Bizarre Confessions

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: random axe on March 30, 2017, 03:39:44 PM

Title: Fudz
Post by: random axe on March 30, 2017, 03:39:44 PM
I want to make Clif Bars, more or less, at home, so I can control the ingredients (at least somewhat) and save money.

Difficulty:  I want less sugar, and less oats (or none), and no recognizable pieces of fruit.

Further difficulty:  I am cranky and get tired of recipes usually before I finish reading them.

I'm largely gonna wing it.  I think I'm going to try brown rice syrup plus sucralose for the sweetener, but not too much, and I'm going to use 'flour' made of rice flour, peanuts, almonds, and oatmeal blended up fairly fine.  I may try adding raisin puree.  Semisweet or dark chocolate chips.  If I'm lucky, when heated a bit that will be soft enough to fold Rice Krispies into.

Anyway, we'll see if I can mad-science it.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: flipper on March 30, 2017, 04:18:37 PM
 :popcorn:
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: mo on March 30, 2017, 04:34:39 PM
Recipe sites drive me crazy. I wing it a lot, taking a little from one recipe here and there. I keep a digital copy of the recipe and notes on how it came out, and thoughts for improving it. Over time, I eventually perfect the recipe (to my taste).

What you are attempting sounds pretty difficult. I make oatmeal cookies fairly often, and I've found that even slight variations in a single ingredient can make huge changes in the texture or taste. That sounds pretty obvious, but what I'm trying to say is you've got a lot of variables that can affect the texture.

Sounds good though.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on March 30, 2017, 05:05:36 PM
I mean, my god, we've got to try something.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 30, 2017, 05:52:26 PM
I had a recipe that I got from SCA somewhere - "period granola bars" or something like that, hang on
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 30, 2017, 05:54:14 PM
no I can't find it, argh. I suppose if you use this one (http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-cliff-bars-no-bake-328473) as a basis for modification, it'll probably work fine
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: Sidious on March 30, 2017, 10:03:19 PM
I am cranky

 :whatever:
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: flipper on March 30, 2017, 10:50:56 PM
I wonder if the incredible burger stuff would go well in a bar  :hmm:
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on March 31, 2017, 02:44:53 PM
I know, right?  I'm always tempted to try really weird things.  I'll be using the girlfriend's kitchen, so it's mostly a question of her patience.

I unfortunately don't digest oats very well anymore, among other things I don't digest well anymore.  :nonplused:  But otherwise that Hmof recipe looks pretty typical -- ie, apt.  I want my fruit blended to paste, and the bars can't turn out crunchy, as my teeth are iffy.  :whatever:

I'm trying not to eat TOO much soy, although considering the rice probably contains arsenic . . . but what can you do?
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 17, 2018, 04:34:05 PM
My first attempt has been a structural failure.

Making bars that don't have oats, dates, a ton of protein powder, or a ton of added sugar is turning out to be tricky.  Partly because it's hard to find recipes that meet those requirements, and those ingredients act as binders. 

I tried an equal mix of peanut butter and bananas and then mixed rice krispies into it until no more could be added.  It seemed a pretty stiff, sticky mix, but when chilled . . . it hadn't firmed up at all.  Too much water and oil.

I did some research online and tried baking it a little at a low temp, but it got crunchy and peculiar before much of the water had been driven out.  Microwaving it might've worked better, honestly.  The peanut butter got a very cooked flavor, and enough sugar caramelized to really change the taste, but it went from much too soft to much too crumbly and still too soft.  The result isn't inedible, but you'd have to eat it with a fork, really.  And it was better before I baked it.

SO I'm going to try less peanut butter and banana and to add a little brown rice syrup and to heat that mixture further before I stir in the rice.  Then we'll see.  It was already more than sweet enough, but I don't want to jump to adding agar or protein powder if I can help it.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: flipper on December 17, 2018, 05:07:59 PM
I like the Kind Bars.  I really should find some time to play around with this stuff.  I wonder is sucralose can carmelize  :hmm:
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 18, 2018, 12:49:31 PM
Splenda-type sucralose is mostly filler, usually dextrose and maltodextrin, and both can be caramelized . . . but I don't know if they can be caramelized easily during normal home cooking.  No idea.  Google's not helping me out with that.  I'm not sure if the baking formulation of Splenda would work better -- I think it's just puffed up more (and functionally a lot more expensive).

