Ask the Test Kitchen

Testing Yeast

Is there any way to test yeast to see if it is good? I always keep yeast in the fridge but am wondering if the freezer would be better. Thanks for any advice you can give me. —A.S., Bella…

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Toasted Pecans

Most recipes for cheese balls and cheese logs call for rolling the finished product in toasted pecans. What is a good way to toast the nuts? —B.B., Birchwood, Tennessee

While you can…

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Transparent Pie

What is transparent pie, and do you have a recipe for it? —S.J., Anaheim, California

Transparent pie is popular in the South and has a glossy sweet filling based on brown sugar,…

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Turkey and Beef Burgers

To cut down on last-minute prep time, as soon as I come home from the grocery store, I mix ground turkey and ground beef for burgers and meat loaves. Then I freeze this mixture until needed. Is it…

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Uncooked Egg Alternative

With the current warnings not to eat raw eggs, could you please tell me how to convert my favorite recipes for Key Lime Pie and French Chocolate Silk Pie? Both recipes call for mixing in uncooked…

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Vinegar Advice

When not specified, how do I know whether to use white or cider vinegar in a recipe? I usually just guess on whether I want a sweeter taste or not. —S.H., Madison, Alabama


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Vinegar Options

What is the difference between white wine vinegar and distilled white vinegar? Can they be used interchangeably? —E.K., Roseville, California

Distilled white vinegar is made from a…

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Watery Whipped Cream

When I beat whipping cream, I can get it to form only soft peaks—then it starts breaking down and gets thin and watery. Am I doing something wrong? —M.M., Santa Maria,…

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What is Polenta?

Polenta is a popular Italian dish made from cornmeal. It has a mild flavor and can be eaten as a hot side dish, hearty breakfast, or cooled, cut into squares and fried. Precooked or quick-cooking…

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What Is Whole Grain Mustard?

Whole grain mustard is prepared mustard with visible mustard seeds. Look for coarse-ground mustard or stone-ground mustard if you can't find whole grain. Whole grain mustard is sometimes difficult…

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