Dulce de leche in the pressure cooker

You can find various recipes for dulce de leche on the web; a gallon of milk, sugar, small amount of baking soda, vanilla (optional), cook for an hour on the stove top.

Chow.com has one where you put sweetened condensed milk in a pie plate, cover it, bake in the oven for an hour, stir, then bake for an hour and a half more.

I haven’t tried either of these methods.

In the comments section for the Chow recipe people were relating the way their mom, grandmother, etc. made it by putting an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot, add several cups of water, and cook it on the stove top. Of course there were many comments about how dangerous that is. Talk about a disaster waiting to happen. There’s also the problem with the BPA that the cans are lined with.

All of these seem like too much work to me. The stove top method is sure to need lots of attention in order to avoid the milk sticking and scorching on the bottom of the pan. The oven one takes too long. There were also comments asking how to make a lower sugar version; sweetened condensed milk is very sweet. All this got me to thinking that dulce de leche could very likely be made in a pressure cooker using the bain marie method.

I took a can of sweetened condensed milk, poured it in a metal bowl, covered the bowl tightly with aluminum foil, and put it in the pressure cooker on top of the steamer basket and poured several cups of water around it. Then I cooked it at high pressure for 1 hour.

Well, not exactly that; I first added 2 tablespoons of dry whole milk and mixed that in well before I put it in the pressure cooker. I have this dry milk, Nido, that’s made by Nestle that’s whole milk, not the usual nonfat dry milk. It’s a fine powder, not the fluffy granules like instant nonfat dry milk.

When I took the bowl out of the pressure cooker and uncovered it the sweetened condensed milk had reduced by a lot and had a slightly grainy crust on the top. So I used the electric hand mixer and mixed it well. Then I put it in a jar and put that in the fridge. It’s thick. And it tastes great.

Thinking about the lower sugar queries I made the next batch with one can of sweetened condensed milk and one can of evaporated milk. For the evaporated milk I used whole evaporated milk, not non fat. This time I added 4 tablespoons of the Nido whole dry milk. I mixed everything together well in the steel bowl using a whisk, covered it with aluminum foil and cooked it as before in the pressure cooker for an hour. This wasn’t as thick as the batch made with only sweetened condensed milk. I was almost thinking of putting it back in the pressure cooker and cooking it for an additional half hour but I decided to try letting it cool down to see if it thickened up sufficiently. It was fairly thick, but not as thick as the first batch was, which was quite thick. It also needed a good mixing with the electric hand mixer.

After an evening in the fridge it thickened up nicely. The flavor is incredible. A rich and creamy caramel to die for. But still too sweet.

I think some of the condensation is dripping back into the bowl while it’s cooking so for the next batch I’m going to cook it the way I do my morning mush. I’ll use the 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup with the brown glass lid from a Pyrex pot. The glass lid is a bit too large and sits at an angle because of the measuring cup’s handle, which is good because that makes the condensation drain to the outside of the measuring cup.

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Rusks; barley flour, pressure cooked

Since I haven’t tried barley flour pressure cooked I decided to give that a try.

1 cup barley flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons instant potato
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup (approximately) water

The water quantity is an approximation. I add the water slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. When the dough starts sticking together in clumps I let it mix longer before I add each additional tablespoon. Towards the end the dough will clump together and stick to the mixer’s paddle. In the beginning the mixer is on low; once the dough starts clumping together I put the spatter shield on the bowl and turn up the mixer’s speed. At this point, after each tablespoon of water it needs to mix for a minute or more before I add another tablespoon. As soon as it starts sticking to the bowl I stopped adding water and turned the mixer’s speed up to high. I also felt the dough with my fingers to make sure it wasn’t too stiff or too wet.

Then I put it in a greased plastic bowl with a snap on lid, but before putting its lid on it I press some plastic food wrap down onto the dough. Even with plastic on it the top darkens. I let it rest for at least an hour before I transfer it to the loaf pan and cook it.

I let the dough rest for at least 2 hours.

The reason I let the dough rest is that I read that whole grain flours don’t absorb fluids as quickly as white wheat flour does. And that the bran needs extra time to soak up its fluids. Additionally, there is enzyme activity going on that adds complexity to the flavor of the bread, but that probably requires a longer rest (for example, a day).

