All posts tagged: Techniques

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 …

The Pink Pig – Roasted

The Pink Pig. Those three odd little words used to conjure all kinds of wonder and joy in children when I was a little guy. Why? Because… it was a ride, A RIDE,  located high on top of the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta. They would only crank the behemoth up at Christmastime to thrill the kids – who in turn would whine, cry and then force their parents to drive all the way downtown to do their Christmas shopping. My parents either didn’t listen to us… or knew exactly what the pig was.. Either way, we never got see… let alone ride the pig. The closest we ever got to the downtown Rich’s was either on a Sunday drive (when it was closed), or occasionally to see the lighting of the Big Tree at Thanksgiving (again, when Rich’s was closed)…. My folks didn’t do gimmicks. I finally got to see the infamous “pig” some years later after I had started driving. It was a cheesy monorail… … that rattled and clanged … and moved slower than …

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 …

The Mayo Clinic

While theoretically a sauce, mayonnaise has become the mother of all condiments in the  States. A tomato sandwich just isn’t a sandwich without mayo, and a banana sammich – if you ain’t got the mayonnaise, just forget about it. It is the basis for thousands of sandwich spreads, it is the glue – the lubrication – and the binder for any well appointed thing between 2 slices of bread…. and I’m of the camp that “more is better.” Although, one of Jane’s first babysitters for us kids used to make ham sandwiches that squooched mayo out the sides when you tried to bite into it. I think there’s a happy place somewheres just short of that mark. Here’s the thing, I used to giggle when people said they made their own condiments. Making something that you can pick up off the shelf never really made all that much sense…. until 2 years ago. As you know, we’re currently living in prepared food hell, so anything that used to be a no-brainer now has dire consequences. …

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 …

Don’t make me smack you with this salad bowl…

I also like a great Caesar salad with anchovies, although I don’t know why some places say ‘with anchovies.’ If you’re making a proper Caesar salad, it’s going to have anchovies. – Paula Poundstone Like everyone from time to time… I guess, I seem to forget the little things in life… Where I left my car keys My ATM pin number Did I take my vitamins this morning? The name of the guy… that did that thing… Do I have a cat? Why do I have 12 cans of chickpeas? And, although I’ve made it countless times for more people than I care to count – the recipe for Caesar Dressing. Granted, it’s not a big thing. Unless you really want that dressing for your freshly steamed broccoli, and in that case… Paul Newman’s bottled Caesar stuff (watery Italian dressing with cheese in it) just isn’t even going to come close to doing it. But it irked me. I knew it had anchovies in it…I remembered smashing them around in the big wooden bowl. But then.. nothing. …

Simple Dinner Sunday – Pork Cutlets with Mushroom Sauce

I’ve never been one of those shoppers with a rigid grocery list. Sticking to a list, ticking off every little thing so you stay within $.50 of your budgeted grocery allowance just doesn’t work for me. I like the thrill of the economical buy. And, I do like a bargain. Reference the… 6 packs of ox tail for $1.95 a pack 1/2 bushel of okra for eight bucks family pack of 1.5 pound fryers (really, really tiny chickens) for 89 cents each industrial-sized bag of frozen chopped spinach… So, just imagine the joy of unearthing a 1 lb pack of “Cubed Pork Cutlets” for $1.35. I was over the moon happy. Really… Until, I got them home… Here’s the thing with cubed meat. Cubing is a process intended to break up the relatively tough muscle in bad cuts of meat. The protein feeds into the whacka-chopper, and it smashes 1/4″ divots into the slab of toughness. Top Round, Eye of Round, Brisket, Vein Strips – all good candidates for the cubing mawl… Pork? not so much. Pork, …

Curb Market Crawl – Early Peaches

Peach Butter Bingo Yeah, I know it… I’m not right. The super early crop of peaches here in Georgia has got me in a spin. The unusually early warm temperatures has produced a bumper (and I mean B U M P E R) crop of peaches a whole month before we would normally see them. So I’ve been reeling on what to do with them… and not doing very much. Which means, of the ahem, bushel of peaches I bought, some have began to look rather unsightly and blemished. And that’s the problem with buying a whole heap of peaches without a plan. when I stopped in to R and A Orchards, Jessica at the orchard suggested I make peach butter with the peels. “They’ll taste just like dried peach pie.” She knows me well… I love me some dried peaches. And, while that might take care of some of the problem…I was still left with a whole lotta bruising, not-quite-ripe and over-ripeness going on. So I did the next best thing … I punted. I came …