Theremins are a bit of an odd instrument to begin with, but [AphexHenry] decided to put one where no theremin has gone before: into a baguette.
The “baguetophone” is a theremin and piezo-percussion instrument inside a hollowed-out baguette. Starting with a DIY theremin tutorial from Academy of Media Arts Cologne, [AphexHenry] added some spice with a piezo pickup inside the baguette to function as a percussion instrument. One noted downside of squeezing the instrument into such an unusual enclosure is that the antenna doesn’t respond as well as it might with a more conventional arrangement. Outputs from the piezo and antenna are run through Max/MSP on a computer to turn the bread into a MIDI controller. Like many DIY theremins, it appears that this build neglects the volume antenna, but there’s no reason you couldn’t add one. Maybe disguised as a piece of cheese?
Outside smuggling an instrument into a French café for a flash mob performance, this could also prove handy if you’re someone who gets hungry while playing music. We don’t recommend snacking on the Arduino even if it is ROHS compliant though.
In hot weather, those of us who drive are familiar with the sensation of getting into the car and having it feel like an oven inside. A car is a essentially sealed metal box with large windows, thus on a sunny summer day it has more in common with a greenhouse, and in a heatwave this can become unbearable. But does it get hot enough for cooking? [Julian Lozos] aimed to find out, by cooking Icelandic rúgbrauð using only a 2016 Honda and the California sunshine.
Rúgbrauð is a traditional Icelandic rye bread that’s traditionally cooked by geothermal energy buried in the ground for around a day in proximity to a hot spring. A car dashboard gets pretty hot in a California heatwave, so it’s not unreasonable to expect that it might replicate this environment. He parked the Honda on a street in the sun, placed a pot full of dough on the dashboard, and waited.
The maximum temperature measured was 86.5 C (187 F), but unfortunately the sun didn’t stay high enough to maintain that temperature for the required time. After two days in the car the crust was cooked but the interior was still gooey, so the experiment can’t be said to have been successful. He does make the point though that a less traditional and much thinner loaf using a wide and flat tray might have delivered a better result.
We’re intrigued by this experiment, almost enough to try something like it ourselves were the summer not beginning to wane in these more northerly climes. Have any of you tried cooking in a hot car, or would we need a solar oven? Give us your views in the comments.
This particular story on researchers successfully making yeast-free pizza dough has been making the rounds. As usual with stories written from a scientific angle, it’s worth digging into the details for some interesting bits. We took a look at the actual research paper and there are a few curious details worth sharing. Turns out that this isn’t the first method for yeast-free baking that has been developed, but it is the first method to combine leavening and baking together for a result on par with traditional bread-making processes.
Basically, a dough consisting of water, flour, and salt go into a hot autoclave (the header image shows a piece of dough as seen through the viewing window.) The autoclave pressurizes, forcing gasses into the dough in a process similar to carbonating beverages. Pressure is then released in a controlled fashion while the dough bakes and solidifies, and careful tuning of this process is what controls how the bread turns out.
With the right heat and pressure curve, researchers created a pizza whose crust was not only pleasing and tasty, but with a quality comparable to traditional methods.
How this idea came about is interesting in itself. One of the researchers developed a new method for thermosetting polyurethane, and realized that bread and polyurethane have something in common: they both require a foaming (proofing in the case of bread) and curing (baking in the case of bread) process. Performing the two processes concurrently with the correct balance yields the best product: optimized thermal insulation in the case of polyurethane, and a tasty and texturally-pleasing result in the case of pizza dough. After that, it was just a matter of experimentation to find the right balance.
The pressures (up to 6 bar) and temperatures (145° Celsius) involved are even pretty mild, relatively speaking, which could bode well for home-based pizza experimenters.
What did you do during lockdown? A whole lot of people turned to baking in between trips to the store to search for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Many of them baked bread for some reason, but like us, [Sara Robinson] turned to sweeter stuff to get through it.
