Thursday, January 6, 2011

epic holiday bread baking

This year for xmas I made my family bread, lots of bread. 7 sourdough loaves, 2 stollen, 32 butter rolls, and 6 pizzas (which sort of counts as bread).

First on the agenda was Rose Levy Beranbaum's butter dinner rolls from The Bread Bible. I made a dozen for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them, so I doubled the batch and made them a bit smaller so I could distribute them to more folks.

I had some trouble adjusting to my parents' electric oven and the rolls came out darker than I would have liked, but no one else seemed to notice.

Next up I made a double batch of bread mostly following Susan's recipe for Norwich Sourdough. I made boules and stuffed them with various things (as per my siblings' requests). I made 6 loaves in all, one with caraway, one with cheddar cheese inside and on top, and the rest with varying combinations of roasted garlic paste, kalamata olives, rosemary, and thyme.

I make the stuffed boules by rough shaping into a ball, then gently flattening the ball (seam side up), placing the ingredients inside about an inch from the edge, then folding the edges in like a letter on one side, rotating, and doing the same for the other, then gathering it up again into a ball and letting it rise seam side down. You have to be careful about slashing too deep, because if you hit the "pocket" of ingredients they ooze out everywhere.

This one has roasted garlic paste, olives, and rosemary.

I cut everyone's initial into the top to try to keep them all separate.

Here's the spread!

All wrapped and ready to go!

Then I made another favorite from last year, stollen. I followed Reinhart's recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, using raisins, apricots, and cranberries for the dried fruit (I always use dried instead of candied fruit).

Shaping the "blanket" folds.

Finished loaves.

Generously dusted with powdered sugar!

Everyone seemed to like the bread, so I guess it was a hit despite leaving my scale at home and using a strange oven! A little late but happy holidays everyone!

easy savory bread pudding

I've made this for breakfast a couple of times but it could easily be a lunch or dinner. It's quick and easy to make, simple but still tasty, and very filling! It's also a great way to use up stale bread, although fresher bread works too.
You'll need:
1-3 slices of bread cut into cubes (depends on the size of the slices, I often use the heels)
1c milk
2 eggs (you could probably use just one although I haven't tried it)
a bit of grated cheese (I usually use about a tablespoon of cheddar or gruyere)
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
pinch of your favorite herb (I use whatever's on hand, usually thyme or sage)

Put the milk in a microwave safe bowl, add the bread, heat for 2 minutes or long enough for the milk to get hot and soak into the bread (alternately, leave it soak at room temp, but this takes longer). Whisk two eggs in a (cold) small cast iron skillet (or other stove top/oven safe dish). Add pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg, herbs to eggs. Mix bread into egg mixture, stirring well. On the stove top cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the bottom is solid but the top is still uncooked. Top with cheese then switch to broiler for another ~5 minutes. Check frequently to avoid burning. It's done as soon as it's cooked through/not wet in the middle. I like to eat is right out of the pan!


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