Using sieve

467
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Joined Jan 11, 2002
I have a question for you all pros!
I always wondered what do you do when you make a recipe that calls for pushing something thru a sieve. Although being a homecook I generally work with small amounts, doing the job by hand is tiring, boring and time consuming. I cannot imagine myself pushing for hours if I had to make 10 lbs of liver pate or something like that! So, what's your trick? I have three theories:

1)You can get somewhere a special device (an "electric sieve"?) that's not available to ordinary people;

2)You buy professional products (already made pastes or sauces) instead of making things by scratch;

3)You keep in your kitchens robust and willing slaves who spend all their days pushing and pushing without complaining.

So, what's the truth?

Pongi
 

kuan

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For forcemeats I really use a sieve, but it's shaped like an shallow drum with the mesh being the drumskins. It's great for doing hardboiled eggs too. For small amounts a hand held strainer works fine.

For things like tomatoes just use a ricer. Much easier :)

Kuan
 
3,853
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Joined May 26, 2001
The kind of sieve Kuan is talking about is called a "tamis." It's BIG (=in diameter) but shallow, which are advantages when you have a lot of material to push through. You don't keep trying to to push the same stuff through over and over, the way you do with a smaller concave sieve.

Another possibility for sauces and wet purees is a chinois (conical sieve), which you can hang over a bucket, with a ladle to push the food. I've also used a big heavy rolling pin (big diameter) sometimes.

Also as Kuan mentioned, a ricer (for small amounts) or food mill is great -- the skins and seeds stay in the apparatus, and the puree is nice and clean. Food mills usually have a variety of disks, from fine (tiny holes) to coarse, so the fineness of the puree can be varied.






But the absolute truth is, yes, we have kitchen slaves (= prep cooks) who do all that for us. :lol:
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
I have seen an attachment for a hobart mixer that was basically a tamis that fitted over the bowl and a thing that attached to the spindle that had rollers that would push material through the tamis. I only used it once to make carrot soup. I have a variety of sieves I use for reducing stuff to particles.
 
7,375
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Joined Aug 11, 2000
The silky mouth feel of a pureed soup that has gone through a chinois is worth it if I'm doing an important meal. And I have only occasional kitchen help. When I prep at the restaurant they think I'm insane for going to that effort.....guess it's all in what matters to you.
 

phatch

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I recently upgraded my sieves. I was using the ones my mom had and they're just not up to the level of cooking I do now.

But I'm still keeping those old ones. The bends and uneven wiring and rust are important still.

My new ones are of Italian origin.

In regards to the tamis, couldn't you fake it at the home cook level with a fine mesh splatter shield and a bowl under it. Couldn't do as much at once, but should be enough for small batch home cookin'.

Phil
 
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I thought there were various gauges of fineness to the mesh of the tamis- some so fine they're like silk material almost. That seems like overkill for most of us, but maybe polyester screen material from the hardware store, in its finest mesh, would be a good start. It would be washable, but difficult to keep it really clean.

I'd have to give it some thought about how to secure it to a frame of some kind, though.
 

phatch

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A really big hose clamp or a large metal embroidery hoop would do it.
 
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Metal embroidery hoops have a nasty way of "sproinging" apart at the worst possible moments. Trust me. The hose clamp is intriguing, though. I guess a tamis wouldn't have to have a huge diameter- 6-8 inches would be okay, right?
 

phatch

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Seems that some of those embroidery hoops have a thumbscrew tightener. The big ones. I could be wrong, I don't sew.

Phil
 
467
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Joined Jan 11, 2002
Thanks for your advice!
If I understand well, what you call "tamis" is the type of sieve you use for flour (isn't this operation called "tamiser" in French?) which is just what I use. Mine is rather large (about 10 inches of diameter) with a very fine mesh, which makes a wonderful silky puree with everything, but also makes my muscles crying loud. Suppose I should process the hardest things (like cooked meat) with a food mill in advance, but I hate having too many things to wash:p
Do you suggest I buy another sieve with a larger mesh and a smaller diameter?
As for chinois, I often planned to buy one but haven't got it so far, do you think it's indispensable also for a homecook?

Thanks again,

Pongi
 
48
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Joined Apr 7, 2003
No, you're correct. All the wooden hoops have them (although wood probably wouldn't work well, in this case) and 99.9% of the plastic ones do as well. The metal ones sometimes have a lever-type locking mechanism that doesn't really hold that well.
 

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