After its rest I put it in the mini loaf pan, buttered, tightly covered with aluminum foil, and cook it at high pressure for 25 minutes, then let the pressure go down naturally.

I set up my pressure cooker by putting the pressure cooker’s trivet in it then I put the folding steaming basket on top of it (with its center handle removed). I want the loaf pan up away from the water and I put in several cups of water.

I chill the cooked loaf overnight in the fridge. I prepare it for the fridge by wrapping it in 3 layers of paper towel and then put it in a plastic bag which I wrap around it. The paper towels pick up any moisture that comes out of the loaf; without the paper towels the moisture collects on the plastic bag and gets back on the loaf and makes its outside sticky and gummy.

Next I slice the bread at the 2 setting. I couldn’t help myself and kept eating the odd bits that weren’t well sliced. Barley flour bread is very tasty; rich and buttery, which is why I used butter instead of oil in this recipe, to accentuate the barley flour’s flavor.

The slices are drying at 115 degrees; I set the timer for 10 hours.

After drying and several hours of resting and relaxing … quite nice. Wonderful taste; nice and rich and buttery. The texture is good as well. My only complaint is that it was hard to slice them well with the slicer; the top or bottom is thinner than the other side.


Rusks; teff flour, pressure cooked, sriracha swabbed

I’ve changed my mind about the rusks that I swabbed with sriracha sauce. A day later and they’re still nicely spicy hot but their flavor is otherwise dull and boring. The texture is still good; crunchy without being tough.

Maybe I could add some cumin or ajwain seeds to make them more tasty. I do like the burn though.


Rusks; teff flour, pressure cooked

I was going to make some rusks using brown rice flour but while looking for it in the freezer I came across the jar of teff flour so I used that instead since I haven’t tried teff flour yet.

While it was mixing, at first it had an interesting smell, but as the flour got wetter the smell went away.

1 cup teff flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons instant potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup (approximately) water

The water quantity is an approximation. I add the water slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. When the dough starts sticking together in clumps I let it mix longer before I add each additional tablespoon. Towards the end the dough will clump together and stick to the mixer’s paddle. In the beginning the mixer is on low; once the dough starts clumping together I put the spatter shield on the bowl and turn up the mixer’s speed. At this point, after each tablespoon of water it needs to mix for a minute or more before I add another tablespoon. Instead of adding enough water so that it starts sticking to the bowl I stopped as soon as it was a stiff dough sticking to the mixer’s paddle. I was thinking that it might be better to use a dryer dough since it’s going to be pressure cooked and steamed.

Next I put it in a greased plastic bowl with a snap on lid, but before putting its lid on it I press some plastic food wrap down onto the dough. Even with plastic on it the top darkens. I let it rest for at least an hour before I transfer it to the loaf pan and cook it.

I let the dough rest for at least 2 hours.

The reason I let the dough rest is that I read that whole grain flours don’t absorb fluids as quickly as white wheat flour does. And the bran needs extra time to soak up its fluids. Additionally, there is enzyme activity going on that adds complexity to the flavor of the bread, but that probably requires a longer rest (for example, a day).

After its rest I put it in the little loaf pan, covered it with aluminum foil, and cooked it at high pressure for 25 minutes, then let the pressure go down naturally.

I set up my pressure cooker by putting the pressure cooker’s trivet in it then put the folding steaming basket on top of it (with its center handle removed). I want the loaf pan up away from the water and I’ll put in several cups of water.

I chilled the cooked loaf overnight in the fridge.

Next I sliced the bread at the 2 setting.

I think I should have added a tablespoon or more of water when I was making the dough; the slices are just on the edge of being too dry. None of the slices fell apart while handling them but I could see some small cracks in the middle of them.

About a third of the slices I swabbed with sriracha sauce that I thinned with a little water.

The slices are drying at 115 degrees; I set the timer for 6 hours.

Later, after drying and cooling: Very nice. The taste is nice as is the texture. They hold up with dipping; I made some dip with plain Greek yogurt to which I added some finely chopped fermented serrano chilis and some basil.

