the pan, approximately 45 minutes.

While they are rising, make the egg wash and preheat the oven to 365.

Brush the brioche gently with egg wash before putting the pans near the middle of the preheated oven. Bake the brioche for 10 minutes then rotate the pan. Bake them another 10 minutes or until they appear to be done. If your pans were greased well, you should be able to shake the brioche out of the pan while they are still hot. Be careful if the eggwash spilled onto the pans though, because the cooked egg will "glue" the brioche into the pans. I had to gently break through the eggwash with a knife before I could get a few of my buns out of the pans.

PUMPKIN BRIOCHE

Oil

¼ cup

50g

 

Butter

¼ cup

55g

 

Pumpkin(canned)

¾ cup

200g

Puree (canned or homemade needs to be thick-not pourable)

Milk

½ cup-minus 2 tbsp

90g

Almond and soy milk works well

Eggs

2

----

 

Bread Flour

3 cups

550g

 

Sugar

¼ c

50g

 

Yeast

2 ½ tsp (1 packet)

7g

??check amount

Salt

1 ½ tsp

7g

 

Add all ingredients to mixer and mix 10-20 minutes until dough silky. Scrape often.

Suggested filling: reserve some canned pumpkin and mix with cinnamon sugar.

Great as pumpkin cinnamon rolls!

_______________________________________________________________

 

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Great question and I'm sure you'll get a 100 comments.  My practices, while still evolving but always with Excel, have settled into a very satisfactory routine.  Here's the path I've followed over the past year.

Formerly: On my laptop, I grabbed screen-shots of Excel tables programmed in BBGA format, dropped them into DropBox and viewed them, therein, on an iPad resting on the counter during baking (I posted something to that effect here at some point).   Disadvantages are obvious:  iPad is in harm's way, as you've noted, and note-taking requires doing it elsewhere from the actual recipe, or engaging in an annoying amount of additional (and thorough) handwashing during prep. 

Currently:  I still develop (or adapt published) formulas in Excel/BBGA on my laptop, having added the bake's process in handwritten-note-friendly boxes beneath the formula table in each spreadsheet (example here).  I print it out (fits 8.5x11 or A4 nicely) before baking and magnetically attach it to the fridge door behind me (pencils strewn atop fridge) for easy consulting and note-taking during baking.  Stocking stuffer I've asked for for Christmas is digital magnetic clock to hold print-outs to fridge, for easier documentation of times (I'm a little dyslexic with analog clocks).  Thoroughly documented, and intensively consulted, bakes are now filling up a 3 ring binder by my laptop.  If color printing were cheaper and easier to make accurate, I'd add a page of pix of each bake.  But images will remain digital for the duration I presume, and don't mind.

Happy baking!

Tom

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

on the kitchen island with my laptop behind me on the counter so it doesn't get bread stuff all over it.   I too use Word but the formulas are all in Excel that are pasted into the Word document.  When I am using them, I just turn around and look - no touchy with dough caked hands :-)

Thanks for the recipes too!

Heidela123's picture
Heidela123

iPad is great for storage and keeping free cookbooks, I love my IPad!

If you are going to all this work
I agree use Excel for anything substance use it for work

Home stuff IPad I like appleTV for watching videos

suave's picture
suave

If I were to start using an electronic device in the kitchen I would probably go with a wall-mounted HDTV and an Android dongle.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I am looking at a 10inch tablet that also has a keyboard/docking station which has a USB port for a thumb drive for when I want to transfer recipes beween devices. The tablet portion (if I don't get a docking station keyboard) has a microSD for additional storage. I have just discovered an Android note-taking app.  (for the editing).

Here is a link:

http://www.asus.com/Tablet/Transformer_Pad/ASUS_Transformer_Pad_TF300T/

So just Excel and Word for software. (There is an Android equivalent).

I wish I had wallspace for a wall-mounted HDTV but, alas, I don't.

Anyone have a favorite cookbook software in case I want to self publish or give as gifts? That could go on my desktop PC.

 

 

kkinderen's picture
kkinderen

My Android tablet (Motorola Xoom) lives in the kitchen. I use it for recipes, grocery lists, entertainment, education and conversions - in the kitchen. I follow along with a couple of YouTube videos about bread baking while I'm baking. It also plays audio books (currently The Stand) while I'm cooking. There are a few key features that make a tablet in the kitchen an absolute must for me...

1. I keep recipes and links to recipes on a private wiki page I maintain. I log into my web site and either pull up a recipe I've entered directly or click one of the recipe links I have to other sites. This is not free as it takes a web host that I goof around with. Because many of the recipes I have are taken directly from books I keep the cooking part of my website private.

