Drying concentrates the full meaty richness of mushrooms. Without the water that makes up 90 per cent of the weight of mushrooms, dried mushrooms weigh less than their fresh counterparts. According to David Joachim in "The Science of Good Food," dried mushrooms of 56.7 to 85.1gr equal one pound of fresh. Once dried, the remaining 10 per cent of the mushroom without water contains the aromatic compounds containing high amounts of glutamic acid, a taste profile classified as the fifth taste: umami. This flavour accounts for the distinctive meaty quality in mushrooms' taste.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Dried mushrooms
- Bowl with lid
- Food processor or spice mill (grinder)
Place ½ oz. dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with ½ c. hot water for 10 minutes to create a mushroom broth and plump the mushrooms back up for use in recipes requiring both the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquids. Use the broth as part of the cooking liquid in the recipe and discard the mushrooms or use the mushrooms with the broth.
Alternatively, add the dried mushrooms at the beginning of cooking to a soup or stew base and leave the mushrooms in the cooking liquid to both flavour the broth and plump the mushrooms.
Cover ½ oz. dried mushrooms with ½ c. cold water for 30 minutes to reconstitute the mushrooms but keep the mushroom flavour in the fungus instead of leaching it into the soaking liquid. Use the reconstituted mushrooms to substitute for an equal amount of fresh mushrooms in a recipe, and discard the soaking liquid.
Grind dried mushrooms in a spice mill or grinder and use the powder to taste as a spice in recipes in which you want a rich mushroom flavour without the texture of the mushroom, such as sprinkling it on foods at the table instead of using salt.
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