April 5, 2010

The Perfect Hamburger (part three) – Wherein my Kitchen transcended the laws and axioms of Euclidean Geometry!

If you’ve not already read them, read  The Perfect Hamburger: Part One and Part Two by clicking on the links!

It was the day of reckoning.  I had finished my processed cheese slices, ending up with the mighty CheezLog, made my home made ketchup (now called “tomato concentrate”), and had also done a pre-ferment for my burger bun dough.  All that was left to do was to make the rest of the Perfect Burger components: the buns, and the burgers themselves.  I also had to get the Imperfect Burgers ready to go.  Then I had to get the house cleaned up, get myself cleaned up from the inevitable spillage, and make sure that the rest of the party prep was in order (i.e. buy beer and wine and fill the fridge with same).  It was 7:30am.  It would be a doddle.

Problem was, my house looked like a bomb had hit.  In this case, a bomb that, instead of being filled with shrapnel, was filled with approximately 100 cubic yards of black dog hair and sand.  We’d also constructed four new Ikea bookshelves the night before, which had not yet been put in their place (instead they were blocking the front door), and there were assorted scraps of Ikea boxes all over the place.  While the kitchen was clean, the bathrooms were … quite special.  Good housekeeping wouldn’t be calling any time soon, and Martha Stewart, had she walked through the door that morning, would have requested that she be sent back to jail rather than stay another minute.  My mother would have rolled her eyes in despair (but then she would have helped out, albeit with pointed comments).  It was a good four hours of cleaning, on top of the prep work for the Perfect Burger.  Guests were coming for 7:00pm.  My husband immediately fled to the golf course, but strangely I wasn’t worried.

Why not?  This is where living in Dubai is a wonderful thing.  Household help is cheap.  Many expats have their own live in maid, but for those of us who don’t, there are outside cleaning companies who are only too happy to send a maid to your home for a stipulated number of hours.  You can either schedule a regular service, or have someone come on an ad-hoc basis.  Prices are reasonable (I can get someone here for four hours for the same price as I’d pay for one hour back in Canada).  So, I had scheduled a maid to come to my cesspit and clean up while I got on with the cooking.  I felt like a genius.

So, to the cooking.  I had made a timeline the night before, so I knew that I had to start with the meat.  The recipe called for cuts of chuck, short ribs that had been dry-aged for a minimum of 30 days (bwahahahaha!!!), and brisket.  This is what I ordered from my local grocers, and I had had high hopes indeed.  Instead, I picked up “Australian braising steak” (which the butcher assured me was indeed chuck), veal short ribs, bone in, dry-aging time unknown, and more “Australian braising steak”.  I guess when the meat man smilingly assured me that “Brisket, no problem”, he really meant “Brisket no problem because I’ll just give you more chuck, and you will be grateful for that and give up your foolish desire for brisket”.  In this case, he was completely right.  I had put my order in and picked the meat up from him a week beforehand, had thought about trying to get actual brisket from him again (and was assured “Brisket, no problem”, with a huge smile), decided to take the extra chuck, and had thrown everything in the freezer until Burger-day.  (Actually I took it out to defrost the day before.)  That being said, the day before I had questioned whether I had enough short ribs, and when my husband went off to get tomatoes and other fixings for me, I asked him to pick up more short ribs and attempt some brisket from another grocery store in town that also has their own in-house butcher.

He too didn’t manage to secure brisket (I have no idea why this cut doesn’t seem to be overly available here, though it may have something to do with all of the beef bacon and pastrami that’s produced instead of the forbidden-yet-delicious pork bacon), but he did get what the butchers there assured him were short ribs.  What do you think?

Yep.  It’s a bone-in prime rib roast.  Yes, technically there are short ribs in there.  Awfully expensive short ribs, and I’d be damned if I was going to grind up that beauty into hamburger meat.  Even if it WAS for the Perfect Hamburger.

I had to cut the chuck into one inch cubes (Heston said 3cm x 3cm but whatever), add salt, mix thoroughly, and leave it in the fridge for six hours (the salt would penetrate the meat and draw out some moisture in that time).  After that, I needed to trim up the short ribs and the brisket, combine them together, grind them twice using a 3mm plate, and refrigerate that mixture. 

So, completely forgetting that half of my chuck was “brisket”, I cut up all of the chuck, and added the salt that Heston wanted me to use for half that quantity.  As per usual, I realised this after everything was mixed together.  I rationalized that I hadn’t doubled up the salt, and everything would be ground together anyway, and plunked it in the fridge.

