Donna Currie likes wacky kitchen gadgets almost as much as she loves baking bread. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry. Her first book, Make Ahead Bread, is available on Amazon.
@Grinnellian, they sell these in both regular and wide mouth. Here's the regular in blue: http://cuppow.com/collections/cuppow-jar-drinking-lids/products/original-cuppow-regular-blue
Just FYI, you're only going to see positive reviews, because if I don't like something, it doesn't get written about. There are enough good products in the marketplace that there's no point in wasting space writing about junk.
However, I'll always point out negative as well as the positive points, because it's pretty rare that something will be 100% perfect. In this case, the price is the negative. But for some people, it's spare change. If you can afford it, this is a kick-butt waffle maker. Hands down, the best I've owned.
As far as recovery time, I made one batch of waffles, took them out, and made a second batch immediately. I don't know if you could make waffles continuously for a buffet of 250 people, but if you're doing that, you might want to get a commercial unit.
Testing samples are provided by manufacturers because SE doesn't have a budget to buy all of this stuff. I don't necessarily get to keep the items, though. The more expensive ones sometimes go back to the manufacturer, and if something is really new in the market, those often go back as well, because the companies don't have enough of them for reviewers. So they get passed around to different people.
I don't base my reviews on whether I get to keep an item, or if I want to keep it. I try to judge how well a product does what it's supposed to do, whether that's a function I need or not.
As far as them sending "better" products, I find that the opposite is often true. Some of the review items I get have obviously been repackaged, or the labels are crooked or the boxes are damaged or the product itself has a dent or scratch. In other words, they're items that they probably would have to sell at a discount to consumers.
In a perfect world, Serious Eats would buy the products and send them to me with all the manufacturer's nametags obscured so I wouldn't be influenced by the brand name. And in a perfect world, I'd have a chance to review several other similar products at the same time.
But, it's not a perfect world. These are just my opinions of products I have access to, with comparisons to other similar products I might have used before. Needless to say, you don't have to agree with the assessment. Just like movie reviews, there are always going to be differences of opinion.
It should be fine for a really wet dough. You'd get more browning at higher temps, too. I baked that loaf in the photo at 350.
It's literally like using a giant pencil sharpener, so you do need to be able to grip and twist.
There's a link in the text, and you can find them on Amazon or other cooking sites. The Amazon seller uses a different name for the tool. Here's another source: http://www.cooking.com/spiral-veggie-slicer-by-mastrad_621155_11/
My understanding is that the detergent is the culprit. I can't imagine the heat would be an issue, since surgical tools go through an autoclave. Maybe Kenji has an answer.
If you guys know of small, interesting companies with fun products, tell me about them. You can hunt me down on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, or email me at dbcurrie at gmail dot com. Or, if you know people at these companies, tell them to contact me.
Thanks for the heads-up. I'd never heard of Cuppow. I'll look into them and see what else they've got. Anything specific you recommend?
@CityMinx, I got a little bit of grease-spotting with the crumb cake, but I think that might have been spillover from the buttery crumbs, since it was at the top rather than at the bottom. No issues at all with the chocolate cake in the photo. Or with the other things I baked that I didn't photograph. I made some mini pineapple-upside-down cakes in the round pans, and there was no leakage or color change on the bottom.
The colors didn't dim at all - the photo above shows exactly what they looked like when I baked in them. Those aren't stunt doubles. ;-)
I totally get it that if you're giving a special gift to someone, you might want to include a metal or glass or silicone pan as part of the present. And if you're baking one or two items, you can bake and unmold and then wrap in plastic, no problem. But when I'm making baked goods in larger quantities (like around the holidays or for some event), these make a lot of sense. For one thing, a loaf cake in a pan like this is sturdier for transport than that same cake in no pan, wrapped in plastic wrap.
The $24 pack is for 40 assorted pans, so that's in the neighborhood of 50 cents each. If you buy individual sizes, some are cheaper per-piece and some are more expensive. I've seen the high-end no-fade cupcake liners for about that price, and the fancy paper cupcake wrappers retail for $8-12 for 12. So these are priced competitively with those products. And of course you can shop sales and get better prices, particularly after holidays or seasonal changes.
FYI, I don't think the comments are horrible. Questions are great. No product is going to be 100% right for everyone all the time.
I see that I didn't mention the potato capacity, although I did note 2 pounds of chicken wings.
My average batch of potatoes, when I was cooking fries, was 2 pounds.
Holy cow: http://q-n-c.com/
Quick n Crispy. The cheapest one, according to the website, is $3295.
They also have one for avocados, which I'm curious about.