The ones that I brushed on the sriracha sauce also came out well; they’re nicely hot and spicy.

I’m not sure if I should have added a wee bit more water when making the dough since they do have a nice texture; they’re not too tough and not too crumbly.


Rusks; brown rice flour, pressure cooked

Found the brown rice flour; not a whole lot of it but enough to make a batch.

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons instant potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup (approximately) water

The water quantity is an approximation. I add the water slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. When the dough starts sticking together in clumps I let it mix longer before I add each additional tablespoon. Towards the end the dough will clump together and stick to the mixer’s paddle. In the beginning the mixer is on low; once the dough starts clumping together I put the spatter shield on the bowl and turn up the mixer’s speed. At this point, after each tablespoon of water it needs to mix for a minute or more before I add another tablespoon. As soon as it starts sticking to the bowl I felt the dough and made sure it was sufficiently wet but not too wet; it was sticky and fairly stiff but not a batter.

Then I put it in a greased plastic bowl with a snap on lid, but before putting its lid on it I press some plastic food wrap down onto the dough. Even with plastic on it the top darkens. I let it rest for at least an hour before I transfer it to the loaf pan and cook it.

I let the dough rest for at least 2 hours.

The reason I let the dough rest is that I read that whole grain flours don’t absorb fluids as quickly as white wheat flour does. And that the bran needs extra time to soak up its fluids. Additionally, there is enzyme activity going on that adds complexity to the flavor of the bread, but that probably requires a longer rest (for example, a day).

After its rest I put it in the little loaf pan, covered it with aluminum foil, and cooked it at high pressure for 25 minutes, then let the pressure go down naturally.

I set up my pressure cooker by putting the pressure cooker’s trivet in it then I put the folding steaming basket on top of it (with its center handle removed). I wanted the loaf pan up away from the water and I wanted to put in several cups of water.

I chilled the cooked loaf overnight in the fridge.

Next I sliced the bread at the 2 setting.

The slices are drying at 115 degrees; I set the timer for 6 hours. They weren’t dry after 6 hours so I set the timer for 2 more hours. Still sort of chewy after 8 hours. I’m not sure if I should do 2 more hours or accept this texture.

I forgot to add more time to the timer so they’re done after 8 hours. They’re still slightly chewy; I’m not sure if this is from their natural texture or because they weren’t dried enough. I need to do another batch and set the timer for 12 hours.

The flavor is nice. Not outstanding or anything; not remarkable, but not bad. It should pair nicely with any of the other flours.

Since they’re a little tough I’m going to try a batch using half brown rice flour and half sorghum flour.


Gạo nếp than; black glutinous rice

I’ve been making a one pot rice meal with red cargo rice, currently my favorite supper;

3/4 cup red cargo rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 piece of kombu seaweed
1 chicken thigh

And various spices as the spirit moves me. I don’t use any salt; after it’s cooked I add a tablespoon or so of soy sauce.

I cook it in the pressure cooker using the bain marie method at high pressure for 20 minutes. It’s in a metal container that has a lid, a To-Go Ware pot.

After it’s cooked I put the chicken thigh on a plate and use a knife and fork to pull the meat off the bone and shred it then I mix it back in with the rice.

Tonight I used black glutinous rice. I bought a 5 pound bag of it yesterday at the Asian grocery store. This rice is even better than the red cargo rice. I like my rice sticky and this stuff is gooey sticky heaven. And the flavor is outstanding.

Previously for the spices I’ve been using cumin and bay leaves and perhaps turmeric but tonight I didn’t add any because I wanted to see how the rice tastes.

When I put the chicken thigh on the rice I put it skin side down so the skin gets colored by the rice. With this rice the skin was a deep purple black and very gelatinous.

I also grated some Romano cheese over it.

I was in heaven.


An idea for rusks

I was reading an article online where the writer was raving about sriracha sauce, which I also love. It occurred to me that I could use it with my rusks. My idea is to use it just before I dry the slices. The slices are a very dense bread just before they’re dried in the dehydrator; I’m thinking that I can thin the sriracha with a little water and then use a basting brush and brush some on one side of each slice before I put it in the dehydrator.