Cooking Notes

I’ll be sharing cooking notes as I post recipes. Check back here once in a while for recipe and cooking tips!

1. Pasta tips (kneading, rolling, freezing)
2. Types of cream
3. Cheesecloth care and cleaning tips
4. Substitutions for various ingredients

PASTA    back to top of page
Kneading tip: With the heel of your hand, push down and against the dough. Fold the dough over and repeat. You can also turn the dough into one-quarter turns once in a while to make sure you get all surfaces, and flip it over and repeat.
Rolling pasta dough by machine: Take a small piece of the dough and flatten it to put through pasta machine. Set machine setting to 1 and roll the dough through. Fold dough over and repeat 2-3 times (this helps further knead the dough for the machine after it has been resting). Now set the setting to 2, roll it through, and increase the setting to 3, and so on until you reach 7 (my preferred setting for almost any pasta). If cutting the dough with the machine, insert the appropriate attachment for the dough you want to cut
after you have rolled out the pieces of dough.
Freezing fresh pasta: After you have made the pasta, place pieces of cut dough on a floured tray. For noodles: Let them dry for about 10-20 minutes at room temperature. Make sure they are well floured so they do not to stick together, and you can make loose “nests” as you pile them on the tray to be placed in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until the dough hardens a bit. You can then put the little bundles or “nests’ of noodles in a plastic freezer bag to store it. This method allows the pasta not to stick together inside the plastic bag, so you can cook a portion of the frozen quantity at a time.

CREAM    back to top of page
Types of cream: There are many types of cream (by many names in different countries) for many uses. Below I’ll note the most commonly known creams and the amount of milk fat contained in each; that way you can determine which cream to substitute for which, should you desire a lighter or richer recipe. Note that half-and-half/half cream is generally too light to cook with; likewise clotted cream should be enjoyed on its own and should not be substituted for any other cream. General rule for whipping cream is that it should contain anywhere from 30-48% milk fat; anything lighter can’t be whipped. For additional reference, whole-milk contains 3.25-4% fat and butter contains 80-82% fat.

  • Half-and-half: contains 10-18% fat. It is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream.
  • Half cream* / demi-crème*: contains 12% fat. Can be used in tea, coffee, and cocktails.
  • Sour cream: contains 12-18% fat. Consistency of yogurt; can be replaced by yogurt in recipes.
  • Single cream*: contains 18% fat. Can be used in sauces.
  • Light cream: contains 18- 30% fat. Can be used in sauces, it cannot be whipped.
  • Crème fraîche*: contains 28-30% fat. Spreadable consistency.
  • Whipping cream / crème à fouette*: contains 30-36% fat. Ideal for making whipped cream; can be piped for cake decorations.
  • Heavy cream / heavy whipping cream: contains 36-40% fat. Richer than “whipping cream/ crème à fouette” in flavor, excellent for making whipped cream; can be piped for cake decorations.
  • Double cream: contains 45-48% fat. Excellent for making whipped cream; can be piped for cake decorations.
  • Extra thick double cream: contains 48% fat. Very thick, ideally spooned over desserts.
  • Clotted cream*: contains 55% fat. Very thick, ideally spread over scones.
  • Butter (for comparison): contains 80-86% fat.

*Note: these creams are mainly found in UK and Europe.

CHEESECLOTH    back to top of page
Care and cleaning tips: Cheesecloth is a very delicate cloth made of cotton used for straining liquids (e.g.: making tea with loose tea leaves, making ricotta or lebne with yogurt). With proper care it can be reused as long as there is no tear on the fabric. It should be washed by hand and never placed in a washing machine, dryer, or dishwasher (otherwise it may tear). Follow these simple steps each time you use your cheesecloth.

  • After using the cheesecloth, immediately rinse in cold water. Place in a bowl of hot soapy water; use a drop of mild dishwashing detergent and enough hot water to cover the cheesecloth. Let it soak for 10-30 minutes. Rinse in warm water and hang it up to dry. Tip: I usually “drape” mine over a big bowl or tall glass to dry on my kitchen counter.

SUBSTITUTIONS    back to top of page

Baking powder (1 tsp) ½ tsp cream of tartar + ¼ tsp baking soda
Broth 1 cube/bouillon (or 1 tsp instant broth powder) + 1 cup hot water
Buttermilk Yogurt or 1 Tbl lemon juice + 1 cup milk (stir and wait 5 minutes before using)
Cornstarch Flour (when used for thickening sauces)
Half & Half 1/2 milk + 1/2 cream
Heavy cream (for sauces) ½ cup milk + 1 tsp cornstarch (will thicken when stirred over heat)
Honey (1 cup) 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar + ¼ cup water
Sour cream Yogurt
Vegetable Oil Apple sauce (for cakes only)
Yeast 2g of fresh yeast = 1g dry yeast = 0.7g active/rapid rise yeast. (1 fresh tablet has 15-20g = 10g
of dry yeast = 14g (2 envelopes) of active/rapid rise yeast)
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