Is self-rising flour good to keep on hand? When to sharpen your knives?
Washington Post Food Staff
The Washington Post’s food staff recently answered questions about anything edible. Here are edited excerpts from this chat.
I recently watched a master class episode with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Mary Berry commented on everyone who uses self-rising flour these days. I noticed this on British recipes. Your thoughts? Is it just another bag of flour taking up space in our kitchens? Or is it a good addition?
It’s a bit confusing because British self-rising flour (you can also think of it as self-rising) is different from American self-rising flour. Over there it’s flour and baking powder. Here it is flour, baking powder and salt, usually with a flour with a slightly lower protein content. People love Americans (i.e. White Lily) mostly for things like cookies. If you want a dedicated flour for something like this, of course, go up it yourself. If not, you can make either version at home as needed.
– Becky Krystal
About two years ago I bought myself a set of Wusthof knives. They are just amazing. I wonder how often you would recommend having them professionally sharpened. I still haven’t sharpened them. Thank you very much!
I have my knife sharpened professionally once a year (I’m very late at the moment). I’ve talked to professional knife sharpeners about when you might need to sharpen your knife; one said “when you are not happy” and another said when you have a hard time cutting tomatoes without crushing them or when you cannot make a good clean cut in the skin of the chicken.
– Kari Probe
Avocado toast is basically guacamole on toast, right?
You can put guacamole on toast and call it avocado toast if you like. Guacamole tends to contain a mixture of chopped onions, tomatoes, lime juice, and salt. But there are so many different ways to mix your mashed avo – a lot of people make this mash just from lemon, avo, and salt, which isn’t guacamole. I put a mixture of avocado, lime, salt and dry garlic chutney, which is not guacamole.
Is there a tip for cleaning a garlic press that I haven’t thought of? That I peel the cloves, and even though my garlic press supposedly cleans itself with a built-in piece of nubby that should force out whatever is left over, I still end up having to use a toothpick or a finger to choose a layer of crushed garlic. I often choose to use a knife instead, but the idea of the press tempts me back – and sometimes the recipes call for it.
The one thing that always works for me is dropping it in water immediately after use and letting it soak while I do the rest of my cooking and cleaning. Then it usually rinses off quite well.
– Joe Yonan
My kitchen is undergoing renovations and I currently have a two burner electric cooktop, microwave, and gas grill. How do I use my gas grill as an oven? It’s possible? I would like to barbecue chicken, not grill it, and is it possible to use the grill to bake cookies?
I am not very experienced in this area, but yes you can use your grill as an oven. The key is to make sure anything you cook up is as far away from the heat source as possible (indirect heat, if you know that term). So that means lighting only one side of the grill, then putting what you plan to cook on the other side (and on a higher grill, if there is one). Then from there just make sure you have a way to monitor the temperature of the grill environment, and you should be good to go.
I noticed that there were white spots on the inside of my electric toaster on the sides. Do they matter? Do you already clean the inside of your electric toaster? I never thought about it before emptying the crumbs sometimes. Obviously I can’t wash / scrub it like I would with a spoon or pan. BTW, the toaster sits between the blender and the electric kettle so it may have been exposed to moisture (kettle) or tiny droplets without me noticing.
If that was me, I would file it under “Things I can’t be bothered about.” ” To the right? Because what difference do the stains inside mean anyway? I think you’re right, it’s probably just a discoloration of the metal, maybe from the humidity, but I can’t imagine that it really matters.