MICHAEL BRENNER: So welcome. So my slide says that it’s week 10
of the lectures of this series, which I find remarkable that we’ve
been going for 10 weeks already. And this week, the topic for this week,
the scientific topic for this week, is emulsions and foams. And we’re very fortunate to have
Christina Tosi from Milk Bar who’s here [INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE] Christina has all of these remarkable
things that she’s going to show us, I think perhaps
culminating in this cake. Is that the culmination? And this cake, which is some
sort of a chocolate chip cake is full of emulsions, not foams,
but it’s full of emulsions. Actually it’s sort of also full
of foams, kind of foams too. And so what I want to do
for the next 10 minutes while you’re getting ready to listen to
her, which is going to be much better, is to tell you a little bit about
the science of emulsions and foams so you have something to think
about while you’re listening. With that as introduction, I’m going
to start with emulsions and foams. And so it turns out that
with emulsions and foams, the important ingredient, the
important thing to control is also volume fraction. It’s the same idea. And I want to demonstrate
this before we go into it with a very strange sort of experiment. So these are M&Ms. It
was just Halloween. And you’ll notice actually, the
interesting thing about M&Ms is that when the volume fraction is
low, like it is it is here, then it pours like a liquid. The M&Ms are liquid. But if you’ve pack them together in a
jar, now the volume fraction is high and now the thing is a solid. It’s basically a solid. You could stand on it. If we had a big container of M&Ms,
we could stand on it and jump around in it. So the volume fraction of M&Ms,
there’s a critical volume fraction when a material becomes a solid. And it turns out, for
M&M’s it’s about 70%. So the volume fraction– there’s
about 70% air in this thing. So if anyone’s ever entered a count
the number of M&Ms in a jar contest, the thing you really need to know,
besides being very good at being able to estimate the volume of the
jar, is that 30% of this is air. But when you make an
emulsion, you have to get– there’s essentially a little thing of
M&Ms that’s inside of it that’s playing the essence of it. And I now want to just
show you what it is. Would anyone like some M&Ms? That’s fine. OK, and actually there’s an equation
that we have that describes this. And actually Christina, you
might be impressed by this. So what do we do here
when we see an equation? [APPLAUSE] Yeah. It’s pretty good. This equation is the elastic modulus. It’s basically how solid something is. And you have to be about a critical
volume fraction for it to get there. And that’s what that equation says. So actually in our lab in the
Harvard class, we make lime foam. I already to you about M&Ms. This also
works for marbles, M&Ms and marbles, volume fraction. Turns out for spheres, the volume
fraction, the critical volume fraction, is 64%. That’s actually closer to
what’s going on in the things that Christina is going to make. The things that are playing the role
of particles in the emulsions that Christina will make are not
actually the shape of M&Ms. They tend to be more like spheres. And basically the point is
that of course, as I said, this thing has no elastic
modulus, and the one on the right has an elastic modulus. And when you’re making
this– what is that? Cream? Cream. CHRISTINA TOSI: There is some passion
fruit curd and coffee frosting. MICHAEL BRENNER: Right, the
frosting is cream and it better basically, be a solid, because
otherwise the whole thing will squish. CHRISTINA TOSI: That’s right. MICHAEL BRENNER: That’s right. And so it’s all about
having an elastic modulus. Now you can make a plot. This is what I like to do. You can plot elasticity as a
function of volume fraction. And if you do it with M&Ms, you see
there’s a critical volume fraction, which for M&Ms is about 70%, at
which the thing becomes a solid. And that’s what you need to do. You need to get the
volume fraction up to 70%. Now, it turns out that– you think this
is so silly, he’s talking about M&Ms. But it turns out the physics of
emulsions is basically the same thing. Because, so all of these
things are emulsions. So these are– so
mayonnaise, an emulsion, aioli is an emulsion, whipped cream
and cappuccino foam are all emulsions. But the analog of the M&M that’s
in these things are bubbles. And so this is a picture of mayonnaise
under a microscope, Hellman’s mayonnaise. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this. And look at it. It’s amazing. There are all of these little
bubbles that are in there. And the bubbles are packing
just like M&Ms pack. And my claim is, the volume fraction
of this bubbles it has to be above 64%, because otherwise it won’t be a solid. In fact, in mayonnaise
it’s much higher than 64%. I don’t know what it is. It’s probably 70%. You can look on the
recipe and see actually. It’s the volume fraction
of oil that’s in the dish. What I find amazing is,
look at the scale bar. It’s 100 microns. So Christina, in her icing,
right, there’s little particles, there’s stuff in there. And the size of it is on
a scale of 100 microns, and she’s going to show
you how to make it. And just by doing that, just
by doing whatever she does, she’s making 100 micron sized
objects, just by stirring basically. That’s what happens. And I think it’s important
to just take a step and wonder about things that happen. I mean, it’s so ordinary, that you
wouldn’t normally think about it, but that’s what happens. Now here’s a picture of aioli, which
actually is even harder to make, because the emulsifier is
actually in the garlic. It has bubbles, which are
on an even smaller scale. So OK, so these things are all
packing of little droplets. And so this is a picture of what it
looks like, droplets in the background. The droplets can either be
oil and water, water and oil, or air in a solid. That’s fine too. And so they’re packings
of little droplets. And they’re really two
different scientific questions that you have to ask about these. The first is, how are the droplets made? And the second thing is,
why don’t they come apart? I mean, the M&Ms don’t
apart because they’re solid. But droplets are not solid,
so how do they come apart? And so to make droplets, you
use all of the standard methods that you’ve used yourself,
whisking, blending. There’s a KitchenAid over
there, that works fine. That’s how you make little droplets. That’s a droplet-making machine. That’s how I think about it. Or it’s a bubble-making machine. And that happens because
the thing– what happens is you take these big
droplets and you shear them and they come up
apart into little droplets and presumably that
happens again and again. Now the other thing that’s important and
this is the last thing that I will say and then I will shut up, is that
droplets, when they collide, when two little droplets collide,
they become a big droplet. And you don’t want that to happen,
because it’ll break your mayonnaise or it’ll mess up the icing. And so you have to somehow coat the
droplets with armor, a sort of armor, that basically keeps them apart. And that armor are molecules
that are called surfactants, which like to live on the
interface and this is like coating the thing with armor. Now, when you make mayonnaise, does
anybody know where the armor is? It’s in the egg. It’s in the egg. And it’s an amazing
thing, because I don’t know if you’ve ever made mayonnaise,
but you take oil, water, you just pour it in the egg. And then you stir it up, and
somehow magically, the armor has to coat all of the
bubbles because otherwise, if it doesn’t coat all of the bubbles,
then you don’t have stable mayonnaise and the mayonnaise breaks. And so there are analogs
with what Christina is going to do that you should
think about as she’s doing them. And we can talk about
them later if you want. Although I suspect that you’re going
to find more interesting things to talk about. So there’s a wonderful chapter
in a book the Harold McGee wrote, that’s sadly out of print, that’s called
The Curious Cook, in which he calls it, Mayonnaise, Doing More With Lecithin. And Harold asked a very
interesting question of how much mayonnaise can
you make with a single egg? And so the questions is, with one
egg, how much mayonnaise can you make? Now if you go look at recipes–
so I Googled two fancy recipes. This is a recipe from Alton Brown and
from Martha Stewart, both of whom to me seen rather fancy. And you’ll notice that with one egg,
Alton Brown calls for one cup of oil, whereas Martha Stewart calls for one
cup of vegetable oil with one egg. But the question is, how much
can you make with one egg. And so, we, last year when we taught
the HarvardX version of this class, we had a mayonnaise contest in which
we basically said, take one egg– and we had a competition
around the world, who can make the most mayonnaise with one egg. And so there is a person who we
only know her by her screen name. But that’s her screen
name, and she said, yesterday I made mayonnaise with one egg
and 200 milliliters of sunflower oil. And she kept going, and
basically at the end she ended up with 850
milliliters of mayonnaise, which is more than three cups. And this was her process
from one egg yolk. And so this shows you that you know
you’re doing and you have patience, you can make a lot of mayonnaise with
one egg and it’s all about technique. And I don’t know how this
is a good intro– say again. AUDIENCE: Why would you want to? MICHAEL BRENNER: Well I guess you
would want to for two reasons. One is it’s so interesting, like
how much mayonnaise could you make out of one egg? So if you take the HarvardX
version of the class, we ask you do something
else that you probably wouldn’t want to do, which
is, we ask you to calculate, on the basis of the content of one
egg, how much mayonnaise can you make. And you’ll find it’s even much
more than three cups in principle. You just have to coat all
of the little bubbles. So it’s intellectually interesting. And also you’ll have less
egg in your mayonnaise. And if you’re interested
in less eggy mayonnaise, then Gotchava is a
factor of three below. CHRISTINA TOSI: That’s a good point. MICHAEL BRENNER: Yeah. Anyway, with that, I think I will turn
it over to Christina and to Jenna, and we’re really grateful
that you’re here. I don’t know what mayonnaise has to do
with what you’re going to talk about. Although there are bubbles in what
she’s going to talk about too. So it’s sort of similar. But it’s really a pleasure to have
you and we’re all very grateful. [APPLAUSE] CHRISTINA TOSI: Oh, thank you. MICHAEL BRENNER: So that
thing doesn’t work very well. So [INAUDIBLE]. CHRISTINA TOSI: We’ll see how it goes. Hi, guys. How’s it going? AUDIENCE: Good. CHRISTINA TOSI: There’s a
lot of you here tonight. I’m not intimidated. Don’t worry. Hi thanks for coming out. I’m so excited that
you guys are either so interested in emulsions or foams or just
dying to hear everything about Milk Bar and watching me. Make it or you’re here because some
of what the cat out of the bag and found out that we brought corn
flake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies for you guys. [APPLAUSE] I was raised by a mother who
would always reward good behavior once good behavior happened. But I like to break the
rules, so we decided to reward you just for showing up. And so here are the corn flake
chocolate chip marshmallow cookies. I’m going to be demoing these cookies. So my theory is that I’m
feeding you them now, so if you have any specific questions
about them while I’m making them or after, you get to
ask whatever you want. And my only rule about speaking
publicly is that you guys have as much fun as I have. So if at any point along the way,
you just have a burning question, shout it out. Or if you’re feeling a little shy,
we’ll take questions at the end as well. So any which way you want to get
your question out loud, I’ll take it. So I’m Christina. This is Jenna. Jenna is our Director of
Culinary Operations at Milk Bar, very fancy title for a very fancy lady. She can also help answer any questions. How many of you guys
have been to Milk Bar? JENNA: Wo! CHRISTINA TOSI: Jenna,
are you impressed? I’m impressed. JENNA: I’m really impressed. CHRISTINA TOSI: How many of
you haven’t been to Milk Bar but know what Milk Bar is? OK. Does anyone here not
know what Milk Bar is, but it was just completely intrigued by
free cookies and emulsions and foams. OK. good. I just like to get, you know, a good
read of how deep I’m going to go or how not deep I’m going to go. So I brought this really fun slide show. Those of you that have been to
Milk Bar know about Milk Bar, I feel like you’ll appreciate the
nuance of a lot of the cookies and cakes and pies and bread that
you know and love from Milk Bar. And those of you that don’t,
this a great introduction. So Milk Bar actually turns
60 years old in 13 days 13, 14 days, which is pretty cool. [APPLAUSE] We opened Milk Bar as the sister
bakery of the Momofuku restaurants in New York City that are owned
and run by David Chang who I believe came last year to speak. And I was brought on board at
Momofuku almost nine years ago, in a completely undesdrty
related capacity. I was hired on to sort of work
operations and do odd jobs. And I kind of– sometimes I have
to trick myself into things, and so, it worked out
that I was not hired to be the pastry chef of the Momofuku
restaurants and to open a bakery. But that’s what I became. I was raised in Virginia. And my family is largely from
Ohio, so I have a little bit of a Midwestern sensibility about me. I was raised by women that love to bake. And I, in turn, love to eat
dessert, and from a very early age, also learned to love to bake. So much so, that I became obsessed
with it and baked from maybe five or six years old all the way up
until I decided to move to New York to go to culinary school and
become a pastry chef for a living. Now the thing about becoming
a pastry chef for a living is, pastry chef is like a
pretty fancy word, which usually means that you make
pretty fancy desserts, which we do at the restaurants. But have a lot of my spirit and my
