Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous
alum
alum
Pickling recipes sometimes call for alum to give pickles extra crunch.
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bird's nest
bird's nest
Available at some Chinese markets. The white nests are cleaner and more expensive than the black ones.
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guar gum
guar gum
This thickener is very popular among people with gluten allergies. Look for it in health food stores.
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gypsum powder
gypsum powder
Recipes for ale and mead often call for this.
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kampyo
kampyo
Japanese cooks soak these gourd strips in water, then use them to tie sushi or other food packets. They're also sometimes cooked and used as an ingredient in sushi. Look for them in Japanese markets.
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lecithin
lecithin
Derived from soy beans or egg yolks, nutrient-rich lecithin is a wonder ingredient. It's used in cooking as an emulsifier, preservative, lubricant, and moisturizer. It's a healthful substitute for fat in baked goods, adding moisture and improving texture. Bakers use it as a dough enhancer because it helps give yeast breads more of a rise. It comes either granulated or as a liquid.
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malt powder
malt powder
You can make malt powder by allowing whole grains to sprout briefly, drying them, and then grinding them into a powder. Commercial malt powders are usually made with barley, and they're used extensively by commercial bakers. There are two main types of malt powder: diastatic and non-diastatic. Diastatic malt contains active enzymes which help break starch down into sugar. The extra sugar feeds the yeast in the dough, helping the bread to rise, and also gives the bread a browner crust. It's often used to make crusty breads. Non-diastatic malt doesn't have active enzymes, but it gives baked goods better flavor and a shinier, browner crust. It's used in everything from bagels to croissants to breakfast cereals. Don't confuse malt powder with malted milk powder, which also contains powdered milk and wheat flour and is used to make beverages. Look for malt powder in health food stores or baking supply stores.
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mastic gum
mastic gum
It's usually sold in the form of small crystals, which you'll need to grind into a powder. Look for it in Middle Eastern markets.
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sake lees
sake lees
This is what's left over after sake has been pressed from the fermented rice mash. The Japanese marinate fish and meats in it to improve flavor and texture. It's available either in doughy sheets, or as a thick mush.
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saltpeter
saltpeter
This is sometimes used in curing rubs for meats. Look for it in drug stores.
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slaked lime
slaked lime
Don't cook with the slaked lime found in hardware stores.
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stevia extract
stevia extract
This has been touted has a healthful alternative to non-nutritive artificial sweeteners. It's quite sweet, but has a bitter aftertaste. Look for it in health food stores.
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vegetable yeast extract
Includes: Marmite, Vegemite, and Promite.
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whipped cream stabilizer
whipped cream stabilizer
Two brands are Whip It and Whipping Cream Aid.
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wine ball
wine ball
These are balls of brewer's yeast that are sold in Asian markets. They're used to make wine.
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xanthan
xanthan
Derived from corn sugar, xanthan gum is used as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier.
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yam cake
yam cake
ita konnyaku
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