Next, I started trimming my short ribs.  Here’s what the veal short ribs looked like in their original form:

 

I took the prime rib roast, cut off the roast bit (making it into a rib roast, or potentially two massively thick and delicious rib-eye steaks), stuck that into the freezer, and ended up with beef short ribs:

 

Before I go on, I would like to throw some appreciation my Dad’s way for showing me how to do this.  He’s probably cringing as he reads this, because of the amateurish way I lopped off the ribs from that roast (above), but I at least got the theory right.  Dad grew up on a farm and got very, very familiar with the field-to-table concept, and how to cut up various carcasses for packaging.  When my brother and I were teenagers (and ravenous ones), Dad would routinely go to the (now sadly defunct) Queen City Meats in Edmonton, Alberta, and buy huge beef and pork roasts, bone in.  The first time I went with him, I got an object lesson in how to save money by doing this:  he had me note the price per pound on the entire rib roast (essentially half a rib cage), and then the price on the various cuts that one could get from that roast (short ribs, rib eye, prime rib roast, tenderloin, etc).  Once we got home, he would take the rib roasts apart into the various elements, supervised very closely by the cats whom he allegedly despised, yet who never failed to be rewarded for their vigilance by tasty offcuts, often accompanied by words like “#$#^ing cat!  Here’s some tenderloin.” or “Stupid bloody animal!  Here, have some steak.”  (Note that he was completely busted on the whole cat-hater guise when one of my cats was pregnant and he very carefully cut up a large piece of rib eye steak and put it in a bowl for her along with some egg.  When questioned, there was much harrumphing and explaining that pregnant mothers needed good food, and he was only doing what any dutiful pet owner would do.  He also was said to have tears in his eyes when one cat, the Great Fuznovski, had to be put down.  This, of course, was blamed on dust in the air.)  To end this vignette, I will also note that he shot his own horse as a child.  And his dog.  And my mom’s cat (though not when he was a child, and there’s still some strife on that note).  To be fair, in all cases, it was a matter of merciful and timely euthanasia.  Though my mom might disagree about her cat.  Anyhoo… my Pa taught me how to take apart a large chunk of meat into smaller chunks of meat, and that there were considerable savings involved in doing so.

Back to my own butchery.  After trimming off the meat from the bones (closely supervised by an extremely interested dog), I ended up with this:

Seeing as it’s predominently veal in there, I had a suspicion that my version of The Perfect Hamburger would have a higher fat content than Heston would have liked.  But fat = flavour and I didn’t think it would be overly fatty.  I didn’t spend any time worrying about it.  Beyond that, what the hell else could I do?

Once the short ribs were all trimmed and cubed up, I threw them into the fridge (meat grinding is best done with cold ingredients, so the heat of the blades doesn’t inadvertently melt some of the fat), gave some of the trimmed bones to my estatic dog, and stuck the rest of the bones in the fridge for later use in soup stock.  This didn’t happen, because we had yet more dogs (three in total) during Perfect Burger judgement hour, and they were all very, VERY interested in the burgers themselves.  Since two of the dogs were of a height to be easily stepped on, I pulled out my leftover bones, and gave them each one.  They disappeared into separate corners of the garden, and didn’t reappear until the meal was over.

According to my schedule, the meat preparation was going to take place between 8:00 and 9:00am, at which point I would be ready to get on with the bun dough making.  It actually took a bit longer, so the maid arrived in the midst of my butchery.  Turns out that she was afraid of big dogs (this was the only time that I had forgotten to tell the agency to send a maid who was okay with dogs).  It took awhile to get both the maid and the dog calmed down (the dog thought, as usual, that a new person was coming over exclusively to play with him,  as the dog and the maid were probably about the same height and weight, she understandably less than thrilled with this idea.).  Things were improved immensely when the vacuum cleaner was brought out, as my dog feels that this is a terrifying, potentially soul sucking device that should be given a very wide berth lest it devour him whole.  (The noble beast does think that I should be protected from the same device when I use it, which causes him a large conundrum in that he has to determine the optimum distance to stay away from the vacuum to ensure his own safety, yet remain close enough to it so he can rush in and protect me should I be placed in jeopardy.)  Once the maid realised that she was invincible with the vacuum in hand, things went on apace.

So, at 9:00am, I was supposed to be getting my bun dough ready to go, having the buns formed and ready to rise by 9:30am.  All I can say is that I’m glad that I factored in a lot of lag time and started early because this was not the case.  I’ll tell you why in a bit.

