If, like us at Agricamping Sophia, you are fond of pizzas in the pan and focaccia, you have certainly received the news or have accidentally read the miraculous cooking skills of the legendary blue iron trays
. Out of curiosity, also thanks to the lockdown due to the Covid-19, we purchased a couple, for private use, from different manufacturers. Being aware, through the attendance of specialized forums and the reading of a myriad of articles on the net, of the mysterious burning
which should be a preliminary operation necessary to give the green light to their use, we are here uncritically lavished in following to the letter one of the guides found among the first results of Google.
The outcome? A lot of smoke, the smell of burnt oil throughout the house and two apparently ruined trays. Immediately consulted the forums we mentioned, the diagnosis is that we would probably have used too much oil ... Something did not return: how is it possible that a little extra virgin olive oil, whose temperature does not exceed 190 ° during the boiling, is it enough to ruin the trays made to be inside an oven (in this specific case, domestic) if the bluing process
would be obtained at about 310 °? Let's take a step back. What should the burn be for?
To eliminate the residual substances (mineral oil) produced and to create a natural non-stick by crystallizing or vitrifying the burnt oil layer, on several occasions and at relatively high progressive temperatures.
First consideration: go for the elimination of mineral oil but this non-adherence should not already be one of the results of bluing? At this point, if we had to produce the non-stick by means of this other phantom crystallization or vitrification of edible oil, what sense would it make to buy a blue iron pan?
Second consideration: what is the difference between the encrusted oil of a pan or fryer or of the oven glass and the crystallization / vitrification of the oil that should be burned in a blue pan?
Third consideration: what if many blue iron trays on the market were common steel trays with a layer of non-stick synthetic? What is blue iron?
In technical jargon it is called rolling blue or bluito steel
. It is a mild steel sheet (i.e. with low carbon content) subjected to a temperature of about 310 ° and rapidly cooled, a process by which the steel oxidizes in magnetite (Fe3O4)
instead of in red oxide, i.e. hematite (Fe2O3), thus obtaining blue and purple shades. This oxidation is stimulated by a jet of steam at very high temperature. In addition to blue iron
it is often also called flamed iron, shaded iron, burned iron or black iron calamine. Blue is therefore the iridescence deriving from an oxide layer
which in turn acts as an antioxidant against rust: being already oxidized it cannot further oxidise.
What is it for in trays?
Theoretically it is used to reach the temperature set by the thermostat very quickly, due to the reduction of reflectance
, i.e. the mirror effect (which occurs not only for light but also for heat): by reflecting less heat, absorbs it more quickly. The bluing therefore gives the blue iron trays a superior heat absorption compared to stainless steel or aluminum trays
. The practical result is a pizza or focaccia with a thicker and crisper crust at the base.
Never wet the blue iron with water?
is a passivation protection: the metal protects itself with its own oxide. However, a structural defect (for example a scratch) of the magnetite layer is sufficient to trigger hematitic oxidation. The oxidation of anodized aluminum (artificially passivated) is instead much more stable: it corrodes only in contact with other metals due to the ignition of galvanic currents but, if scratched, the oxide layer recreates immediately. For example, anodized aluminum trays do not fear contact with water. Those who made the scout or the military certainly remember the aluminum mess boxes with their typical opaque gray color: that is anodized aluminum.
In other words, the problem is not wetting the blue iron pan but wetting it in the presence of scratches
through which the water can infiltrate and trigger a hematitic oxidation. Even letting a leavened product sit on an iron pan for a long time before cooking (in slang, sizing) can, due to the intrinsic humidity of the leavened product, be problematic. The alternative to risky washing with water is the safest anointing with edible oil which, acting as an additional antioxidant, protects it from rust. From a hygienic point of view, however, the high cooking temperatures and the removal of dirt with kitchen paper are sufficient. In any case, if an oxidation start occurs, simply wet the part with food vinegar (for example, wine or apple vinegar), let it act and finally rub gently with kitchen paper.
