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Author Topic: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.  (Read 2582 times)

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Online livo

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2019, 09:08 PM »
Little or no chilli (or much of any spice) in base gravy is what allows me to conclude that it is directly scalable SS.  It isn't out of synch with the notion that chilli is non linear.  As I've said previously, the scalability of chilli is possibly a situation in which the direct linear conversion factor is simply not required in order to attain the flavour or heat level sought.  Although, my reading actually says that you should not scale it directly.  It is something that I have only tried in mild dishes that I wanted to remain very mild.  I went along the path of caution to ensure success for the task at hand.

I had read before that direct doubling on the first iteration was possible for single serve dish,  but thereafter, subsequent iterations should have the ratio of 1.5 applied.  I had not previously seen the ratio of 1.25.  I guess that if you directly double the first and then use 1.25 you will soon end up with the same as 1.5 all the way. I don't think there is any scientific link to the mathematical square root of 2 but a scientist may have evidence to support this.

I have just provided links to some examples of where this "rule" has been proferred

Also worth note is the fact that some of my links are referring to large batch cooking of 50 - 100 - 200 serves.  I wish I could find one of the sites I came across 4 years ago as it was presented by an accredited food scientist and it was relevant to smaller quantities. It is worth noting that batch cooking does not use the same ingredient ratios as single serve cooking.  This is the same principle in practice.

Maybe you should adopt the University of Mississippi method of reducing chilli by doubling it then adding an extra 25%.  ;D
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 09:30 PM by livo »
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Online livo

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2019, 10:40 PM »
I'd like to add this comment to the thread in order to provide some leeway to both sides of the argument and allow for reasoned debate pending scientific input, if any can be found. Possibly someone with direct experience in large volume cooking of curry can contribute to this discussion.

The BIR method recipes are given using accepted (sometimes even uniform) measures, but anybody cooking them is likely to modify to their own taste, or not use these measures exactly, and so differences will occur from one person to the next and one session to the next.  I rarely use a tsp or TBSP any more as I just sort of know approximately what they look like and realise that it isn't critical.  Different batch, brand, variety or freshness of spices will be another contributing factor in variation to flavour and heat level.  In terms of the BIR cooking method, anything more than a double serve quantity is probably not going to be prepared in an aluminium frying pan, and so by that reasoning a direct linear doubling of spices is the normal and acceptable approach.  The thing is that using the X 1.5 approach would probably provide a dish with very little, if any, discernible difference, given the above listed variability factors.  After you'd cooked a dish once, either way, you'd simply adjust it for your next visit. I would,

However, once you start to get to the second iteration of doubling to 4 serves, and certainly doubling again to 8, you are looking at a different cooking mechanism. The ability to flash fry over high heat is reduced significantly. As SS has already pointed out, this change in the cooking dynamic may have something to do with the flavour and heat transfer from the spices. Note: may have!  I don't know definitively.  What I can say is that when I cooked large batches of mild curry in a modified BIR style, the reduced spicing provided the dishes with adequate and acceptable spicing.  I don't know what the result would have been had I scaled linearly. They were mild curries to start with and remained mild.  A Madras or a Vindaloo may be a whole different scenario.  I would possibly consider doing 2 X double serve to get 4 serves but I wouldn't do 4 X to get 8 and I certainly wasn't going to do 10 X to get 20 serves of a single dish.

Many non-restaurant takeaways out here have their main curries batch cooked and sitting in heated bain maries.  I have witnessed the counter attendant call out to the cooks that more of a particular dish is required and then seen a new container brought out to replace the old.  Not added to it by the way.  They usually have a blank space in the rack to facilitate this procedure.  I would doubt that this style of cooking is done in single or double serves.  I do not know if these large batch dishes are prepared using linear or non-linear scaling.  I will ask my man K if he is familiar with this process and his "chef's view" on levels of incremental spice scaling.