Her pandemic ponderings wandered into the realm of baking existentialist questions, like what separates baked goods from each other, categorically speaking? What is the science behind the crunchiness of cookies, the sponginess of cake, and the fluffiness of bread?
As a developer advocate for Google Cloud, [Sara] turned to machine learning to figure out why the cookie crumbles. She collected 33 recipes each of cookies, cake, and bread and built a TensorFlow model to analyze them, which resulted in a cookie/cake/bread lineage for each recipe in a set of percentages. Not only was the model able to accurately classify recipes by type, [Sara] was able to use the model to come up with a 50/50 cookie-cake hybrid recipe. The AI delivered a list of ingredients to which she added vanilla extract and chocolate chips for flavor. From there, she had to wing it and come up with her own baking directions for the Cakie.
More people are making sourdough at home than ever before, and while it may not take a lot of effort to find a decent recipe, it’s quite another thing to try using recipes to figure out how and why bread actually works. Thankfully, [Makefast Workshop] has turned copious research and hundreds of trials into a dynamic sourdough (and semi-sourdough) bread recipe chock-full of of drop-down options to customize not just ingredients, but baking methods and other recipe elements as well. Want to adjust quantities or loaf styles? Play with hydration or flour type? It’s all right there, and they even have quick-set options for their personal favorites.
In order to do all this, [Makefast Workshop] needed to understand bread at a deeper level than is usually called for. During research, they observed that the format of recipes was often an obstacle to understanding how good bread actually gets made. The reason for this is simple: recipes are presented as standalone documents describing a fixed process; a set of specific steps that, when followed, yield a particular result. What they do not normally do is describe the interplay and balance between ingredients and processes, which makes it difficult to understand how and why exactly the recipe produces what it does. Without that knowledge, it’s impossible to know what elements can be adjusted, and how. The dynamic recipe changes all that.
[Makefast Workshop] performed hundreds of tests, dialing in parameters one by one, to gain the insights needed to populate their dynamic recipe. It’s got clear processes and drop-down options that dynamically update not just the recipe steps, but also the URL. This means that one can fiddle the recipe to one’s desire, then simply copy and paste the URL to keep track of what one has baked.
In the recent frenzy of stocking up with provisions as the populace prepare for their COVID-19 lockdown, there have been some widely-publicised examples of products that have become scarce commodities. Toilet paper, pasta, rice, tinned vegetables, and long-life milk are the ones that come to mind, but there’s another one that’s a little unexpected.
As everyone dusts off the breadmaker that’s lain unused for years since that time a loaf came out like a housebrick, or contemplates three months without beer and rediscovers their inner home brewer, it seems yeast can’t be had for love nor money. No matter, because the world is full of yeasts and thus social media is full of guides for capturing your own from dried fruit, or from the natural environment. A few days tending a pot of flour and water, taking away bacterial cultures and nurturing the one you want, and you can defy the shortage and have as much yeast as you need.
Making bread dough is simple — it’s just flour and water, with some salt and yeast if you want to make things easy on yourself. Turning that dough into bread is another matter entirely. You need to punch that dough down, you need to let it rise, and you need to knead it again. At home, you’re probably content with letting the dough rise on the kitchen counter, but there’s a reason your home loaf doesn’t taste like what you would get at a good bakery. A bakery has a proofer, or a box that lets dough rise at a temperature that would be uncomfortable for humans, but perfect for yeast.
The leavening cell is a DIY proofing box that keeps dough at a steady 26° C to 28° C, the perfect temperature for making bread, pizza dough, and even yogurts. [vittorio] made this and the results look great.
The design of this build is simple enough and made out of 20×20 aluminum profiles shaped into a cubic frame. The outside of this box is 6mm thick wooden panels coated on the inside with a heat-reflective insulating mesh. Inside of that is a frame of metal mesh to which a six-meter long cable heating element is attached. This heating element is controlled via a thermostat with a probe temperature sensor on a timer. No, it’s not very complicated but the entire idea of a proofer is to have a slightly warm box.
You can check out the promo video for the Leavening Cell below.