In conclusion, probably the vast majority of the trays passed off as blue iron on the market are very common mild steel trays with a layer of non-stick synthetic
(the same as the pan that can be purchased at the supermarket). The so-called burn process has no scientific justification except to eliminate the residual mineral oil. During the burn, it is useless to grease the pan with oil since either the pan is really blue iron or has a non-stick synthetic layer. In our specific case, it is impossible for an oxidation produced at 310 ° to vary between 190 ° (boiling temperature of the oil) and 250 ° (maximum temperature of a domestic oven with a working thermostat). It is not true that blue iron, if structurally intact, should not see water and detergent. The important thing is to dry it immediately and watch any oxidation start with vinegar. In the event that, like us, you fall into the urban legend of the burn
ruining the non-stick (assuming they are not in real blue iron), know that the trays are recoverable with the elimination of the non-stick layer ruined with fine sandpaper, taking care to patiently eliminate all the damaged part and not to damage the undamaged part.
We thank our dear friend Ing. Filippo Cucinotta for the technical-scientific advice and Dr. Corrado Rampulla for the stimulating avant-garde tips.
REFLECTIONS ON THE MOTHER YEAST AT THE TIME OF THE CORONAVIRUS
Cast the first stone anyone who has never kneaded (at least their first time ever ...) with the penem canis , unloading a whole 25 grams cube of brewer's yeast in half a kilo of flour, as if he had had to leaven the bowl too ... And after a couple of hours (miracle!) find yourself munching with difficulty on the biscuity or chewy result wondering why he didn't even remotely remember a pizza ...The "problem" is that, as already more fully explained regarding the phantom autolysis , if leavening occurs more quickly than protein synthesis , that dough loses edibility and becomes more suitable for alternative uses, for example as glue ...
leavening is not the only chemical and microbiological process that takes place in a dough but it is certainly among the most important. And if on the threshold of the "second phase" of the lockdown because of the covid-19, it is even easier to...
FOCACCISM PHENOMENOLOGY: AUTOLYSIS OR POOLISH?
Brutally skip preambles and introduction, if you miss it, read the previous phenomenological examination concerning poolish, biga and proof .
The aim is, sic et simpliciter, to try to understand, through empirical tests, what are the best ways to enjoy one of the most welcome gifts that mother nature and human ingenuity have made us: the focaccia!
What is poolish? It is a preferment prepared with equal parts of water and flour and a minimum amount (as far as I am concerned) of yeast, better if stuffed in the refrigerator ( obviously in a bowl ...), so much the yeasts are active even between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius, for 16 hours (if at room temperature, for much less time but the final quality of the poolish will also be different). The rule of leavened products always applies: if you are in a hurry, the crepes (crepes, for the Francophiles) are prepared in much less time ......
FOCACCISM PHENOMENOLOGY: ORIENTING BETWEEN POOLISH, BIGA AND PROOF
Like a few millionaires of Italians, I am "taking advantage" of this period of forced but inevitable quarantine to test some dough recipes and cooking procedures with a view to improving my versions of some Sicilian leavened products .
A premise is a must: everything that is traditional suffers the limit of being more or less codified and any attempt to introduce an ingredient or to dare an exogenous procedure is mostly attacked and rejected by radical traditionalists. Could this happen for fear of discovering that we can obtain a better version, in our specific case, of focaccia which questions the grandmother's ancient and sacred culinary knowledge? To avoid misunderstandings, this does not mean that grandmothers cook badly, on the contrary ... But that often a little courage is needed, of acceptance that some reassuring culinary certainties can wobble ... Are you willing to take...