I pulled my pre-ferment out of the fridge, where it had grown and gotten all lovely-bubbly and yeasty smelling:

Shockingly enough, the pre-ferment worked out to be the exact quantity that I required for the dough.  So I bunged it into my trusty KitchenAide, and started separating eggs.  Heston wanted 10 egg yolks for a single recipe.  I was doubling the recipe because I had lots of guests coming, so I needed 20 yolks.  I got a-separating.  Eventually I had enough yolks, and 20 leftover egg whites.

Again, I received no guidance from Mr. Blumenthal on what to do with the extra whites.  $%!#!!!!  I now realise that I could have made tomato egg white omelettes for the masses, and finished them with garlic-thyme infused sherry.  At the time I just swore, and stuck the egg whites into the fridge. 

I added the egg yolks to the pre-ferment, and turned the KitchenAide on to mix.  Then I sifted together some flour, sugar, skimmed milk powder, salt, and yeast.  Or tried.  My sieve was coarse, but the skimmed milk powder was coarser.  Essentially, I stirred together the above ingredients, then passed them through my sieve, magically separating out the skim milk powder again.  This got sworn at, then thrown into the bowl with the sifted ingredients and stirred in.

I gradually added that to the concoction in the mixer, and browned some butter while it was amalgamating.  I strained the butter, let it cool, then measured out some grapeseed oil (I used canola oil.  Shoot me.), and some “Trex” to add to the mix.  I have to admit that “Trex” mystified me.  It was another Britishism that required the power of Google to sort out.  “Trex” is pure white vegetable fat.  Us North American-types call it “shortening”, just as we call “Hoovers”, “vacuum cleaners”.  Then again, we call “tissues”, “Kleenex”, so perhaps I shouldn’t get so high and mighty about calling things by their brand names.  But it confused me, damnit!  Aside from that, I couldn’t find “Trex” or “shortening” in the store.  Instead I found “Flora White”.  I read the label, determined that “Flora White”=”Trex”=”shortening”, and threw it in the cart.  All in all, I would have preferred to use something called “lard”, but Heston said no.  Here’s a lovely shot of the Flora White/Trex/Shortening (FlorTrexening?) in its measuring jug:

I added all of the oils to the doug in the mixer, then let it mix for-bloody-ever as it tried to get the FlorTrexening evenly combined with the rest of the dough.  Eventually it was done, so I ticked that item off my list (30 minutes late, but who’s counting?), and proceeded to the Arts and Crafts portion of the day, where I really got behind schedule.  Note that this is not a good thing to do when you have active yeast merrily farting away, and consequently, bun dough rising apace.

The problem was that I needed to do some tinfoil origami.  See, Heston really wanted to make sure that the burger, bun and cheese slices were all the same size, so you don’t get the dreaded “too much bun for burger” result.  So, the cheese slices were to be 12cm in diameter, the burger patties 12cm in diameter, and the buns (you guessed it) 12cm in diameter.  First ye shall make the bun, then shalt thou measure to twelve centimeters, no more, no less. Twelve centimeters shall be the number thou shalt measure, and the number of the measure shall be twelve. Thirteen shalt thou not measure, neither measure thou eleven, excepting that thou then proceed to twelve. Fourteen is right out. 

To aid this, I needed to make tinfoil rings that measured twelve centimeters in diameter.  And this is where my kitchen transcended the laws and axioms of Euclidean geometry!!!!!

Heston wanted me to cut eight sheets of aluminum (though he calls it aluminium – silly Brits!) foil 50cm long.  All well and good, but my tape measure measures in inches only.  So I cut 16 sheets (I was doubling the recipe due to the number of guests expected) of foil to 19.68 inches long (call it nineteen and three quarter inches).  Here they are:

After that, I had to fold and refold the strips lengthways until I had sixteen narrow strips 1cm tall and 50cm long (call it 1/2 an inch or so):

Okay, so the rings are more like an inch thick.  What can I say?  I was heartily tired of folding tinfoil.  The stuff makes my teeth hurt.  No, I wasn’t folding the strips with my teeth.  I had my sixteen strips, I needed to form a circle with each strip of foil.  Heston assured me that it would form a perfectly sized bun ring, with a small bit of overlap (presumably so I could tape them together, without having Scotch tape touching the bun).  I had a whackload of overlap; about 13cm worth (about 5 inches).  This wasn’t the “bit” of overlap promised.  No, not at all.  I remeasured, carefull measured my circles, and measured them both again.  The measurements were right.  Then I checked my conversion of inches to centimeters again.  It was right.  And then I measured everything again.  Still right.  I got a 12cm (5 inch) circle with 13cm of overlap.  Huh?  Then I completely geeked out and checked Heston’s math on the computer.  (Between the tinfoil, the dough, the measuring tape, the swearing, and the running back and forth between the computer and the kitchen, I have no idea what the maid was thinking about “Madam” during this time.  Poor dear.)

