All posts filed under: Bread Hoarders Anonymous

Bread Whore ~ School Rolls

Except for a brief period of time when Jane went to Marietta High (she still attests that the meals cooked in any one of the three – count’em, 3  dining rooms – were stellar food),  school lunches have always been a point of contention. We bitch about the pseudo protein nuggets they currently feed our kids and the layers upon layers of overly sweetened,  deep fried “easy way out” meals that most systems have allowed to overtake the meal program. Years ago, we weren’t any better. Even though we had real, actual, lunch ladies – that cooked real, actual  meals; we still found the fuel and energy to moan about the worm-like spaghetti with the sauce that congealed before you got it back to the table, or the odd, flat meatloaf that more resembled scouring pads than actual meat. Every generation has it’s pressure point. …Except when it came to the bread. Most schools made their own bread; ours was no different. I bet every person that when to school when I did can remember splitting …

No Buns for You

Historically speaking – since this isn’t even Good Friday, I really shouldn’t be making them at all. that is… if I were English… and lived in Elizabethan England, where they considered the buns were too special and sacred to be consumed any other time of the year… … and, if I cared a great deal about goofy superstitions (I don’t, by the way). And if you get right down to it – these really aren’t Hot Cross Buns, because the recipe isn’t traditional – the fruits are all wrong – and the bun isn’t dry like a powder keg. No, these are soft, lush, pillow-y, enriched brioche-style buns… with an “X” on top – and they’re delicious any time of the year. But – if you still feel hinkey about flapping in the face of superstitious traditions – then share one with a compadre, so that your friendship will grow stronger and you’ll both enjoy excellent luck throughout the year. . [amd-yrecipe-recipe:4]    

The Multi ~ Multi ~ Multi Bread

So, over the past three weeks I got a bit obsessive watching the past seasons of The Great British Bake Off.   After the current season ended on PBS, I picked up all the rest on YouTube… plus the snippets…and the irritating Comic Relief ones… and the Master Classes… and pinned and saved a whole heap of Mary & Paul’s recipes… (I’ll get around to making them …eventually.) I’d like to think I learned a thing or two… actually, I’d like to think I’ve become a master baker just by watching TV, but that’ll happen when I can get ripped abs just by polishing the Bowflex in the basement. But, all this bake viewing has done some very good things – it’s removed a lot of the mysticism, fear and stigma I’ve had about making bread – it’s taught me not to be so anal about the processes –  and most importantly, to relax… even good bakers make crappy bread from time to time.   The Multi Multi Multi I decided to play it kind of safe for my first …

The Hybrid Portuguese Broa

Now, about that loaf… What began as a way to get a better English Muffin, evolved into something even more fantastic than I really could imagine. As you read earlier, I was out to make a modified starter – which we did, and succeeded in that task. What came next was to modify the dough to impart more flavor. To do that, I borrowed a lot from a standard  sourdough recipe utilizing a long slow refrigerated proof and by adding a certain amount of corn flour (superfine milled corn meal) to the mix as well. Tasting the dough, I knew I was on to something. So, I decided to check around through my books and see if there was an actual existing loaf like what I was creating. There is…. kinda… sorta. This is basically a Portuguese Broa loaf. Although mine has the addition of the starter.. and  less corn flour, and there is less sugar than in a traditional loaf…. then there’s the whole 24 to 36 hour cooler rise going on… So…yeah… kinda, but …

Bread Whore ~ The “Not Quite Sourdough ” Starter

This story was going to be just about making a loaf of bread. But, I realized that before I could talk about the loaf, I had to tell you about the starter – or it just wasn’t going to make any sense. And when I put everything together into one long, rambling, never-ending scroll, … it was just to boring to get through… I think I even fell asleep a couple of times. So…SCRAPPED… And, instead of tempting you with loverly pictures of We have to get there , first…. with THIS! (and yes, it’s not nearly as sexy) This whole process started by me trying to improve on the taste and texture of The Modern English Muffin from a couple of month back. Don’t get me wrong, the muffins were / are great, but they just don’t have that dark, musky, sourdough-y hint that some of the bakery versions have. So, the little demon in my head says, “Start with sourdough starter”. Only, I really don’t like sourdough. .. and I’ve always made a …

