Green Plate Special: 13 tips for cooking in a chilly kitchen



We don’t turn on the heating before November 1st, not on purpose anyway. Sometimes in the wee hours of early fall, the temperature inside our 216-year-old Federal-style home, with its drafty historic windows, drops below the thermostat setting at 48 degrees. Then we hear the tick, tick, tick tock of the natural gas baseboard system lazily waking up from its warm weather hibernation.

For my husband, the heatless situation until November is imposed by his frugal pride and driven by his love of the phrase “Put on a sweater!” I used to complain, sometimes loudly, and maybe even turn the dial up a bit when he wasn’t home. But my 50-something self-flashing now relishes the chance to freshen up quickly.

That said, I’ve also embraced a repertoire of cold weather cooking tips that both deliver consistent recipe results and counter the cold in the kitchen. I share a dozen bakers here if you find yourself working in a cold kitchen as well.

Give your stove a good cleaning in October. Remove the stove grates and burner covers and use hot, soapy water and elbow grease on them. Use the crevice and crevice attachment on your vacuum to vacuum up any crumbs around the heating element. Clean the oven and test for temperature consistency, as some ovens can be turned off up to 50 degrees.

Understand that “room temperature” ingredients as listed in most recipes means they should be around 70 degrees. For consistent results, test pantry items with an instant-read thermometer to see how they compare to this assumption.

A warmed, inverted pint glass softens a stick of butter for cooking while a bowl of cold eggs cools to room temperature. Ben McCanna / Personal Photographer

Stay away from the microwave when dealing with rock-hard cold sticks of butter. Instead, place them under an overturned pint glass that has been warmed with boiling water. After about two minutes under the glass, the butter will spread easily on your toast or be ready to cream with sugar for a cake. In colder climates, the creaming process will take longer than stated in the recipe. So ignore the estimated times and stick to the visual cues.

If you also need room temperature eggs for the in-game recipe (hotter eggs are more viscous and therefore mix better than cold ones), reheat them in a bowl of warm water, around 110 degrees, for about three minutes.

Flour stored in the pantry is also likely to be cold. When making bread, the easiest way to adapt is to adjust the temperature of the liquid required by the recipe. If your flour is cold, heat the water (or other liquid) to around 95 degrees. The hotter dough will actively ferment from the start of the process. If you are baking a pie, be aware that pie dough can feel stiff, crumbly and dry during the winter months. For a flaky crust, you still want very cold butter and ice water, but reheating the flour to 70 degrees lukewarm before combining it with cold butter solves the crumbly problem.

To quickly create a warm place to rise bread dough, heat an enamel Dutch oven on the stove to about 90 degrees. Place the bowl of dough in it and cover. Or you can place your bowl of dough in the oven off with a pot of hot water on a low rack.

Perfect some recipes for slow-cooked pastries (like bagels and frosted buns) that ferment in the fridge while you sleep, come back to room temperature while the oven preheats, and warm the kitchen while baking.

Do not look ! Each time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by up to 25 degrees, forcing it to work even harder (and use more energy) to return to the correct temperature. cooking.

Be aware that savory recipes that require more than an hour of cooking time do not need to start in a preheated oven.

Store your cast iron pots and pans on the back burner of your stove. They capture and retain some of the heat that escapes from your oven racks.

Pizza night is the perfect way to entertain when your furnace is still off but the outside temperature is dropping. The oven is hand-cranked and the body heat of a large group warms your spirits.

Even when the party is over, keep a pizza stone in the oven. Not only does this help keep the oven temperature stable, but the residual heat from the stone also keeps the kitchen comfortable for longer.

Warm your plates in a cooling oven. Nothing kills a hot meal faster than a cold plate.

After spreading the filling on the rolled out dough and sprinkling with pumpkin seeds and diced apples, roll it up. Ben McCanna / Personal Photographer

Apple-Ginger Breakfast Rolls with Goat Cheese and Apple Cider Glaze

This recipe is loosely based on one posted by Stella Parks, award-winning pastry chef and cookbook author James Beard, based in Kentucky.

Makes 12 rolls

2 cups (272 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1½ cups (180g) Maine Grains spelled flour
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1½ teaspoons kosher salt; for table salt, use about half by volume or the same weight
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup plain Greek yogurt

4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup (170 g) lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt; for table salt, use about half by volume or the same weight
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup apple, diced small

4 ounces plain goat cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons boiled apple cider syrup
1½ cups icing sugar

To make the batter, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer. Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stir in milk and yogurt. Heat the mixture between 95 and 100 degrees. Add to flour mixture and stir to form a very dry, shaggy dough. With the hook of the stand mixer, knead on low heat until the dough is smooth and silky and elastic, able to be gently stretched into a thin but rough sheet without tearing, 10-12 minutes.

Cover the bowl with a plate and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by placing the butter, brown sugar, crystallized and ground ginger, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat until creamy, light in color and very smooth, about 3 minutes.

Turn risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface, dust with flour and roll into a 13-inch square. Spread the filling evenly over it using an angled spatula. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and apples over top and roll into a 12-inch log, seam side down.

Slide an 8-inch strand of unflavored dental floss under the dough until you reach the middle of the roll. Cross the ends of the floss over the top and pull firmly to carefully divide the log into 2. Cut each half into six 1-inch slices and arrange in a parchment-lined 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan or two 8 inch round cake pans. Cover rolls with foil and refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours.

When you’re ready to bake the rolls, take them out of the fridge to begin warming them up. Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake, covered, until the cinnamon rolls are puffed and firm but pale, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes longer.

Make the glaze as the buns cook by mixing the goat cheese, butter, apple cider syrup with half the icing sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with an attachment pallet. Mix over low heat to moisten the ingredients, then sprinkle the rest of the sugar little by little. Increase speed to medium and beat frosting until creamy and pale ivory, about 2 minutes. Spread the frosting evenly over the hot rollers. Serve immediately.

Local food advocate Christine Burns Rudalevige is editor of Edible Maine magazine and author of “Green Plate Special,” both a sustainable food column in the Portland Press Herald and the name of her cookbook from 2017. She can be contacted at: [email protected]

Once baked, the buns are coated in a goat cheese and apple cider syrup glaze. Ben McCanna / Personal Photographer

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