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Battle With Batter

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by jskls, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Mistt. Hope the tips helps. With export quality idli rice and dal available these days this battle is over.

    different weather altitudes and different quality of products available are reasons for this struggle @Thyagarajan sir. Thanks for taking time to read this and provide a valuable feedback.

    how I miss those days. Hope you had a wonderful beginning to the new year.
     
    Thyagarajan likes this.
  2. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    Glad that your sleep was not disturbed by overflowing batter. So how was it? Hopefully it was soft like kushboo idli:)
     
  3. virtualkv2020

    virtualkv2020 Platinum IL'ite

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    Leaving the batter for fermentation in an IP (using yogurt setting) or in a preheated oven (preheated to the lowest possible temperature and switched off) during the day time helps.
     
    jskls likes this.
  4. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    Yes I do that now. Thanks
     
  5. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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  6. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Dear jskls,

    Loved reading your post about idlis.
    It brought many memories to me.
    The first one is that when I was a kid, the grinder was not popular. It was always ground by hand. We had a lady who would come every 4 days to grind for us. She was always referred to as "maav arakara maami".
    Later on we purchased a wet grinder. Heavy one. Not like what we have these days.
    After I got married I could never make idlis. Never came properly. Only made dosa most of the time
    But now I have learnt.
     
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  7. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    That’s the spirit. Thanks @umaakumar mam for sharing your experience and feedback
     
  8. DocDough

    DocDough New IL'ite

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    So it is winter now in California, but not cold like in the mountains, and I am back to again trying to master idli. I stopped a number of years ago after three successive failed batches that did not ferment. Now after much reading of food science technical papers and without a local MIL for lessons I am back to trials with a new batch of urad gota. But while I am used to a 14 hr fermentation time at 30°C, last week it took 22hr before the batter doubled, so while successful, it was not particularly timely or very predictable. My concern is that I have some old crop beans, so if somebody in the Los Angeles area has a good source of known good urad dal, I would be most appreciative of a pointer to a brand and a market.

    I enjoyed reading the adventures of the other members of this community and commiserate with them. A few things that I have learned from the period when I was having success (which I hope to again repeat):

    1. the length of soaking time doesn't make much difference so long as it is long enough to fully hydrate both the rice (or rava) and dal/gota

    2. the viscosity/particle size distribution of the batter strongly affects the softness of the resulting idli

    3. adding some guar gum or xanthan gum as a thixotropic agent helps and is a good substitute for methi seeds (because it seems that the purpose of methi is to increase the viscosity of the batter but the gums do it without adding the bitter flavor of methi)

    4. while the principle agents for fermentation are Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Pediococcus cerevisiae, which occur naturally in/on the black mapte bean, other lactobacteria and yeasts can be used to good effect, but they must be added to the batter as a starter since they are not naturally occurring in/on the ingredients.

    5. Optimum fermentation temperature for Leuconostoc mesenteroides is ~30°C.

    6. Any parboiled short or medium grain rice will make good idli, either as whole grain soaked rice or as soaked idli rava. But the grinding time will be longer with whole grain rice and perhaps no grinding is required if idli rava of a very fine grind is used (though I found that after grinding the dal first to a very smooth paste, I still wanted to grind some of the rice to a very fine particle size before adding the rest of the rice and grinding it to a more coarse consistency). All of this contributes to the right particle size distribution.

    7. The addition of α-amylase to idli batter can substantially accelerate the fermentation according to Dr Bharti Iyer of the University of Mumbai Institute of Chemical Technology (currently working at General Mills in India) so there is another route to more reliable fermentation (this assumes that glucose availability is the limiting factor in fermentation rate, which may not be true in every case). I have no source of an appropriate enzyme though she obtained her samples of Biobake SPL as a gift sample from Biocon, Bangalore. The specifics of amounts to use, time, and temperature are unknown, though 30°C would be a good bet and with the right amount, I think I remember that a 6 hr fermentation cycle was obtained.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  9. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Docdough,
    Interesting to read your article filled with chemical agents with chemical terms.
    You have given chemical flavour to idli by giving the names of fermentation agents that are naturally present in Urat dal.I do not know whether adding lactobacteria and yeasts to the batter is harmful or not though it may help in getting spongy idlies.
    You have also talked about adding a-amylase to reduce the time of fermentation.Perhaps it may be useful for restaurants who serve 24x7 only idlies.But for people at home who make idlies once or twice a week ,is it not better to give the reqd fermentation time and not artificially reducing it?
    Left to myself I would even prefer to have not so soft an idli, than tasting this idli made out of drugged batter.
    Sorry, if I have used a wrong nomenclature.
    Thank you for taking me back to 1959 when we had a heavy dose of studies about three types of amylase ,their presence in the enzymes secreted in our body.
    Fortunately, living in Chennai, we don't need to bother about fermentation at all.
    An informative response, madam.Thank you.
    jayasala 42
     
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  10. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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    Sweet comment... Jaya!
    A "drugged batter" is often forced to confess on National TV, and lose his Baseball Hall of Fame status. Barry Bonds was the most recent example of such infamy.
     

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