Archive: Bread

White Bread, Three Ways: Part III

As related last week, I was underwhelmed by the results of my maiden voyage on the no-knead bread train. I’m a confessed “kneady” gal, so maybe I was feeling first-time jitters or just simply finding my doughy way. Whatever the case, I remained unconvinced that NK would become my new MO, unless of course, someone else could show me the crumby light…Which leads me to the final installment in this mini series on good ole white bread. (Kim O'Donnel) So let me cut to the chase: I may have found the holy grail of bread making, folks. Admittedly, I was reading through “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois with great skepticism, but I was truly intrigued by their thesis that a) you could make bread without kneading and b) make a batch of so-called NK dough that you could use at your leisure...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 9, 2009; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (13)

White Bread, Three Ways: Part II

Last week’s bread menu featured Betty Crocker’s version of a white sandwich loaf, a straightforward recipe using an old-school (and familiar) methodology of kneading and proofing. On tap this week are two recipes from the School of No-Knead, a decidedly different approach to getting a decent crumb. And within the no-knead world, there are variations on the theme, as we’ll learn in the coming days. I’m a newbie when it comes to no-knead bread, which means at this point, I am unable to authoritatively determine if I baked a good loaf (or not). It sure does taste good, which I suppose says a lot, and it’s got more developed flavor characteristics than my Betty Crocker loaf. It’s got a darker crust and has a denser mouth feel, but where does that leave us with an overall grade or assessment? The jury is still out. I like kneading; in fact, I’m...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 3, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

White Bread, Three Ways: Part I

If you’ve ever made bread from scratch, you know the feeling of accomplishment as you pull golden loaves from the oven and the house fills with steamy sweetness. It is incredibly gratifying, particularly if the loaf is functional versus fanciful, i.e. a sandwich loaf that can be used first thing in the morning and at lunch versus a free-form work of art that you pull apart and dip into olive oil. It feels like such an accomplishment, what with all the rising, kneading and praying that the bread goddesses will watch over your loaves that if you find a recipe that works, you stick to it FOR LIFE. Why fix it if it ain’t broke, right? Until recently, this was the tune to my modus operandi, and honestly, that only applied when I actually got off my duff to make bread. Within a few weeks, I received review copies for...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 27, 2009; 07:45 AM ET | Comments (9)

These Onions Are Jammin'

From Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: Cook vi 1: to prepare food for eating by means of heat Onion jam teams up with olives and anchovies, a heady trio for a thin pizza-like dough. (Kim O'Donnel). We don’t think about it much, but heat – be it dry, wet, direct or indirect – brings about chemical changes in the composition of raw food that makes possible any number of edibles such as mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, grilled cheese sandwiches and roasted squash. Even for raw foodists, who allow maximum temperatures of 118 degrees, heat is an essential ingredient of our cooking lives. As a food geek, I am endlessly fascinated by the cellular transformation of the raw to the cooked, even when regarded as a simple pragmatic task (Dried beans plus liquid and heat equals soup, for example). But there’s one raw ingredient that consistently blows me away in the stovetop...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 22, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Chat Leftovers: Food Processor Bread, Grieving Fare

Arlington Gay Food Fan (aka GAFF): Kim, I finally did it, and it's all your fault. I bought a full-size (10 cup) food processor. Since Saturday, I've made your hummus, a roasted veggie soup (sadly, there can be too much cumin when processed), two pizza crusts, a loaf of Italian bread, and tonight six Italian bread rolls (same recipe, but dough cut into six parts after doubling.) Please give me links to more bread recipes that work well in food processors with a bread blade. I'm especially interested in rye, sour, and Italian recipes. GAFF, I’ll take the heat any day for your kitchen purchases! Congratulations on your new acquisition; it sounds like you are having a blast. You know, I’ve never done bread in a food processor, but your recent adventure has me curious. In her blog, dough diva Rose Levy Beranbaum (and author of pastry classics, including “The...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