So I checked the math.  According to my calculations, Heston was completely right.  A circle that has a 12cm diameter should have a 50 centimeter circumference.  But it patently wasn’t.  Huh???

I could only conclude that my kitchen had somehow shifted to another dimension where the rules of Euclidean geometry did not apply.  With that conclusion made, I resolved that I would work on my plans for a perpetual motion machine (somehow involving the tail of my resident Flat-Coated Retriever), and for an antigravity machine as soon as The Perfect Burger was complete.  In the meantime, I got on with making my rings.

Here they are.  Unsurpringly, between breaking natural laws, repeated trips to the computer and back, and the origami, Arts and Crafts half hour had turned into Arts and Crafts and Math hour and a half, and I was quite behind schedule.  Once again, I was pleased that I had decided to get an early start.  But the bun rings, they are beautiful, no?

If you’re anal enough to count my lovely bun rings, you’ll note that I seventeen rings instead of sixteen.  I put this down to the multi-dimensional, mathematics-corrupting facets of my kitchen, rather than any counting error I could have made.  After all, I was wearing sandals, so toes were readily available for counting purposes when I ran out of fingers.

Once I had made the bun rings, and gotten over the newly discovered nature of my kitchen, I had to fill them up.  Heston wants you to lightly flour your hands, and weight out 85g portions of bun dough.  He neglects to mention that the bun dough for these buns is possibily one of the stickiest substances known to mankind.  It was easy to weigh out 85g portions, the problem was how to get all 85g of the portion off the kitchen scale and my fingers in order to get it into the ring.  Eventually I used a whackload of flour and greaseproof paper to achieve this, but wow – this stuff is gluey:

Oh no! There's a fat lady holding my dough!

Yep – that’s me holding the dough.  The “Dubai stone” is a real danger.  My husband arrived back home in time to take these pictures.  He also figured out what the error was with the bun-dough-ring measuring, leaving me bereft, as I really thought that the anti-gravity device would be a real money spinner.  Geometry-minded readers… using the information I’ve given you (which is the same as my husband got), can you see what the mistake was?   (A mistake made not only by myself, but also by Heston and the proof-readers of “In Search of Total Perfection”.)   Post your answers in the comments, and you could be a guest at the next “Perfect” evening! 

Eventually I managed to wrassle all of my dough into the bun rings, and still had left-over dough.  Instead of chucking it out, I made bun-ringless buns, just to see how much they spread out without a containment device.  Since I have no photos of that, suffice to say that they spread out a lot, and one would have definitely had more bun than burger if one had chosen to skip the bun-ring-origami stage of this process.

I put the buns into my pre-heated oven (after pouring some water in it to make it all steamy, as per Heston), taking them out halfway through the baking time to apply egg wash and sesame seeds:

 

I have to say, that once they were done baking, they certainly looked like the real deal!

 

But how would they taste?  Would the burgers fit, or would I have the dreaded more-burger-than-bun problems?  How was the CheezLog holding up?  What about the Imperfect Hamburger?  And would I ever get back on schedule?  Find out in The Perfect Hamburger (part four)!

March 30, 2010

The Perfect Hamburger (part two) – The World’s Most Expensive Processed Cheese, Tomato Concentrate, and more Dough

Read The Perfect Hamburger (part one) – A Chunk of Cheese, some Sodium Citrate, and thou… 

And now, on to part two, which took place one day prior to Hamburger Judgement Day.

Maybe it wasn’t the world’s most expensive processed cheese, but compared to your average Kraft Single, it was awfully dear, especially when you factor in labour and time.  That being said, your average Kraft Single doesn’t have booze in it, so perhaps that made everything worthwhile.  Here’s the mise en place for the cheese (the Cheese Mise – snerk!).  Can you guess the final price?