One of the links in my previous post instructs to add chilli in 3 stages when you are trialing a new increased quantity recipe.  I'm not sure how adding raw chilli to a dish at the end of cooking, or even in the middle, would work out though.
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Offline Secret Santa

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2019, 06:08 PM »
I believe I have at least most of the answer to this brain teaser now and it's blindingly obvious once pointed out.

When true bulk cooking is done, so we're talking fifty or one hundred or several hundred portions in one go, the chef is not going to use a teaspoon to add the spices because of the sheer quantity involved. And the spice, specifically chilli, will be in a bulk container, not the little bags most of us at home buy.

What's the difference? Well, the bulk supplies are, relative to the small packets, heavily compacted (are you having a light-bulb moment at this point like I did?). So when the chef scoops out the spice with a large implement, maybe a measuring jug, or purpose-made spice scoop, there is likely to be further compaction. This means the density of the added ingredient is different to that which would be obtained from a teaspoon lifted from a small packet of spices.

So if a recipe called for one teaspoon of chilli for one portion and we bulk cook one hundred portions and work out what 100 teaspoons are in volume (this doesn't work if done by weight), let's say it's five large scoops, then because the density of the bulk-container chilli is greater those five large scoops might be in reality equal to about 120 teaspoons chilli as measured by the single-portion teaspoon.

So in a nutshell that's it. In true bulk cooking if you scale up by volume you have to reduce the total quantity of chilli to account for increased packing density in bulk-container spices. And I don't think most of the rule-of-thumb scaling factors specify whether it should be by weight or volume. Nor do they specify that this bulk scaling factor only really applies to true bulk cooking  and not home bulk cooking that might run realistically to scaling up a recipe by no more than ten portions and where the same packet of chilli is being used for one teaspoon as for ten.

Therefore, for home bulk cooking, if you make one curry and use one teaspoon of chilli then you should use ten teaspoons if you make ten, twenty teaspoons if you make twenty etc., as long as you use the same scooping implement and the same pack of spices each time where the packing density will be relatively constant.

And of course no scaling should be necessary for any quantity of bulk cooked recipe if you scale by weight because then a true linear scaling of the ingredient is achieved. Cooking method differences between small quantities and bulk quantities would still have to be taken account of though.

And also, by the way, I have found scientific backing for the fact that the perception of chilli heat or pungency is on a exponential scale. But that does not in any way alter the above.
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Online Peripatetic Phil

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2019, 06:18 PM »
Purely on the basis of my own empirical experience (but supported by the large number of authorities who maintain the same), I continue to believe that a two-person curry should not contain twice the chilli (by volume) of a one-person curry.  Sadly my hoped-for advice from my friend the professor of nutrition did not materialise; she says that the question is too remote from her own research interests and expertise [1].

** Phil.
--------
[1] No longer true — she has just written :

Quote
Phil:

I have had one thought re: your questions. Some of the compounds that are responsible for the flavours are probably volatile with the amount lost depending on the cooking conditions!

Best wishes
R**

to which I responded :

Thank you R**.  That would certainly accord with the views of those who believe that the underlying reason for this putative non-linear relationship is that it is much harder to cook an $n$-person curry (for moderately large $n$) at a high temperature than it is to cook a 1-person curry ...
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 07:22 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
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Offline Secret Santa

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2019, 06:30 PM »
she says that the question is too remote from her own research interests and expertise.

Or, put in South London street urchin speak, dunno innit!
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Offline littlechili

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2019, 06:39 PM »
I believe I have at least most of the answer to this brain teaser now and it's blindingly obvious once pointed out.

When true bulk cooking is done, so we're talking fifty or one hundred or several hundred portions in one go, the chef is not going to use a teaspoon to add the spices because of the sheer quantity involved. And the spice, specifically chilli, will be in a bulk container, not the little bags most of us at home buy.

