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Angela

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #1 of 22 (9795 views)

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Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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I have a recipe for some cookies that calls for ceniza (ash) or in its absence tequesquite. I am supposed to soak pumpkin seeds in them. Does anybody know what this is or if there is an easy substitute?




Denis

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #2 of 22 (9783 views)

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Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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I've been trying to figure out what this is and must admit I now know less than when I started. My Pequeño Larousse says tequesquite is salitre, which translates as saltpeter. The American Heritage Dictionary says saltpeter is either potassium nitrate (used for curing meats) or sodium nitrate. Both of these, the AHD helpfully adds, are used as rocket propellants and in the manufacture of explosives!



SandyH

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #3 of 22 (9782 views)

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Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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I found this:

Tequesquite: Lime (calcium oxide) used in cooking conr for the preparation of tortilla dough (nixtamal).

"Tequesquite" which means "Land of Hot Water".





Ric

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #4 of 22 (9782 views)

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Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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I was waiting to see if anyone else took a crack at this, but I THINK I might have a clue. In one of Diane Kennedy's books, she talks about how to use chunks of lime/lye to treat corn for making masa or pozole. I think your ash or tequesquite may well be a version of this. Ash and water mixed will produce a very basic (in terms of pH) paste or liquid which would work to soften the pumpkin seed up some. It probably also imparts a certain flavor. This is my guess. Does anyone else concurr or have a definitive answer? My dictionary didn't have tesquesquite in it.



Tia

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #5 of 22 (9782 views)

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Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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I think your guess is right. I don't know if you can purchase lye like you could years ago, but it was basically ash from burned wood. Think you could get it at a pharmacy? Dunno...

BUT two important things: 1) the pH is very alkaline and caustic. Be careful not to let it get in contact with your skin. 2) If you decide to create your own ash, make sure you burn wood (not paper or anything else). Heavy metals used in printing, and God knows what chemicals used in making something like a charcoal briquet, remain and can contaminate your food.

BTW, ash (lye) mixed with fat is soap...now you can win at Trivial Pursuit!

Tia



jennifer rose

Nov 30, 1919, 12:00 AM

Post #6 of 22 (9785 views)

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Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Ceniza is wood ash. Sift it carefully before adding it to the maiz. Cal is slaked lime. The combinatio of the ash and lime is what softens and plumps the maiz. After cooking the maiz-ceniza-cal-water mixture for 30 minutes, it's not going to look like a pretty sight. Drain it, and keep pouring water over it until it drains clean and clear.



deelorra

Oct 9, 2011, 5:07 AM

Post #7 of 22 (8203 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Has anyone found where we can purchase tequesquite?

Do you think that baking powder is a good enough substitute?

I'm fascinated with this topic and amazed at how difficult it is to
find any place to purchase tequesquite.


Rolly


Oct 9, 2011, 7:04 AM

Post #8 of 22 (8195 views)

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Re: [deelorra] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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This website says baking power is OK.

Rolly Pirate


deelorra

Oct 9, 2011, 7:43 AM

Post #9 of 22 (8185 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Wow! That is a wonderful visual of everything I am trying to learn to do!

The process of making the masa from fresh corn was fascinating.

Do city dwellers just have to be satisfied using the dry packaged masa
or is there an option for us to purchase frozen fresh corn masa or some
other option?

I need a recipe for what to put into my masa to season it. I had a friend
who made the best tamales and she put some spices in her dough as
well as with the meat. She passed away a few years ago but I would so
love to eat such deliciously flavored tamales again.

I remember her saying she used several varieties of chilis in the meat.

Any more tips for seasoning the meat and masa just right...with a lot of
flavor without being burning hot...I'd be grateful.

I am so thankful you showed me Doña Martha in action. That was really
helpful and so interesting.






mazbook1


Oct 9, 2011, 1:52 PM

Post #10 of 22 (8164 views)

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Re: [deelorra] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Interesting discussion, but incomplete.

Maíz nixtamalizado, the cooked, lime treated dried corn is today almost universally prepared using slaked lime – cal, calcium oxide, ceniza de cal – as it makes the perfect balance between the slightly alkaline sodium bicarbonate – tequesquite – and the extremely alkaline sodium/potassium hydroxides in hardwood ash - ceniza – the former being a bit weak to easily make good nixtamal and the latter being much too strong to make good nixtamal. NOB the latter (lye – sodium hydroxide) is what is used to make hominy, an NOB nixtamal robbed of all its wonderful natural flavor IMHO.

The very good reason that the nixtamalization process is used on corn is to make the natural vitamin, B3 – niacin – nutritionally available for human consumption for the prevention of the vitamin deficiency disease pellagra, a scourge of the poor in the southern U.S. and many areas of Europe. Although discovered by the indigenous Mexicans many centuries ago, and still the reason today that cornmeal – coarsely ground dried corn – and most cornmeal products are unknown in México, it was only formally announced and encouraged by the U.S. government scientists in the late 1930s, something that caused the rapid increase in the use of hominy and hominy grits – dried, coarsely ground hominy – in the U.S. south and the elimination of the widespread pellagra suffered there and around the world.

Many NOB recipes for "Mexican" foods call for hominy, but that is a poor, tasteless substitute for true nixtamal…Mexican style.

Today, in Mexican cuisine, tequesquite is primarily used as a leavening agent, rather than for the nixtamalization process. For this use, sodium bicarbonate – baking soda, NOT baking powder – is the perfect substitute.


