Campbell Soup Makes Its Online Recipes Shoppable

Ilyse Liffreing wrote . . . . . . . .

To boost online sales, Campbell Soup Co. is making all 3,000 recipes on its Campbell’s Kitchen website shoppable.

Here’s how it works: When people select the “Get Ingredients” tab at the bottom of a recipe and enter their ZIP code, they’ll get a list of retailers that deliver to their area, such as AmazonFresh, Instacart and Peapod. The shopper is redirected to the delivery service’s site, where a list of all the ingredients they need for a given recipe pops up. When the customer places an order, Campbell gets an undisclosed cut of all the product sales, Campbell’s brand or not.

Matt Pritchard, vp of digital marketing at the Campbell Soup Co., said the service eliminates the need to hunt for ingredients outside of the website. “Consumers shop very differently now,” he said. “They expect things to be there in an instant.”

Campbell’s Kitchen, as the company’s largest online property, gets 20 million visits a year, Pritchard said. If the service takes off, it’ll be rolled out outside the U.S., to the Campbell’s Kitchen app and perhaps its Alexa skill. Campbell partnered with tech provider Chicory to make its recipes shoppable.

Campbell’s sales in segments like soup and fresh foods have declined. The company reported a net loss of $475 million in the third quarter of 2018, shares hit a five-year low and CEO Denise Morrison stepped down. Pritchard joined Campbell in June 2017 with a goal of bringing in $300 million in e-commerce sales over the next five years. Right now, e-commerce only makes up a little more than 1 percent of the company’s overall sales, said Pritchard. Shoppable recipes mark the latest example of the company’s push into delivery. In February, Campbell started selling meal kits with Chef’d, after investing $10 million in the company.

Several marketers expressed doubt about the shoppable recipes approach, saying people won’t automatically purchase all ingredients from just viewing a recipe.

“While people will pay for convenience, as evidenced by all the meal-prep delivery services, restaurant delivery and even grocery delivery services like Instacart, but this one from Campbell’s may be a bit too niche,” said an agency exec.

Source: Digiday

Advertisements

Video: Mushroom Soup of Heston Blumenthal

Watch video at You Tube (11:17 minutes) . . . . .

Bread Making – Guide to Raising Your Own Sourdough Starter

Stephen Jones and Stacy Adimando wrote . . . . . . . .

Baking an incredible loaf of bread falls, somewhat frustratingly, between couldn’t-be-simpler and intimidatingly complex. For 30,000 years, we’ve known that making dough requires only flour and water, yet somehow it’s taken mankind nearly that long to figure out what takes bread from the simple sum of its ingredients to the airy baguettes and chewy ciabattas we hold to impossibly snobbish standards today.

It is, however, a starter. A mixture of flour and water, pre-ferments—or starters—are called so because they’re left out on our counters to ferment prior to mixing a full bread. Some are ready in hours. Others take days. But it’s as simple as stirring and walking away.

The Background

At various moments in the last 6,000 years, the miracle of natural leavening was discovered. By the late Bronze Age, Egyptians were advancing architecture, clothing, and bread baking, the latter with pre-ferments, which led to softer, lighter, more voluminous loaves. It’s from this time period that we have the first documented sourdough—a fermented dough made from wild yeast and bacteria, which produces natural acids lending it a sour taste.

As bread-baking rituals passed from Egypt to Greece and then throughout Europe, tricks and trends were applied to the art of wild leavening, most of which were short-lived. New flours were tested, fruits and their juices were added, and brewer’s yeast was introduced to fast-track the process. Most purists believe, however, that these additions’ microbes are rendered relatively null by the more adaptive bacteria floating around on wheat, containers, countertops, and most everything else. Which is why the classic combination of flour, water, and time has persisted.