heart is in the sort of baked goods that I grew up with
around baking and in. So Milk Bar, the spirit of Milk Bar,
the sort of personality of Mile Bar is very much where home baker meets
someone that went to culinary school to become a formally
trained pastry chef. So everything on the menu is in a very
simple form, a very simple vehicle, cookies, cakes, slices of pie,
soft serve ice cream, baked breads, baked savory breads. And they all start with very,
very simple inspiration points. But then we take our really,
really, really formal knowledge and experience and expertise from
working in fancier kitchens that are much more technique driven, and we
apply all of that skill and technique and knowledge that we have picked up
along the way, we apply it to recipes. We run every recipe and
technique through the gamut, and then we put it back into a very
simple cookie recipe or layer cake recipe. So just a little rundown of Milk Bar. This is who we are. So I’m going to just start to give you
a few of my favorite creation points of what we do at Milk
Bar because I think it’s a really fun way to understand what
we do and what I’m about to show you. So one of the first things
that I ever created long ago was called cereal milk. And it’s milk that tastes
like what’s life in your bowl after you eat all the cereal out of it. That’s pretty simple, right? I was a picky eater as
a kid, and the only way my mom could get me to eat
anything of nutritional value was to promise me a bowl of cereal. So I could go to the
grocery store with her, I spent a lot of my childhood going
to the grocery store with my mother. I could pick out any box of cereal. She was allowed to pour as much
milk into the bowl as she wanted. And the only agreement was that
I had to drink the bowl of milk after I ate all the cereal out of it. And I thought cereal milk would be
a really fun way to approach vanilla without giving someone vanilla. So we don’t make make vanilla
ice criminal at Milk Bar but we make cereal milk ice cream. And it has that sort of like riff on
the nostalgic moment of bottoms up with your bowl of cereal. We make it into a drinking milk. We make it into an ice cream,
and therefore an ice cream pie. We swirl it up in swirls of soft serve. We also use it to make a panacotta. So essentially the creation process
is, either I have a really great flavor and I know the vehicle it comes in. So for cereal milk, it’s I know I
have this really great flavored milk, and then all of a sudden we go
down the rabbit hole of, well, what recipes are milk heavy or what
recipes are flavor milk forward. Ice cream, drinking milk,
panacotta, sky’s the limit. Cereal milk. Another one of my favorite recipes
of all time is called crack pie. Has anyone had crack pie? Yeah. So crack pie and is sort
a meeting and gooey butter cake from Saint Louis and
chess pie from the South. I fell in love with
the theory of chess pie because I was reading through
the Joy of Cooking one day when I was working
in a pastry kitchen and had a little bit of free time. And I loved the story behind it. It’s the five that you
make when you don’t have enough apples to
make apple pie, or pecans to make pecan pie or
rhubarb to make rhubarb pie. You basically leave all of those
ingredients out and you may just pie. And over time, just pie, with that
sort of strident country accent, became chess pie. And chess pie nowadays is usually
a little bit more buttermilk based, so it’s a little tangy. But I really love– my
favorite part about baked goods is that dense gooey fudgy center. And so crack pie is a
little less buttermilk that a chess pie, but certainly the same
density and gooey nature that you get from a Saint Louis gooey butter cake. It has a toasted oat crust
and this gooey butter filling. One of our most popular cookies
is called the compost cookie. The compost cookie– so we
don’t make a chocolate chip– we don’t make just a
chocolate chip cookie. We make a corn flake
chocolate chip marshmallow cookie, which by the sound it, you
guys already have had a very warm, intimate meet and great with. And we don’t make a chocolate
cookie, but we make a compost cookie. And a compost cookie has pretzels
and potato chips and butterscotch and oats and coffee grounds
and Graham crackers. And it’s basically just like,
you go in your cupboard, you want to make a batch
of cookies, you don’t have enough of any single ingredient
to make that type of cookie so you just put it all in the
mixing bowl and hope it comes out. And that is very much the spirit of our
approach to baking at Milk Bar as well. So we have this technical background,
and when we want to be intentional we certainly are. But we firmly believe in not
taking yourself so seriously. And that the sort of
creative process can also be every bit as sort of just
like throw caution to the wind, throw all of your cupboards’
ingredients into the mixing bowl and make a compost cookie. And this is a bunch of fun ingredients
that go into the compost cookie. I think the most fun part
about creating at Milk Bar is keeping it really simple. The compost cookie, I think is
a great example of the mentality that I was raised with in the kitchen,
where it’s just waste not, want not. If you want to make a batch of cookies,
you don’t have to go to the supermarket to make them. You probably need some butter and an
egg and some sugar, but the rest of it– embrace the creative
spirit and sort of make it work with the limitations of
whatever is left in your cupboard. The only problem with
that, in modern day terms, is that if you live in
New York, you might not have a bunch of stuff in your cupboard. And and it’s always fun to look at
oats or ground coffee and go like, oh, I wonder what if, or trying to
look at it with new, fresh new eyes. And so, what we do to sort
of perpetuate that theory is we come up with
new pantry ingredients that just live in our
kitchen at all times. And we use them in a
multitude of recipes. One of those staple pantry
ingredients, we call the crunch. The crunch is just clusters
of basically anything that’s dry, bound together with a little bit
of fat and toasted off in the oven to caramelize. And the crunch itself is based
off of staple pantry items. So we have corn flake crunch. That was what was in your corn flake
chocolate chip marshmallow cookie. We have pretzel crunch; we
have Ritz cracker crunch; we have Fruity Pebble crunch;
we have Cinnamon Toast Crunch; we have pretzel crunch. Anything that’s a pantry
item, we’ll take out and we’ll crunch it down by
hand, crush it down my hand, toss it in a little bit of sugar, salt. We usually use a little
bit of milk powder to add chewiness and depth of
flavor, a little bit of fat to bind it all together, toast it
in the oven and bam, all of a sudden you have this new souped-up pantry item. And we take the crunch and we’ll
use it all across our kitchen. So we’ll use corn flake crunch
as a soft serve topping. We’ll use Ritz cracker crunch as a
pie crust, as a shell for a pie crust. The middle top picture
there is your corn flake chocolate chip marshmallow
cookie being spread apart with those gooey marshmallows. We’ll use it as a textural ingredient
in a fancy, plated dessert. One of them is a Thai
tea parfait and the other is a pumpkin ganache with some pear
sorbet, blue cheese, and corn flake crunch. So we take these pantry items, we sort
of put a magnifying glass on them, but we’ll go in when we’re
trying to create, we’ll be like, OK, I know I need a textural element. It could be for anything in any vehicle. It can be a textural layer of a cake. We’ll basically go into
our pantry and be like, OK, what flavor is going to work best? So that’s a really cool way that
we approach the creative process. The crumb is very similar
to the crunch, but it’s a little more sandy in its texture. We approach it in the same way. The crumb’s basic flavor origin
is anything thing that’s dry and a powder that has flavor. So cocoa powder, malted milk
powder, freeze-dried berries ground into a powder, milk powder. Anything that is dry and pulverized
down into a powder that has flavor can become a crumb. Same type of technique. You take that powder,
a little bit of flour, some sugar, some salt, just to sort
of round the edges of the flavor, bind it together with some
fat, back it off in the oven, and you get a flavored crumb. We have birthday crumbs. We have milk crumbs. We have berry milk crumbs, so
freeze-dried berries plus milk crumbs is berry milk crumbs. Chocolate crumbs, which we’ll use
in the chocolate chip layer cake. Malted milk crumbs, so milk
crumbs plus malted milk powder equals malted milk crumbs and so on. And we’ll take those
crumbs in our kitchen and we’ll dispatch them
in the same way that we do the crunch in the creative process. So we’ll use crumbs when we’re mixing up
a batch of chocolate chocolate cookies, because we want sandy
pops a flavor and texture. We’ll mold them into a pie
crust to make a chocolate pie crust for a banana cream pie filling. We’ll put those crumbs into layer cakes
for bits of some sort of visual draw, but also textual nuance. I’ll show you the chocolate chip
layer cake a little bit later. We’ll also mix them into cookie is
for the same sort of flavor balance. The bottom left is our blueberry
and cream cookie being made. So it’s sugar cookie dough
essentially, dried blueberries and milk crumbs make our blueberry and cream
cookie, which is largely based off of the muffin top of a blueberry muffin,
my favorite thing in the world to eat. I’m going to make chocolate chip
layer cake with you guys tonight, so you’ll sort of see the process. You’ll see a little bit of
an overhead, but very much the way that we construct
layer cakes at Milk Bar is breaking down the
rules of traditionally how you would make a layer cake. The flavors in layers that
you can put into a layer cake to sort of defy gravity, but also
understand the weight of each layer so that you don’t have a cake
that bows out at the edges. You have a cake that sits
perfectly at attention. We make liquid cheesecake at Milk Bar. I love cheesecake but the best
kind of cheesecake I think, is the slightly underbaked cheese cake. So we have a recipe
called liquid cheesecake. And it’s essentially
cheesecake– ti’s not underbaked, it’s just meant to set a little bit
looser than your standard cheesecake. So we don’t make cheesecake at Milk Bar. But we make liquid cheesecake and we
use it as elements in other recipes. We don’t make an apple pie, but we
do make an apple pie layer cake. So we have layers of brown butter cake,
layers of those gooey cinnamon apples. One of the crumbs that
we make is a pie crumb, so it’s a pie dough recipe that
we crumb up, bake in the oven. We use that as a textural element. And then we make liquid cheesecake
and fold in brown butter bits to sort of give those sort of creamy
notes that you get out of an apple pie and we make this layer cake. We make a cinnamon bun pie. So I love liquid cheesecake. I love cheesecake. I also love cream cheese frosting,
but we can’t make cinnamon buns with cream cheese frosting. I mean, I suppose we can. But I feel like we can push beyond that. So we make a cinnamon bun
pie, which is the top photo. And it’s a bread dough that’s
pressed into a pie crust, and it has layers of liquid cheesecake
and light brown sugar and cinnamon and salt layered up with a
little bit of a streusel top. Eaten warm, it’s the
best thing in the world. We make a cheesecake ice cream
with this liquid cheesecake that we blend into ice cream base. We make a desert that has liquid
cheesecake, guava, and a cream cheese skin, sort of a take
on a Cuban pastelito. And then liquid cheesecake in all of
its glory here at the bottom right. But a lot of how we create is
thinking about our favorite desserts and then how we can
challenge what they are. So we don’t make just a chocolate
chip cookie because a lot of us love chocolate chip cookies, but we all
love a different chocolate chip cookie. Someone likes a really
crispy chocolate chip cookie. Someone– I like a fudgy in the center,
crispy on the outside chocolate chip cookie. My grandma also makes the
best chocolate chip cookie. So even if I tried to make and
sell chocolate chip cookies, I’d only make the second
best chocolate chip cookie. And a lot of you probably already have
your favorite chocolate chip cookies. So why in the world would
I try and open a business based on chocolate chip cookies. That seems like a
terrible business plan. You also have to sell a lot of cookies
to pay the rent, so rather than compete, it was sort
of like how do we hone in on what people love about
cheesecake, and figure out how to, rather than compete, find a way to
sort of honor everyone’s favorite part of cheesecake and push beyond. And I think that’s a lot
of the spirit of Milk Bar, but a lot of the secret to our success. We don’t make food that speaks over you. There’s nothing worse,
I think, than going out to a fancy meal or not
fancy meal and feeling like the food is too smart for you, or
that there’s just not the connection with the food or it’s too showy. I think that a lot of
our technique comes down to being humble enough to be
like, well, if it’s not good and you can’t eat it in your
hand and sort of ust melt, and hold that cookie close, then
it doesn’t matter how much we know. It doesn’t matter how skilled we
are or what our knowledge base is. It doesn’t matter if we can’t
connect with you through what we do. And the things that you
remember that are food-based are either food that you have
your memories with already made, or the things that
you can get in the moment and make that relationship with. You’ll walk out of any restaurant
or any bakery excited and ready to talk about what you just experienced. If you have something that’s
too fancy or too overdone or there’s not a story that you get and
there’s not a connection that you make, then that moment’s lost. And all of that hard work and effort to
make something delicious and thoughtful and all these things is gone. So hopefully that comes
through what we do. We also make savory
breads, like I was saying. We start all of our savory
breads with one dough that we call the mother dough. And so I thought, well, I want to