TORRE FANO: FOR 2500 YEARS THE SHOULDERS HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT US FROM THE PIRATES
When and why it was built
We know that in 1526 Torre Fano was partially destroyed by the barbarian corsair Dragut (actually admiral of the Ottoman fleet, viceroy of Algiers, lord of Tripoli and Mahdia), habitual of looting and raiding on the Sicilian coasts. The phenomenon of barbaresca piracy (from Barberia, that is the name with which the Europeans from the Middle Ages defined the African Maghreb, inhabited precisely by the Berbers), politically connected to the Ottoman Empire, between the 14th and 19th centuries it was a real scourge for the development of the Sicilian coasts. The barbarian corsairs did not limit themselves exclusively to boarding and raiding ships but were also protagonists of the deportation and enslavement of thousands of Sicilians (for example, in Lipari, in 1544, 9000 people were deported), for them a significant source of income (a young European slave could...
TRIPADVISOR BUSINESS ADVANTAGE? 400 EUROS LESS IN POCKET...
Well yes... we succumbed to the "system"! Despite our enormous concerns about it , at the end of the month of In August 2019, we were persuaded to shell out around 400 euros for the TripAdvisor Business Advantage package. What would we have liked to achieve? Visibility in the default ranking of TripAdvisor, that is the one relating to the quality / price ratio. Before entering into the contract, to the Business Development Sales Executive from whom we were contacted and subsequently also to the Senior Customer Success Executive, we explicitly expressed the sole need to have visibility in the default sort order. We were therefore told that the Business Advantage package would give us the opportunity to insert our own Special Offer that would allow us to be included in the ranking according to the quality/price ratio . Was that actually the case? No, because whoever pays more actually...
THE PORT OF ELORO
We have already spoken extensively about Eloro here and here. It is no secret that he considers it
among the most fascinating places in the
district and when I have the opportunity, for example to act as a guide to
some friends, I go there with pleasure. Just during one of my last walks along
the "path" that "connects" the beach of Eloro with the
Pizzuta beach, I had the opportunity to focus on some rock formations that,
given their particular shape, have always aroused my curiosity, suggesting not
only that they had nothing natural (and therefore they were linked to the
archaeological remains abandoned behind the fence) but also that that stretch
of jagged coast, between the two splendid sandy beaches, in the past had to present itself in a radically different way.However, I have a duty to clarify that walking that "path" (which I
am not by chance writing in quotation marks,...
ESISTENZIALISMO E ALTERITÀ IN “FUORI DI ME”
Se non lo avessi saputo prima, mai avrei potuto pensare che Fuori di Me fosse uno spettacolo realizzato non da navigati attori teatrali, bensì da comunissime persone che solo lo scorso gennaio si sono avventurati nel laboratorio di creazione teatrale condotto a Messina da Lelio Naccari, che quindi fino a qualche mese prima fossero bianche delle basi minime per sostenere un tale impegno teatrale. Anche se nessuno a conoscenza della genesi di questa performance avrebbe mai preteso che tecnicamente dessero più di quanto dato, aprioristicamente perdonando quel paio di fisiologiche sbavature, tra i nove novelli performer teatrali alcuni non stonerebbero affatto in una compagnia di attori professionisti.
Bisogna dunque dare atto a Lelio Naccari del magistrale lavoro svolto, plasmando dall’eterogeneo capitale umano a disposizione un affiatato gruppo di attori in grado di incollarti sulla...
THE PYTHON OF MESSINA IS NOT A SERPENT...
Like the traditional focaccia, the pitone is a typically Messina delicacy. Unlike the arancino/a which with alternating fortune is You can taste it in every corner of Sicily (taking duly into account that each province proposes its own version and a specific ending), the python can be tasted almost exclusively near the Strait City.Of popular origin, like the vast majority of traditional dishes, the python is similar to a fried calzone with unleavened dough. The name, widespread among most of the people of Messina and in the rotisseries of the city, would seem to be a distortion of the dialectal piduni which means foot, since its shape would resemble a large foot.However, as far as the origin of the name is concerned, at least they are possible two other keys to understanding that have their roots in Greek Sicily. The first concerns an assonance with the Apollonian priestesses, the...