Potatoes au Gratin

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I have been looking for new recipes for Potatoes au Gratin, this morning I made 3 batches using Bleu d'auvergne and parm. regg. with the the cream and pepper. I always use a bain Marie when making this dish.
But when I researched last night I saw that most of the recipes do not use a bain Marie, can anyone explain to me why it is not in most recipes ?
 

phatch

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I usually see bain marie with egg dishes. Egg white denatures at 140, the yolk at 150. You need to keep the temps low and let them temper slowly to avoid graininess and rubberiness.

With gratin, you're working more with starch and fat, not low temp coagulation protein so much as with eggs.

The starch should bind with the water/liquid of the cream and let the fat do it's thing. Often you'll see gratin start on the stove to boil/simmer the dairy and potatoes together to get that starch and liquid doing their thing which would be more difficult at the baking temperature.

I've never made a gratin successfully without added starch. They always break and curdle. I suspect my 5000 ft elevation enters into this as my boiling point is lower.
 
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Yes , I guess I should have added the rest of the ingredients, eggs and I also added appenzell...

I understand the gratin part.....towards the end of cooking...just always believed that the dish would cook more evenly with a bain.

All the new recipes coming out do not tell anyone that using it would produce a more finished product. (cooked evenly) .
 

phatch

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If you're using eggs, I can see using a bain marie. I've never made one in that fashion. Nor do I recall seeing such a recipe. But I've not looked much in to such variations.
 
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If eggs are an ingredient, then go the baine marie. But, to get the au gratin, surely you would need to put under a griler/broiler to finish? I think that could work. Or perhaps even a gas torch?

Just a thought....
 
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I have been looking for new recipes for Potatoes au Gratin, this morning I made 3 batches using Bleu d'auvergne and parm. regg. with the the cream and pepper. I always use a bain Marie when making this dish.
But when I researched last night I saw that most of the recipes do not use a bain Marie, can anyone explain to me why it is not in most recipes ?
most recipes i have found for Gratin Potatoes are baked but Contain no eggs as the ingredient some recipes have flour and i make the dish with neither two, no bain Marie just simple plain baking.

if you're making the dish with eggs and raw potatoes the eggs are going to overcook before the potatoes are cooked, and if your using cooked potatoes you might as well call the dish Potato Quiche.
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
New recipes for gratin potatoes? This is a perfect dish when made as it was intended.

I have been looking for new recipes for Potatoes au Gratin, this morning I made 3 batches using Bleu d'auvergne and parm. regg. with the the cream and pepper. I always use a bain Marie when making this dish.
But when I researched last night I saw that most of the recipes do not use a bain Marie, can anyone explain to me why it is not in most recipes ?
 
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Joined Feb 13, 2008
Chef Petals,

I don't know anyone who uses a bain marie for an au gratin of potatoes, and can't recall having seen the suggestion in a recipe or elsewhere.  BUT (it's a big butt), almost all the problems I hear about are the result of curdling -- even without egg.  I imagine a bain marie makes that a lot less likely -- and off the top of my head, think it's a helluva great idea. 

FWIW, I do use a torch for the final browning. 

BDL
 
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Hey petal!

I was born and raised in a region famous for its gratin: the Dauphiné (gratin Dauphinois). There are a few ways to make it, but none involve a bain marie.

Gratin Dauphnois never has any cheese or any eggs. It may or may not contain milk, and usually contains cream.

You can make gratin Dauphinois by cooking the potatoes dry (no milk, no cream) in a low oven. Once cooked, add cream and wait for it to "gratiner" (make the crust) at the same temp oven. No need to use a broiler, a torch or even to raise the oven temperature for the crust to form.

I have seen some chefs start the gratin on the stove top (with the milk+cream), but I have myself never tried that technique.
 
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Never added or saw eggs added to potato Au Gratin in any hotel I have ever worked in. Many times what makes it curdle is the oil content of the cheese(cheaper cheeses do not have butter fat its plain old oil) also cooking at to high a temp.
A bain marie or 2 inch pan is made from stainless steel which is a terrible conductor of heat , it is not evenly distibuted and creates hot spots Also the Au Gratin topping can be done by putting the dish under a salamander so as to get high top heat but not throughout..
 
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The dish was met with success, for me that is what counts, three trays were served, everyone happy including me, what more could I want ?

C'est pas le fin du monde......
 
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Congrats petals! There are many techniques to make gratins, the good ones are the ones who lead to everyone being happy! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 
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Let us then not call it Potatoes Au Gratin as there are a lot of culinary students at this sight who are taught the classic way to make it.. Let us call it, your version of Potato Au Gratin. Also if you do add eggs to the mixture it should not be cooked in an aluminum pan because it will turn grey or maybe even green.
 
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Gratin Dauphnois is one of my favorite potato dishes. I learned this dish from Christan Bertrand when I worked for him after he left Lutece to open his name sake restaurant in CT.  I think as I re-read petals original post it lead me to understand that what was being asked/offered was more about a different technique applied to a very traditional dish. As the recipe states, the bain marie helps with uniform temperature, but adds little to the gratinee of the potatoes because the casserole is covered. Perhaps at the end of the cooking when the potatoes are exposed to the dry heat of the oven the Bain Marie helps with moisture. I believe the blending of the cheeses and cream/milk with the eggs will offer a uniform dish. Temperature is very important here, to high the eggs will curdle no matter what the starch content of the potatoes you choose, to low you end up with a pool of duchess potatoes :).......Although I personally would not call this a "classic" potato gratin as we know it, who's to say that if it's potatoes and it's a gratin??????

PS, students should be taught the classic and right way to cook, and also should be exposed and gentle nurtured to look ahead
 
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Joined Aug 25, 2009
Yes , covered for 80 % cooking time , then uncovered to finish with  gratin.

Exactly............."uniform temp" (Cape Chef). The last 10-15 minutes-uncovered to do gratin ,  (as per said recipe I pasted) or salamander (Chef ED) or Torch ( Chef BDL)....there is more than one way to skin a  Cat.

Thanks everyone for the input.....
 

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