I was intentionally vague with this question. I think which factor is the most important depends on what you are making.
For example when making a simple salad the ingredients are probably the most important factor, great fresh produce will taste pretty good no matter how you chop them up or how you dress them. On the other hand I have found that making a sour beer is almost entirely technique (aging time, temp, blending etc...) with the quality of the ingredients being far less important.
over emphasize equipment. Sure a conical (or a $300 dollar knife) are cool, but how much do they really improve your results? Good equipment can save you time, effort, reduce costs in the long term, promote consistency etc... but it won't turn you from a bad brewer into a good brewer.
The value of a good recipe is also exaggerated in both cooking and beer. It has been amazing to taste how different the batches my friends have brewed for our barrel projects, the range is astonishing starting with the same ingredients (and considering we are all pretty good brewers). I think many people overlook how subtle changes in technique (pitching temperature or correct browning) can impact the final flavor of a beer or dish as much or more than major changes to a recipe.
Any simple techniques that people think have really improved their brewing (or cooking)?
Thursday, September 3, 2009