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Weird recipe direction

 
 
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:12 pm
I'm making a new recipe tonight and it includes this strange direction:

Quote:
Wrap the lid of the Dutch oven with a clean kitchen towel (keeping the towel away from the heat source) and cover the pot. Gently simmer....


I'm guessing this allows a tiny bit of steam to escape but it seems like leaving the lip a fraction ajar would do the same thing.

What is the mysterious purpose of the kitchen towel?
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 3,296 • Replies: 21
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:14 pm
@boomerang,
Probably has to do with preventing condensation from watering down the sauce.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:19 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
Wrap the lid of the Dutch oven with a clean kitchen towel (keeping the towel away from the heat source) and cover the pot. Gently simmer....


I know it says to keep towel away from heat source, but I'd still worry about potential to catch on fire.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:23 pm
@Butrflynet,
When you're cooking in a Dutch oven wouldn't all the condensation be broth?

My Dutch oven has a spiky lid that is designed to make the broth drip back into the pan.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:24 pm
@Linkat,
Me too!

Or it just not being stretched tight enough and soaking up all the broth from the pan.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:25 pm
@boomerang,
What is it that you're cooking, boom?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:37 pm
@boomerang,
Me too re

- fear of fire since I'm a clumsy person
- having a spiky dutch oven lid, spikes there for a reason
- and if I'm braising on the stove or in the oven, it's at lowish temp and I don't worry about the braise somehow boiling over, and have been known to remove the lid if I want to thicken the broth

I see some weird (to me) recipe directions sometimes, not that I don't have my own odd cooking maneuvers. If I remember what directions struck me funny, I'll add them to this or a new weird cooking directions thread.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:38 pm
@boomerang,
Well, it'd be water steam..
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:40 pm
@ossobuco,
Then wouldn't you want it to escape?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:40 pm
@Lordyaswas,
Chicken stew with buttermilk dumplings!
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 04:44 pm
@boomerang,
Slurp.

Nope. I can't see why the towel is needed, either.

The only thing that may happen is that the dumplings turn out evenly soggy, as opposed to just one or two being dripped on from an ordinary lid situation.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 05:11 pm
@boomerang,
Not if it has the right amount of liquid for braising in the first place.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 05:13 pm
@ossobuco,
I'm not braising, I'm stewing.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 05:28 pm
@boomerang,
I think it's something specific to the dumplings. This is a time when I really miss Mrs. Hamburger. There was a towel involved when she made yeast dumplings but I didn't learn enough about that when I should have Sad

It seems to me it's got something to do with keeping the dumplings from getting slimy on the outside.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 05:29 pm
@ossobuco,
Not so sure of myself, I looked up a couple of my braising recipes. Not that I've made these particular ones, but they're typical -

Paley's Place Double Chile Brisket
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v722/ossobuco/1stgrade011-1.jpg

Divina Cucina's Il Peposo alla Fornicina (Kiln Worker's Stew)
http://able2know.org/reply/post-5597777
You can do that one in either a dutch oven or a crock pot. My crock pots lets out some steam. If the liquid gets somehow too low before the beans or whatever are done, more water can be added..
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 05:29 pm
@boomerang,
Uh oh.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 05:29 pm
@ehBeth,
not a yeast dumpling here - but it is a raised one

http://augusta.locallygrown.net/recipes/137

Quote:
TIP: Secure a dish towel under the pan lid when simmering the dumplings to absorb condensation. I use clothes pins to secure the towel and keep the edges away from the flames. Your dumplings will be fluffy on the outsides and chewy in the middle. If you need to reheat the dumplings, use the towel method again and they will be surprisingly good.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 05:41 pm
@ehBeth,
I did come across a German recipe that suspended yeast dumplings in a towel over a pot of boiling water.

My research is showing that you're right -- the towel under the lid keeps the dumpling tops from getting soggy.

I can't believe Cook's Illustrated didn't explain this. They explain everything!

Now I guess I'll need to find a large kitchen towel. I have some thin linenish ones -- I wonder if they're too thin....
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 05:49 pm
@boomerang,
use bath towel, or a bathroom hand towel.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2014 06:25 pm
Looking up braising and stewing -
http://www.thekitchn.com/the-difference-between-braisin-71988
The amount the liquid covers the meat, plus the size of the meat... I take it.
I guess I never stew..

Glad to know about the dumpling thing. My father in law didn't use a towel, and my family didn't do dumplings. But now I get the reasoning.
 

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