Give Us Our Daily Indian Bread

I did something this weekend I've always wanted to do: I made Indian flat bread. I know, that's like saying I prepared "fish;" there are more types of Indian bread than you can count on both hands, an extensive umbrella category that includes north-south India variations as well as immigrant versions in neighboring Pakistan, Malaysia and Singapore, and further afield in Guyana and Trinidad, in the eastern Caribbean. Freshly-griddled roti ready for supper. (Kim O'Donnel) For most Westerners, Indian bread means naan, the pillowy leavened rounds baked in a tandoor oven, which, according to Madhur Jaffrey in "From Curries to Kebabs," is a relatively recent addition to the ancient tradition of Vedic breads. "Delhi and most of India knew little of the tandoor or the naan until after the partition of India into India and Pakistan in 1947," writes Jaffrey. "At that time refugees from western Punjab came bearing portable...

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 7, 2008; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Baking Good Luck Charms for St. Joseph

As St. Patrick's Day revelers dry out and recover from yesterday's merriment, Italians scattered around the U.S. and abroad are gearing up for tomorrow, March 19, a celebration of a patron saint of their very own. The saint in question is San Guiseppe, aka St. Joseph (as in Jesus, Mary and Joseph), and he's been known to protect the common worker from a host of calamities, including illness, bad weather, poverty and all-around bad luck. A ring of St. Joseph's bread for some good luck at Casa Appetite. I don't know from experience what it's like to be part of a St. Joseph's shindig, but based on how Sara Roahen describes in her "Gumbo Tales," it's a combination feast and homage and thanks to Guiseppe via offerings of decorative breads, cookies and other sweets. New Orleans is one of the many Italian communities where St. Joseph's Day is a big...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 18, 2008; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (8)

Popovers: A Kitchen Experiment

In response to a reader request, the popover is the subject of today's little ditty. The popover, ladies and gents, is a culinary relic, a descendant of Yorkshire pudding, the 18th-century English batter pudding seasoned with meat drippings and originally eaten with gravy (before the meat course) to help curb the appetite. Popovers, just out of the oven: Quick, before they deflate! (Kim O'Donnel) By the next century, the popover made its way into kitchens on this side of the Atlantic, albeit smaller and more of a handheld treat that could be eaten for breakfast. In fact, the first documented popover recipe in this country appeared in Mary Newton Foote Henderson's 1876 cookbook, "Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving, " in which she refers to them as "breakfast puffs or pop-overs." Simple and straightforward, the batter is primarily composed of milk, flour and at least two eggs, which act as the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 26, 2008; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (36)

A Baguette Breakthrough

Last week's piece on bread troubleshooting further illustrates just how many schools of thought there are on the topic. Hats off to "Seattle cooking mom," a self-described active bread baker, who suggests paying less attention to books and more attention to the bread itself. I couldn't agree more with this piece of advice. The remaining portion of my very first baguette. (Kim O'Donnel) A personal pitfall that continues to plague my bread-making is my tendency to multi task. As a cook, I've always got a few things on the stove at the same time, which is why I've got no problem pulling off a multi-course feast, but experience has proven that bread really does require one's full attention. Clear the counter, clear the head and focus on the bread -- and in all likelihood you'll have delicious results. With all the recent back-and-forthing in the blog space, I had lingering...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 6, 2007; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (16)

Bread 911

Yeastcrazy: I have been trying to bake a lot of bread -- but I consistently have two problems -- the dough won't take the amount of flour that is called for, and the dough won't rise as much as it should. I have been using a thermometer to make sure the water is not too warm or too cold. The only way I can get the dough to rise (and it's still not enough) is to set it as close as I can to the stove and to turn on the stove -- it needs way too much heat to rise. Any ideas? Although I consider myself a student of (rather than an expert in) breadmaking, I'll share a few pointers that have worked for me and lessons learned along the way. You state that you have been "using a thermometer to make sure the water is not too warm...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 1, 2007; 08:44 AM ET | Comments (20)

