Friday, January 4, 2013
Hydrocolloid and Foam
My favorite New Year's traditional food stuff is mochi. Or it's various incarnations. Particularly when it's a waffle. To recap, mochi is made from pounding short grain glutinous rice, so called because of the very high amylopectin content. This gives the rice starch a notably sticky quality highly prized in many East Asian cuisines. Despite the name, glutinous rice does not contain gluten, and flour prepared from it can be used to make gluten free baked goods. Like many other newfangled hydrocolloids, amylopectin use is actually quite old. One disadvantage of mochi, though, is that it loses its chewy quality after a day or two of storage in low humidity - I suspect this is due to dehydration. Seems that wheat starch, or maybe the accompanying gluten, retains water longer. And happily, glutinous rice flour forms a synergistic gel with wheat flour, and by blending the two in various ratios, you can accomplish a product that has the mouthfeel of mochi, with the staying power of wheat flour (although, understandably, this is no longer a gluten-free product).
So, I took this hybrid hydrocolloid, and made a messy heat stabilized foam with it: mochi brownies. Truth be told, a brownie is no more than a delicious failed chocolate cake, so I am not going to worry about proper measurements. You can make these brownies using all mochiko if you prefer, but it'll have a different chew.
Preheat the oven to 350F (which is the standard here in the US).
Melt some chocolate with some butter. I used the microwave for this. Of course, the quality of the chocolate depends on what your tastes are. I used most of a bar of 88% dark chocolate with a little less than a stick of butter.
Meanwhile, beat an egg with about 1/2 cup of sugar - more sugar if you have a stronger sweet tooth, and 1/2 cup of milk.
Mix together mochiko flour with regular AP flour - I used a ratio of about 2:1 - with about 1 tsp of baking powder and some salt. If you want more chocolatiness, add cocoa at this stage. Mix this into the egg mixture, and then incorporate the melted chocolate. Pour into a shallow pan, and bake for 15 min, turn off the oven, and leave it in there to finish cooking with the residual heat.