It wasn’t until the 1850s that Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist pinpointed the science behind leavening. The gist is this: When flour meets water, a naturally occurring enzyme helps break down its starches into sugars. With enough time in a moderate temperature, wild yeasts and bacteria will help produce lactic and acetic acids, noticeably souring the dough. The yeast and bacteria also form gases which stretch and aerate the dough. The resulting starter will foam and bubble, and produce aromas of yeast and alcohol. The resulting bread will have a more open crumb, browner crust, and longer shelf life, plus the complex aromatic compounds we equate with “artisanal” flavor and finish.

Extending a starter’s active fermentation time (or maturation) amps up the flavor and makes proteins as well as micronutrients like iron and zinc more readily available to us. The time needed for each starter’s maturation varies, as does the bread with which each starter is ideally paired. Eventually, a starter may compose 15 to 50 percent of a final dough.

While pre-ferments are a mostly hands-off endeavor, they thrive best under certain conditions (like moderate temperatures) and sometimes need a little maintenance. Most famously, sourdough starters occasionally need to be “fed” with a mix of flour and water. (This may be why bread hobbyists often bestow cute names upon them, as they would to pets.)

But unlike in a hyper-controlled professional bakery, our home environments change constantly. And as a result, our starters evolve too. As unsettling as it may sound at first, a visit from a neighbor, an open window, or a nearby houseplant may introduce a new strain of wild yeast into the air and therefore into your starter. A heat wave or a polar vortex may temporarily boost or impede its growth. But this is normal. And as they change and mature, starters will go in and out of equilibria, gain a sense of place, and rise and fall. Some can be used indefinitely.

Learn to troubleshoot and rejuvenate pre-ferments with trial and error (not with the internet). You can feed them when the ritual works for you, or place them in the fridge (which stalls growth) when it doesn’t. Trust your starter, and try not to worry: Humans have been doing this for a long time.

Four Starters to Try

The flour-to-water ratio—and whether or not yeast is manually added to the mixture—determines how quickly starters ferment and in what breads or batters they are used. They may vary from a runny batter to a thick, gloppy paste, and many will change in texture as they ferment. They are ready to use when they have risen fully, or—for quicker pre-ferments—when bubbles form on the surface.

BIGA

Baker’s yeast is usually added to this fairly stiff, short-rise, one-time-use pre-ferment (you mix biga once, then use it immediately after maturing). Ideal for Italian breads like ciabatta, biga introduces an open, almost cakey texture to bread by reducing its gluten strength.

Formula: Stir together flour and water in a two-to-one ratio by weight. Though the amount of yeast you add to a biga varies depending on what you are baking and how long you have allotted to ferment it, a good guideline is to yeast biga at no more than 1 percent of what will be the pre-ferment’s final volume.

How to use: Mix, then let ferment at room temperature 12 to 24 hours prior to mixing into a final dough. Once ripe, use immediately.

POOLISH

Highly hydrated and runny, poolish can be used quickly and produces a less elastic, more extensible dough and open crumb—ideal in baguettes and country-style breads. Poolish usually has a touch of acidity, resulting in a nuanced, nutty flavor.

Formula: Stir together equal parts water and flour, and add a small amount of yeast—depending on what you are baking, this will typically be no more than 1 percent of the final volume of the pre-ferment.

How to use: Poolish ferments for about 12 hours or longer, depending on temperature, recipe, and the amount of yeast you’ve added. It can be used at up to equal weight of the flour in the final dough, and is designed for one-time use.

SPONGE

Sponge is a term that has various meanings in baking, but in this case we’re talking about a heavily yeasted, single-use starter that’s best in higher acidity doughs that require more strength. Many seasoned bakers prefer it for sweet doughs, such as brioche.

Formula: Stir together water and flour in a two-to-one ratio. Sponge is often heavily yeasted because it ferments for a shorter time.

How to use: Mix sponge and let ferment for two to 24 hours, depending on the yeast level. Sponge may make up to 50 percent of a final dough.

SOURDOUGH

The original pre-ferment, sourdough starters (or “mothers”) have no added yeast and are designed for long-term feeding and use.