2. I have Kindle software on my tablet and have a number of kitchen books in Kindle format. I'm currently working through Crust and Crumb (finally made a decent french baguette!!!) and my favorite cookbook is Betty Crocker. Nice that it is on Kindle becuase it is easy to search for what I need. 

3. I use an app called ziplist (free) mostly for a grocery list but it also does a pretty fair job of searching out recipes across a number of sites. It can take a recipe on almost any site and create a grocery list from it. It shares data between my tablet and phone and provide more features on the web using a PC. See http://ziplist.com/.

4. I use an app called recipe convert where I can enter in the number of cups of flour and have it report back the weight. I have found some errors in the conversion factors so be a little careful. The dev promises an update soon.

I'm thinking of maintaining my recipes on my PC using Excel or Word probably. Then I can convert them to PDF files and access them on my Xoom. Dropbox could come in handy for this. Another option is Google Docs with the advantage that it is easy to share recipes this way.

I think the point is, a tablet can be a real help in the kitchen though there are so many ways of doing things I think you'll have to figure out what works best for you. A laptop is a little too big and delicate while a smartphone is probably a little too small. Oh... and an inexpensive tablet is the Amazon Kindle Fire. I have the original Kindle Fire and love it. I'll bet they are pretty inexpensive right now.

Good luck!

Kev 

carltonb's picture
carltonb

Being a professional I do it two ways depending who I am working for that day. In my own facility Though I use a professional baking program, I print the formula as needed for the quantity. It has check boxes next to the ingredients so I can mark when they have been scaled. In another place I work all the formulas come up on an I PAD.  As you cscale the ingredient you tick off the item. When all the items have been scaled you press the priint button, out pops the formula, Printer is located at the work station. It gets moved with the ingredients to the person mixing the dough. NO ERRORS this way.

I love the concept of using a tablet, weather it contains a spread sheet, or a epup style formula. Everything is right there for you.

Carlton Brooks CCE, CEPC, ACE

jsper3's picture
jsper3

I use My IPad and have a file that I have saved recipes in from various websites. I keep an excal spreadsheet for scaling etc. You can print from any Apple device using air printing

Felila's picture
Felila

I save recipes from the net, format them as if I were editing them for a cookbook (something I used to do), and save them in a recipes folder. If I'm actually going to cook from them, I print them out and store them in a binder that lives on the kitchen counter. Occasionally I leaf through the binder and pull out the recipes I don't think I will ever use again. The binder stays light and useful. 

Not all that hi-tech, but it allows me to save hundreds of recipes AND have printouts for kitchen use. The favorites get used often enough that they accumulate splotches and stains and have to be reprinted. 

EvaB's picture
EvaB

than never commenting at all. I sort of do it two or three ways, I like to have the recipe in large enough print for me to read easily without resorting to my reading glasses, less mistakes that way. So I mainly collect the recipes in either a printed format, or on the computer in files, these are usually formated into a decent type of format, but not into excel, have never managed to figure that one out!

Ones I use most often are put into a word template I designed and saved, these are printed out and placed into binders (note the plural) and in plastic page holders. Some are simply printed off the internet site and clipped with a paperclip, until used or re-entered into the recipe template.

The ones that are in use are clipped with a bulldog clip and actually hung in the kitchen where I can read the recipe while working on it. I have two clips hung on the cupboard doors right at the moment, and probably 10 or 12 binders with various recipes on shelves here and there. I also have a ton of cook books, and most recently bread books slid into various empty spots waiting for the shelving to be put up in my long awaited library/sewing room.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I ended up with the Samsung Galaxy Note. I figured I can edit a word document as I work with the "pen" and later do a final edit.

I like the idea of using electronic storage of a "Master" file and a notebook on the counter of frequently/recently used recipes.I can instantly discard a recipe I didn't like or won't use and either delete or edit the electronic version.

I just discovered Dropbox and so far I'm loving it. I have heard about Google Docs but haven't explored it ,yet. I do have an ereader app. on the tablet but so far have only downloaded free ebooks.

There is a steep learning curve on all this but since I went to an android-based phone, that helps. I'm still getting the tech set up-bought a bluetooth keyboard/case,need a memory card for the tabletetc,etc.

The real work is in actually maintaining mis en place in the kitchen and in my life no matter the tech level-computer or paper and pencil. A constant struggle for me. This project is making it more fun to think of that aspect. Wish me luck and keep any ideas coming!