have savory breads at Milk Bar, but you’ve got to see a lot
of bread to pay the rent. And making bread is very time-consuming. And a lot of what– and we’re
not going to make a croissant and we’re not going to
make a pana chocolate and we’re not going to make Danish. Because those things already exist. And you guys probably already have
your favorites of all of those. So how do we figure out how
to challenge the status quo and have a sort of pay honor
to the classic pastry staples that came before us when we create? So we start with the
mother dough and we sort of make it a vehicle for a
bunch of different things. We make a bread called the volcano,
which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a flavor explosion. It’s a cheesy potato gratin. It has some pancetta and some
caramelized onions in it. And we take the mother
dough, we portion it out. And then we wrap it around this
potato gratin, flip it over, these are the top two photos. And then put a little
Gruyere cheese on the top. That’s mother dough in volcano form. We make bagel bombs. We can’t boil and bake them. We don’t have time. We don’t run the bagel
business and we’re not trying to compete with
the bagel business. But I love an everything bagel with
some bacon, scallion cream cheese, favorite thing in the world. So we make a bagel bomb. It’s this mother dough, we put a little
bit of sodium carbonate in the dough so that you get a little bit
of the chew and the bounce that you might get in a bagel. We make rounds of bacon
scallion cream cheese. We wrap them around the dough,
paint the dough with some egg wash, put everything, bagel seeds on
it, and we baked the bagel bombs in a combi oven so it gets
combination steam and convection. So it gets some of the nuances of
a bagel without competing with it. That’s a bagel bomb. And then in this lovely corner, you
will see some crescent shaped breads, which are croissants in theory. But we make a compound butter. I love croissants. They’re so good. The thing about croissants is, it’s
sort of like a chocolate chip cookie. It’s already made and I get so excited
about how croissants are made, right? You take this bread
dough, you take butter and you start folding layers in, almost
like you’re playing double dutch. And I love that, but
my favorite croissants are the ones that are
stuffed with ham and cheese. So I thought, well, obviously, we’re
in the business of stuffing things into bread so why not challenge? So if I have butter, butter’s
delicious on its own, but man, we know how to make
butter taste even better than its original form. So we make compound butters. This croissant, we make a kimchi butter. And we layer that into the mother dough,
and then we stuff it with blue cheese when we’re going to roll it
up into a crescent shape. JENNA: It’s amazing. CHRISTINA TOSI: It’s amazing. We make a pastrami and rye croissant. We take caraway seeds that are
ground down and almost polarized, we mix those into the butter, and
again, layer it into the bread dough. And then as we’re going to roll the
bread up into its crescent shape, we stuff it with sliced pastrami,
Russian dressing, and sauerkraut. I hope you guys ate before you came. It’s probably a terrible, terrible
idea to talk about so excitedly. But again, we like to challenge
what exists and why it exists. And it’s this sort of just spirit
of curiosity with why does this work and how does it work and
what if I try something new? And understanding why
things work, but also not being afraid to challenge how you
can evolve that thought process even further. So that’s our mother dough. Yes. First question of the night. AUDIENCE: How long did it take
you to perfect your mother dough? CHRISTINA TOSI: How long did it
take us to perfect the mother dough? It’s a constant work in progress. No. The theory of it, I thought, we
don’t make shortcuts in our kitchen unless we really need to,
unless they really matter. I had been working on the
theory of the mother dough long before Milk Bar started. I’d worked as a pastry cook in a
kitchen and every night before service, I’d have to make this lavash
dough, so this sort of bread dough, that I would spread apart on
sheet pans and bake in the oven to make crackers for service. And I’d make these huge batches. But lavash is– I mean it’s paper thin. And I made this big batch of
dough and inevitably, there was so much dough that
would never get used. And so I’d sort of hoard it. And that night if I had
time, or the next day, I’d come in and sort of
look at it and be like, I wonder what I can make you into? And so I would take
that dough and basically just like adulterate it in
every way you could imagine to wonder what else I could do with it. How forgiving would it be? Because a lot of time, it’s
like, what’s the breaking point? How forgiving can it be? But it’s always been a work in progress. I think the fun part about Milk Bar
now is because the mother dough was a work in progress long
before Milk Bar opened, the fun part is getting to take
what the mother dough was to me and seeing how other members of my team
take it and look at it and go, like, oh, I wonder what if? I saw a few other hands. OK, we’re going to get shy. That’s cool. What do we got? AUDIENCE: Do you use the same
mother dough for the croissants? CHRISTINA TOSI: We do. We use the same mother
dough the croissants, we do. We do. We do. So we call them croissants,
but they’re not the same. They have the same layering. So they get the same puff on the top
from when the water in the butter bakes off and creates
those steam pockets that then create the sort of flaky
nature of the croissants, but the center of the
croissants are always like dense and stuffed full of blue cheese and
pastrami and all these other things. And so that’s always fun. We called them croissants because
that’s what they look like. I’ll go back to that so
you guys can look at it. Yes. AUDIENCE: Is there
one pastry or anything that you love that you think
is already great as it is that you wouldn’t want to [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: I think every
pastry that exists largely is great as it is, which is why we don’t
make any of those pastries at Milk Bar. But why, we’ll take our love
for the– I love apple pie. We don’t make the apple
pie cake, because Jenna is like, you want to know
what’s overrated, apple pie. She always has an attitude about that. JENNA: Yeah. CHRISTINA TOSI: We look at it,
and we go, fall is coming up and how are we going to celebrate
our favorite fall desserts? And we brainstorm what our
favorite fall desserts are and then we go, OK, well how are
we going to best celebrate these without competing with what’s
so beautiful about them in their original pastry form? So I would say largely,
we love every pastry. And that’s why we don’t make any of
those pastries one for one at Milk Bar. OK. Then I’m going to keep going. You guys can shout it
out whenever you want. OK, so we just opened our sixth
store in New York City in Soho, which is this one. And the East Village, is
our original Milk Bar. In over six years, we’ve opens six
stores in the US and one in Toronto. So if you guys are in New York
City, you should come and visit. Williamsburg– I keep getting it wrong. Williamsburg is also where
we do all of our baking. So we sort of operate on
a hub and spoke model. We realized really early on
that the best part of a bakery, if you strip down all of the fun flavors
and textures and the creative process, you have to have the most
consistent product possible. And we realized that the only
way we’re going to do that– and also we didn’t want to say
goodbye to each other every time we opened a new store, –was to
create one central kitchen that we all bake in together. And we do that behind
our Williamsburg store. And we also offer baking
classes there on Saturdays. so if you guys are in the city–
all of our stores are fun to visit, but the Williamsburg store,
depending on when you come, you might get a little peek
into the back of our kitchen. It’s an 11,000 square foot kitchen. So we made more– these cookies that
just fed you was like– Jenna said, no problem. I got that. This is our team. Some of you might recognize Jenna
in some of these fun photos. You get a little peek into a little bit
of our kitchen in the photo up here. But we very much live in
that philosophy of how you do anything is how you do everything. And oh, that just disappeared. Well, OK, there you go. And so how we live life
and how we approach life and how we approach the relationships
that we have with one another, is how we approach time in the kitchen
is how we love making desserts. And working in a kitchen
is really hard work. It’s usually grueling and it’s
only fun if you make it fun and it’s as fun as you make it. And it’s as challenging
and rewarding as you make it and you get to celebrate
the successes and the failures with each other. So that’s our team. But I’m feel like it’s
time to get baking. Enough about me. AUDIENCE: How do you find great people? CHRISTINA TOSI: How do
we find great people? That’s a great question. It is always a work in progress. I think that if I had to strip
down all of the technicalities, I’d say great people attract
great people, just in general. Case in point. You sort of figure it out. We’re very protective about
who we let through the doors and who we let on our team. I am a long distance runner. I always want to ask people
like, what are your parents like? How did they raise you and are
you a long distance runner? Because those are things that I know. I know for sure that are like,
Jenna’s parents are amazing. And she’s not a long distance runner,
which is not a strike against her, at all, Jenna. But there’s something
about how you’re raised. And the long distance
running for me, is just like the endurance of like just never
quitting and always going and just strong and steady. It’s tricky to read that into
people and to read that out of people in the moment. But a lot of it is also trained,
where like if you’re inspired, amazing things can come out of you. Where like, even in someone that
you might think is questionable, I think that if you are
a good person and you can inspire the love of what we
do in the kitchen, a lot of that comes out of people in really cool ways. And that’s part of the
fun of hiring new people and watching then develop
into these amazing people. So sometimes it’s not just hiring great
people, it’s hiring great potential and watching them become great people. That’s hard. That doesn’t pay the rent. I mean, it pays the rent
in some way, but if it’s by far the most valuable thing, the
most valuable element, of our business. I think probably of any business. OK. It’s corn flake chocolate
chip marshmallow cookie time. How many of you guys have made corn
chocolate chip marshmallow cookies at home? JENNA: Oh, yeah. CHRISTINA TOSI: How did they turn out? Did anybody have cookies
that fell flat or laced out? Be honest. It’s totally fine. Yeah, I know. It happens some times. So the reason that we wanted
to bring this recipe with us, the corn flake chocolate
chip marshmallow cookie is– don’t tell any of the
other cookies, –is my favorite cookie. Don’t tell any of the other cookies. They’re not here with us tonight. It’s one of my favorite cookies
for a few different reasons. It’s the most– it’s a cookie that’s
the most similar to a chocolate chip cookie for sure. It’s also my favorite cookie because
it has more butter and sugar in it than any of the other cookies we make. And that’s a really tricky
sort of like– like, you have to really defy all of the
sort of elements of the universe in order to force that much
butter and sugar into a cookie to make it taste that delicious. It is, because it just is. I used to work for a chef, and he swore
that his wife made the best chocolate chip cookie. I was scarred at an early
age as a pastry cook. And I’d always try to get to the
bottom of why they tasted so good. And one day he was like, I think she
sneaks extra butter into them when no one’s looking. That’s why they’re so good. I thought, huh, that’s a
really interesting approach. What if I’d been using the wrong
amount of butter the entire time, and all I need is to use more butter? The problem with butter is, if you don’t
make the bonds in the mixing process, it’s just going to bake
out onto your baking tray and your cookies are going
to fall flat and lace. And so we’re going to get just
a little dorky about what we do and how we create a nice protective
armor around the butter and the sugar and how we help it defy gravity in the
corn flake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie in the process. So this cookie recipe
is online for any of you that are going to feel super
inspired after eating your cookie or watching this stunt on stage. So all of our cookies,
all of our baked goods, start with unsalted
European style butter. Pastry chefs usually–
there’s usually two camps. I’m in the camp of
pastry chefs that loves to bake with European style butter. And I also like to bake with salt. Other pastry chefs swear by the
exact opposite for their own reasons, which are completely legitimate. European style butter is made
with dairy that’s cultured before it’s churned into butter. So it already has this
really great depth of flavor. And I think a lot of that
is what adds to the sort of like, just depth of flavor that
you taste in any of our baked goods. They’re not good, they’re great,
because of this European style butter. Now, we love to bake with salt, but we
like to be able to control the salt. Baked goods aren’t just about
being sweet and adding salt to a recipe that is a baked good
is not about it being salty. So it’s not about making a
salted caramel every time. Salt just helps bring out the flavor. It helps sharpen the edges of flavor. We don’t add salt to make the
baked good taste salted or salty. But we like to be able to control
the amount of salt that we put in. So we start with unsalted
European style butter. We like to add the salt in with
some of the dry ingredients. Yes. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: We use Plugra
butter, which is actually made in Pennsylvania, which is close. Close. I like to always say,
when you’re baking, and you’re at the grocery store,
