Cooking is a lot like doing histology - you tweak a "recipe" until it comes
out right for you, in your location, the way you do it, at that time. Due to
variables such as:
- 2 C. flour may be different amounts of flour, depending upon the density
of the flour and how much it settled, and how much water it has absorbed.
Some people weigh the flour, rather than use cup measuring devices.
- are you using cold or room temperature water? Room temperature or
refriderator temperature butter/margarine/lard?
- what's the room temperature? (which ultimately means how warm is the
- how much have you handled the dough? That influences the gluten-icity and
- are you adding just enough water until the dough just forms a ball? Or are
you being a little impatient, and keep adding water to make it stick before
- how fine are you cutting in the butter/etc?
On the whole, then I make pies (sorry, never made cobblers, but the dough is
similar), 2-3 Tbs. of ice cold water for 2 C. flour sounds about right.
So, think in terms of doing a Masson trichrome - how long you leave the
slides/tissue in each of the dyes depends upon how it was fixed, how it was
post-fixed, how strong the dyes are, what the room temperature, whether the
solutions were refrigerator temperture or room temperature, the patient's
tissue itself, and ultimately the skill, knowledge and patience of the
person doing the procedure.
Cooking is very similar. Ada Feldman has a great workshop, where she
compares histology procedures (fixation, processing, stains) to cooking.
After all, protein is protein, lipids are lipids. And if you have ever
watched Good Eats with Alton Brown on the Food Network, he uses hokey props
to explain the chemistry of food and cooking (and digestion). I love the
show, and I'm someone who doesn't have the patience to sit through cooking
Here's Alton's recipe for rhubarb peach cobbler, and he uses about 3 TBS ice
cold water to about 2 C flour.
Let us know what your research finds out.
Peggy A. Wenk
A reluctant cook
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Joe Nocito
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2007 10:16 AM
Subject: [Histonet] not histology related
calling all you cooks. bakers, and chemistry people,
I'm making peach cobbler. When I'm making pies or some goody that
requires pastry, all my recipes have 2 cups flour and 3-4 tablespoons of ice
water. My question is: do you use 3-4 TSB of water? This morning, I used
almost 1/2 cup. As long as I've been baking, I've never used 3-4 TSB of
water. I don't know why this bothers me, but it does. Sometimes my crust is
too dry, other times, it's soggy. What is a histotech to do? Thanks y'all
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