@Beavis, I think that since the onion half wasn't peeled, that probably also made a difference, but I honestly forgot that onion was in there because I didn't smell it every time I opened the bin.
The smallest one in the photo - the yellow - is actually on a square-shaped glass. I don't think you'd get one to fit a sardine can, though.
I've heard great things about the Whirlypop here and elsewhere. I think, though, that if I'm going to get it, I'd probably pop for the stainless steel model, since that one has metal gears. The Amazon reviews on the standard model have a lot of complaints about the plastic gears on the aluminum model. Apparently they used to be metal in years past, but now they aren't.
They also have a model that's designed for adding caramel or flavorings, which could be interesting.
@Adam, I've seen that concept of heating and cooling the kernels before, but if I'm remembering correctly, it wasn't as long as 5 minutes. Basically, just heat, then take off the heat, for maybe a minute - long enough to find the bowl and get the butter out - then put it back on the heat. That's on my agenda to test as well.
Popcorn is a daily occurrence here, so I've been trying different methods. I've just recently been using a cast iron wok. Last night, it was two batches. The first, I tried the method where you wait until one or two kernels pop before adding the rest of the popcorn. I had a few charred pieces, but not bad considering I didn't do any shaking or stirring. For the second batch, I tossed in the oil and added popcorn right after I unloaded the first batch. The wok was already really hot, and the popcorn started popping right away. No burned kernels since nothing was sitting at the bottom very long.
Downside to cast iron wok is that it takes quite a bit of time to heat up - much longer than a thin metal pan. But, if I wanted multiple batches, the wok would probably be a good way to go.
@Adam, I had the same result with fresh popcorn. I wouldn't call it tough, as in chewy, but it was more crunchy and solid rather than light and fluffy and tender. It certainly didn't pop any bigger than the popcorn from the night before.
I just made a batch in my wok with a pizza crisper pan on top (holes in the pan) and that was a tad too holey, so I put a spatter screen on top of that. The spatter screen alone wouldn't have worked well, but on top of the goofy pizza pan (why do I even own that???), it was fine.
It worked really well, letting steam escape and no pot shaking. I had 3 or 4 unpopped kernels from the batch. I'm going to try the heat and cool method next. I've seen that elsewhere, but this is the first time I've seen it suggested to let it heat and cool twice.
@Les ah, this is giving me ideas. Thanks!
@lemonfair, one of the reasons I'm looking for another method is that the shaking of the pot has worn the enamel off that particular burner grate and the bottom of the pot I use is showing a similar amount of wear. The metal-scraping-on-metal sound isn't all the pleasant.
The wok method sounds interesting, if I don't have to shake it. The only wok I have is cast iron, so I don't want to have to move that around. It doesn't have its own lid, but maybe one of my larger pot lids will work. I'll have to give that a try.
I'm such a troublemaker ;-)
@Maggie, I've considered the brown paper bags, but for the amount of popcorn that gets devoured, we'd have to make a couple of batches in the sandwich sized bags. I'd rather have a big bowl that I can microwave and then just chuck it into the dishwasher.
@Rohnjoberson, the "somebody" who has the popcorn habit can use the extra calories from the added oil.
The whirly-pop looks interesting, but that's one more pot I have to find room for. I'd buy it, though, if the popcorn was better or easier than using a regular pot on the stove.
Benefit of a microwave bowl-like device is that it might nest with other bowls for storage.
I considered figuring out some kind of MacGuyvered microwave-in-a-bowl thing, but none of my popcorn-sized bowls are microwave safe.
There's not that much salt in salted butter if you're using a tablespoon, but if you're making something that uses a vast amount of butter, like croissants, there is a difference.
That said, unless a recipe includes a whole bunch of salty ingredients, like parmesan cheese, olives, or whatever, then for sure I'm going to add salt. I use it in all my breads and in desserts. Even in ice cream. Not a ton of salt, but a little.
I have to say that I like the SE policy of positive reviews. Because bad reviews still give attention to a product. People who skim articles might say, well, I thought I saw it mentioned on SE, so it must be okay.
Sometimes it's fun to be snarky about a product (food or otherwise) but I would much rather call attention to things that aren't awful, dangerous, un-tasty, defective, or otherwise not fit to be purchased. There are other sites for that. I come here to see what's new, interesting, tasty or useful.
That said, not everyone has the same taste, so of course not every product is good for everyone. I'm not vegan and never really thought about buying a vegan mayonnaise, but after this review, I'm curious enough about this one to consider buying it if I see it somewhere.
@negoiants, it's a yellow cake with layers of soft caramel, almond filling, and almond-flavored buttercream.
Well, it is a multi-tasker ... ;-)