The safety of sucralose is actually kind of under debate right now, but it still seems to be safer than sucrose, sweetness unit for sweetness unit.  There are some claims that it's not safe to use it in cooking, but . . . I dunno.  Those claims seemed pretty serious, but they were so dire that it seems weird that nothing happened.

tangerine got a cool book of power bar recipes, including ones for how to imitate commercial products.  I don't really want to follow a recipe and make an imitation of a commercial bar, myself.  I want to know what I'm doing, not just how to follow directions.  I want, like, an Alton Brown article on it.  :lol:

But, anyway, the recipes in the book all have ingredients I don't want.  So I gotta learn how to sidestep those.  I'm reading online that a small amount of flour added to the glop before you heat it will make it firm up a lot when it cools, which does make sense.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on December 19, 2018, 02:54:53 PM
I do recall Alton making some bars at one point. Hmm.

ETA: OK yeah fruity oaty bars
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/granola-bars-recipe-1944513

(they'll make you bust out of your blouse)

(NOT MANDATORY)
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: flipper on December 19, 2018, 03:46:19 PM
I wonder if America's test kitchen has done anything with sucralose.  I wish I had time and space and equipment to do this up right.  The Alton Brown ones looked pretty good.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 19, 2018, 05:35:35 PM
Turns out he also did one about "power bars", which means protein powder, and it's not that I hate protein, but I seem to get enough protein.  Still, a little protein powder hopefully won't kill me.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: mo on December 19, 2018, 06:12:59 PM
Bread flour might work better than all purpose flour. Iíve been making my own thin crust pizzas for a few months now, and itís pretty simple. Itís very similar to a saltine cracker in texture. All purpose flour will work, but itís much more bland and the texture is not as good. Bread flour is also used to make pretzels, which could be an interesting base for bars, but pretzels are not easy to make.

Hereís a no-yeast formula, which is super-easy, but bland and an unexciting texture:
https://www.insidetherustickitchen.com/instant-pizza-dough-no-rise-no-yeast/

This is the recipe that I use for pizzas:
https://www.insidetherustickitchen.com/best-basic-pizza-dough-recipe/
I half this recipe and roll it out super thin.

I tried adding peanut butter to my oatmeal and found that using unsalted peanuts had much more flavor punch, was much more healthy and was much cheaper. I assume youíre using peanut butter as something to hold everything together, but I donít think youíll have much luck with that. Itís going to be oily or crumbly no matter what you do to it.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: mo on December 20, 2018, 01:04:12 PM
Also, I just learned there is such a thing as powdered peanut butter, just add water. I saw it in the grocery store on the shelf with regular peanut butter. That might work for you.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 21, 2018, 10:41:22 AM
Really the main things about peanut butter rather than peanuts are:

1)  It's easier to mix in with other stuff.

2)  Regular peanuts may break my stupid teeth. I usually can eat them, if I remember to be careful.  :nonplused:
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: vox8 on December 21, 2018, 05:59:27 PM
How do you feel about eggs? Eggs are excellent binders.

If you are anti-egg, you can use flax as an egg substitute. Ground up fine and mixed with water flax makes a gelatinous binding agent that works similar to egg whites.

Also worth experimenting with is aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas). It is pretty magical stuff and can do a lot of the things eggs can do. You can even make meringues out of it. Come to think of it, chickpeas themselves are pretty useful in this kind of application. This looks interesting: http://www.wholelivinglauren.com/new-blog/2016/9/10/peanut-butter-chickpea-protein-bars it makes use of chia seeds, another "soak it and make faux egg white binder stuff" option.

I hate to say it, but vegan sites might have good info for you.

And I second the recommendation for PB powder. It is super fun to mix in.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 21, 2018, 07:32:56 PM
I'll have to shop for PB powder.  I think tangerine's used it before.

I like chickpeas, and my first attempt at veggieburgers was about 45% chickpeas / 45% potato flakes / 10% spinach.  This turned out to be too much spinach; the resulting mix mostly tasted like spinach.  Before I added the spinach, it had a pretty good, pretty neutral salty / savory / starchy flavor.

However, I could not get the mix stiff enough to make patties.  I have a plastic patty press, but it's meant for meat, and even with cooking spray, the mix would not form well, not release well.  And I would definitely have had to cook or freeze the patties before trying to store them.  I tried to store them as a sort of log separated by wax paper, wrapped in wax paper and foil, and . . . that did not work out.  :whatever:

I do think some egg would've helped, but I think maybe cutting the potato content in half and substituting breadcrumbs would've firmed them up a lot.  I was shooting for Dr. Praeger's more than Morningstar or such, but they were really, really wet and soft.

It would have taken a long time for me to consider chickpeas in the power bars, though, and I didn't know about aquafaba.  I considered saving boiled-down pasta water, which is basically liquid farina starch, but it only gels up a little.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 21, 2018, 07:33:31 PM
Also, I got nothing against vegans.  I'm not ready to go that far, but I'm most of the way to vegetarianism, nowadays.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: vox8 on December 21, 2018, 07:52:13 PM
I'I considered saving boiled-down pasta water, which is basically liquid farina starch, but it only gels up a little.