if you can make one choice, choose unsalted butter. Because it’s really important to be
able to control the salt after the fact. If you make two choices,
unsalted European style butter. All of our recipes start with it. Sugar. so this is– if you were to compare
this recipe with the standard Toll House cookie recipe, it looks almost the same. I just said that we add, that we
sneak extra butter and extra sugar into the mix. It looks like the same one
for one amount of butter, if you’re going to compare to
the Toll House cookie recipe. But what we do is add less flour. So depending on how you look
at it, we either add less flour or, I like to describe it as
adding more butter and sugar because I think that’s
a more fun and easy way to comprehend why it tastes so good. So light brown sugar,
regular sugar, go to the bowl and we start the creaming process. Most baked goods start by
creaming together fats and sugars to help start the batter. These are the hardest
ingredients to break down and to incorporate, which is
why you start with them first. I’m going to crack– we’re going
to let this go for a few minutes. One large egg. We bake with large eggs in our kitchen. I like the ratio of an egg white
to egg yolk and vanilla extract. All baked goods, in my
opinion, taste delicious and taste like home when they
have vanilla extract in them. Most of our recipes have a
little bit more vanilla extract than the average Toll
House cookie recipe. I realized– one day, I was just
like, I wonder what would happen like, what’s the breaking point
with vanilla extract? And I realized in doing so, that vanilla
extract really adds– it’s not about it tasting like a vanilla
cookie, it’s just something about the scents and the flavor that
it does sort of set in place in a cake batter, in a cookie batter, that
tastes like, just a delicious baked good that your mom or your aunt or
your uncle or your neighborhood bakery made, that you have a relationship with. We learned really early on that
you have to paddle the heck out of the butter and the sugar in
this stage to really make them like each other, to make
them bond together so that they can defy gravity in the oven. I’m going to let Jenna
take over this part, so that you guys don’t have to
listen to the whole mixer over here. What do we got up top? AUDIENCE: What’s the breaking point? CHRISTINA TOSI: What’s the break point? That’s actually a really good question. I don’t know we’ve been gone
so far with butter that we haven’t been able to force it together. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. CHRISTINA TOSI: Say that again. AUDIENCE: Vanilla extract? CHRISTINA TOSI: Oh, what’s
the vanilla extract, [LAUGHING] I would say it’s a matter of opinion. It just comes down to your palate. For like a standard batch of
cookies, like two sticks of butter, you can go as deep as three teaspoons,
but it gets a little like you kind of, start to wink
at it a little bit. It’s a matter of opinion,
but we usually like to use like close to two teaspoons,
which is almost twice what a standard chocolate recipe calls for. It depends on what you’re
using it in and what other flavors your offsetting with it. Yes. AUDIENCE: What like
portion of your time is spent in recipe development
versus production? CHRISTINA TOSI: What
portion of our time is spent in recipe development
versus production? We have an 11,000 square foot kitchen. We have an entire production kitchen
that operates seven days a week. We also have a classroom, this
classroom that I was telling you about that we teach classes in on Saturdays. Usually Monday through Friday,
we develop recipes in there. So we have laundry
lists of things that we want to create, either curiosities
or points of inspiration, like the black and white cookie. Like I got to figure out what
our black and white cookie is. Because I love a black and white cookie. I haven’t figured that out yet. All the way down to like actual
tasks, where it’s like, OK, we’re going to change our menu. We need to come up with
soft serve flavors. Or we need to change
the menu at Ssam Bar. What are some ideas? And we start to play in that process. But there’s usually two or three
of us that are working on stuff. I’m here tonight so I’m definitely
not part of the R&D process today. But I usually am more of like the
idea and the taste tester now, more so than like the idea, the
starting point of recipes, OK, let’s taste through them. Bring the recipe. Let’s talk about what’s happening. So I feel like I’ve become more of like
the Michael, where everyone’s excited. But then sometimes people
don’t listen for sure. Pop quiz? Failed. But it’s a completely
collective process. So five out of seven
days a week, we actually have individuals that are working
towards recipe development and menu development. But I sort of always like to think of
it as well as like all day, every day. Because it’s amazing where
and when lightning strikes. When someone accidentally
adds molasses to a recipe. I hate molasses. When somebody accidentally adds it and
we taste it, because we’re like, well, we can’t throw this away. We taste it and it’s like,
OK, this is disgusting. But it tastes like something
malted or malty or pretzely. And then all of a sudden
it’s like, all right, molasses is our new secret
weapon ingredient when we want to make pretzel cake or we
want to make malted chocolate peanut butter soft serve or what have you. So at any point in
time in our kitchen, we could be just moments away
from a kitchen disaster that then turns into a really cool
R&D uncovering which is really fun. How are we looking? JENNA: Good. I just added the egg and the vanilla. And now we’re in a really crucial
part of our mixing process. CHRISTINA TOSI: OK. I was worried that if
I told you how long it was going to take that you guys
would stop paying attention. So jokes on you. When we mix the corn flake
chocolate chip marshmallow cookies and we’re forcing all of that
extra butter and sugar together, we call it the 10
minute creaming process. Because we cream it for 10 minutes. And we don’t cream it like
on medium for 10 minutes. We are agitating that sucker
on high for 10 minutes. The butter and the sugars
together, they start to get fluffy, they start to aerate, as you
can sort of see maybe down into Jenna’s bowl a little bit. JENNA: Can you see? CHRISTINA TOSI: Oh,
yeah, you’re good, girl. And then we add that one large
egg, cold, into the mixture. Because if you cream the heck out
of butter and sugar for 10 minutes, the friction that you’re creating on
the sides of the bowl, at some point are just going to keep that butter up
and it’s going to start to liquefy, which is not going to be a good thing. So we use that egg as the armor. It helps keep the mixture
cold and that egg yolk really helps coat the butter and
the sugars that we are just trying to make love each other
and bond together in this process. Yeah. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: Say that one more time. Can you over cream the
butter and the sugar? I would say, my definition of
overcreaming the butter and the sugar would be the butter and
the sugar liquefying. So usually, three to four minutes into
the process is when we add an egg. Or in an our kitchen we make–
this is probably a five quart bowl. We make our cookies in 140 quart bowls. So it’s a bowl that’s big enough,
Jenna could take a bubble bath in it. JENNA: It’s like that. CHRISTINA TOSI: So we’re adding
many, many, many cold, large eggs. And those egg yolks are really
what helps the process bond. Yes. AUDIENCE: The [INAUDIBLE]
theory about cooking is that you don’t want
to cream the butter and the sugar for very long because
the sugar boring holes in the butter is what aerates something
light and fluffy like a cake. So, she mixes it together
for like 60 seconds. CHRISTINA TOSI: And
then is done with it. AUDIENCE: What is your thought on that? CHRISTINA TOSI: What’s
my thought on that? I love [INAUDIBLE] I
think she’s amazing. When I make chocolate chip cookies at
home, 60 seconds, 45 seconds, I’m done. To get the butter and the sugars
to bond together in this ratio, absolutely will not happen unless
you start to incorporate air into the mixture in this capacity. So part of it is ratio based. And then the other part of it is,
what you want that and product to be. There’s a really great
website called Serious Eats. One of their writers did,
I think, it’s something crazy like a 10 page study on how to
make the best chocolate chip cookie. And he and has a diary of all
the things that he figured out. And one of them is creaming
the butter and the sugar. So it depends on the ratio of the two. And it’s not just butter to sugar. It’s butter to sugar to the
rest of your ingredients, largely your dry ingredients. AUDIENCE: You know what would happen
if you creamed the butter and the sugar here for like 60 seconds and then added
the egg and creamed for 10 minutes? CHRISTINA TOSI: Oh, if I just
creamed the two together quickly and then added the egg? It’ll still go like this. We start with cold butter
and it’s really hard to get cold butter just to even
consider liking sugar if you only mix it for 60 seconds. So part of it is also the temperature
of your butter in that stage. Yes. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: So we
start with cold butter because we know that we’re going
to be paddling the heck out of it for 10 minutes and we
don’t want it to liquefy. It’s largely that, but
it’s also easier for us to use cold butter because we store our
butter cold, and it’s harder to– we get a more consistent product knowing
that every cook walks straight into the walk-in, grabs all the
butter cold and pulls it out. Rather than getting to
the point of, well, what I think is room temperature butter
might be different than someone else. And then all of a sudden,
you have to probe the butter to understand what
the starting point is. Yes. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: And
usually– in the question was, just going back
to the comment of us baking with unsalted
European style butter and then adding salt after the fact. And what the other camp that– the
other camp, that I mentioned is. It’s usually pastry chefs–
well, the salts factor is usually a matter–
now, no one get mad. But it’s usually a matter of
like European style pastry chefs versus American style pastry chefs. I think American style pastry chefs
are not as afraid to use salt. Or that’s just part of– we
like really sharp, bold flavors. And I think often times,
you don’t find that as much. The European style butter versus the
not, depending on what you’re making, a lot of pastry chef
that make cakes and that make really, really fluffy, delicate,
like almost spongy, or foam cakes, European style butter
almost has a heftiness to it and will weigh down a recipe. We make American style cakes. So we’re starting with
butter and sugar and then we’re adding oil and other fats. It makes the crumb structure more dense. It makes those holds and
air pockets much smaller. But that’s the style
of cake that I prefer. But usually the camp that dos
not like European style butter, doesn’t like it because of
the weight that it sometimes brings in more delicate recipes. OK cool. What do we got over here? JENNA: One more minute. CHRISTINA TOSI: All right,
we’ve got one more minute. I make, when I’m at
home, if I’m not even willing to give 60 seconds
to the creaming process, I will melt the butter and go. Again you’re going to get a
different texture in your end cookie, depending on how long you
mix the dry ingredients, how cold the dough is before you
scoop it and form it and bake it. You might get a little
lacing on the outside of the cookie, which is basically
just the butter baking out a little bit because it wasn’t
emulsified properly with the starch. It wasn’t mixed in
full and some of it was left to basically lace out
and bake on the baking tray. But that’s essentially– you
can do it with some recipes, but this cookie recipe has so
much butter that there’s not– if you don’t create this bond early on
in this process, you’ve got no chance. I, mean they’ll be fine. They’ll just be flat and lacy and
you’ll see all the extra butter that you spend your money on your sheet tray. They end up tasting a
little greasy as such. So we’re 10 minutes, done. So it’s light, it’s fluffy,
it’s glossy, it’s voluminous. All of these things have happened
during the 10 minute creaming process. JENNA: It’s like lighter when
you go to scrape down the bowl. Feels lighter. CHRISTINA TOSI: Feels lighter. OK. And then, just like any cookie recipe,
we’re going to add our dry ingredients. So we have an all purpose flour. Our all purpose flour actually
has a pretty high protein content. It has a protein content
that almost makes it eligible to be a bread flour,
which helps because we don’t want to add a lot of this flour and we want
it to– if you think about what bread flour will do in a
bread recipe, it’s going to hydrate and start to develop
the gluten strands of bread dough that you think about. It’s very strong. It wants to become bread, I suppose
is the best way to think about it. All purpose flour is
a little bit weaker. If you think about trying to make
bread with all purpose flour, it’s harder to get that formation. It’s harder to make
that sort of dough ball. We like to use a high protein flour,
especially in this cookie recipe, because we all this
extra butter and sugar and it’s going to want to
break down and melt out. But we want to give it a little
bit more to sort of bond to. So we use this higher
protein all purpose flour. Kosher salt, we already
talked about that. We like to use kosher salt as opposed
to sea salt or our table salt, which is iodized salt. Mostly because kosher
salt doesn’t really taste salty, whereas I think
table salt and sea, for my palate, it tastes salty. And again, the goal is not to make
salted corn flake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies. It’s to make corn flake
chocolate chip marshmallow cookies that are well balanced. Kosher salt is the salt
that we use in our kitchen. There’s some baking powder
and there’s some baking soda. Those are going to be leaveners
that help the cookie puff and spread and give great texture
