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Author Topic: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.  (Read 1509 times)

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Offline littlechili

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2019, 07:05 PM »
Out of interest how many members discussing this topic have any experience of bulk cooking curry or intend to cook curry in bulk? Say 40 portions +? I’m interested to know why people are discussing this without putting there theories to practice.

Offline Secret Santa

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #41 on: February 11, 2019, 07:19 PM »
i feel the problem is making sure the spices are cooked out, easy when doing a portion at a time, but more difficult with a large mass.

Exactly. I mentioned early on in the discussion that cooking method will change significantly with bulk cooks.

This isn't a single factor problem but I feel we are a good deal more informed than at the start of this thread. Well, I am anyway.  ::)

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Online livo

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #42 on: February 11, 2019, 07:27 PM »
As you know LC, I have and will soon be again cooking large portions, hence my interest.

Oil is definitely not increased linearly. That's a given. It's affect on capsaicin transfer and relationship to this anomaly ?  unknown.

Spice compaction? A known occurrence but not in the same scale as the apparent magnitude of spice to main curry volume ratio reduction. Plus as Garp has pointed out, within a portion conversion exercise, we would be scaling from the same batch whether compacted or not.  It may have some relevance but does not explain away the basis of this hypothesis. I have stated in the Assumptions that the density of chilli is 2.7 g / tsp (5ml) ie; uncompacted.

Having in my calculations above allowed for commonly accepted linear scaling in the first instance the minimum amount to cook side by side would be a 4 serve quantity for side by side taste testing against a single serve dish. This is consistent with some information from the referenced reading. When dealing with only single to double serve there is normal error in measurement and differences may be indiscernible. Although, this is incongruous with the notion and we should really expect to notice a difference.

In practice the difference, if there is any, would become very noticeable at 8 serves.
1 serve - 1 tsp
2 serves - 2 tsp
4 serves - 3 tsp (still measurement error region)
8 serves- 4.5 tsp.
If chilli heat were going to weaken noticeably it would be here.

I think as LC has alluded to above, this really is more so applied to larger volume, however there is no mention of this in the so far referenced material. Can anybody find information that is contrary and simply recommends linear scaling?  I haven't looked and won't have time today.

There are 2 people I wish to ask about this. A chef and a spice merchant. I'll get to it asap.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 07:47 PM by livo »
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Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #43 on: February 11, 2019, 08:00 PM »
Out of interest how many members discussing this topic have any experience of bulk cooking curry or intend to cook curry in bulk? Say 40 portions +? I’m interested to know why people are discussing this without putting there theories to practice.

Not I.  Even if I were to succeed in my aim to introduce my lamb and chicken curries into the hotel kitchen, I would still want them cooked singly, simply because that is Accepted Best Practice.

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Online livo

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #44 on: February 11, 2019, 08:18 PM »
I received The Spice and Herb Bible Third Edition by Ian Hemphill (Herbies Spices) last week as a birthday gift from my mother-in-law.  In the side note on page 86 he simply states that 1 tsp, 5 ml , 2.7 g of chilli (chile) is recommended for 500 g of either red or white meat. This is based on using chilli rated 6 - 10 along his own heat scale being reduced to a 1 -10 scale.  Kashmiri chilli being rated at around 7. So far I have found no mention of scaling procedure.  I will email him directly to see if has any knowledge in these matters.
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Offline Secret Santa

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #45 on: February 11, 2019, 09:00 PM »
I will email him directly to see if has any knowledge in these matters.

The absolute best person to email if at all possible would be Heston Blumenthal. His team are actual, well-qualified scientists as well as well qualified chefs.
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Offline mickyp

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #46 on: February 11, 2019, 09:51 PM »
This thread is a fun read, interesting though is when a group of people discuss the subject /use of chillies it still produces heat :), as SS say's the result is the readers being more well informed, cool.

