Eat & Drink

Cooking Q&A: What’s that foam from cooking chickpeas?

Question: I was cooking dried chickpeas (soaked and drained) over the weekend. When they first came to a boil, they produced a lot of white, airy foam. I didn’t know what it was or whether I was supposed to skim it off. I did, but should I have?
Question: I was cooking dried chickpeas (soaked and drained) over the weekend. When they first came to a boil, they produced a lot of white, airy foam. I didn’t know what it was or whether I was supposed to skim it off. I did, but should I have?

Q. I was cooking dried chickpeas (soaked and drained) over the weekend. When they first came to a boil, they produced a lot of white, airy foam. I didn’t know what it was or whether I was supposed to skim it off. I did, but should I have?

A. That happens sometimes, but it’s nothing to worry about. I usually skim it off, just to keep the water more clear, but I don’t make myself crazy trying to get every last bit off. Just give it one or two skims and let it go.

The fine folks over at America’s Test Kitchen wrote about it a while ago and explained it as a form of “stabilized proteins.” Whatever it is, it won’t hurt you or your beans.

Q. Do you know of a tried and trusted method to create blue frosting for a birthday cake? This will be for a part of the decoration that will be simulating water. I’ve heard about using red cabbage and baking soda, but I’m concerned about the flavor. Are there any other alternatives? It needs to be natural.

A. Try playing with frozen fruit juice concentrates. That’s one tip our friend Nancy Baggett gave us a few years ago. She has addressed the topic on her blog, at KitchenLane.com.

Q. Yeast: To proof or not to proof?

A. If it’s active dry yeast, I always proof. I want to make sure it’s not too old and is going to work well before I get too far in the recipe. If it’s instant yeast (which I love), I don’t proof.

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