Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 19, 2013 02:46 PM

What do you wish you could do that you've never been able to master?

I'm sure I'll think of lots of things later but right now for me it's braid a six-braid loaf of bread.

I've been wishing I could for decades. I once attended a King Arthur demonstration where the instructor made it very clear. I went home and I was able to do it with yarn pieces. But I didn't try it on dough fast enough and I forgot it.

I've got the KA cookbook that has pictures. I've checked out every other demo and tutorial I could find. I just CAN'T do it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I can never roll out a round, flat pizza crust if I use the store bought dough for a quick dinner.

    I just tell my husband now that he's so much better at it so he should make dinner. And it's the truth!

    I can never make a good gravy with the meat droppings and flour either.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thedryer

      Most people avoid putting droppings in food. :)

      What's your gravy method? There might be a better way than what you're doing (gravy has always been my job, even at other people's houses.)

      1. re: salsailsa

        Agreed. My pastries all come out tough.

        1. re: GilaB

          After monkeying around with pie crust recipes, I finally found the Cooks Illustrated Vodka crust recipe. Not beautiful (it always ends up puffy), but it's amazing and flaky.

      2. Poach an egg that is to my satisfaction. It's an ongoing battle, and I've tried a gazillion methods.

        But hey -- we all need aspirations, eh?

        27 Replies
        1. re: linguafood

          I do ok with a skillet of water. But the Julia Child method of dropping them into a saucepan of swirling water? No way!

          1. re: MazDee

            Yah, tried a skillet version recently. Still overcooked my yolks.

            I'm starting to think it's just not meant to be. Wah.

            1. re: linguafood

              Did you try the white wine method? I haven't yet.

              1. re: c oliver

                I did. The skillet method I mentioned. Overcooked the yolks. Sucked.

                1. re: linguafood

                  Dammit! But if you don't overcook them next time will it work, do you think? It's my cross to bear also.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I'm not sure I thought this white wine recipe was all that great for poaching. It calls for diced shallot (I only had onion), and those dice swimming in the poaching liquid make the egg whites all pockmarked. Not particularly attractive.

                    If I ever feel like being angry at my brunch again, I might give the MW method another try. But for the foreseeable future, I'll have to feed my poached egg cravings at restaurants.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      I've wanted to blame it on our 6200+' elevation but the restaurants here do them fine. Maybe they've appropriated all the poached egg mojo in the region.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        I have only myself to blame. Guess it's just one of those things...

                      2. re: linguafood

                        Maybe you keep the poaching liquid level too deep. I poach in very shallow water. Just enough to touch the whites. Sorry to hear you gave the wine version a go but it didn't meet your expectations. I'm still enjoying eggs with wine.

                        You might be better off poaching whole eggs and using a timer. Ever try that?

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Poaching whole eggs as opposed to ...what, half eggs? Seriously, I don't know what you're saying.

                          Even in the skillet, the whites went all over the place. I've also done the strainer method where the runny whites are supposed to disappear and only leave the 'tighty whities' surrounding the yolk. Didn't work.

                          The closest I've gotten is the MW method, as you can do very small increments. The shape is also near perfect since I crack them in a little bowl. But it's still not a fool-proof method, which is apparently what I need.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            I have the exact same issues you do most of the time. On the rare occasion it comes out right I never know why. I did the strainer thing also. Nope. It frustrates me enormously that I can cook way more complicated things than a friggin' poached egg and it thwarts me almost always.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I know. And I have a very soft spot for eggs benedict on Sundays. Wah.

                              I can make the hollandaise - no problem. But the goddamn egg? Fuhgeddaboutit.

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  That's exactly how my husband's egg (boiled whole to the soft stage) come out looking.

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    Yes, I've mentioned the MW method. It's hit or miss so far.

                                    Why does the recipe have you pierce the yolk?

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      the yolk will explode in some microwave models. CHOW actually demonstrated three ways to cook an egg successfully in the microwave; including poaching.


