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Topic: wok questions (16 msgs / 341 lines)
1) From: Gary Lyons
Ok After dollowing the Cathy and Deward show for a while I have become
interested in trying wok roasting. Howeve, I have a few questions. First
Tom has a page that describes wok roasting, and he suggests that you
cover the wok and shake it while keeping it over the flame. This does
not sound like the method that Cathy is using. Does anyone have
sugestions on the best method for wok roasting?
Second I currently only have an electric range :( Is it possiblew to get
good results with a wok on an electric range or do I really need gas?
Thanks
Gary
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2) From: Steve Wall
On Thursday, December 26, 2002, at 12:07 PM, Gary Lyons wrote:
<Snip>
I struggled with wok roasting on an electric stove for a while.  I
never tried Tom's cover and shake method.  I have a big, heavy plain
steel wok and I just can't see myself shaking that sucker for 15
minutes nonstop.  Instead I used standard stir frying tools and
technique.  But even with constant vigorous scooping, flipping
and stirring I'd still scorch some beans.
On the other hand, I received a Whirley popper for Christmas and by
coincidence my air popper just died so I gave it a whirl.  On my first
batch (1 1/2 cups of CR Tarrazu) I used a cast aluminum griddle as a
heat diffuser and I struggled to get the thing up to temperature.
After preheating for about 10 minutes while gradually bumping the
heat up from medium towards high I got impatient and just dropped
the beans in at an indicated temperature of 300 F on my drop-in
thermometer.  This batch took 20 minutes to get to a City roast with
no scorched beans.
For a second batch I used a cast iron griddle under the Whirley
to roast some Sumatra. With that setup I managed to get up to 425 F
and stabilized there more or less, then dropped in the beans.  With
this batch I was at 1st crack in about 8 minutes and I cut it off
in a rolling 2nd crack at 11 minutes.  Again no scorched beans but
the griddle will need to be seasoned again before use in cooking.
I think maybe I'll dedicate this griddle to coffee roasting to avoid
the smoke it puts out as the seasoning burns off.
The resulting coffee does seem to be better than air popper
roasted coffee, especially the Costa Rican though I'm reserving
judgement until I get my technique honed a bit.  The two big advantages
I see at this point are reliability and batch size.  Having broke
two air poppers in just a few months of home roasting and read about
numerous HWP and FR reliability problems I like the idea of a simple
mechanical roaster.  It also roasts a half pound in a single batch,
which is almost too much for my consumption.  Does anyone know if
the Whirley pop method is sensitive to batch size?  Can I roast
a cup or less of beans with the same technique or would I have to
adjust a few parameters?
Steve Wall
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3) From: dewardh
Steve:
<Snip>
a cup or less of beans with the same technique or would I have to
adjust a few parameters?
When you're WhirleyPop roasting you're *constantly* adjusting anyway . . . so 
not much difference.  Unless you use less heat the early stages of the roast 
will go a bit faster with fewer beans (less water to boil off), and if you're 
directly over a gas flame you can get "hot spots" (just as you might with too 
little stirring), but if I understand your "griddle intervenor" correctly  
 that won't be a problem.  Try a smaller batch and see for yourself . . .
I'm expectantly waiting for the first "WhirleyPop motor drive stirrer 
accessory" post . . . 
Deward
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4) From: jim gundlach
You can easily adjust the size of roast on any stove top method.   Is 
your wok built for electric, that is does it have a flat bottom?  If it 
is, you probably need to use a heat diffuser with it also.  You can 
test to see if the bottom is heavy enough to use without it by taking a 
clean wok and dusting the bottom with white flour.  Put it on the 
burner at high heat and see if the browning of flour reproduces the 
pattern of the heating elements.  If it does, you need a diffuser.  
With a diffuser, you would need to roast smaller batches, clearly no 
more than 1/2 pound at a time.  The other issue is stirring technique.  
If you stir like you would mix a cake, you are just randomizing the 
beans and some of them will randomly get much more heat than others.  
If you come closer to folding, like folding egg whites into a sauce, 
you will systematically rotate the beans more like a rotating drum 
roaster.
Jim Gundlach
On Monday, December 30, 2002, at 08:47 AM, Steve Wall wrote:
<Snip>
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5) From: Ben Treichel
On Mon, 30 Dec 2002 07:36:32 -0800 (PST), Steve Wall wrote:
<Snip>
Steve what FR reliabilty problems? I've killed one, but that was my own doing
during a mod. I know others have done a soup can mod, but that was for a bean
hang problem in the orignal FR's and again not a roaster failure. FR Tim has
always been very suppotive of his product and to lump the FR into the category
as as the HWP doesn't seem fair.
Just one persons opinon.
