Food Friday, more uses for old bread edition
This was a challah baking week. I have been thinking about how even though you are not actually hanging out in my kitchen as I bake my bread, a regular reader might get enough bread baking hints to actually feel comfortable baking bread on their own.
My father baked much of the bread we ate at home both the challah as well as a 1970's era multi grain whole wheat bread of the sort you might find in a Hippie co-op restaurant from that time period. I never did any bread baking while I lived with my parents but I hung around and learned enough to be comfortable with the process once I began baking bread as an adult.
My methods and approach are different than my father's. I don't bake the massive batches of bread he did (at least a dozen loaves at a time). After an initial period of experimentation, my father settled on a formula and the bread after the experimental period did not vary. My father liked consistency. I am willing to continue experimenting. My father made only two kinds of bread. I have a wardrobe of breads in my repertoire.
But let's assume for the moment that you are at my virtual elbow, just as I was during my father's bread baking days. This week as a treat I used the high gluten flour. I can't always find it and it is just so good.
I pulled the eggs out of the fridge to be added to the challah dough.
I know some of you want to know what it looks like when the yeast is doing it's job. See the bubbles? That is the sign of yeast life in the early stages of dough building.
These are the challot once they were pulled out of the oven. The past few batches I have tried something new for me. I rolled the dough for each challah out into a large rectangle and covered it with sweet spices and honey. I then tightly roll the rectangle into a long roll cut it in half rolled it out some more and then cut the roll in half so I had two rolls, rolled them each longer and then braided the challah.
I know I had shown the results of this extra effort before. This week the last bit of the challah didn't get eaten.
The interior of the loaf looks like this with swirls of the spices inside.
When I was thinking about what to make for dessert I remembered that a Ukrainian friend had told me about a dessert she used to eat as a child which is a meringue dough to which you add ground up bread crumbs.
So I whipped up four egg whites, and added a dash of cream of tartar, and one 1/4 cup of sugar per egg white, so in this case a full cup.
I grated in the rind of two clementines for flavor.
They aren't that pretty but they taste great and have a terrific texture, I guess this is a poor man's dried toasted coconut.
We can't live on dessert alone, so I also made chicken.
Chicken are greatly improved if they are flipped over most of the way through the cooking. Flipping your chickens does two good things. The chicken juices get redistributed through out the bird and all of the chicken has crispy skin.
I am sure that house ware stores sell nifty gadgets to flip chickens. This is what I use.
One fork inserted at either end of the chicken gives you enough leverage to do the job without cursing, dropping the chicken on the floor or splashing yourself with burning hot chicken juice.
I love how the right images can convey a sense of calm in my house. This is actually not the case today.This was all cooked while the kitchen was filled with the contents of the back bathroom because my husband decided to start re-plastering and painting the bathroom today. Oh, and the plumbers came too because the toilet had sprung a leak. My back bathroom looked like this for much of the day.