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I have looked in many different recipes and tried different things, e.g., brown sugar, diastatic malt, etc, and have gotten pretty good at breadmaking but I can’t duplicate that taste of a bakery-made Italian bread.

Response to questions in comments:

I have tried a biga with AP, bread flour, bromated flour. I’ve used dough enhancer, ascorbic acid, 70% hydration and everything I can read up on.

The bread comes out fine but it basically all tastes the same regardless of the changes I’ve made. It just doesn’t have that flavor of the locally made Italian or the French baguette.

I realize that my question is broad but was hoping that commercial bakers use something that us home bakers just don’t have.

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Just to add another element to Cascabel’s excellent answer, have a look at the table on page 16 of this source. (It’s from the same website that one of Cascabel’s sources comes from, which is a great resource for food safety information in general, with documents mostly written by an expert with numerous citations to the food safety literature.)

Anyhow, that table shows safe holding times at various temperatures based on the following assumptions:

These times are derived from the growth of pathogenic microorganisms
in food. They are based on the cold holding standard established in
the FDA Food Code that food at 41°F can be held for 7 days. These
times at specified temperatures are based on the assumption that the
food is of average quality when obtained from the food market or
supplier.

The table provides the following data points for the length of safe food preservation:

  • ۲۹F (-1.7C) or lower – “Safe” (indefinitely – no pathogenic bacterial growth)
  • ۳۰F (-1.1C) – 123.8 days
  • ۳۵F (1.7C) – 19.3 days
  • ۴۰F (4.4C) – 7.5 days
  • ۴۱F (5.0C) – 6.5 days
  • ۴۵F (7.2C) – 4.0 days
  • ۵۰F (10.0C) – 2.4 days

The table continues upward, eventually hitting the minimum “safe” time of around 4 hours at 110-115F, which was the rationale for the old “4-hour rule” that specified maximum time food could be in the “Danger Zone.” (The newer 2-hour guideline seems to take into account a wider margin of error, including possible misunderstandings of the rule, improper storage, transportation, handling during prep time, etc.)

In any case, the important thing to take away is that the “Danger Zone” is not some monolithic entity, and its boundaries are a bit fuzzy. There’s a widely-held belief that bacteria immediately begin growing rapidly when you hit the low point of the “Danger Zone,” but it’s not true. Bacteria growth happens quite slowly at cool temperatures. And as Cascabel notes, some bacteria will still grow below the “Danger Zone” limits as defined by most countries. Thus, 4C/5C/8C or whatever are not some magical limit on bacteria growth — they are instead a practical guideline based on some safe holding time assumptions.

As mentioned above, the FDA’s assumption seems to be based on 7 days of safe holding. The standards mentioned in the question which have 7-8C are probably targeted at around 3-4 days of holding time. Given that Europeans tend to shop more frequently, have smaller refrigerators, and store perishable food in them for shorter times than typical Americans, the difference in the guidelines doesn’t surprise me at all.


Also, a final important point is that not all spoilage bacteria are equally dangerous. Some cause serious illness, some will cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort, and some are essentially benign to consume but will cause the food to taste (or smell or look) awful. At different temperatures some types of bacteria will outcompete others in growth. At higher temperatures, it’s clear that pathogenic bacteria can grow quickly and cause illness when the food is consumed. At cool and cold temperatures, other spoilage bacteria often grow faster than the pathogens.

So, it’s not just enough to say that bacteria X can multiply above 4C or 8C or whatever. You need to take into account whether bacteria X is likely to grow fast enough to accumulate enough concentration of bacteria and/or toxins to cause illness before some other non-dangerous spoilage bacteria/yeast/mold grows and makes the food unpalatable enough that people will just throw it out. (Note that some spoilage bacteria can grow at even lower temperatures, down to 23F/-5C or so, but these won’t cause foodborne illness, just spoilage.)

If you read other documents on the site linked above, you’ll find some references to scientific literature suggesting that much of the time food up to somewhere around 55-60F (around 15C) “spoils safe.” In other words, at low temperatures, even if pathogenic bacteria grow, in many cases the random not-so-dangerous spoilage microorganisms grow faster and will spoil the food (make it unpalatable) before it becomes dangerous to eat. (The site goes so far as to claim the FDA’s recommendations are incomplete in their reasoning, saying a temperature threshold of 50F (10C) for holding fresh food should be sufficient to promote safety according to HACCP science. I personally wouldn’t change my fridge temperature based on that, but it’s an interesting conclusion given the inconsistent guidelines from the question. Also, note this guideline is only for fresh foods; elsewhere the site recommends a maximum holding temperature of 38F for cooked leftover foods to guarantee “safe spoilage.”)

Epidemiological evidence concurs with this assessment: unless the food is highly contaminated to begin with, there are few outbreaks that can be traced to food which was always kept quite cool. On the other hand, if food is kept cool but is stored above refrigerator temperatures, it is growing bacteria, and thus the higher concentration of bacteria will have a “head start” and will be more likely to grow to dangerous levels if subsequently cooked slowly, handled poorly during prep, etc. — this is the likely the real reason behind the “Danger Zone” lower bound.

