Week 3: Ferro Bread Products Data (Group E)

The weather at the start of this weeks lab was, generally, pretty optimal: a little cloudy, slightly windy, and with a temperature of about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The last bit might seem a little cold, but it didn’t seem to have much effect on the heat or quality of our fire, and the slight breeze seemed to help feed it rather than putting it out.

For our original batch of ferro cakes (those made with only ground, soaked ferro), we used approximately 148g to start – after grinding, this amount dropped to 120g, most likely due to some grains falling off the metate, and some product not being fully scraped off. The ground ferro was squashed into a patty that was about 1/4″-1/8″ in thickness (it varied across the patty, which otherwise had the visual look of a CLIF bar or of a vegetarian hamburger patty). When placed in a cast iron pan with light olive oil, the ferro patty caused some oil to bubble in places where it pooled. The resultant cake was a little burnt (particularly in places with less oil) and felt oily to touch, but had a nice base flavour.

The next product made were ferro cakes made with bread flour – the first batch was made with 140g of ferro, 240g of flour, 14g of salt, and 130g of water. These ingredients were kneaded into a dough, which felt very much like regular bread dough (slightly tough and very malleable). This dough was cut into small globs, which were rolled out to create cakes that were about the size and thickness of a particularly large and dense flapjack, and put on the pan for about 5 minutes to cook. The first batch of these was very good, if slightly saltier than desired (the original recipe only called for 8g of salt). They paired nicely with honey when drizzled on top.

This last note led our group to an initial experiment where we tried kneading about 1/2 tablespoon of honey into the dough before cooking it (we had some left-over dough), but the two were unevenly mixed, which lead to a caramelization of the surface honey, and added only a slight sweetness to the taste. We then retried the process, mixing about 1/4 cup of honey into the original recipe, offsetting the resultant stickiness with sprinklings of flour (about 50g more), which we determined meant that in future trials, the water content should be reduced to account for the honey. These cakes had a significantly sweeter taste than the originals, and the first honey-infused cakes.

The last product was globuli, or ferro with ricotta (more accurately: ricotta with ferro); the ferro was mixed with ricotta at a ratio of 1:2. The mixture was very soft, and largely dominated by the cheese, which was divided into small globules of about an inch in diameter. Much of the experimentation took place on the grill in trying to find ways to maintain the shape of the balls, and cook them evenly. The most successful in regards to the both goals were those that were placed in a pocket of olive oil (which, at its deepest, was never more than 1/4″ deep) – these products were uniformly ‘fried’ on the side covered by oil, and flipped over nicely. The products in significantly less oil, on the other hand, tended to burn, and were less likely to keep their shape upon flipping; these turned into small patties rather than small balls of cheese and ferro.

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