and flavor, believe it or not. So we mix these dry
ingredients together. We mix them together for a
very short period of time. Remember, we’re adding this
flour that’s pretty high protein. We’re not trying to
make bread, so we need to be very conservative
about the amount of time that we spend mixing the flour
into the butter, sugar, egg bond that we just made. I like to stop when it’s
this weird shaggy mixture. Does that look mixed? Absolutely not, but guess what? We still have corn flakes, chocolate
chips, and marshmallows to add. So the thing to think about
when you’re mixing is not just, OK, I know I need to add
dry ingredients and I know it needs to be a
nice homogeneous mixture. It also has to be
consideration with what else you’re going to do with the
dough before it’s done mixing. So I mix it to this shaggy space. We’re going to add our corn flakes. These are corn flake crunch actually,
which is like a caramelized corn flake. They were on the crunch
slide that we looked at. Corn flakes. Sugar and salt like we talked about,
not a lot, just to round out the edges. Milk powder, like we
talked about, just to add depth of flavor and some chewiness. Some melted, unsalted European style
butter, toasted off in the oven. Mini chocolate chips. We like to use mini
chocolate chips at Milk Bar. I like fancy chocolate, but
I have the hardest time– I don’t like to adulterate chocolate. I like chocolate– I
feel like chocolate chips are meant for chocolate chip cookies. And I feel really bad taking
really fancy chocolate and putting them into cookies. I also like mini chocolate chips. They distribute nice and
evenly, so you get a little bit of chocolate chip in every bite. And mini marshmallows. And these just get mixed together until
they are a nice homogeneous mixture. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: That’s a great question. So we have some cookie recipes
that we add glucose syrup to. Glucose syrup is sort of– I earned it. It’s good. Chef, it’s good. We add glucose syrup to
some of our cookie recipes. My favorite cookie is fudgy in the
center and crispy on the outside, like I mentioned before. Some cookies have a harder time,
depending on the makeup of them, they have a harder time
maintaining that fudgy center. Based on what we’re mixing
in, based on the ingredients based on the makeup of the formula. So in my head I was
thinking, all right, well, how am I going to get this
cookie to be fudgy in the center. And glucose syrup is sort of like
a less sweet version of corn syrup. It’s less fluid so it’s thicker
and it’s not very sweet at all. And I thought well, glucose
syrup, if I put it in a recipe, it makes it seem like
it’s going to be fudgy. It has almost fudgy, like
clear, fudgy quality to it. So we added it to the cookies
originally to keep them fudgy in the center and crispy on the outside. And then we also realized that
when we were doing– it worked, it worked great. We also realized when we were doing
that, that they also helped keep them fudgy in the center for a longer period
of time because of the makeup of what glucose is, which is pretty cool. The cool thing about glucose is
it has a very low water content. When you’re mixing things
into a cookie dough, the thing that you
really don’t want to do is add something that has a
high water content because it’s going to make your cookies bake
off into almost like cakey, cookie– I don’t like cakey cookies. I like fudgy in the center,
crispy on the outside cookies. And so glucose syrup is a cool
add-in to get the right texture, but not to add such a water content that
it would sort of make the cookies puff or it would hydrate the
cookies in a way that they would puff into cakey cookies. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: Oh, there she is. Sorry, I couldn’t figure out
where the voice was coming from. Why do we use both baking powder and
baking soda and not one or the other? Part of it is flavor. I love the flavor that the
two of them bring together. In like a standard Toll House cookie
recipe, it just calls for baking soda. Baking powder, or baking powder that
you usually find in grocery stores is double acting, so it
acts, usually immediately, when it’s hydrated in a recipe. That usually happens
more on the cake end. But then it also happens
again in the baking process. It provides– it releases a gas,
which helps your baked good puff. Baking soda reacts the most when
there’s an acid introduced to it. So in cakes, buttermilk, or lemon
juice or something like that. So I like what baking soda
does from a flavor standpoint, but I find that the baking– we put
baking powder in as well, because it helps give a little bit extra lift. And the way that we
bake our cookies, we’ll bake them– we almost underbake them
slightly so that you get that lift and you get that crispy top. But we underbake them just
slightly so that when they cool, there’s still a fudgy
center and they almost sink into themselves just a little bit. So you get the crispy element,
but still the fudgy center. So the baking soda is there for purpose,
but also because it’s the flavor that you– believe it or not,
I know you don’t probably think about baking soda
being an awesome flavor. But it really does shape a
nuanced flavor of a cookie. And it’s there for that reason
and for the leavening purpose. But we use baking powder as well to
get a little bit more of that height when it acts the second
time in a hot oven. OK, so these corn flake chocolate chip
marshmallow cookies are in the oven. If we were at all worried about them,
we would take them– in our kitchen, we’d scoop them and we refrigerate them. Sometimes we even freeze them. So we get the mixture
super, super, super, cold. Because what happens when you
bake room temperature butter, well, it starts to melt a lot quicker,
because room temperature is already a lot warmer than butter that’s come
out of a 40 or 41 degree refrigerator. So we usually take this cookie dough
and we refrigerate it in our kitchen. That really helps seal
the deal and the bond that we made between the
butter, the sugar, and the egg. And it’s an insurance plan so that the
second those cookies hit a hot oven, the butter doesn’t want to
start– the butter doesn’t want to sort of break up with the
butters and the egg and bake out. It allows the outside of
the cookie to bake first before the butter starts to melt down
and break down in the baking process. Yes. AUDIENCE: What temperature do your
have your kitchen [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: You’re
going to love this answer. So the question was,
what temperature do we have our kitchen and our
refrigerator and our freezer? Our kitchen is whatever temperature
it happens to be at that time of year. We do not have central
heating or air conditioning, which anybody that’s ever– anybody out
there that’s a baker, I want a standing round of applause for that, because that
is a gravity– that is like a– that is the largest accomplished–
creating baked goods in an un-temperature controlled kitchen
is a very difficult thing to do. Our refrigerator is usually live in
the 38 degree time, temperature range. And our freezers, our
walk-in freezers, usually live between negative five,
usually negative 10 and zero, but usually largely in
the negative five zone. A lot of our units are
large units, so they always go into defrost time
once or twice a day. And the temperature will
raise a few degrees. But we bake and an un-temperature
controlled environment. So there’s no reason
why you can’t get it done at home, Unless you also
have an temperature controlled kitchen in your home. OK so the cookies are going
to bake for about 10 minutes. We bake then at 350
in a convection oven. A convection oven is an oven
that has a large fan somewhere on one of its sides, above, below, that
helps distribute the heat of the oven, largely. Some of you might have a
convection oven at home. Some of you might have
a conventional oven. A conventional oven is an oven that
just has a heating element somewhere. My heating element is in
the bottom of my oven. It’s just like almost like a
little– you can see it heat up pink when it starts to get warm. I had a conventional oven
before that heated from the top. It’s basically just like a hot box. There’s no fan that’s distributing heat. If you’re baking in a
conventional oven, you want to bake and 25 degrees
lower than a convection oven. So if you’re baking these cookies at
home, you want to bake them at 325. A lot of that is just heat distribution. All right, Jenna’s going
to bake those cookies. And we’re going make
chocolate chip cake. Yes. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: Yes. So the question was,
have you played around with baking temperature for the cookies? We haven’t played around with the
baking temperature of the cookies too much from a textural standpoint
and to get just the right crispiness, mostly because they came
out great the first time. Truth be told. We’re in a safe place here. I’ll just give it to you straight. We do bake in convection ovens than
are combi ovens and that are electric. So their sense of temperature and their
recovery time is incredibly acute. It’s very, very accurate. When we open the door, the
recovery time is very, very short. That’s part of the process. When we bake the crack pie, the pie
that I showed you after the cereal milk, because of the sugar in that
pie, the nature of that pie, we start the baking process at 350. But the top of the pie starts to– the
sugars in the pier start to caramelize, so we actually turn down the
temperature to 325 to let the center of the pipe finish baking. So we do play around with
temperature, but with cookies. Yes, in the back. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: Yes, the armor. Say that again. AUDIENCE: Do you need the whites? CHRISTINA TOSI: That’s
a really great question. Do we need the whites in the recipe? We have not– I have not tried
the recipe without egg whites. I do think the egg white in
the recipe does help provide a little bit of the lift in the cookie. An all egg yolk cookie
would be super, duper rich, I would say maybe if we were making
the cookie without the egg white, and just egg yolks, we’d need to
add either a little bit more egg yolk or a little bit less
flour, because the whites also provide a specific moisture
content that helps the formula. ” we chose to add just yolks, I might
almost think about taking away a little bit of the butter, not because I’m
worried about the sort of armor quality of egg yolks, but more just the
richness and the balance of flavor. Because there such a thing is
like too- too rich, too much. But that’s a really good question. Jenna write it down. We’re going to test it out. We’ll be your cookie testers. OK, so chocolate chip cake. Have any of you had the
chocolate chip layer cake? It’s a sleeper. It’s a sleeper. JENNA: Not in my world. CHRISTINA TOSI: Not in– oh, none of
you exist in Jenna’s world right now. You hurt her feelings. So we make these fun
layer cakes at Milk Bar. They all make 14 different
flavors of layer cake. And they all follow the same formula. One, they look funny. What happened here? Why isn’t there anything there? We don’t frost any of
the sides of the cake. I love cake. I love cake. More than cake, I really
love frosting, hands down, I could eat a tub of frosting. I think the thing that always
bothers me a little bit about cake or before I decided that I
should do something about it instead of complaining
about it in my head, is that typically with cake, you
get cake, frosting, cake, frosting, cake, frosting. Or you just get get cake, frosting. And sometimes the cake’s
dry, or the cake’s fine. It’s just fine. When was the last time you
had a cake that was awesome. It’s usually just fine, in a
layer cake capacity, right? I’m not talking about like
a flourless chocolate cake. I’m talking about layer
cake, capacity cake. It’s usually just fine. Sometimes it’s dry. The frosting is almost always the best
part, but then it’s also usually like, OK, maybe it’s vanilla,
maybe it’s chocolate, maybe it’s lemon if you’re lucky. There was never a lot of
flavor personality in cakes. And that always sort
of bummed me out, like, where’s the perspective,
where’s the point of view, where’s the flavor and the texture? Cake is also usually just soft, right? It’s like soft cake, soft
frosting, soft cake, soft frosting. So I thought, OK, what is my– just
m what’s my cheesecake going to be, if I know I can’t make
cheesecake, if I know I can’t make apple pie, what is it
that I am going to make with it? So with cake, I thought,
OK, layer cakes. I can do that. And I’m going to break it open. Why not question what can or
can’t be a layer in a layer cake? Why does it just have to be frosting? How can I make fun flavors
of frosting and fun elements that could be layers in a layer cake. The one thing I didn’t
share with you guys is, I’m definitely a don’t take yourself
so seriously person, but details, details, details, when
it really matters. I just am not fussy about cakes. I could never understand
going to culinary school– I’d say 80% of my class were
obsessed with cakes, wedding cakes. And it was all about like,
OK, I’m going to make this kind of boring
cake frosting and then I’m going to drape some fondant over it. Like, I get it, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. But like, I went to
culinary school to eat and to learn how to feed you guys
to eat And so, I was like OK, OK. I’m not playing that game. I also just I don’t have the capacity
to make something look perfect. I’m a very comfortably human person. Like I describe the Milk Bar
style as we’re comfortably human. We are perfectly imperfect
and we’re not going– I can’t create a business based on cakes
that look perfect and don’t taste good. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. So I was like, I’m not going to
cover the sides, I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. And if I’m going to take all
this time trying to figure out flavors of cake and flavors
of fillings and layers and textures, why would I hide
it behind a bunch of frosting? I’m going to save the frosting and bring
it home with me and eat it after work and then we’ll leave the cakes