The takeaway message here should be that microorganism growth rates, times, and temperatures are quite complicated, and national guidelines are designed to be simple and easy to follow. But an oversimplified guideline has to be based on complex assumptions that come from various elements of microbiology, likely resulting in slightly different temperature standards.

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I love fried chicken, but have been trying to cook oven fried chicken instead due to the lower caloric content. I usually use chicken that has been soaked in buttermilk overnight, drain excess moisture, and then roll it in a flour/breadcrumb mix. After the initial coating I do a dip in egg wash, and back onto the breading mix. I then place it on a non-stick pan with some Pam sprayed on it and stick it in the oven. When I flip the chicken halfway through about 30 minutes in, I lose half of the coating almost every time. I have tried cooking at a higher temperature and coating longer before flipping, both to no avail. I have also tried those pre-made mixes like baking magic and it still comes off.

What do I need to do differently to ensure that the breading will stay on?

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Trying not to interpret this as a recipe request, but a question about how to approach recipe mimicry.

Look at the ingredient list of flavourings you like. Try and sort them by function: six basic tastes (umami/sweet/sour/bitter/salty/fat), aromatics (spices, alliums of any kind, and other vegetables and vegetable extracts), textural modifiers (eg starches, emulsifiers), and stuff you do not need in a fresh recipe (preservatives etc.). Develop a recipe from there. Pay attention to oil vs water vs alcohol solubility of aromatic compounds.

or/and/also

Look at what dishes the seasoning is based on (eg japanese ramen broth+tare combinations, thai curry, chinese soups) – then look at recipes for these dishes, optionally cook some of them from scratch (you will be working with about a half to three dozen flavour defining ingredients, and get to know all shelves at your asian grocer’s), to get an understand for the seasoning profiles.

Also learn about stock making – bone broths etc. if you want it meat based. If vegetarian, experiment with shiitake/kombu dashi, and fermented ingredients like all the varieties of soy sauce (hint: you want some thai/chinese light
and/or gukganjang), gochujang, douchi, sufu, chinese pickles, kimchi….

BTW, you will arrive at a point where you make broths that are just too intense without noodles…

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There’s a semi-local creamery that makes the loveliest Brie I’ve ever had. It’s priced quite reasonably but the shipping costs more than the cheese itself, so it’s a little impractical. I bought three rounds a while ago, but by the time I made it through the first two, the third had gone mouldy. Is there a way to store Brie over an extended period of time? I’d love to get a half-dozen rounds and portion them out over time.

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This question already has an answer here:

When I read food safety guidelines, I always get the sense that I should run for the decon shower if I even look at a piece of raw meat. I have to fight the urge to sprint home with my groceries lest the eggs become poisonous on the way. If I thaw meat from the freezer, I worry that one misstep will kill me.

But rationally, I know none of that is true. Aside from the fact that I’ve been cooking for myself for decades, and I’m still here, we simply wouldn’t be here as a species if it were that hard to cook safely. And then there’s this thread from a couple of years ago, which seems to say that there’s a fair amount of subjectivity in food safety procedures. (But this thread takes a stricter line.)

So: how much difference is there between official food safety doctrine and actual danger? Are there rules that are just oversimplifications in order to minimize human error?

This is not a duplicate of this question. More specifically, the question is similar, but the accepted answer on the other thread doesn’t actually address the question of fault tolerance.

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I followed this recipe and messed up the temp to bake at because I confused myself When I was doing it🤦‍♀️, I wanted to make this for my class and so I doubled the recipe as well. I have to bring it in tomorrow morning and was wondering if there’s anything I can do to fix the custard. It is completely soupy, I would say it maybe thickened a little bit like if you added heavy cream to coffee since I let it sit and for the past 3 hours. I have made this recipe before successfully in my cooking class but I actually wasn’t there for when it was taken out of the oven and the setting process after so I wasn’t completely sure what it was supposed to look like
Please help 😭😭😞

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I drink fruit punch Gatorade pretty often – once to three times a week, I’d say.

Tonight, my bottle has a new warning label on it, written in boldface:

Partially produced with genetic engineering.

What does this mean? Is there now a documented food safety risk for Gatorade, and that perhaps I should avoid drinking it?

I am wondering if the warning label means that Gatorade can cause cancers.

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Eggs in the UK (and most if not all of Europe) are sold at ambient temperature. This question is specifically in this context.

When putting a box of eggs away in the cupboard yesterday I noticed that they were supposed to be refrigerated. This makes no sense as they’re sold at room temperature with a single date given as “best before/display until”, i.e. they could be kept at room temperature in the shop until the only date given (which was about 10 days after I bought them). In practice, in a cupboard, they are fine several weeks longer than this. I tend to buy rather large boxes as I like to have enough to make a large omelette if I want a quick dinner; they also work out cheaper that way. The previous box, from a different supermarket, had similar text. I don’t plan to keep them in the fridge, but if there’s a good reason, I’ll have to start buying smaller boxes.

So:

  • Has this been going on for years without me noticing?
  • Why can eggs be kept for day if not weeks in a shop at room temperature but not in a house?
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