All posts filed under: Breads

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 Sandwich Diaries ~ the Meatloaf Sandwich

There’s one important thing to have when making a great meatloaf sandwich Good meatloaf…. and white bread Okay, two things meatloaf, white bread… and mayo bollocks! … three things and pickle chips Dammit! Meatloaf, in a sense, has been around since the Romans. Although with ingredients like finely chopped lamb, pine nuts, rosemary and cream, you ended up with something more “pate-like” than what we call our beloved food of the masses. It wasn’t until WWII that meatloaf truly became part of the working class American diet. Looking to help families stretch their meat rations, numerous government agencies and appliance manufacturers started a campaign to show housewives how to extend meager protein rations to feed a large family. They championed adding stale bread, leftover biscuits, potatoes and rice into minced meat, adding a healthy dose of ketchup and seasonings, and baking it off “roast-style” to create a meat dish that would be fit to grace any Sunday Dinner table. It caught on. And while they were satisfying and filling, they did something much more important. They created leftovers. Leftovers that …

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 …

Taste of Summer – Jamaican Banana Bread

I think my parents kept the Time/Life publishing company in business. For a period of time, Dad would buy every box set of music they came out with. And Jane, well it was cookbooks, of course. Not that there was anything wrong with that. From the International Series, that was a little geographic lesson, a cultural sneak peek, and a cookbook rolled into a neatly packaged compendium (complete with a decorative box sleeve), to my all time favorite, The Good Cook – which  consisted of 27 volumes, each devoted to a particular subject. Each were printed, boxed, and lovingly shipped in monthly surprises from the late 70’s to early 80’s. It is my absolute favorite cookbook collection, and even today, I refer to them often when I need a little inspiration. As it so happens, I got a little banana crazy a month ago, and started buying a bunch of banana every week. I like a banana, but I really only like them when they are still just off the green and beginning to turn yellow. …

The Sandwich Diaries ~ Egg Salad

Alright, I’m a fan of mayonnaise-based sandwich spreads. Why? Because I’m basically a lazy person. Nothing says quick eats than slicing some of that tangzhong bread, opening a container and spreading on a little (or a lot… in my case) of some ready-made spreadable stuff… Easy peasy – lunch is done. Besides, these days I’ve taken to making my own mayonnaise since I can’t find a full bodied, soy-free mayo that doesn’t taste like Miracle Whip mixed with cole slaw dressing. (I’m more the tart Duke’s, or Hellman’s kind of guy). And while I’m at it… that’s something else that’s kinda cranking my rice krispies.. so to speak. Why can’t companies that do make  a canola oil based mayo, simply use the exact same recipe as their regular mayo – and just substitute the oils. They never do. They want to monkey around with the formulation – change the ingredients – make it sweeter……. As though the American diet doesn’t already have enough sugar floating around in it. Any who…. I’m making my own… … …

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 …