to sort of speak for themselves. So all of our cakes
look a little like this. People call it naked, which makes
me feel uncomfortable personally. They’re not naked, they’re good. They’re good. They are what they are. But so this is just a little
bit of a story of a layer cake. I just don’t want anyone to freak out. This is what they look like. 14 different flavors,
they’re all different colors. Each of them is meant to sort of draw
you into the flavors that are inside and layered up. So the cake batter, I think is
a really fun study in emulsions because it’s all about bubbles
and it’s all about space, so we’ll talk about that. So it starts off, just like the cookies,
with unsalted European style butter. This cake, like I mentioned a little
bit earlier, is an American style cake. So it has a lot of fat it it. It’s not a sponge cake,
it’s not a foam cake, it’s not based on a
egg whites or aeration. It gets its height from leaveners,
so baking powder and baking soda, just like the cookies, but in a
little bit larger of capacity. It also gets its height from eggs,
which we’ll talk about in a second. So unsalted European style
butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, easy enough, This, we start the creaming process. It gets three large eggs, easy enough. Let’s crack those here. And then vanilla extract. I don’t know if you can see how much. There’s a lot of vanilla
extract for a layer cake. But the layer cake itself is
chocolate chip layer cake. So we’re making a chocolate
chip cake to start. And I want this chocolate
chip cake to taste almost like a chocolate chip cookie, so
I’m going to add a lot of vanilla extract to it. This cake itself is chocolate
chip, passion fruit, and coffee. And the inspiration
behind this cake is sort of a riff on a fancy pastry
chef triumvirate of flavors that is often used coffee,
chocolate, and passion fruit. If you think about if, they’re
all bitter, they’re all sweet, they’re all floral. And so, I figured it would
be fun to make a layer cake in our fun, comfortably human way,
based off of very fancy pastry chef tastes and flavors. So the mixture gets creamed together. We’re not creaming it the
way that we would the cookie. We’re not going for the 10
minute creaming process, we’re just looking to incorporate
the butter and the sugars together. I’m going to add the eggs
one by one into the mixture. I don’t add one egg until the egg
before it has disappeared and dissipated into the mixture. Easy enough. Do any of you guys make
cakes from scratch at home? That’s impressive. I was raised by women that love to bake. The one thing I didn’t
tell you is, I was never taught how to make a cake
from scratch in this capacity until– not even actually
in culinary school. In culinary school, they teach
you how to make a genoise or a lot of these European style cakes. I had to figure out the American
style cake a little bit for myself. But I’m always impressed by those
that make cakes from scratch at home. I don’t know why. It’s not that hard. But I just never– Sorry,
it’s not that hard. Sorry. That wasn’t nice. That wasn’t nice. It’s mind over matter, where
it’s a very simple technique. But I think it shows just like
a capacity to get in there and get in the kitchen. And I just never, ever– it always
seems like the most glamorous thing to do in your home kitchen
when I was growing up. So American style cake, we added
one egg, we added two eggs. After we add the second egg after the
first egg disappeared into the mixture. So after we are confident
that was well mixed, we’re going to add this last egg
with a little bit of vanilla extract. At this point, the batter
is starting to get we, but we have a lot more
wet ingredients to add. We still have buttermilk
that we’re going to add. And we still have grape seed
oil that we’re going to add. The buttermilk that we’re
adding is for flavor. It also has an acidity that will
help react with the baking soda later on in the recipe,
that’ll help create those foamy bubbles and that
height that you get from cake. The problem with
buttermilk is when I add it in this stage, the butter and the
sugar and the eggs get really pissed. They don’t want– they do not want
the buttermilk in the mixture. But the buttermilk’s got to go in. And buttermilk, we know,
is not an emulsifier. Wasn’t on that list. It’s not providing any sort of
armor, but we need it in the mixture. A lot of times in recipes, they’ll
have you alternate wet and dry. So they’ll have you alternate
buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour. I can’t. It’s just, why? It’s too much. It’s too much. I don’t feel like doing it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t feel like doing it. So what we do do, we still
have grape seed oil to add. It’s too fussy. I don’t like doing it,
so I’m not doing it. We don’t do it at Milk Bar. We do have grape seed
oil that we need to add. We use grape seed oil and
canola oil, vegetable oil, an oil that is flavorless
and odorless, we’ll do here unless you want the odor or the
flavor to incorporate into the cake. So pumpkin seed oil, if you’re
making pumpkin seed cake or olive oil, if you want olive oil cake. I start to add some of
the grape seed oil in, and the grape seed oil,
funnily enough, really helps the emulsification of
the batter at this point. It’s like the social lubricant for
the party that’s happening in here. If a cook adds too much
buttermilk, it just starts to look like a crazy separated
mass and my favorite thing to do is to walk over and start
pouring in the grape seed oil and letting the mixture go, because
it makes it look like miracle worker. All I did was add– So I’m just going to show you know how
crazy it looks right now because you get you guys are super
impressed when the grape see oil comes into play a little bit more. You see that? It looks like it’s curdled. It looks like I just made cheese. Let’s get a little spotlight in here. Yeah OK, it;s not going to
look like that in a second. AUDIENCE: What does the buttermilk add? CHRISTINA TOSI: What does it add? AUDIENCE: Yeah. CHRISTINA TOSI: So if it adds
flavor, believe it or not. It’s similar to the leaveners. That we add, where it will add flavor. It also adds the acidity that
baking soda needs to react properly in that leavening process. So I’m just going along
with the buttermilk. I’m sick of taking my time. And grape seed oil’s coming
in so get ready, guys. It’s about to happen. A European cake is usually
and largely egg-based. There’s usually not a ton
of fat in a European cake. And it’s usually very delicate. There’s usually not baking powder and
baking soda in it to act as a leavener. You typically take egg whites
and you whip them up over here. If there even is egg yolks in the
recipe, you’ll aerate them separately. You’ll very delicately
incorporate the two so that you don’t deflate the batter. Because you’re really
depending on that height that you’ve established to maintain in
the baking process so that it keeps on. Every once in awhile you will fold in
a tablespoon or two of melted butter. You can’t taste it. Why would you put butter in
something that you can’t taste? I don’t know. OK so, we’re almost there. This is looking a little bit better. You guys see that? A little bit better, it’s almost there. We’re going to let it go
until it’s nice and glossy. I’m going to let Jenna to take over
this, so I can ask you guys questions or you guys can ask me questions and not
be bored by watching grape seed oil go. Yes. MICHAEL BRENNER: Can I say something? So I’ve got to say this. CHRISTINA TOSI: Get in there. MICHAEL BRENNER: I’ve got to say this. CHRISTINA TOSI: Get in there. MICHAEL BRENNER: OK,
I’m allowed to say this. So, do you know what it is
with the grape seed oil? CHRISTINA TOSI: Tell me. MICHAEL BRENNER: It’s a
volume fraction thing. CHRISTINA TOSI: Oh, slam
It’s a volume fraction thing. MICHAEL BRENNER: Because you know,
it’s the volume fraction of– it’s the volume– I have my own mic. I don’t think it works though. Does my mic work? So it’s a volume fraction thing because
what matters, remember I told you 63%? Remember I told you 63%? CHRISTINA TOSI: I’ve got an
apron over here to prove it. MICHAEL BRENNER: You guys didn’t know. That’s going to be the question
next week, what percent. So if you calculate– people should go
home– I’m sure your recipe’s online. CHRISTINA TOSI: Yeah, it is. MICHAEL BRENNER: So I’m sure
you could go and calculate the volume fraction of oil in
there and the buttermilk has water, so you’ve increased the amount
of water, so the volume fraction has gone way down. So you’ve got to push it up. CHRISTINA TOSI: You’ve
got to push it back up. MICHAEL BRENNER: And
it’s going to go up 63%. Anyway– CHRISTINA TOSI: Volume fraction. MICHAEL BRENNER: Volume fraction. CHRISTINA TOSI: Homework for next week. I feel like as a
professor, you’re not even supposed to tell them what they’re
going to be tested on next week. You all got a free pass. 63%. Yes. In the back. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: How do
we feel about macarons? I think they’re delicious
when made properly. I think often times– I think dessert,
in general, when made properly is delicious. It’s hard, it’s hard with
certain desserts that become so trendy that people
get so excited about them, that they forget technique
and nuance and they’re supposed to have certain
texture and consistency. We don’t make macarons. We don’t make them for the same reason
that we don’t make other things. I know that other people
are super excited about them and they often choose flavor or
inspiration over technique or end product. And I think that has largely made
macarons a tricky subject matter because people either love them
or they like to be haters on them. I love a delicious macaron. macarons are really, really difficult
to make and to make properly, but– AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: Say that again. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: The technique
that I was raised and taught, was, after you go through
whipping the egg white, and after you delicately
fold in almond flower and so on, and after
you grind down the 10X and the almond flour together and push
it through a sieve and then fold it, and you go to pipe these macarons,
it’s to let them sit for two hours, so that a very thin skin forms. And that skin forms because the
air is drying out the surface. Aside from the composition of the
recipe, that is the number one– that’s how you can always
tell me a good macaron from– AUDIENCE: What about the
beating of the egg whites? CHRISTINA TOSI: Questionable. AUDIENCE: There is a breaking point? CHRISTINA TOSI: Yes. There’s a breaking point, that’s
the temperature of the egg white. It’s how much sugar, salt you’re adding
to help keep it stable and stiff. It also comes down to
how often you’re folding in your 10X and your almond flour
that have been ground together and sieved out. So many factors that could
be a success or a failure. I love them but it bums me
out when someone calls– I learned in culinary school– I learned many things, but
one of my favorite takeaways was when you have
something on your menu, you’re making a promise
to your customers. So if you’re going to
call something ice cream, it damn well better be ice cream. Or if you’re going to call
something a cake, of if you’re going to call something a pie, or
if you call something a macaron, that’s what it needs to be. It can’t just be like your best attempt
at it or your kind of attempt at it. If you’re going to call it something,
you’re making that promise. You’re creating that expectation. There’s nothing worse than when you
order like a dessert at a restaurant and you’re like, I thought it was
going to be something different because the menu said it was something. And I think sometimes that’s what
happens with macarons because people get so excited about the
potential enthusiasm behind them that they forget that they
also have to be macarons. How are we looking? JENNA: Good. CHRISTINA TOSI: OK. Nice and glossy. Look at that, volume fracture. Coming back up. Buttermilk has been saved. JENNA: You’re getting an A plus. Now, teach. CHRISTINA TOSI: So, it’s
dry ingredient time. We’re going to add cake flour. We’re going to add kosher salt. We’re going to add baking
powder and baking soda. Same reason, but different reasons
for the baking powder and baking soda in this recipe. For leavening, for
height, the baking powder is going to start to react
when we add it to this mixture. The baking soda and the baking
powder in its second iteration will react when they hit the
oven, the baking soda when it hits the acidity of the
buttermilk, the baking powder when it hits the heat the oven a second time. I’m going to let Jenna take
this away and look at these. Oh, did you guys see these, by chance? We’re going to give those
away at the end of class. So I hope you guys
were paying attention. JENNA: I’m just adding a little slower. CHRISTINA TOSI: OK. So Jenna’s adding the
dry ingredients and then she’s going to add– she’s
going to paddle them together. We’re going to get the cake baked off. What other questions do you guys have? Yes, in the back. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: In the
supermarket, we get– AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: Double
acting baking powder. Double acting baking powder is
probably the most common baking powder that you find in grocery stores. Single acting, I think still
exits, but not so frequently. Single acting baking powder only
acts when it hits and hydrates. It doesn’t react again in the oven. And the reason they created
double acting baking powder was because if it only reacts
once when it hits the mixture, it means like Jenna’s going way too
slow for single acting baking powder. Like, you got to hit it in the
batter and get it in the oven because that’s the only opportunity
you have for that baking powder to release the carbon dioxide to
create those big gas and the tunneling that you get and the height
that you get in cakes. Yes. MICHAEL BRENNER: Let’s try
to mics, because otherwise– AUDIENCE: According
to your book, you seem to be a very big fan of American
butter cream frostings as opposed to look like a baked frosting
