It’s on! Time once again for Beer Madness, in which we send 32 foaming contenders into the ring and, in the end, crown just one of them. As it was last year, our field for 2014 is local — if you stretch the definition just a little and consider a few eastern Pennsylvania breweries to be in the neighborhood. Which is just what we did.
There’s a lot to take in: beer columnist Greg Kitsock’s overview of the contest; our amazing interactive bracket, where you can cast a vote in each matchup; a style glossary of beers; a look at this year’s panelists; and details about where you can go to taste all 32 of the competition brews and register your preferences. Get reading!
For the non-beer-inclined, we have our usual sterling selection of stuff, including Tim Carman’s look at the Washington area’s annual restaurant awards — the Rammys — and how the selection method has changed over the years; and Bonnie S. Benwick’s roundup of recipes for Lent.
And, of course, there’s our Free Range chat, which starts at noon sharp and is a weekly forum for all things culinary. Bring your questions and opinions; we’re glad to have ’em and respond to as many as we can. To get things started, here’s a leftover question from a recent chat:
How much does changing from a metal pan to a Pyrex glass one affect the cooking time? I know that the heat transfer for glass is slower and that it will hold the heat longer when removed from the oven.
You’re right: Pyrex, and other tempered glass, takes longer to heat up and longer to cool down than metal. Once hot, it’s able to maintain a steady temperature, which is a good thing for baked goods.
Because glass is so efficient, you often need to make adjustments in either baking time or temperature, or both, when baking. Otherwise, food tends to get overbaked or over-browned.
The folks at Pyrex address this on their Web site. Here’s their advice: “If you’re cooking in glass, set the temperature to 25 degrees lower. Glass holds heat better, so you don’t need as much of it.”
Here’s a fun YouTube video that discusses the difference between glass and metal. It shows a sheet cake baked in metal at 350 degrees, in glass at 350 degrees and in glass at 325 degrees. A very clear illustration!
And here are a few selections from our Recipe Finder database that will give your Pyrex a good workout. They were specifically designed to be cooked or baked in glass, so for these, you won’t have to make any time or temperature adjustments at all!
Savory Cheese and Chive Bread — by the incomparable Dorie Greenspan. She prefers Pyrex for this quick bread, which is salty and savory.
Walnut and Cheddar Loaf — another savory quick bread.
Classic Macaroni and Cheese — an ideal way to fill a glass casserole.
Stuffed Flounder — for some baked dishes with acidic ingredients (this one includes lemon juice), nonreactive glass is the material of choice.
Green Quiche — crustless and made in the microwave — another place where glass finds a good home.
Salmon Tacos With Roasted Corn and Chili Adobo Cream — the corn roasts in Pyrex, the salmon cooks in a grill pan on the stove top.
Mushkie’s Mocha Mousse Pie — here, the glass allows a clear view of the chocolate-wafer-based crust.
Heather’s Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie — specifically calls for a Pyrex pie plate.