All posts filed under: Breads

The Unfinished Manuscript – Focaccia

If you didn’t read about how this all came about – go back and catch up at the beginning of the story HERE. * * * Thinking I’d go for something in the beginning of the manuscript, and something tasty and easy – I picked the “Focaccia al Rosmarino” (Focaccia with Rosemary) as the first test of the manuscript’s abilities. Meh… the flatbread was tough, chewy in the center, and not terribly flavorful. The main problem with the recipe is the author has you rolling the dough – in her words – like a pizza. The thing is you never want to roll pizza dough, let along – focaccia dough. You want to pull and stretch it.  This keeps the gas pockets from the yeast high and airy which keeps the dough from being all compacted making flatbread tender, crisp and delicious. so… No Rolling… forgedaboutit! The other issue was the blandness. Bread needs seasoning. And, bread that doesn’t include much sugar, or dairy,  or egg in the mix is going to need salt… and …

Bread Whore – Bread, Cakes, and Knuckle Sammiches

Arguably, not my finest hour. But in my defense – I didn’t throw the first punch, and any damage I caused was in the name of self-defense… even when Eileen W. menaced the crowd with her unsettlingly heavy carpet bag purse (I kinda think she liberated J&J’s of all their fruitcakes.) To be fair, quick breads like Date- Nut Bread, Banana Bread, and even the fateful Butternut Squash Bread, are in fact – cake. The embattled discussions abound on the interwebbynetoverse concerning it. Some say they’re called bread because they use chemical leavening. Some say it’s because they’re less sweet. Some say it’s the proportions of fat to flour to sugar…. or wet to dry… or fruit to nuts… or… or… or… Hogwash. Plain and simple – it’s because they are cooked in loaf pans… like a loaf of bread. I can, at this very moment, close my eyes and lay my hands on a half a dozen recipes of cakes that meet the very same identifiers. So, put down your fight’n spatulas, and let’s …

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. …

Just in Time for St. Paddy’s – Corned Beef Chowder

Yes, yes, yes… this is a redo – and I really didn’t change the original recipe. I had a couple of people ask for the recipe, and although they could just go and look it up – this kills 2 boids with one blarney stone. …think of it as a retro look back at something you probably didn’t want to cook the first time around. And besides, I monkeyed around with the original post and created a fatal error there…. it’s gone. What’s This Blarney and why are we kissing it? I think I’m one quarter Irish… I’m not terribly sure. Family says we’re English / Irish… But, I’ve got one great grandmother that looks all the world like a Full Cherokee, and another that looked like she stepped out of a Hummel Display Case. You could mistake my mom’s dad for a leprechaun, and my own father looked Jewish. And his dad..   Well, let’s just say he was hearty stock. (I get my meaty hands from him). Go figure… I’ve never been all …

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread… and the resulting pudding.

If I close my eyes and avoid every mirror – I’m 35, Svelte, and athletic. I’d embrace every new food trend and be an ambassador for healthy eating. I’d be a bastion of good will and charity … and I’d like whole wheat bread. …none of those things are particularly true. I’m no spring chicken, and haven’t been an an inordinate amount of time… I’m 50 – plus (ish). And while I’m quite possibly in the best physical shape of my life, I wouldn’t win any contests. There aren’t any awards given out for middle aged men that don’t pass out when they stand. Then there’s that whole “eat things that aren’t really food ” stance. I can’t be bothered on how good they are for you, Chia seeds belong on a terra cotta head (so you can grow funny hair)… not in baked goods. I don’t want things that aren’t caviar chemically altered to make them look like caviar. Sauces should be sauces and not loosely aerated froth, I want my leafy greens sauteed in butter not …

Bread Whore

I’ve just eaten my third loaf of no knead bread in  something under 2 weeks…. okay, it’s more like eight days… But, I’m a bread whore…. it’s what I do. No Knead breads? You’re right… they’re nothing new. All are based (or out-right stolen) from Jim Lahey’s four ingredient procedure. You can find his original recipe and procedures for it HERE. But, this is my show and you know I just can’t leave something alone. The real appeal of this type of bread is that you create a stupid simple, quality loaf with essentially ZERO effort. The secret is the long, slow fermentation and controlled heat, which results in an artisan style loaf that could grace any starred restaurant’s table. The crust is divine and the body has just the perfect chew and crumb. Although, to be honest, I find the resulting bread a little salty… which really is okay – especially if you’re going to slather it in butter – but I thought if I could add a little sweetness, it might be enough to offset …

Cookbook Sundays – Southern Homemade Loaf Bread

I have a little secret. I rarely pay full price for a cookbook. Oh, I ohh and ahh over the newest books at the B&N and thumb through them at the market, but buy a new one? I’m way too frugal (nice word for friggin’ cheap) for that. No, I get my many, many, many books from what passes as “antique” stores here in Dahlonega… They’re junk stores, and they sometimes have the most amazing finds in the cookbook department. The Heritage of Southern Cooking by Camille Glenn / 2007 The other week, I picked up Camille Glenn’s “The Heritage of Southern Cooking” for pocket change! A totally satisfying act in it’s own right – but this is actually a very good cookbook – with some truly classic recipes and some great twists and unconventional takes on other deep south favorites. To test out a new book, I’ll usually look at 3 things: Chicken Recipes, ratio of protein to side dishes, and breads. Here in the South, if you’re going to write about bread – …

Put a Spoon in it…

Ideally, there would have been a post for this: I found the recipe in some page-shredded, coverless magazine while I’ve been sitting around waiting on Jane’s medical results. The fact that every other recipe in the periodical had been lifted – save this one – really should have been a tell. Conceptually it was nice: Yellow Cornmeal, Meyer Lemon with a tangy lemon~honey glaze. I thought it would be the next incarnation of “All that Lemony Goodness” And…  To be honest, it was quite stunning when it came out of the oven…. However… For all intents and purposes, it’s lemon flavored Jiffy Cornbread. Deflated, I put the cake cover on it and ignored it.  (In care you’re not savvy to Jiffy… here it is) And I was going to boast about my Nora  Mills Yellow Cornmeal, and everything… So, with the outlook that every disaster is an opportunity in disguise, I drug the cake back out today and went looking for inspiration. What I came up with was Spoon Bread…   …   …   …   ..  .  . . . …

The Guilty Pleasure

Okay, there’s no beating around the bush when you say guilty pleasure. Everyone wants to know what tawdry, cheap little thing knocks your boots. Thankfully… It isn’t: Desperate Housewives Jersey Shore Any of the Real Women of Trailer-Parks Sardines in a can… (but it’s close.) It’s… Yeah… I do love me some date nut bread in a can. I don’t know what it is about it either. Is it the saturated walnuts with that ever-so-light give when you crunch into them? Is it that slight mechanical taste? Is it just that it plops out of the can in that giggle inducing cylinder? Or maybe, just maybe it’s because it is the perfect vehicle for a two-handed shmear of cream cheese. I’m going to go with the cream cheese… When I looked at the calendar this morning and saw that today was National Date Nut Bread Day (who knew), I knew exactly what today’s post was going to be. Unfortunately, No dates… No walnuts, and oddly, no baking soda. But a quick run, and an hour later, to the market fixed that… Did you …