 

From left to right we have Manzanilla Sherry (procured from our local hole in the wall, to my great astonishment), Sodium Citrate (procured from an unnamed Ph.D. who goes by the alias KittyCat79), some garlic cloves, peppercorns, a great wodge of Comte cheese (thankfully I didn’t have to lower myself and substitute in bog-standard Gruyere instead – oh the horror!), and a bunch of fresh thyme.

My first step was to infuse the sherry with flavours of thyme, garlic, and pepper.  So, after taking a wee sip for quality-control purposes, I upended the entire 750 ml bottle into my trusty stainless steel pan.  I then added the garlic, 8 black peppercorns (not 7, not 9, but 8), and six sprigs of fresh thyme (Heston did not specify how long the thyme sprigs were supposed to be, so I hope I got it right).  This mixture went onto the hob to come to a simmer, after which I turned off the heat and left it to fester infuse for ten minutes or so.

After it had infused for 10 minutes, I strained it and left it to cool down while I got on with grating the cheese.  Soon, I had a big bowlful of grated cheese and another bowlful of cooled thyme/garlic/pepper infused sherry.  At this point I needed to gradually mix them together, as you would for any cheese sauce (except you don’t make a roux).  So, I measured out my sodium citrate, dumped it into my pot, and then measured out 500g of the sherry infusion, and added that.  Then I discovered that I had about 200ml of thyme/garlic/peppercorn infusion left over.   Heston wanted me to start with 750 of sherry, and probably allowed for some evaporation, but really… when you just bring something to a simmer and then turn the burner off, you’re not likely to lose 250 grams of liquid to the atmosphere, now are you?  So what the heck do you do with the leftover infusion? 

As I was positive that my Mother-in-law wouldn’t really enjoy it if i served it to her in place of Harvey’s Bristol Cream as her Christmas Day sherry (assuming that she was here to drink it), and I really didn’t want to throw it down the drain, I dumped it into a glass and had a sample.  After all, pepper-infused Vodka’s pretty good (especially in a Ceasar – how I miss being able to order a Ceasar in a bar here).  I’ve also seen thyme-infusions used to make syrups used in desserts.  How bad could it be?

Pretty bad!  Wow!  Urgh!  I don’t think this will ever become anyone’s tipple of choice.  However, if you suspect that your mother-in-law is actually a vampire in disguise, you could certainly try it out on her.  Then, if she refused it (as any person with tastebuds would likely do), you could use that as the perfect reason to drive a stake through her heart.  Legally, I’m sure my logic is absolutely irrefutable, though in lieu of jail, you would probably get cold silences from your in-laws at subsequent family gatherings.  (I am one of the lucky few in that my Mother-in-law is an absolutely lovely lady, and I would never want to use garlic infused sherry as an excuse to drive a stake through her heart, as she’s patently not a vampire, and far too nice to be staked.)

Back to the cheese melting.  I heated up my 500 g of infusion, added the sodium citrate, and started dumping in handfuls of cheese one at a time, stirring all the while:

 

This took awhile, but finally I had the cheese and the sherry infusion amalgamated together into a smooth, uniform sauce.  Or so I thought.  So I spread out some greaseproof paper on my long counter, and dumped out the cheese to set:

As you can see, there was a bit of runaway cheese going on.  Apparently I hadn’t gotten everything as smoothly and evenly amalgamated as I had thought.  I had some runnier cheese liquid at the top of the pot, and some gloopier cheese liquid at the bottom (which you can see in this photo: the far end of the giant cheese slices is far more uniform and runny than the closer, gloopier, unmelted cheese-ier part of the giant cheese slice).  At this point, apart from trying to scrape the entire mess back into my pot, there was little I could have done, so I made a small wish that it would set with no issues, tossed off the rest of the vile infusion, and got on with my tomato concentrate.

The tomato concentrate called for 3 kg of very ripe tomatoes and salt.  Easy peasy, especially since Heston was feeling generous that day, and, unlike the Perfect Pizza, which still gives me nightmares, didn’t require cherry tomatoes.  I started to think that either he had an off-day in the “providing misery to home cooks” department, or felt that having the home cook make not only the burger, the buns, the processed cheese slices, but also her own freaking ketchup (!) was suffering enough.  Either way, I’d like to thank Mr. Blumenthal for not including any bloody cherry tomatoes in this recipe.

Here’s what 3kgs of tomatoes look like.  They were supposed to be “very ripe” tomatoes, and no doubt heirloom tomatoes that were lovingly planted by hand and nourished by a natural fibre wearing Earth Mother from an organic farm located in a picturesque, yet difficult to get to area in England, but mine were sourced from the local grocery store and called “good enough”.  Aren’t they lovely?