Red, White and Blue Cheat Sheet

This year's Fourth of July is a real bugger, falling in the middle of the week. It's a tall order being red, white and blue while whipping up a fabulous outdoor feast without the cushion of a long weekend. We're literally running out of time before the rockets' red glare gets going, so chop-chop. To help, I've compiled a cheat sheet with lots of links to recipes for various components of a classic summertime shindig. Let's go! Got marinade? There's still time to rub it in and lather up dem ribs, roasts and birds. Consider a dry jerk, curried rub or a bath of yogurt-based tandoori seasonings. Homemade burger buns are the bomb diggety. (Kim O'Donnel) No time for marinade? Do the plank instead. A piece of salmon grilled on a untreated wooden plank does most of the seasoning work, imparting the flavor of the wood into the fish. It's...

 

By Kim ODonnel | July 3, 2007; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Eureka! Homemade English Muffins

In this week's What's Cooking chat, a reader from Honolulu asked for a recipe for homemade English muffins To the muffin-y rescue came a reader from Oakland, Calif., who shared a tried-and-true recipe from Winos and Foodies, a New Zealand-based blog. Oakland was kind enough to convert the measurements for us non-metric cooks. Details are below. English muffins getting griddled. (Kim O'Donnel) Also an English muffin virgin, I took this recipe as a cue. It was my turn as well to get griddlin' and see what the fuss was all about. I've always been impressed by restaurants turning out their own English muffins, but for some reason never thought I should recreate the experience myself. I kept thinking I'd never get that nooks and crannies thing down like our old pal Thomas. I studied the recipe several times and kept thinking, what's the catch? This seems so easy. I even...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 22, 2007; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (29)

Breakfast Breadcrumbs

After a revelatory experience with a batch of buttermilk-infused white bread, I decided to keep going. I was on a roll, a loaf run, a trail of bread crumbs. (Okay, okay, I'll stop.) Aside from my excitement level that was running on a bread-adrenalin high, I wanted to see what it would be like to bake bread two consecutive days in a row. Breakfast of champions: Raisin-walnut bread. (Kim O'Donnel) With a soft crumb that made me nostalgic for Pepperidge Farm's "Very Thin White Bread" (white paper lining wrapped inside plastic bag), the buttermilk white was a bit tangy by its lonesome, but I loved it with jam, and saw promise in its toastability. Yesterday's lunch was one slice folded over, bookending a piece of leftover roast chicken -- a pairing that was reminiscent of a steamed Chinese bun -- sweet, soft and well, maybe too soft for everyday use....

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 10, 2007; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (10)

The Bread Life

"Give us our daily bread." "Bread is the staff of life." "Man shall not eat by bread alone." "I know on which side my bread is buttered." We've all heard the above quotes throughout our lifetimes, and they are a just a sliver of what's been said about bread for centuries. The good life: Buttermilk honey bread. (Kim O'Donnel) As a kid, I grew up on bagged white bread, or as Julia Child wrote in 1974, "the cellophaned Kleenex sold at the supermarket." I was a stranger to the stuff of a "homemade loaf, crusty, crumbly and a succor for the eater." So were my schoolmates. Bread was from a bag at the store. I remember my brothers taking those bendable, Gumby-like slices out of the bag and rolling them into balls -- and then pelleting them at their sister. Ouch. Like many of my generation, I tasted homemade bread...

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 9, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (29)

Kneading Khubz

In Arabic, the word for bread is "khubz," a general term to encompass all kinds of bread baked in the many countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Similarly, the Italians have "pane," but when it's time to get more specific, they've got words such as foccacia, ciabatta, grissini and piadina. Arab flatbread. (Kim O'Donnel) Americans may be more familiar with the word "pita," a pocket of slightly leavened dough that is filled with falafel and chicken shwarma at Middle Eastern restaurants or torn for dipping into a mound of hummus or baba ghanoush. No matter what you call it, Arab bread is flatbread or a lot flatter than the loaf-style breads of the Americas and Europe. I recently tried making khubz for the first time and the experience was eye-opening. First, I was surprised at how easy it was to make. The dough was clean and unsticky when...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 2, 2006; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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