Ben
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6) From: Ben Treichel
On Mon, 30 Dec 2002 07:36:32 -0800 (PST), Steve Wall wrote:
<Snip>
Steve what FR reliabilty problems? I've killed one, but that was my own doing
during a mod. I know others have done a soup can mod, but that was for a bean
hang problem in the orignal FR's and again not a roaster failure. FR Tim has
always been very suppotive of his product and to lump the FR into the category
as as the HWP doesn't seem fair.
Just one persons opinon.
Ben
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7) From: Angelo
Deward,
I've seen these popcorn pots with the wind-up motor on top many years ago 
and have not been able to track them down...I think it would be the perfect 
solution for stove-top roasting..
<Snip>
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8) From: Angelo
Steve,
I heard somewhere that if you put sand in a frying pan, you'll get a more 
even diffusion of heat... Worth a try...
Ciao,
Angelo
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9) From: Steve Wall
On Monday, December 30, 2002, at 09:44 AM, Ben Treichel wrote:
<Snip>
My impression was that the FR roasting chambers were prone to breakage. 
  But
this is just a vague impression formed from reading here and at 
alt.coffee.
I may have it all wrong.  At any rate this is a less severe failure than
the HWP seems to experience.
Steve Wall
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10) From: Steve Wall
My wok is the traditional round bottomed type, bought 20 years ago when 
I
had a gas range.  After living in houses with electric appliances for 
the
last 18 or so years I have learned to cook with it just fine that way.  
For
coffee roasting I was setting it directly on the larger sized heater 
coil
and preheating at a notch or so above medium, where the element was just
beginning to give a slight red glow.  The wok is pretty heavy gauge 
steel,
but apparently still not good enough to diffuse heat from direct contact
with just part of an electric burner.
My stirring technique was more like folding eggs, actually lifting most
of the bean pile off the wok with a scoop and dropping them a few 
inches,
often turning them as I dropped.
And I seem be hyper sensitive to scorched beans.  I get an acute 
laxative
reaction from drinking Starbucks coffee and I was experiencing the same
reaction with my wok roasts.  Others might not be troubled by the level
of surface scorching I had, which didn't really seem to overpower the
good taste of the coffee.
Steve Wall
On Monday, December 30, 2002, at 09:27 AM, jim gundlach wrote:
<Snip>
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11) From: Ben Treichel
On Mon, 30 Dec 2002 10:00:25 -0800 (PST), Steve Wall wrote:
<Snip>
Well it is a glass chamber, but then its a lot less fragile than my Santo's vac
pot. Probably a little more durable than a coffe mug. And its ~ 8 dollars to
replace. Several people own more than one for back to back roasts. I actually
like it becasue you can see bean movement and color change. 
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12) From: Michael Guterman
Steve,
I have a Hearthware Precision.  Apparantly one of the few functional 
ones.  I am very interested in the Whirly Popper method.  How did you 
determine the temperature?  Is it the air in the popper, or the metal of 
the unit?  What sort of thermometer?  I am anxious to try the longer 
fuller bodied roasts, but the reports on the Alp really sort of scare 
me.  I am not by nature inclined to take the thing apart and polish all 
the internal parts everytime I want some more coffee.  
Thanks for the help.  Everybody have a safe and wonderful new year.
Michael Guterman
West haven, CT
Steve Wall wrote:
<Snip>
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13) From: jim gundlach
Steve,
    To use the round bottom wok on an electric range you need a burner 
ring to hold the wok off the element and keep the heat from the element 
in a chamber under the wok.  It is not as good as gas but you can get a 
good effect for both wok cooking and bean roasting this way.  I lost 
the one that I had two or three moves ago, I think I got it at a 
oriental food market.
    Jim Gundlach
On Monday, December 30, 2002, at 11:30 AM, Steve Wall wrote:
<Snip>
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14) From: floyd burton
In the more traditional parts of SE Asia-you can buy food cooked on the
street by people using large woks heated with a LP gas burner.  Very
similiar burners are available from big box stores like menards, HD Lowe's
for a few bucks-mostly they are used for turkey roasters and crab broil
pots.  Have seen some in the past few days for reduced prices.  These
burners work well with woks-so if you really want to make that wok talk-get
a LP gas burner.

15) From: Steve Wall
On Monday, December 30, 2002, at 12:28 PM, Michael Guterman wrote:
<Snip>
I am pretty much following the instructions from the sweetmarias.com 
whirley pop tip
sheet.  The thermometer is the basic 5" long bimetal (dial) 
thermometer, dropped in
through a hole I drilled in the cover.  It measures air temperature a 
small distance
above the beans.  When the beans are stirring some beans brush against 
it on every pass
but not constantly enough to call it a good indicator of bean 
temperature.  But it gives
you a reference temperature to work with so that you can make your 
roasting profile
consistent.
Steve Wall
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16) From: Michael Guterman
Thanks,  I hadn't seen that.  I'm going to get one and try it.  Michael
Steve Wall wrote:
<Snip>
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