Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I would like to make choux pastry, and the recipe I have emphasises bringing the pan quickly to a boil after the butter has melted into the water at the beginning of the procedure.

I only have electric hobs available, which can take a few minutes to go from a simmer to a proper boil.

Will this have a negative impact on my pastry, and if so is there a way I can work around it?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unless there is something seriously wrong with your stove, you should not have any negative effects from using it to make choux pastry. Simply melt the butter into the water over medium then adjust the temperature to high.

The purpose of boiling the water and then cooking the pastry over low heat is to gelatinize the starches in the flour. Your recipe likely adds emphasis to the point of bringing the water to a boil quickly so that you do not simmer the water away. Doing so can have negative effects on the finished product because it will throw off the water:flour ratio and you will not be able to completely gelatinize the starches.

If your stove heats up so slowly that you think this might be an issue, you can simply place a lid over the pot as you bring it to a boil, making sure to add back to the pot any condensed vapor on the inside of the lid.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks! Both answers say pretty much the same but I'll mark this as the accepted one as it's nice to know the science behind what I'm doing. (I allowed the mix to heat up at its normal slow rate using a single hob, and my choux buns turned out just fine.) –  Ian Renton Nov 6 '13 at 22:19
add comment

I really don't think it's necessary for this application, Didgeridrew's advice regarding the pastry seems spot-on to me. However, if you really want an instantaneous temperature change for any reason and you're stuck with a problematic stove, you can make that change if you can control individual burners separately.

Keep another burner set to "high" while you're working on the burner set to "low". Then when you want a quick increase in the heat level, you just switch burners. (Hobs = Burners, right?) You only need to keep the "high" burner on for the length of time it takes to heat, or just keep a pot of water boiling on the "high" burner until you're ready to make the swap. Of course, the process works just as well in reverse.

share|improve this answer
    
I'm not sure that's a good idea with electric heating elements, I believe sometimes they can overheat unless there's something like a saucepan on top to dissipate the heat. –  PeterJ Oct 25 '13 at 6:16
    
I've never had that problem, but if it's a concern, just keep a pot of water boiling. Editing my response to reflect that. –  Jolenealaska Oct 25 '13 at 6:19
    
I don't think this is really necessary... I have a glass cooktop, which is the worst of all for quick temperature adjustment, and I've never had any trouble getting choux pastry to come out right. The important thing with choux pastry is simply to not let the water evaporate. –  Aaronut Oct 26 '13 at 0:31
    
I realize that for this application. I was really just addressing the issue of making an instantaneous temperature change on electric when that instant change is desired - regardless of the application. I'm going to edit one more time to actually say that. –  Jolenealaska Oct 26 '13 at 1:10
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.