Bread Archive

Friday, February 3, 2012

cheddar, beer and mustard pull-apart bread

cheddar, beer and mustard pull-apart bread

You might have created a monster. I went back and forth, again and again, before sharing the recipe for potato chip cookies. My presumption was that most sane people would find them revolting; that the comment section would be a string of “eww”s. Silly me! It turns out that a whole lot of you are closet potato chip sandwich lovers, and worse. You put Doritos on your pizza! You put Cheetos on your tuna! I am clearly among my brethren. This will only lead to trouble, as the next time I have a weird, funky combination of flavors I want to try out, who will stop me? Clearly, not you.

beer and butter
poured into flour mix with rye

Like this. For a while, I’ve been enamored with this idea of pull-apart bread, such as Flo Braker’s from her latest book. Yet as lovely as buttery lemon sugar is, or cinnamon sugar for that matter, is, I wanted to give it a savory spin. My first inclination was to go with the universally adored (but kinda overused these days, don’t you think?) cheddar, chives and bacon — i.e. baked potato toppings — but what I’ve really been dreaming about lately is Welsh rarebit, which I understand to be pub food in places I haven’t been lucky enough to travel to yet. It’s a thick, punchy, rich sauce made with cheddar and mustard and beer and butter and cream and spices and it is often ladled over a piece of toast, such as rye or another brown bread. And I want it.

a sticky dough that doesn't stay sticky

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

apple and honey challah

apple honey challah, sliced

This month has came and has now almost gone and I’ve missed it entirely. It’s a shame, because September is my second favorite but less of a shame than it would be if I am still saying the same about October, which is my actual favorite. Nevertheless, I put my foot down and decided I absolutely, unequivocally would not let this month go without at least making you an apple honey challah. Due to my innate gift for impeccable timing (ha), I got the idea for this about two days after the High Holidays ended last year. So, for the better part of 12 months, I’ve plotted this spin on traditional challah and am still about six hours late on it. Typical.

baking with macs

Honey challahs are surprisingly easy — you simply swap sugar for honey, and you can increase it for a stronger honey flavor. Apple challahs, however, are challenging, mostly because larger chunks of baked apple are far more satisfying to bite into you than pea-sized ones, but they’re also tricky to work into a soft dough, and then shape that dough with a traditional braid. Many recipes I saw for apple challah forewent the braid, and baked the bread in a tin instead but it felt too much like cake to me. Plus, I like playing with Play-Doh bread dough far too much to do that. So, I came to two agreements with my dough. One, that I would not put so much apple in that it was more cake than bread, and also nearly impossible to shape and two, that if apple chunks fell out — and of course, they will — I’d just poke them back in. I’m pretty sure you’re picturing me right now negotiating with a large blob of dough on a speckled counter and your premonition would be correct. At least I’m not talking to myself, right?

spread 2/3 of apple chunks, fold over spread remaining chunks, fold again
tuck into ball, ready for rise 2 flatten, divide into four

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

flatbreads with honey, thyme and sea salt

flatbreads with thyme, honey and sea salt

Crisp flatbread. Fruity olive oil. Nutty cheese. Warm honey. Faintly crunchy sea salt. Fresh thyme. I can probably skip the rest of the post, as what else is there to know? You might like all of these things separately but together: welcome to my latest addiction.

sea salt, olive oil, honey, cheese, thyme

This is straight off a restaurant menu, though I’m always a bit embarrassed to mention than lest someone from the kitchen of this impeccable restaurant be reading along at home and feel insulted by this bastardization of their worthy efforts. Maybe I got it all wrong. Maybe my memory failed me. Maybe they spent 24 hours kneading the dough to this work of flatbread art and I have the audacity to suggest that you can get equivalent greatness from something that comes together in 5 minutes. My aim to extol, not insult so let’s just call this an approximation of it.

spanish cheese

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

sally lunn bread + honeyed brown butter spread

beaming loaf

Four and a half years ago, I shared a recipe for white batter bread which I like to joke was the original no-knead bread for its lazy approach to assembly. I learned about this particular batter bread when I took a multi-weekend bread baking class (cue sigh over pre-baby levels of free time) and even though it was the least hearty, stretchy, hollow-sounding, craggy-crusted or rustic of the breads we made, it was unforgettable because it reminded me of a cross between a cake and a bread. [Also, it was unbearably delicious when sliced warm and slathered with salted butter. Don’t trust me on this, go find out for yourself.]

all mise-d up
adding yeast

Well, it was mostly unforgettable. In the 4 1/2 years since, there have been new jobs, new apartments, new people (hello!), new projects, less sleep, more work and well, even unforgettable things can go and get forgotten until one of my favorite commenters (oh yes, I pick favorites; bad blogger!) piped up on the batter bread post the other day and told me that it reminded her of a Sally Lunn bread, which I had never heard of and immediately had to drop everything to research.

adding butter and milk

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

pizza with bacon, onions and cream

alsatian pizza

I am busted. Someone figured out that I made this over a week ago and have been holding out on you and called me out on it. Guilty as charged. I know nobody will believe me, but I swear, sometimes I just come up blank. I keep trying to figure out how I can convince you that you should make this now, right now, but I’m having a hard time. It’s January, after all, the month of absolving (oneself of having eaten a lot bacon) and resolving (to stop eating so much bacon), and I suspect that the last thing people want to be taunted with is a homemade pizza, creamy tangy base, lightly caramelized onions and thick crunchy salty smoky-sweet — that’s right — bacon lardons. Plus, we think this goes best with a generous glass of crisp white wine.

thick cut bacon
lardon-ed

All of which isn’t very “January” of me, and truthfully, I’d intended to squeeze this recipe in right before New Years, as tiny flatbreads for a cocktail party, for people like me who always forget to eat dinner before we go to a party but feel kind of terrible when we eat nothing but tortilla chips, salsa, various cheeses on crackers and cocktails for dinner. Mini-dinner food is the answer. But New Years was a blur and a few days into January I realized I had slab bacon and crème fraîche on the decine in my fridge. One should never let either go to waste.

onions, to caramelize a bit

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