                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        I'll check it out. Maybe there's some other magical tweak that'll finally make this happen!

                                    2. re: pikawicca

                                      I'm having the internet connection from hell today. Will check the link later hopefully.

                                  2. re: linguafood

                                    Ha! No, when my man poaches eggs he soft boils them in the shell, so the whites are firmer but the yolk is perfect. He slices the shell and scoops out the egg from each side. Works well. Tastes good.

                                    My daughter uses the egg poach forms and floats that in hot water until they firm up to her liking and then pops them out of the form.

                                    I use the shallow liquid in a pan method.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      But he's making soft boiled eggs not poached, right? I suppose I could try those little form-thingies. Why beat this all but dead horse any longer?

                        2. re: linguafood

                          I suspect the perfect answer for you and linguafood may be "onsen tomago," or what the Japanese call "hot spring eggs." They are an excellent better than poached version that is, in reality, a very old traditional version of "sous vide" eggs. I've heard them called "ryokan eggs" in English, and they come from the ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) in the general Tokyo area where eggs were placed in a basket, then put in the natural hot springs that were used for hot water in the Japanese style baths, then served for breakfast in the morning. The yolks are not "raw and runny, as in Western style poached eggs, but they are a bit firmer and when perfectly done, the yolks and whites are almost the same "just set" temperature. Here is some information about them and a method for making them. The web has tons more information and recipes if you Google "onsen tomago."



                          My favorite way of serving them is a take-off on the Japanese version of congee with onsen tomago, but instead of a traditional congee, I serve them over a lovely traditional "loose" mushroom risotto, then let the guests stir them into the risotto as they wish... When done well it results in a really luxurious and creamy risotto accompaniment, or with a bit of added protein, even a main course.

                          Try it, you'll like it...!!!! '-)

                      3. re: linguafood

                        LOL! Now that's something agribusiness has not thought about yet.... Little cottage cheese size containers in the deli section with four poached eggs suspended in liquid inside for you to warm and use at your convenience (use by date "within the next year"). Hey, I can buy hard boiled eggs individually or by the dozen, why not poached???? '-)

                        (If anyone remotely connected to agribusiness reads this, watch for them, they'll be coming soon to a supermarket near you!)

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          I dunno, darlin'. Wouldn't "poached eggs" for sale be the agri equivalent of Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book"?

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Are you trying to tell me that the world doesn't follow his directions?????? '-)

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              You certainly do, darlin' , you stole my heart! Happy T' Day.

                      4. Fried eggs. So elementary, but so very unachievable for me. The running joke at our house: "how do you want your eggs?" Answer: "however they end up."

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: pine time

                          I'm with you. I seem incapable of controlling the doneness of the yolks. Fortunately I'm happy to eat them anywhere from runny to almost hard.

                          1. re: cookie monster

                            In the heady days before fat and cholesterol avoidance my dad used to do sunny side up eggs by basting the top with hot bacon fat. Turned the surface of the yolks a little pink. That tickled us! Cooked the surface white to still moist perfection. Left the yolks blissfully runny. Fat and cholesterol laden nirvana!

                        2. Sad to admit I have a few

                          Fried chicken - It never cooks up right for me, if the coating is great it's raw towards the center. If it's cooked all the way the crust is burnt. Finally settled for fried chicken drumettes.

                          Not good with fish, always seem to over cook it. Do a good job with Ensenada style fish tacos.

                          Gravy - never can get that smooth texture with just the right consistency. On Thanksgiving I'll be doctoring Trader Joe's gravy in a carton.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: engie

                            For the chicken:

                            Put a rimmed baking sheet in a 350 degree oven. Start frying the chicken, breasts first, then thighs, legs, and wings. As they brown, place them on the cookie sheet and let them finish cooking in the oven. Works great every time.

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              Don't breasts cook faster than legs, which cook faster than thighs, though?

                              1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                That used to be true, but commercially raised chickens have such huge breasts that they take longer to cook, IME.