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Oct 9, 2011, 1:54 PM)


deelorra

Oct 9, 2011, 10:26 PM

Post #11 of 22 (8141 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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So should I use both baking powder AND baking soda for the
best masa dough?

Thanks for the interesting details you shared.


mazbook1


Oct 10, 2011, 12:55 AM

Post #12 of 22 (8138 views)

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Re: [deelorra] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Without going into a lot of chemical details, baking soda – sodium bicarbonate - is a leaving agent mostly used for things that have a bit of natural acid and baking powder is used where a true, "rising" is desired during baking, as it has leavening agents (in addition to the sodium bicarbonate) that only become active in the heat of the oven. That said…

After you make your maíz nixtimalizado (preferably using cal), you wash the resulting grains of corn thoroughly until the rinse water comes off perfectly clean and clear. Now the corn, really nixtamal, is ready to be ground into masa.

Absolutely NO leaving agent of any kind is used for making masa, just nixtamal and water. After you have the masa prepared, you can use it to make any of the various foods in Mexican cookery using masa. With the exception of tortillas de maíz, which are made using only pure masa, other recipes may use shortening (particularly tamales) in various amounts, leavening agents, salt, sugar, various flavorings and even a bit of wheat flour. Let the recipe and your trial and error process be your guide.

The pre-ground harina de maíz that is sold throughout México (Maseca brand being the most common) is really NOT cornmeal as it is usually translated, but is, in reality, ground dried maíz nixtamalizado. It only needs the addition of the correct amount of water and mixing to become masa. It really cannot be used in NOB recipes calling for cornmeal, which is just ground dried corn.


deelorra

Oct 13, 2011, 6:39 AM

Post #13 of 22 (8062 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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I'm very new to this forum and making tamales so please forgive any dumb questions.

I don't know what NOB stands for.

Since I am making tamales using Maseca brand pre-ground cornmeal...should I use baking soda or baking powder?

Or just water and the mix?

Thanks again.

Denise


Rolly


Oct 13, 2011, 6:51 AM

Post #14 of 22 (8059 views)

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Re: [deelorra] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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NOB = North of the Border (USA, sometimes Canada.

You don't need a leavening agent, but you do need fat (lard) and not water.
Look here for a picture story on making tamales.

Rolly Pirate


Vichil

Oct 13, 2011, 7:32 AM

Post #15 of 22 (8054 views)

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Re: [deelorra] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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I buy masa at the tortillera and add 1/2 kilo of lard for every kilo of Masa. I also add a little caldo de pollo to get the consistency I nned for the masa. My friend from Oaxaca taught me this way of doing them We also used to cook the banana leaves in boiling water but now we cut them to the size we want and cook the leaves in the oven. She told me the merchants of tamales IN Oaxaca taught her that method.


deelorra

Oct 13, 2011, 9:33 AM

Post #16 of 22 (8041 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Great to know I don't need a leavening agent. I don't understand why there are long discussions then about baking soda, baking powder, trying to make lighter dough, and adding Tequesquite if these aren't necessary. I was just hoping to make great tamales my first time out and not heavy dough that people have trouble swallowing.


mazbook1


Oct 13, 2011, 9:57 AM

Post #17 of 22 (8040 views)

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Re: [deelorra] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Just make your masa with the Maseca the ordinary way with water, then add the lard (or vegetable shortening). That 1/2 kilo lard to 1 kilo of masa, sounds about right to me, but I have a neighbor lady who sells tamales throughout my neighborhood make mine with my special fillings rather than hers, so I have no first-hand experience at tamale making.


Rolly


Oct 13, 2011, 10:15 AM

Post #18 of 22 (8031 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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OOPS It was a dumb response when I said don't use water. Of course you need water to reconstitute the masa, THEN you add lard. Thanks, David, for the correction.

Rolly Pirate


Vichil

Oct 14, 2011, 8:18 AM

Post #19 of 22 (8004 views)

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Re: [deelorra] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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The problem with book learning is that it cannot tell you when the consistency is right. Take the masa add the lard and add water or chicken broth until it feels right. If you have no one to tell you what that is , experiment make different tamales with more or less water and pick the one that is right or continue experimenting..
You add more water if you want to make a seal the hedges between leaves or to put the little pad at the bottom and less for the tamal itself.
If you make the right one the first time you are a lucky person and pray you can do it again..
It reminds me of my first times making Bearnaise sauce the traditional way, I made it maybe 10 times without a double boiler and it came out just like the pros, no one told me it was not easy, one day I screwed it up and never was able to make it again to this day, 40 years later...


mazbook1


Oct 14, 2011, 6:44 PM

Post #20 of 22 (7975 views)

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Re: [Vichil] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Actually, the very BEST way to get masa of the correct consistency is to go by your local tortillería in the morning and buy as much prepared masa as you need from them. :-D


DavidMcL / Moderator


Oct 15, 2011, 1:32 PM

Post #21 of 22 (7955 views)

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Re: [Angela] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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Test
David McL
WebJefe


Vichil

Oct 15, 2011, 4:06 PM

Post #22 of 22 (7942 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Ceniza (ash) or tequesquite

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The you still need the right consistency after you mix it with the lard, this is when you adjust with calso de pollo or water.
 
 
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