Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)
We have to admit that gluten-free baked goods rarely blow our hair back. It’s just difficult to achieve the satisfying chew of wheat-based baked goods without the help of gluten. But tapioca starch’s unique qualities make it one of the best substitutes out there. Tapioca starch is low in amylose—one of the types of polysaccharides that makes up starch—and therefore forms a high viscosity paste that can trap air. Pão de queijo are traditional Brazilian rolls made using a classic French pâte à choux dough. Pâte à choux is a dough base used for both sweet (éclairs, profiteroles) and savory (Parisian gnocchi, gougères) items. Comprised of butter, water, flour, and eggs, choux pastry relies on steam rather than chemical leavening agents to create rise. In Brazil these cheese puffs are served as a morning snack with coffee, but we have spent a lot of time dreaming up different applications—dunked in tomato sauce, stuffed with ham for breakfast, or slit open for a quick sandwich.
Gluten-Free Pizza Worth Eating
by Andrew Janjigian
It made sense that I was asked to develop a gluten-free pizza crust. Baking bread has been my passion for nearly 30 years. But I’ve always embraced gluten as the magic ingredient in bread. It’s the source of its structure and, as a result, much of its texture. So this was the bread baker’s ultimate challenge: Develop a gluten-free pizza crust that everyone would want to eat, whether they were avoiding gluten or not.
Caramel for Dinner (and Dessert)
Vietnamese-Style Caramel Chicken with Broccoli
Traditional Vietnamese-style caramel chicken promises a dish that balances a bittersweet caramel with salty and spicy flavors, but most recipes miss the mark. Cooking the caramel until it was a deep, dark color was key to achieving the right complex bittersweetness, while fish sauce (in a 1:4 ratio of fish sauce to caramel) lent the traditional balancing salty component. A combination of ginger and black pepper provided the right amount of heat. Cutting the boneless, skinless chicken thighs in half, rather than into smaller bits as called for in many of the recipes we found, gave the chicken more time to absorb the sauce, while a quick soak in a baking soda–water bath helped the chicken stay juicy over a longer cooking time that turned the meat ultratender. To complete the meal, we steamed broccoli to serve alongside.
by Lan Lam
I love making layer cakes. Tall, imposing ones that make a splash at parties and serve a crowd. The components should be pitch-perfect and strike that balance between kid birthday nostalgia and adult sophistication—a moist, tender crumb; distinct, spreadable filling that’s just thick enough to glue the layers together; and frosting that’s silky and full-bodied but not so sweet or rich that a forkful is overwhelming. Chocolate cake is my favorite, and I’ve made plenty layered with buttercream, ganache, and mousse. But this time I wanted to home in on chocolate and caramel—a combination that has a kind of visceral appeal.