Formula: In a mason jar, stir equal parts water and flour (preferably whole wheat, organic, and freshly milled) by volume—about a quarter cup of each ingredient to start. Let stand at room temperature overnight with the lid ajar (or cover with cheese cloth). Stir in the same amount of water and flour the next day, and you should see signs of life like bubbling and rising. Repeat for three days. Not much may happen during days two through four, but don’t give up.

How to use: After day five, use it in pancake or waffle batters. At 1 week and beyond, add to bread doughs, at up to a quarter of the final dough’s weight.

Source: Saveur


Read also at King Arthur Flour:

Sourdough Starter (step-by-step recipe) . . . . .

The Simple Lemon Cake That Helped Create a Legend

Margaux Laskey wrote . . . . . . .

A golden Bundt, scented with lemon zest and painted with a tangy lemon-sugar syrup, Maida Heatter’s East 62nd Street Lemon Cake is a favorite among Times readers. Credit Craig Lee for The New York Times

When Craig Claiborne discovered Maida Heatter in 1968, she was already a bit of a Miami Beach celebrity. She and her husband, Ralph Daniels, a former airline pilot, ran a small restaurant, and Ms. Heatter, a jewelry maker, illustrator and self-taught baker, made all the desserts. The locals were crazy about them.

Mr. Claiborne, then the food editor of The New York Times, was in town to cover the culinary side of the Republican National Convention. As a publicity ploy, Ms. Heatter got her hands on some canned elephant meat and developed a recipe for elephant-meat omelets with sautéed bananas and chopped peanuts. No one ordered it, but the stunt got Ms. Heatter the attention she had hoped for. Mr. Claiborne arrived to cover the omelets but left besotted with Ms. Heatter’s desserts.

So much so that in 1970, Mr. Claiborne featured three of Ms. Heatter’s cakes in The New York Times Magazine. One was a recipe for a simple lemon cake that Toni Evins Marks, Ms. Heatter’s daughter, had found. She sent it to her mother, who tinkered with it and renamed it the East 62nd Street Lemon Cake because that’s where Ms. Marks lived. It quickly became a favorite among Times readers. Nancy Reagan and Bill Blass were said to be fans.

Four years later, with encouragement from Mr. Claiborne, Ms. Heatter published her first cookbook, “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts,” for which she won a James Beard Award. She wrote several more (many included the cake recipe) and earned two more James Beard Awards. At 101, she still lives in Miami Beach (the restaurant sold in 1974), and with a niece, Connie Heatter, she is working on a compilation of her fans’ favorite recipes, to be published in summer 2019.

In late January, the Food section received a reader email urging us to publish Ms. Heatter’s East 62nd Street Lemon Cake on NYT Cooking. We quickly pulled the recipe from our archives, took beautiful new photos and published it online. Almost immediately, enthusiastic reader comments trickled in, like this one from Edna: “This is a favorite in our household. I made it for the first time 40 years ago when I was in the fourth grade! Now with a household of my own, it is a regular!”

The cake itself is a golden Bundt, scented with lemon zest and painted with a tangy lemon-sugar syrup while still warm, an elegant dessert for almost any occasion. Top it with berries and whipped cream, or leave it plain and serve it with tea.


East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

Ingredients:

Fine dry bread crumbs or flour for dusting the pan
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon zest

Glaze

1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9‐inch tube pan. Coat it with the bread crumbs.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top of the batter. Bake 1¼ hours, or until the cake tests done.
  5. While the cake bakes, make the glaze. Warm the juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. Cover and remove from heat.
  6. When the cake is done, immediately unmold the cake onto a cake rack and apply the glaze with a pastry brush to the top and sides of the cake until it is all absorbed.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Source: The New York Times

Video: Macaroni and Cheese – A Recipe from 1784

“Mc and Cheese,” as it appears to be called nowadays, has been fetishized beyond on all reason. Nevertheless, it is a great winter or comfort food that many people like a lot.

So it was fun to share this video of a macaroni and cheese recipe from 1784.

Watch video at You Tube (5:51 minutes) . . . . .


Read also:

38 Of The Best Macaroni And Cheese Recipes On Planet Earth . . . . .