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #47 on: February 11, 2019, 10:12 PM »
This thread is a fun read, interesting though is when a group of people discuss the subject /use of chillies it still produces heat :), as SS say's the result is the readers being more well informed, cool.

But the real question is, "Does the heat increase linearly as the number of participating forum members, or does the same fractional-power law apply as in the case of chilli content w.r.t dish size ?" !

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Online livo

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #48 on: February 12, 2019, 04:56 AM »
I've had 2 contacts today. In person with my Indian chef acquaintance (K) and Mr Ian Hemphill called me directly to discuss the point upon reading my email.  It appears there is a little bit right from everybody. No scientific formula but you do not scale in a linear conversion.

Chef K said when asked about increasing 1 tsp of chilli per serve to a dish of 8 or 10 quantities.
No. You don't use 8 or 10 tsp. I was always told to reduce by 20% every time you increase servings.
I clarified to per double quantity.  He replied, Yes.
I clarified to reduce by 20% after doubling spices. He said, Yes, that's right.
So Chef K's formula is not  X 1.5  but X 1.6.  Double it and reduce by 20% equals X 1.6.

When I asked him why he said: It is because the stove cannot burn or cook the heat out of the chilli as much.  The cooking is different. 

This is directly in line with SS's point about the change in cooking dynamics from bigger quantities.  It is also a point raised by Mr H in our phone call.

My email was quite specific in relation to the linear scale or X 1.5 theory and even mentioned the X 1.25 method.  During a lengthy chat he said that you do not scale chilli in a linear way, but rather a factor of between 1.5 and 1.8 depending on the type, quality and freshness of the chilli, the amount you are cooking and the size and shape of your cooking vessels. He added that it is also to do with surface area for evaporation, heat input from your particular stove, the style of dish you are making and the other spices and ingredients in the dish (some also being non-linear but probably by a different conversion factor). So scaling a dish is not just a matter of multiplying everything by an integer being the number of serves, or a random figure of 1.5, or the scientifically aesthetic square root of 2.

So this brings me to some sound advice provided here, which is to cook out your spices first in oil after having gone with approximate scaling at reduced quantities using a factor of X 1.5. Add in your tomato and salt etc, followed by pre-cooked meats or veggies and your base gravy.  I would be using a thickened form of base gravy and my past experience showed me to reduce it's quantity per serve as well.  Simmer.  While this is simmering, and to finish the dish if necessary, final adjustments can be made using incremental, BIR style additions taking sauce from the main pot and putting the extra spiced result back in until you have the balance you need.  The addition of a tarka or bunjarra at this stage could be beneficial.

This is good advice and the person who gave it can take credit if they wish because it turns out they were pretty much spot on in explaining a good bulk cooking process.  Using this method it is best to be under spiced so addition can be made. Difficult to reduce over-spicing.

Note:  You can't just throw extra spices in at the end, They needs to be cooked out and added.
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Offline littlechili

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #49 on: February 12, 2019, 09:34 AM »

So this brings me to some sound advice provided here, which is to cook out your spices first in oil after having gone with approximate scaling at reduced quantities using a factor of X 1.5. Add in your tomato and salt etc, followed by pre-cooked meats or veggies and your base gravy.  I would be using a thickened form of base gravy and my past experience showed me to reduce it's quantity per serve as well.  Simmer.  While this is simmering, and to finish the dish if necessary, final adjustments can be made using incremental, BIR style additions taking sauce from the main pot and putting the extra spiced result back in until you have the balance you need.  The addition of a tarka or bunjarra at this stage could be beneficial.

This is good advice and the person who gave it can take credit if they wish because it turns out they were pretty much spot on in explaining a good bulk cooking process.  Using this method it is best to be under spiced so addition can be made. Difficult to reduce over-spicing.

Note:  You can't just throw extra spices in at the end, They needs to be cooked out and added.

 ;) Ohhhh! Ok I’ll take the credit, thanks for the nudge Greg. Happy cooking.


 


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