It turns out, however, that where Mr. Blumenthal giveth in terms of using regular tomatoes for the homemade ketchup, he taketh away in demanding that I only use the insides of the tomatoes for the homemade ketchup.  So instead of chopping up the tomatoes, dumping them in a pot and letting them simmer away to falling apart stage, then straining the resultant contents into a pot and further reducing it to a ketchup-like consistency, I got to hollow out all of the tomatoes, putting the tomato halves on one plate, and the tomato innards into a strainer:

 

I was to use some, but not all of the remaining tomato halves to supply fresh tomato topping for my burgers.  That was all well and good, but once I sliced up what I figured was more than enough tomato for my guests, I was left with the same question as with the sherry-infusion:  What the hell do I do with the leftovers?  Because I had loads and loads (and loads and loads) of leftover tomatoes.  (This was very much the case, as I had I misread the recipe when making my shopping list, and thought that every bit of the tomato was used to make the concentrate.  Since I wanted to serve my guests some salsa and guacamole for pre-burger nibblies, I had specifed 6 kg of tomatoes on the shopping list that I gave to my darling man.  So now I had 3kg of ripe, untouched tomatoes, and about 2kg of ripe tomato halves.  Glorious.) 

I ended up making salsa from the tomato halves (and still had leftover halves from the salsa making).  Thankfully, the ripe untouched tomatoes kept for a few days, at which point I made a huge bunch of tomato sauce.  Still, I would have liked to see a use for ALL of the tomato halves in Heston’s recipe.  Hear that Blumenthal???  Don’t strand me with leftover sherry-infusion and tomato halves!!  Ahhrgh!  Waarrgarrbl!!  The horror!  The horror!

Ahem.  Back to the concentrate.  Once I had strained out the juice from the tomato innards, I dumped the results into a pot and let it reduce.  I have to say that it smelled absolutely wonderful, and very much like Campbells tomato soup.  It took a goodly amount of time to reduce (with much stirring at the end), but finally I had a small bowl of super-powered tomato ketchup.  Here it is in the pot:

 

 

And here it is in it’s snazzy serving container (with high-class plastic serving apparatus):

 

By the time I was done making the concentrate, I had figured (hoped/prayed/wished) that my giant cheese slice would have set and be ready for slicing into proper processed cheese slices.  This assumption got Dubai’d.  My stone countertops plus airconditioning just weren’t cool enough to cause the cheese to set.  (The fact that the cheese wasn’t completely smoothly combined with the sherry infusion probably had something to do with it as well.)  So, I Macgyvered a solution by filling up some ziplock bags with ice water in hope of hastening the process:

This helped quite a bit, but the final nail in the giant-cheese-slice-hardening-coffin was when I emptied the freezer of frozen vegetables and laid those on top of the ziplocks.  Sadly, I do not have a picture. 

Once the giant cheese slice had set (even after the frozen vegetable and ice water treatment treatment, it was still a bit shaky), I rolled it into a cheese log and put it in the fridge in hopes that it would set even more by show time the next day.  I give you the CheezLog:

 

The creation of the CheezLog was firmly opposed by my husband, who felt that it would just fall apart and I would end up with completely screwed up cheese slices.  I had to take that chance, as there was no way I could have ever cut slices out of the partially-set, partially-runny cheese slurry that was living on my countertop (and was currently free of cat footyprints, though I felt that was just a matter of time if I left it out).  I just hoped that he wouldn’t be right.

My final task for Pre-Perfect Hamburger Day was to make a pre-ferment for the bun dough.  If you’ve read “The Perfect Pizza (part 1) -D’oh!“, you’ll be familiar with the process.  But, since all of us just can’t get enough pictures of flour, yeast, water, and my KitchenAid, here we go:

Flour and yeast were measured.

Water was added, and the pre-ferment was mixed.

 

Et voila!  Pre-ferment!

I tucked the tomato concentrate, CheezLog, and starter into the fridge for an overnight rest, made a timeline for the next day’s cooking and prep (which started at 8:00am and ended at 8:00pm), thanked Heston once again that he had made recipes that were easy enough for the casual home cook to prepare when she had a tiny bit of spare time, built four Ikea bookshelves (and broke one a little bit when I stepped on it), then headed to bed. 

Read The Perfect Hamburger (part three), featuring bun dough, fat ladies, and mathematical mysteries!