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Bill Spohn

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Porcini - Dried vs. Fresh

by Bill Spohn » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:12 pm

Boletus edulis are a chef's fungal friends. Either fresh or dried, they give excellent flavour.

My question is about the dried version. Rehydrated, they give a concentration of flavour that you never seem to get from the fresh version, no matter how you cook, simmer, or soak them. Need a big umami hit? Use dried. You can soak them in hot water to get it to come out, or blitz them in a coffee grinder to make your own mushroom powder to add to soups etc. BTW, doing them in a powder form also makes a good steak rub.

The dried version takes on an earthiness and more intense smokiness that is much greater in degree than the fresh version. Same for dried vs. fresh shiitakes. That is also the case, to a lesser degree, with morels, but dried chanterelles don't have that same flavour concentration and don't reconstitute well.

Are there any food scientists that can explain the concentration of flavours that takes place? It can't just be drying - it must be some sort of chemical reaction that gives different flavours than the undried form. I've done some net surfing without finding anything specific on this.

Enquiring minds want to know. I am making a mushroom tart today and always use a combination of dried and fresh mushrooms, the former to add a punch of flavour the latter just can't supply, and I became curious about why that is. Guess I am just a 'funguy'?
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Christina Georgina

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Re: Porcini - Dried vs. Fresh

by Christina Georgina » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:50 pm

Sorry I don’t have an explanation but I totally agree especially when there are mostly nice sliced caps in the bag.
Forgot about the powdered trick and NEVER throw away the soaking liquid. I filter out the sand in a coffee filter then concentrate it with whatever using to deglaze the fry pan.
Recently made a mixed mushroom ragu for soft polenta. Nice, intense.
Mamma Mia !
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Porcini - Dried vs. Fresh

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:14 pm

Florence Fabricant says... http://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/04/dining/just-add-water-the-case-for-dried-over-fresh.html

Summary: Dried mushrooms are not better, just different... think raisins versus grapes. Fresh will have better texture while dried will have more-concentrated flavor (plus you get the soaking water to use in the dish).
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Jenise

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Re: Porcini - Dried vs. Fresh

by Jenise » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:28 pm

Fully agreed. I am going to use a mix of shitakes and porcinis to get a broth for a green peppercorn sauce for our neighborhood Christmas dinner.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Porcini - Dried vs. Fresh

by Paul Winalski » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:18 pm

There's a significant difference between dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms, too.

Chemically, there's several things going on. The plant cells in fresh mushrooms are still alive. They die during the drying process. Drying is also going to involve chemical reactions (mainly oxidation, I think)--not just the removal of water.

-Paul W.

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