What's the difference? Well, the bulk supplies are, relative to the small packets, heavily compacted (are you having a light-bulb moment at this point like I did?). So when the chef scoops out the spice with a large implement, maybe a measuring jug, or purpose-made spice scoop, there is likely to be further compaction. This means the density of the added ingredient is different to that which would be obtained from a teaspoon lifted from a small packet of spices.

So if a recipe called for one teaspoon of chilli for one portion and we bulk cook one hundred portions and work out what 100 teaspoons are in volume (this doesn't work if done by weight), let's say it's five large scoops, then because the density of the bulk-container chilli is greater those five large scoops might be in reality equal to about 120 teaspoons chilli as measured by the single-portion teaspoon.

So in a nutshell that's it. In true bulk cooking if you scale up by volume you have to reduce the total quantity of chilli to account for increased packing density in bulk-container spices. And I don't think most of the rule-of-thumb scaling factors specify whether it should be by weight or volume. Nor do they specify that this bulk scaling factor only really applies to true bulk cooking  and not home bulk cooking that might run realistically to scaling up a recipe by no more than ten portions and where the same packet of chilli is being used for one teaspoon as for ten.

Therefore, for home bulk cooking, if you make one curry and use one teaspoon of chilli then you should use ten teaspoons if you make ten, twenty teaspoons if you make twenty etc., as long as you use the same scooping implement and the same pack of spices each time where the packing density will be relatively constant.

And of course no scaling should be necessary for any quantity of bulk cooked recipe if you scale by weight because then a true linear scaling of the ingredient is achieved. Cooking method differences between small quantities and bulk quantities would still have to be taken account of though.

And also, by the way, I have found scientific backing for the fact that the perception of chilli heat or pungency is on a exponential scale. But that does not in any way alter the above.


Absolutely Classic  ;D Your roughly saying you would add 100 tsp chilli to a 50L pot SS?  Profit and costs in the bin.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 07:14 PM by littlechili »

Online livo

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2019, 07:27 PM »
I don't think that's a light bulb moment.  Some references are made to "bulk" cooking, but others are clearly referring to recipe adjustments on a more likely home scale. Either way, the underlying principle is consistent with reference made to the non-linear increase in spice with each subsequent increase in portions.

Increase portions by 100%, means increase spices by 50%, or in some cases only 25%. (in some this is done after the first instance)
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Offline littlechili

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2019, 07:55 PM »
I don't think that's a light bulb moment.  Some references are made to "bulk" cooking, but others are clearly referring to recipe adjustments on a more likely home scale. Either way, the underlying principle is consistent with reference made to the non-linear increase in spice with each subsequent increase in portions.

Increase portions by 100%, means increase spices by 50%, or in some cases only 25%. (in some this is done after the first instance)

Good theory Livo and you can’t go to far wrong following your formula. Lots of ways of tweaking spice,flavour levels later in the process if needed. For bulk cooking less is more due to costs, time invested and service deadlines.

Offline Secret Santa

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2019, 09:09 PM »
Absolutely Classic  ;D Your roughly saying you would add 100 tsp chilli to a 50L pot SS?  Profit and costs in the bin.

1. Show me where I said that.
2. If you knew how to edit your posts to show just the salient portion you are referring to I wouldn't have point 1
3. If you disagree, show me the science.  ;)
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Offline littlechili

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Re: Scaling spices and bulk cooking.
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2019, 09:20 PM »

Therefore, for home bulk cooking, if you make one curry and use one teaspoon of chilli then you should use ten teaspoons if you make ten, twenty teaspoons if you make twenty etc., as long as you use the same scooping implement and the same pack of spices each time where the packing density will be relatively constant.



50L pot roughly 100 portions. You say Therefore, for home bulk cooking, if you make one curry and use one teaspoon of chilli then you should use ten teaspoons if you make ten, twenty teaspoons if you make twenty etc., as long as you use the same scooping implement and the same pack of spices each time where the packing density will be relatively constant.

Did you see it?


 



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