or a European frosting. CHRISTINA TOSI: Yeah. AUDIENCE: Can you talk about why? CHRISTINA TOSI: Yeah. We have– What’s the
best way to put this? I clearly had an issue with the
cake unit of culinary school. There was this huge lead up
to the butter cream unit, like you are going to go crazy
when you have this frosting. It;s the best frosting you’ve
ever had before in your life. And I just– it was so
complicated and over the top and it didn’t taste that great. I mean it tasted great. There’s butter in it, there’s
sugar in it, it’s fine. But it was so tricky and it seems
so froufrou in a way that was like, OK, well, you have to bring your
sugar to the right temperature. And then you have to pour
it into your whipping egg whites that have to be just so. And then you have to add your
butter chunk by chunk by chunk until it dissipates. And I just thought, like, I know
how to make icing taste good. I’ve been eating it all my life. And I just– also the nuance
of a European style buttercream is harder to get additional flavors in. And we’re going to make
coffee frosting next, which is one of my most favorite
things to make because it’s simple, but also to really help
explain emulsifications and how they affect
what I do for a living. I just didn’t like the parameters and
the makeup of a European style butter cream. I didn’t like the fussiness of it. There were way too many pitfalls in
the process and it was too fussy. And I also found that
because of the makeup of it, it’s really easy to break down. It’s really hard to make the day before
and then bringing it back to life takes almost as much
effort and then trying to get other flavors into it
became very, very, very difficult and I just thought, get rid of this. I can make frosting and
butter cream on my own. So we are going to make-
I’ll show you guys- and I was raised by this funny
mom that loved to make box cake and I was raised by grandmothers
and they made frosting one way. And honestly, that is the way
that we make frosting today. We don’t make boiled frosting. We don’t make anything
other than this frosting. It’s really simple and it’s really
easy to alter the flavors of it. It’s butter, unsalted
European style butter. It’s confectioner’s sugar. We paddle those two suckers together
until the butter has broken down and we’re going to make this
frosting in a coffee frosting. When we are creating
recipes and we’re trying to figure out what flavor we want in
what vehicle, so in this case, coffee into a frosting, we have so many
decisions we have to think about. One, what type of frosting
do we want to make? Inevitably, it comes back
to this very simple style of frosting and how are we
going to get the flavor in? So when you think about coffee, I could
skin this cat so many different ways. I can just add coffee, but
coffee is largely water-based. So it’s going to alter my volume. It’s going to plummet
my volume fraction. MICHAEL BRENNER: Plummet
the volume fraction. CHRISTINA TOSI: It’s not good. It’s going to separate. It’s not going to emulsify. This is not good. No one wants an unemulsified frosting. Can you hand me one more spatula? JENNA: Yeah, of course. CHRISTINA TOSI: I can add espresso. Espresso works. Espresso is a little bit
bitter and I don’t know. I don’t want it to taste like espresso. I want it to taste like coffee,
I could– what else could I do? I could melt the butter and
try and brew coffee through it or try and do like a
pour over with coffee. I start going in all these
places of like how can I do it? We tested so many different
recipes for coffee frosting and we ended up taking whole milk,
instant coffee, and some kosher salt, and the instant coffee really allows
you to get a depth of flavor in there without having to add too much milk. So you can really, really
control the depth of flavor against the amount of
milk but you’re adding in. Now, the hardest part
about creating something is it’s really easy to
dream up an idea, but it’s really hard to make it into a reality. I’m going to let you
finish while I talk. And the hardest part about
something like this coffee frosting is I know I need to add
coffee in some degree. The instant coffee really needs
the milk to dissolve itself, right? Maybe some of you eat
instant coffee granules, but I don’t– I want it to be smooth,
and I want it to have the flavor of coffee. So I can’t just paddle
instant coffee into my butter. I need enough liquid to hydrate that
instant coffee into a coffee flavor. But I also know that I only
have a certain allowance for the amount of liquid that I can
add into this frosting before it breaks and it separates. And this coffee frosting like
literally comes right up to the line, in terms of keeping that emulsification
intact and separating it out. And that is the hardest
part of the job, where it’s like knowing when to say when. I wish that more of
us took these classes to be able to be able to
really calculate the math and understand– we
understand why it’s happening. We understood how it’s
happening, but sometimes we don’t understand what the like, what
the very, very, very, very, very– what the tipping point
is and what amount we can add before it tips over and so on. And that’s the coolest
part of the job too, is sort of getting to learn about the
scientific process through something as simple as like, I want
to make a coffee frosting, but it needs to be able to be
smooth enough to spread and so on. Coffee frosting. How are we looking over there? Are we good? Are we making it happen? JENNA: Yeah, we’re making it happen. CHRISTINA TOSI: But
frosting is one– frosting is one of those funny things where it
really is all about– unless you just want your frosting to taste like butter
and sugar, which is what we have in here, you really have to figure
out how you’re going to get that sucker to emulsify and what you’re
adding in it, and how you’re adding it, to really tell the flavor
story that you want. So it’s sort of like
maintaining your imagination, but also understanding what
is and what isn’t possible, and why it is or isn’t possible. And understanding all
the different vehicles that you can bring that
flavor into the picture and how you’re going
to get maximum flavor for the consistency and the texture
that you want your end product to be. Yes. AUDIENCE: I have a question about
one of your other frostings. I don’t know if you
consider it frosting, but I had the opportunity
to try your popcorn cake. And it was amazing. I’m wondering what the
corn fudge is and how that that’s made if you
want to go into detail. I would love that. CHRISTINA TOSI: Sure. So, we have a cake on
the menu at Momofuku Ssam Bar that is a popcorn cake. It was born entirely from
inspiration at the movie theater. And we make the cake itself by
challenging what a flour can be or challenging what
starch in a recipe can be. We basically take popcorn and we
grind it down, popped popcorn, and we grind it down into
what we call a flour, and then we pass it
through a sieve or a tami, to sort of keep some of the kernels up
and try and create a flour out of it. We do that with a lot of things. We do it with pretzels. We do it with anything
that can grind down, we’ll use as a partial flour replacement
to really get that flavor in. One of the layers of the cake– so we
don’t only make cakes with frosting. Some of our cakes, or a lot of our
cakes don’t even have frosting. We’ll use curds, we’ll use
jams, we’ll use jellies. We’ll use, in this case,
what we call a popcorn fudge. The popcorn fudge is very much
like a ganache, in that it’s a white chocolate based. A ganache is just
typically chocolate-based and there’s some fat in it. So you’re almost making like a
pliable or spreadable chocolate. We take white chocolate. We– JENNA: Sorry. CHRISTINA TOSI: She gets so distracted. Did you guys hear me ask her to help me
and then she was like, I’m out of here. We make a fudge or a ganache
with white chocolate and butter. We add some of that popcorn. We actually take some of the popcorn
and we blend it with heavy cream. So we make like a popcorn
flavored heavy cream. We blend it. We strain it. Because we don’t want the mouth feel of
the popcorn, we just want the flavor. And where you would typically
put heavy cream in the recipe, we put this popcorn cream. And we make this popcorn
fudge or popcorn ganache. So that’s very similar to the
cereal milk theory, right? It’s like I know how to make this
flavored milk, and in this case, it’s popcorn milk or
popcorn heavy cream. And where can I put it in
a recipe that is subtle, the recipe itself is subtle
enough that it’s just waiting for flavor to come in this vehicle. In this case, it’s heavy cream. Popcorn fudge. Yes. AUDIENCE: Birthday cake truffles
are my personal favorite. How did you create those and
any other history around those. CHRISTINA TOSI: We make a birthday
layer cake, which is on the first slide that I showed before we
got into cereal milk. The birthday layer cake and therefore
the corresponding birthday truffles are born from the box
cake mix of my childhood. My mother always made funfetti
box cake and she topped it with that sort of like tub, that
shelf stable tub of frosting, that had little rainbow bits in it. It took us two years
to develop that recipe. I know it sounds crazy. Because we could get it very,
very close and almost just right. But when we would do a
side by side tasting, we could never quite get there. We learned that clear vanilla
extract, which does not naturally occur in this environment, was the
secret in place of your standard, like darker Tahitian vanilla extract. And we also found that things
like citric acid and baking powder in the frosting were
nuances that we found by looking at the back
of the box of cake and the back of the box of
frosting, that brought flavor in ways, in little nuances of flavor
that we would have never expected. So for every layer cake that
we make, we make cake truffles, which are little bites of cake. And I will sort of show you when I cut
this cake– this is our chocolate chip cake here. I’m just going to give you
guys a little look see. We made it for you ahead of
time just so you didn’t have to wait for the real thing to bake. We make these layer cakes–
we bake all of our cakes in pans like this,
whether it’s birthday cake or whether it’s chocolate
chocolate chip cake. So that we have a nice
even bake across the board. The other thing that
bummed me out about cakes was that when you go to bake them
in a traditional round cake pan, you pour all the batter in, sometimes
you even pour it across three, but the problem when you’re sitting in
a metal or aluminum of some sort tin, is that you get weird heat conductivity. And depending on how much
you’re baking, you’re getting cake that’s
overbaked on the outside so that’s perfectly baked in the center. Or you’re getting cake that’s
underbaked in the center to be perfectly based on the outside. So we got smart and said, well,
what if I just take the cake batter and pour it into a sheet
pan and bake it like that? That’s how I know I can get the
most even consistent bake of cake. The only problem is that you
get this rectangular cake and you’re trying to
make this and you’re trying to make it into a six inch round. So when we make this cake, we punch
out the rounds of cake that we need. One, two, and the third round we
piece together with two halves. But what happens after the fact is,
I have all this delicious cakes scrap left over and it’s still good. It’s still servable. But I have but every
time I make a layer cake. So to make the birthday cake truffle
or the chocolate chip cake truffle, we take the scraps from the layer
cakes, and we mix them together with a liquid that we
choose that has flavor and that’s going to add to the
flavor profile of the layer cake and therefore the cake truffles. In chocolate chip cakes,
it’s passion fruit puree. This is also what we use to
soak the layer cake with. So we bind these cake scraps together. For a birthday cake, we take
the birthday cake scrap, we bind it together with
a vanilla scented milk. So we take some whole milk
and mix it with a little bit of that clear vanilla extract that
we found was the secret weapon. Bind it together, roll it
into fudgy little cake balls, and then we toss that in a thin
layer of melted white chocolate. That acts as a glue for
the outer coating which is just a sandier version of the
cake that we call birthday sand. And that, melted white chocolate
layer, it acts as a glue, but when it sets up, when it’s
chills out and it changes its phase, it creates a freshness and
a shell and a freshness seal to keep the inside of the chocolate
cake truffle or the birthday cake truffle, nice and fudgy and in the
birthday cake case, vanilla scented. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
–with brown butter. And so when you make it any like
baked good with brown butter, you’re melting the butter and thus
breaking the emulsion into the milk solids and the butter fat. So I was wondering how you
combat like creaming method. Do you like switch over
to quick bread method or like how do you usually combat that? CHRISTINA TOSI: When we make
cakes or cookies or something that we add brown butter to,
because brown butter is butter that’s literally browned in a pan. And browned is probably
a generous description. It’s burned. And you have to burn it to bring out
the nuttiness of the caramelized milk solids. That’s sort of what you get
when you get brown butter. But when you do that, you are
changing the makeup of butter. Typically you do it as well all the
water content in butter goes away. It evaporates it in
the browning process. When we make recipes with brown butter,
we don’t just use a one for one. Like OK, well, if I’m using two
sticks of butter and I’m browning it, then I’m just going to use those two
sticks in my corn flake chocolate chip cookie recipe. What we do is we’ll
take that brown butter and we take it further than
you maybe you might imagine. Like it’s burned, it’s burned
to the bottom of your pan. And then we have a
different ratio– we then also use regular butter in the recipe
whether it’s a cookie or cake or a pie and we start the process just as though
brown butter was an additional add in later in the process. And we add those sort of brown
