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  1. So of late I've been on a bit of a culinary kick wrt bread - I've been doing a lot of sriracha cheesebreads and the like to help handle something of an outbreak of avacados in the area, and we've valiantly beaten them back. So now, I've stepped on something new, that those of you who do a lot of technical baking may or may not have heard of: a japanese baking method called Tangzhong. Anybody who's made choux pastry (profiteroles, eclairs, and the like) has at least a passing acquaintance with the method. Rather than simply using dry and wet ingredients mixed together, a third step is taken - to heat a part of the liquid and a part of the flour together into a heavy, choux-like paste before incorporating them with the rest of the recipe. Why? BECAUSE IT MAKES THE SQUOOSHIEST BREAD EVER. (forgive the poop photos btw my phone is awful) This is the recipe I used. I will be honest, I am a naughty baker, and didn't measure a gorram thing. Not one. Well, the eggs. I used two eggs. So I measured those. Heck, I barely even read how much I was supposed to use. It fine, friendos. Life is chaos. Bread is chaos. OH MY GOODNESS IT SQUOOSHY. This is easily the tenderest, lightest-crumbed bread I've ever made. One person I encountered while reading up on the technique described it as croissant-like, and that's pretty accurate - it definitely has the directional grain that a croissant does, although obviously without the super-thin layers. More of a tender, dense layering, where the whole thing is easy to pull apart. The bread I made was a pretty typical milk bread - the white soft sandwich loaves you get in Chinese grocers - that I obviously did up as pull-buns, but it would work fine as a loaf as long as you're willing to put the effort into shaping it. And that's the key with this recipe, I think: shaping. You've gotta sort of... roll the dough into a flat rectangle, after it rises the first time, then roll it up into a tube? or else it didn't get flakey. I divided the loaf and then did that to each section, but I imagine there are several techniques. Other than that... When you make it the dough will be WAY TIGHTER than you think it should (but not hard, just tight? if that makes any sense) - it's fine. Slap it and you won't dent it tight. It didn't get much softer after rising, either, the first time. I used an egg wash, you might not - up to you! It will be ROCK HARD crusted when it comes out - THIS IS A LIE. Give it 10 minutes to rest, it'll soften, but DON'T OVERCOOK IT or it won't. Look at this bread: (on it's side to vent steam) mmm thassa sexy brad. pat of cold butter: MMM-MMM i am plating these like gordon ramsay is standing on my shoulder. As another note, this dough can also be used to make tasty Bao, which are really not that easy to make unless you get the dough just right. Hunk of dough: Bao wrapper: Bao filling (in this case, pork & mustard w/ some additional water chestnuts for crunch) The next logical step: Bao: SO MANY BAO: (And then the awkward last bit when you forget to take any pictures of the finished product...) So yes, that was my week in breadmaking! It was tasty.
  2. One of the biggest mistakes painters make when learning basing is thinking that rocks are gray scale, meaning mostly just a few shades of gray and nothing else, and while it's true that some rocks are like this they're not as common as people seem to think in our hobby (and let’s be honest, its boring to look at too). Hey you, the one without any color, you're boring. Why is this? I'm guessing people just never look at rocks or think it's too hard to do anything else. This is quite far from the truth as painting up rocks can be really easy if you’re willing to break some standard painting conventions. In this tutorial I'm going to cover some basic basing techniques including using real rocks and how to quickly sculpt some when using real rocks won’t give you the look you want as well as painting two different rock color schemes: desaturated (basically its sort of gray but has color) and something a little more complicated. Using Real Rocks This one is pretty obvious but I’m surprised with the number of people that actually pay for rocks, we’ve all seen them at hobby\game stores and why pay for something that you can get for free? I went outside and over the course of two days just collected random rocks from the street gutter and have more then I’ll ever use. I kept a small bag, like the ones sold in the jeweler section of hobby stores, in my wallet and just stopped and filled it up when I say something I wanted. I'm a master at picking up homeless things One note is that more porous rocks are harder to work with when it comes to the prep aspect, as they don’t glue or take primer as well, but are easy to dry-brush so there’s a trade off. Keep a mix if you can but pick up what you like as that’s what’s really important. Quick Sculpting Rocks So what if you need something like paving stones? Well you can quickly do this way faster than you’d expect thanks to some help from Mother Nature. You're Welome The first thing we’re going to need is some rocks. What? You may be saying to yourself “this man is crazy (but really good looking so I’ll listen to him some more)” which is a common reaction I get. One of the best ways to make something you sculpted look like a rock is to use one to texture it so we can quickly and easily get the random surface that a rock gives you. You’ll want to get a collection of rocks with more jagged edges, smooth edges and any other type of edge out there. These will be only used for sculpting and will get messy if you’re using anything but Green Stuff (or similar epoxy) so have a good place to store them. The two I'll be using In this tutorial I’ll be using a clay like epoxy called Milliput, though Green Stuff will work as well, as I like how easy it can be to work with and takes to texturing with real rocks (especially when wet). There are two type of Milliput White and everything else. The white one is an extra fine and not needed, all the other colors are the same just with different coloring with the most common type being yellow. A note on working with Milliput: This stuff does not come out of things when dry so it’s highly advised to use an apron or clothing you don’t care about as it can get really messy if you get it wet—which I like to do. Also wearing rubber gloves will make your hands happy. I start out with mixing up some Milliput and then putting it right to work—there’s no need to really wait like with Green Stuff—in building up my rocks. This base is one I’m going to be using with water so it’s recessed (see my Ice base or water base tutorials). I’ve make one bolder on the left and then pavers all the way to the right. I get the Milliput wet and smooth it out (really easy with rubber gloves as there’s no worry with finger prints). I then take my texture rocks and get them wet—this way you don’t have to worry about whatever you’re working with sticking to them—and then start pressing. There are no real rules on how to do this as every rock is different and so are people’s tastes. Just take some time and find what you like. Once that’s done I’m going to sculpt in the paver’s edges and touch up edges with my rocks again. This step and the previous one really can be done in any order but I find touching up the textures to be easier then the lines (as all that pressing is going to cause some to disappear). Now we set aside our base for the Milliput to dry (it takes as long as Green Stuff so doing this before bed or work is ideal). Prepping the base Now that everything is dry I’m going to add a real rock to the base as there’s no real reason to sculpt a free standing rock like this unless you can’t find something you like. Plus this will let you compare my quick sculpted boulder to a real one. Now I’m going to prime them white. The reason for the white is I’m going to show you how to add some quartz to your rocks so the white base coat will work perfectly for this. If you have another type of mineral you want to add, like a metal, feel free to paint some spots of those colors in now (though it’s probably not best to do it 100% that color unless you want a lot of it showing through). That's it for part one. Part two will cover painting.
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