Bread Whore ~ The Modern English Muffin

The other week, out of the blue, Jane says, “I’ve been trying to think what this thing is called…” “What thing..” “Breakfasty, brunchy kind of thing” “What’s in it” Poached eggs and an English muffin…” “Oh, it’s an Eggs Benedict.” She thanked me – obviously it had been nagging at her head for days. A couple of days later…. a repeat of the initial Q & A. Then, last week… “What’s that thing again?” “Eggs Benedict… Do you want one?” “Well… yes. If it’s not a lot of trouble.” Trouble… considering the hoops I have to jump through navigating Jane’s growing food allergies, something like an eggy thing shouldn’t be very high up on the difficulty list. However, all English Muffins contain either soy… or unsafe dairy… or an unrecognizable oil… or a combination of all three. So, getting to the Benedict was going to take some work. Trouble… I poked around several recipes.  There are ones that sound and look like thick, doughy pancakes. There are a couple that have you making your own starter – …

Bread Whore ~ TOAST

I’ve always loved great toast. And apparently, I’m not alone.  I read somewhere the other day that toast has become a “thing“. Affected, terribly cool people are flocking to certain restaurants where they serve big, thick,  honkin’ slabs of complicated bread (probably kneaded on the thighs of Tahitian women), hand toasted over hardwood coals, and served with rare, artisan snoozleberry jam and yak butter churned during a full moon. Probably… Maybe… but you know what I’m talking about.   It seems to be the trend these days to take something exceedingly simple – and remake it into a ritual… a process…. an ordeal. Me? I can’t be bothered. For toast to be enjoyable, it only has to have: 1.  a developed richness that comes from fermentation 2. an outer crust that stays crisp even as the toast cools 3. toast centers that are tender and soft. Toasting Bread Some years ago I came across an English Toasting Bread (or English Muffin Bread) at one of the markets in the area. So I thought for this episode of …

Bread Whore – The Hirohito / Mussolini Method

In another time, I might have given the dough a kinder, more compassionate name. But with that Cold War machine out there priming the pump, I’m feeling a tad evil. Generally speaking, this is the focaccia recipe from last month. – but – after making my usual weekly loaf of Hokkaido style TangZhong bread, I had 1/2 of the cooked roux left over. So… I says, “hmmm…. wonder what this would do in the focaccia recipe?” and, “What if I tweaked it and made pizza crust with it too?” So, I did. Axis Powers Pizza / Focaccia Dough Makes 1 Focaccia and 1- 20″ Pizza Ingredients 2 1/4 Cups Bread Flour 1/3 Cup TangZhong Cooked Roux (click through the linky to get the preparation on it) 1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast 1 Teaspoon Salt 1 Tablespoon Sorghum Syrup (or Barley Malt Syrup) 1 Cup Hot Water 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon Garlic Infused Oil To make a Focaccia: Follow the focaccia procedure as you would for a  normal loaf. To make Pizza Dough: after kneading  with …

Bread Whore ~ Everybody Tang – Zhong tonight!

Well, hello… So, it’s a new look. I’m all refreshed and re-energized.. and I’ve got some amazing, life-affirming crapola to sling your way… eventually… in a couple of days. But for now… It’s Bread Whore Time I wont lie, I’m a horrible baker. That doesn’t stop me from buying every freakin’ stinkin’ book that comes out in print on the subject. And invariably, the end result is the same… crappy bread… crappy crappy mood for making crappy bread… crappy crappy crappy loads of useless bread crumbs in the freezer from making crappy bread. What’s that quote? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results? That would be me and the bread business. That is… until this August. Back in Early August, a friend on Facebook (shush), who happens to be Pastry Chef Online, started talking about the Tangzhong Method for baking bread. And, that the end result was soft, moist, ethereal yeasty bread carried on the wings of angels. well, not really angels – but in my head I swear I …

Bread Whore – Holla’, erm… Challah!

I’m a card carrying member of Bread Hoarders Anonymous.  So, Forget that I have a package of English Muffins in the fridge (and one in the freezer). Never mind that there are a dozen buttermilk biscuits, 8 corn muffins, a bag of Tablouleh rolls, 2 packs of flour tortillas, a tube of canned biscuits, and a loaf of sandwich bread lounging around in the cupboards. And you didn’t even see the  disk of Cracker bread, a half-eaten box of water crackers and assorted saltine shaped things only slightly hidden from prying eyes. I haven’t had any bread in 3 years. And, Unless they come with a warrant – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Because I’m such a pillar of the BHA community, I decided to not do bread this year for Easter Dinner. Regardless what you may have heard, there was none of this… … parading up alongside of the Herb Crusted Rolled Lamb Steaks. and there definitely wasn’t any of this… Served up in hearty slabs with the Broccoli & Leek Cream Gratin. …