Gadget: A New Machine Keeps Your Sour Dough Starter Fresh and Alive

Allen Weiner wrote . . . . . . . . .

One of the byproducts of the COVID-19 pandemic was the rise (no pun intended) of sourdough baking. Quicker than you can say, “cabin fever,” a nation of wanna-be bakers turned their homes into warm and crusty boulangeries. Key to the process is what’s known as a sourdough starter, a mixture of flour and water that has been fermented by naturally occurring yeast and lactic acid bacteria.

While hearty in nature, starters need a bit of TLC to do their thing optimally. Enter Sourhouse co-founders Erik Fabian and Jennifer Yoko Olson, two bakers who brought their skills as marketers and industrial design, respectively, to create Goldie, an appliance built to keep sourdough starters at an ideal temperature. The proper temperature for a sourdough starter is between 75-85°F (24-30°C), and this range provides the warm environment needed for the yeast and bacteria in the starter to thrive. Too hot and the starter may over-ferment, while too cold can slow or halt the fermentation process.

Fabian and Olson’s entry into the world of sourdough baking is called Goldie, as in Goldilocks of The Three Bears fame. Goldie is built to provide just enough warmth to keep a sourdough starter consistently in the “Goldilocks Zone” (as in not too hot, not too cold).

In a recent interview with The Spoon, Fabian explained that the idea for Goldie preceded the pandemic and was born out of his sourdough starter issues. “You know, New York apartment, it was getting down below 60, and it was just too cold for my starter,” he said. “I didn’t really understand the way temperature interacted with my starter at that point. So, I found a warm spot, which became a DIY trick. As I continued to bake, I found that my starter was kind of like always searching for a warm spot.”

Once COVID came along, with the assistance of Olson, an experienced product designer, discovery met opportunity.” We didn’t want to make something like smart technology. We wanted to be like dumb technology for marketing because there’s enough complexity to baking with sourdough, so we wanted to create something simple. My basic idea early on was like a warming base with a transparent dome,” Fabian said.

The next step was Kickstarter, where Goldie was introduced in April 2022. Ending in October, Sourhouse’s offering drew 1,007 backers who pledged $103,948, almost triple the $39,000 original ask. Along with the Goldie apparatus, the Kickstarter kit came with a cooling puck that a baker can keep in the freezer if the starter overheats and needs quick cooling.

With fermentation a thing now, what are the thoughts about the extensibility of Goldie? Would it work for other types of fermented foods? While Fabian wouldn’t be specific about such next steps, it’s clear he and Olson are on to something, given proper fermentation for everything from sauerkraut to kombucha works best with controlled temperatures.

“Our focus on bread is really because, from my point of view is like I think it’s one of the most accessible points to entry into fermentation,” Fabian commented, “probably along with sauerkraut. And you know, I think it’s just easier to launch a brand and a business around a more targeted kind of idea.”

Spoken like a true marketer.

Source: The Spoon






Samsung Will Launch a Smart AI Oven in Q3 2023

Mitchell Clark wrote . . . . . . . . .

Samsung’s Bespoke AI Oven has a trick up its sleeve hinted at by its name: the company says you can put food in it, and it will automatically recognize what you’re asking it to cook, and recommend the appropriate temperature, time, and mode. Part of its smarts even include “burn detection,” according to a press release, with EU models having the ability to warn you that your food is getting overcooked.

The in-wall oven can recognize “80 different dishes and ingredients” via an internal camera, though you can also use a 7-inch touchscreen to manually adjust settings and check the status of your cook. The company notes that the European model is capable of recognizing 106 dishes — which, given that it calls out burn detection as specifically an EU feature in a footnote, it does sound like you’ll want to check what features the oven has in your region before picking it up.

Livestream your croissants’ path to crispiness straight from your oven

That internal camera isn’t just for the AI to use. Samsung says you can even livestream the view from inside your oven to social media (the company’s fact sheet says this is “great for content creators and avid chefs who want to share their dishes”), take pictures of your food as it cooks, or just use it to check your bake without having to open the oven’s door.

By the way, if you’re like me and are wondering how you even would even do that given the door’s lack of a handle, the answer is that it’s push-to-open. I’d definitely have reservations about the reliability of that kind of mechanism, but more importantly I’m not sure where Samsung expects you to hang an essential (but admittedly not aesthetically pleasing) kitchen towel.

The Bespoke AI oven has several modes, according to Samsung, including air fryer, steam cooking, dual temperature zones, and even something called “air sous vide.”

While this isn’t the first oven that promises to recognize and cook your food — the June Oven did a similar thing in a counter-top form factor, and other companies like Bosch are working on their own AI ovens — Samsung does have the power of an ecosystem and a brand consumers recognize. The company says you can connect it to Wi-Fi and use its SmartThings Cooking platform to set timers, preheat the oven, and view the camera stream from your phone. It also integrates with Samsung Health to “analyze users’ workout stats and diet goals to recommend meal options.”

The company says the oven will launch in the US and EU in Q3 2023, but there’s no word on pricing yet.

Source: The Verge





Gadget: Character Pancake Maker





Gadget: Chill-O-Matic Instant Beverage Cooler

The cooler which runs on two AA batteries will take any 12 oz can of soda or beer from room temperature to ice cold in just 60 seconds, making it 240 times faster than a refrigerator.

The device is available from Amazon for US$29.99 plus shipping.





Electrolux Launches GRO, a Kitchen System Designed to Encourage More Sustainable Eating

Michael Wolf wrote . . . . . . . . .

Can a kitchen’s design help us eat more sustainable, plant-forward diets?

Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux thinks the answer is yes and, to that end, has launched an ambitious new kitchen system concept to help us get there.

Called GRO, the new system is comprised of a collection of interconnected modules that utilize sensors and AI to provide personalized eating and nutrition recommendations. According to the company, the system was designed around insights derived from behavioral science research and is intended to help encourage more sustainable eating behavior based on recommendations from the EAT-Lancet report for planetary health. The company will debut the new system at this week’s EuroCucina conference.

“How can a thoughtful kitchen slowly nudge you to more sustainable choices,” asks Tove Chevally, the head of Electrolux Innovation Hub, in an intro video to the GRO system. “To make the most of what you have, to buy smarter, and eat more diverse?”

Source: The Spoon

Watch video at You Tube (1:32 minutes) . . . . .