butter bits as flavoring elements. They certainly still have
a fat content to them. So the formula is different. We wouldn’t just take it and add
it into the chocolate chip cake batter in the same way. But we don’t treat it as
though it is butter, even though it’s butter in a different form. And that’s the secret I’ve learned. I have worked for pastry chefs that
made brown butter cake or this or that, and it never came out the same,
because they were basing the butter content of the recipe
off of brown butter, and depending on who
made the brown butter, you’re taking it further or less
far and so it’s makeup changes, and we’d always get an
inconsistent product. So we started treating it at Milk Bar
as almost like an add in ingredient. And we’d burn it, we’d take it further. We’d take it super, super, super, far. And we don’t treat it as though
it’s a butter in a recipe. Yeah. AUDIENCE: Do you guys use
exclusively combi ovens and what besides the [INAUDIBLE]? CHRISTINA TOSI: We do use
exclusively combi ovens. We use exclusively combi ovens
because all of our recipe testing, it’s sort of one of those
funny accidents where those were the only ovens that
existed at the restaurants when I first started at Momofuku and
so all of the recipe testing that I did happened in those combi ovens. In the restaurants we use them to cook
proteins, we use them to steam eggs and so on and so forth. We use the combi ovens
largely on convection to bake. For the combination
function, we only use the combination function of steam
and convection to make bagel bombs, but we use the steam
function to steam buns. We make pork buns and veggie buns. Steamed buns are essentially like bread
dough that is steamed instead of baked. We steam eggs. But we don’t steams eggs at 212. We’ll steam them lower at 145. And that’s the cool
part of a combi oven. It allows you– it
creates a false– I mean, can you create steam at a
temperature lower than 212? In theory, I mean,
sorry, in real terms, no. But essentially the oven keeps at a
temperature that’s lower than 212, and it injects steam in
or water in and knows how much it can inject with that
spiking above the set temperature. But we use it for many different
things but on the combination function of steam and convection the bagel
bombs are the only thing that we use or that we back in that capacity. MICHAEL BRENNER: So may I just
You know what I’m going to do? Can we ask Christina and
Jenna to finish the cake because I know I think you
guys could, and this is great, ask questions all night. But the only thing that worries me is,
there’s a book signing outside where– CHRISTINA TOSI: Oh, am I signing? I’m signing books. And I mean, Christina looks
like she has infinite energy, but I’m afraid at some point, she may
run out of energy to sign the books, which might be bad. So why don’t we let them
finish up this cake. And then we’ll take one
or two more questions. And then Christina can sign books. CHRISTINA TOSI: You’re going to clap? MICHAEL BRENNER: But
not until you’re done. CHRISTINA TOSI: OK. We always clap. I mean of course, we should clap. We should clap twice. Let’s clap. [APPLAUSE] CHRISTINA TOSI: The
funny thing is I know it seems like it’s going to take
more than like three minutes to make this layer, to assemble this layer cake. But Jenna and I are true professionals. So you’re going to watch
her zoom through it. As I talk you through what’s happening. So best part about layer cakes. What? What’s happening? Go, go, go, go, go. JENNA: Did you use a timer? CHRISTINA TOSI: The
best part layer cake is that everyone thinks you have
to be like fancy and worried about all these things. You don’t. We baked our cake evenly
in that baking tray. We cut out two rounds
that look pretty good. Truth be told, you need one
really good looking top of it. We need one really good round. That’s going to be the top of your cake, When you’re looking at this cake, you
can’t see what’s happening down below. You can only see what’s happening
up top here on this top layer. So the prettiest round’s for top. The second prettiest round
is the center of the cake. What people won’t tell you is
that the bottom round– No, I know I think you’re laughing, guess what? This is what we do every single day. People think that you need
this beautiful round of cake to make a layer cake. You don’t. We take some of the
cake scraps but enough to leave some left
over for take truffles and we piece together a
bottom layer of the cake. Cake is a bummer when it’s
dry and crumbly, right? So in pastry school they
teach you to soak a cake. Typically they teach you soak a cake
with simple syrup or liquor, a liqueur. OK. I can get on board with that. But I just like simple syrup
doesn’t taste like anything. It’s sugar water and
we’re not hummingbirds. You know it’s true. And it’s a missed opportunity, like
many things in the pastry world, in the culinary world, it’s a
missed opportunity to add flavor. And the story of our cake is
all about chocolate and passion freedom and coffee. So we soak the cake with
a passion fruit puree. Anything that’s flavor and has
liquid, can be a cake soak. Anything that’s flavor
in a liquid form can also be the binder for a cake
truffle, so for cake scraps. Passion fruit down. Then we put three layers in the cake
before we put the next physical cake layer on top. We have two spreadable fillings
and one textural filling. This is the formula every
Milk Bar cake and is made of. So cake, soak. One spreadable filling. The first spreadable filling is usually
the filling that’s harder to spread. In this case, it’s passion fruit curd. We made it before you
guys came, just because we didn’t want to show off too much. So passion fruit curd goes down. Passion fruit curd is
passion fruit juice. It’s eggs that are cooked with passion
fruit juice, some sugar, and some salt. Off the heat, once the
eggs thicken, we add butter, and a little bit of gelatin. The gelatin helps keep
the curd in a nice state. MICHAEL BRENNER: It emulsifies it. JENNA: What was that? Emulsified state. So that it naturally won’t
want to separate out too much. But we need it to be happily
emulsified as a layer cake because it’s going to change
temperatures a few times when we make it and freeze it and defrost
it and serve it at room temperature. And that helps that emulsification
withhold the process. The textural layer that we’re putting
in the cake is chocolate crumb. So crunch, a crumb, anything that
has texture and flavor and helps tell the story can be a layer of cake. It’s also a really fun
surprise because you can only like kind of sort of tell that
there’s anything else in there when you look at the cake, so
chocolate crumbs go down. The next layer is our
second spreadable filling. And in this case, it’s coffee frosting. And so cake, soak, spreadable layer one,
textural layer, spreadable layer two, and then we build it up again. Remember we’re saving our most
beautiful layer for the top, and our second most beautiful
layer for the middle. All the way up. Chocolate chips to garnish. What we do is we take the
cake and we freeze it. We freeze it so that all
of the fillings firm up. We also freeze it because we’re
building this cake in a cake ring that has some acetate in it. The acetate helps provide a
structure and collar to the cake because they don’t make many
cake rings as tall as this cake. Most pastry chefs use
acetate for chocolate works. You typically use tempered chocolate. You make something pretty
and delicious out of it. You leave it on a piece
of this acetate to set. And then when you peel it off
you get this beautiful shiny film on the bottom. So we apply the same theory
here and for our cake. So that when we go to take
our cake out of the freezer, and we peel the acetate back, we get
this really beautiful finished edges. Because of what we
already discussed earlier, we’re not going to spend our time
making that cake look picture perfect. And so this really helps the process. All the way back up, oh, sorry. All the way back up again, layer
by layer by layer by layer. I’m going to let Jenna finish. You guys look so intrigued by
what’s going on on the screen. It’s like a movie. I think a lot of people think cakes have
to be perfect, and just so and as you guys saw Jenna, we
use the back of spoons that we bend at an angle as well
as our little offset spatula. And it’s how about getting the flavor
and the feelings in there in order, so that when you go to take a bite of
the cake, that’s what you’re tasting. But it never happens perfectly. That’s not what happens
in real cake world, but all of the feelings that
do get layered into a cake get layered and just so, so that they’re
all emulsified in and of themselves, but they’re also and the correct
density or the correct weight, so that you don’t have
one filling that’s heavier than another, that then bows out. Or when you go to cut the
cake, not like you smush down on a burger and all of the
condiments come out of the side. I think that’s good. JENNA: Oh that was really good. CHRISTINA TOSI: So cake, soak,
passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbs, coffee frosting, and she’ll
layer it up one more time. [APPLAUSE] I think she gets a round of applause. MICHAEL BRENNER: I can’t help but
observe that everything in this cake is an emulsion with a
volume fraction above 64% except for one thing,
which is this puree. CHRISTINA TOSI: The passion fruit puree? The passion fruit puree,
which is a liquid. But there’s stuff in
the liquid and that’s because the volume
fraction is less than 63%. But it’s viscous. It’s more viscous than water. CHRISTINA TOSI: It is. MICHAEL BRENNER: It’s
more viscous than water. And that’s last week. That’s what you all missed with
the question for last week. OK. so let’s do one more question. I think, maybe two more. Don’t you think? CHRISTINA TOSI: Yeah, sure. You can ask me questions– if you
don’t get a chance to ask me questions, you can ask me questions when
your book signed out there. How’s that? OK. What have we got? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. MICHAEL BRENNER: Turn on your microphone
because otherwise we can’t hear you. AUDIENCE: –of beating roughly
how small are the air bubbles– MICHAEL BRENNER: Ooh,
such a good question. AUDIENCE: And how large
do they get during baking? MICHAEL BRENNER: Yeah. CHRISTINA TOSI: You
want to take this one? MICHAEL BRENNER: Can I take that one? We thought about bringing a
microscope here to put on the side so that we could answer that question. I mean the one problem is that this
batter is so thick that I think we wouldn’t have been able to get a
thin enough layer to actually make the measurement on the slide. On the other hand, it is true, you
know, the mayonnaise making contest that I told you at the
beginning I thought was silly when I was
presenting it, I thought why am I talking about a
mayonnaise making contest. I had no idea you were going
to beat for 10 minutes, which is exactly how you get the same volume. It’s the same thing. So those air bubbles are getting,
I’ll be you they’re 10 microns. And then when you bake,
right, then there’s carbon dioxide gas that’s released
that basically puffs them up. It would be a good experiment
if you were taking this class, we would tell you this was
a great project to work on. CHRISTINA TOSI: Assignments. Yes. MICHAEL BRENNER: No,
it’s not an assignment. It’s a project. CHRISTINA TOSI: Project. Project. Project. Yes. AUDIENCE: Can you talk a little bit
about how your design process differs for the desserts that you design for
the Mike Bar versus the plated desserts at the restaurants? CHRISTINA TOSI: Yes, I absolutely will. We typically become–
the design process is not that much different is the short answer. The long answer is that we
think, often times of desserts, whether there are the desserts for
one of the other Momofuku restaurants or they’re a new item
for the Milk Bar menu as simply as a vehicle like to tell
a story, to tell a flavor story. So oftentimes we’ll become
obsessed with a flavor or an idea. And it’s really just about
finding a vehicle for it. So I’m not like sitting on
my hands and be like, oh, I can’t wait to put the Ssam Bar
dessert on because I already know what it’s going to be. It’s more, OK, so it’s time to
change Ssam Bar’s dessert menu. What flavors are we thinking about? Where are we at in the R&D
process with interesting things? If we like a flavor story or a flavor
profile, in something like a ganache, we almost always put it on the
menu at one of the restaurants because we can’t really
live in ganache space with baked goods, just
the nature of them. They’re expensive. They dry out very easily. So that’s sort of a little
bit of a boring answer. But a lot of the nature of
running a bakery and baked goods is everything has to be fresh and
has to be able to sort of maintain and withstand a certain shelf life. And so depending on what the
vehicle is, sometimes that’ll help dictate where it’s going to go. But a lot of times, you
just go to the drawing board and go like, OK, what
are we excited about? What flavors are we excited
about putting together? And then we go, OK, what
are the next opening, like what are the next spots
that are opening up on what menu? And is it going to become a
soft serve for Noodle Bar? Is it going to become
a cookie for Milk Bar? Is it going to become a more
multicomponent dessert at Ssam Bar? And if it’s a study of a flavor that we
really want to go down like the rabbit hole up of and that we love multiple
components m it almost always goes on one of the restaurant;s dessert menus
because that’s a space where you can have more elements and you can put them
together and you can be a little more self0indulgent in the process because
everything happens all in minute when your plating a restaurant dessert. But the fun part about
creating stuff for Milk Bar is that you make it in such
big batches and so many more people get to experience it and take
it home and share it with others. So it really depends. But those are some of the parameters
that would help us make our decision. MICHAEL BRENNER: So I
think with that– I’m sorry I’m going to just cut this off. I think we should clap. [APPLAUSE]