Ah, only if you cook pasta in the modern manner. I once did a series of tests cooking pasta as instructed in Renaissance manuscripts. The cook times specified ranged from 10 to 30 minutes. If you cook pasta for 30 minutes and save the water it will set up as firm as aspic.

Also, all of the professional chefs that say to add a little pasta water to thicken up your sauce are full of baloney. It works in a commercial kitchen because they have one giant pot of simmering water in which they cook all of the batches of pasta over the course of the night. It gets full of starch and does work well as a thickener. But the amount of starch that leeches out of your 8 oz of angelhair that you cooked in a couple of quarts of water for 5 minutes is negligible at best.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 22, 2018, 10:51:15 AM
Maybe I should be eating more Renaissance pasta.  :hmm:
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: vox8 on December 22, 2018, 11:44:05 PM
Maybe I should be eating more Renaissance pasta.  :hmm:

It was actually quite an interesting experiment. I used fettuccine because it more closely mimics the shape that pasta would have been (flattened as opposed to an extruded tube) and cooked it for 10 minutes, tasted it. Cooked an additional 10 minutes, tasted it. Cooked the final 10 minutes, tasted it. A gentle simmer as opposed to a full rolling boil.

I had expected it to completely disintegrate into a paste, but it didn't. By the time I was done it had puffed up to the size of udon noodles and I had to eat it with a spoon. It was a very delicate texture that just melted in the mouth. One thing it did was make it super easy to eat with a spoon, because it did just fall apart. Which makes me think interesting thoughts about the introduction of the fork and if that changed how people cooked pasta. Because people were eating pasta for centuries before the fork was introduced, so that means they were eating it either with a spoon or a knife (except for in china because chopstitcks, but I was specifically looking at sources from what is now known as Italy). Also there really wasn't much indication that it was eaten with anything that we would consider a "sauce" just butter & cheese.

It was also during this period that I formulated my theory on how pasta was invented. Now truly, this isn't based on anything that I would call evidence but here it goes.

I think that it was someone trying to preserve porridge/gruel. There are all kinds of gruel and porridge recipes that go waaaaaaay back and I think that someone added water to ground grain to make their porridge and then was like "it would be awesome if this was portable" and then figured hey, we can dry it like we dry meat. So they spread it out and let it dry and then cut it into strips and let it dry some more. Then they thought they would reconstitute it with water and it would turn back into porridge/gruel and were like "Whoa, this didn't turn back into porridge/gruel" but decided that it was interesting enough and then tried to see how they could do this better on purpose.

I liken it to the person who invented chocolate chip cookies. That lady wasn't trying to make chocolate chip cookies, she was trying to make chocolate cookies. Her expectation was that she was going to stir these chunks of chocolate into what was her shortbread like cookie dough and that when it cooked the chocolate would melt and meld into the cookie producing an evenly chocolate cookie. She was trying to cut corners and skip the melting the chocolate separately step. Instead the chips stayed intact and poof - chocolate chip cookies. Not what she had intended, but awesome nonetheless.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: mo on December 23, 2018, 11:15:30 AM
Hey, weird shit happens in the kitchen. Totally possible.

Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: pdrake on December 24, 2018, 03:00:29 PM
Couldn't it have been eaten with a crusty bread as opposed to a spoon?
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: vox8 on December 25, 2018, 09:14:27 AM
Couldn't it have been eaten with a crusty bread as opposed to a spoon?

I guess so, but in the time period I'm referring to bread wasn't particularly used in that manner.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 26, 2018, 04:52:20 PM
:thumbsup:

Rice pudding is largely rice cooked until it more or less falls apart, isn't it?  Does anyone make pasta pudding?
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: pdrake on December 26, 2018, 06:43:49 PM
yes

Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on December 28, 2018, 01:13:12 PM
:hmm:


In unrelated news, a theoretically equivalent packet of stevia sweetener isn't nearly as sweet to me as a packet of sucralose.  In coffee, the stevia produces a slight sweet aftertaste I don't get with other sweeteners, but overall I'd say the two kinds I've tried are about the same but maybe 2/3 as sweet as sucralose sweeteners.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: vox8 on January 02, 2019, 12:23:57 PM
:thumbsup:

Rice pudding is largely rice cooked until it more or less falls apart, isn't it?  Does anyone make pasta pudding?

That's called porridge or gruel.

But seriously, a noodle kugel could be considered a pudding - it is just baked. In that line of thought, macaroni & cheese could be considered a pudding maybe. There are semolina puddings, but those start with the grain not a pasta. As I said, I theorize that pasta was originally an attempt to make portable porridge, so taking it backwards would make sense.
Title: Re: Fudz
Post by: random axe on January 02, 2019, 04:48:43 PM
Cool.