I once got caught with yeast in my luggage in the airport customs in Shannon, IR. I was taking it to a brewery start up and transporting it packed with cold packs in asceptic packaging was the best thing I could think up, as actual customs would have taken days.
The customs guys were really pissed at first "You’ve got WHAT in those gold foil bags?" I had four of them, which was more than I would be needing, so I opened one of them up and poured some into a cup and drank it.The lads in customs were still unsure about what I was all about, so they called their supervisor, who it turns out was a HUGE fan of micro breweries and liked the one in Temple Bar in Dublin (name escapes me at the moment) and not only knew about my project, but knew what to do about the yeast. I filled out forms that turned it into "duty free alcohol" (well…it was[:D]) and they let me go on my way.
About 6 months later the guy and a couple of his mates showed up at the Brewery. They had a grand time on a tour and left with all the Celtic ALe that they could put into the boot of their Citroen.[:D]
It pays to be nice to your local brewer (not to mention customs agents)
I love Ireland. Great people with a bottomless sense of humor.
Mmmm, yes, a nice crusty artisan bread is great either by itself or with just a smear of butter. But for everyday sandwiches, including the all-important PBJ, I like a whole-wheat bread with a compact crumb and a softer crust. I used to be able to get dinner rolls of this type in my local food co-op until the unhappy day they stopped making them (never did get a straight answer as to why they stopped, either). Then I discovered The Bread Baker in Rochester, Minnesota. They make the same kind of dinner rolls I used to be able to get here in La Crosse, plus they have whole-wheat cinnamon rolls to die for and an orange-cinnamon bread that makes the absolute best French Toast![:p] So now I make the 60-mile trip once every couple of months, spend $30 on bread and bring it back to fill up my freezer!
If you’re ever in Rochester I highly recommend a stop at the Bread Baker. It’s an off-and-right-on-again stop on Highway 52, the 2nd Street exit.
I cooked at a YMCA Camp in Northern Minnesota for 2 seasons.
They were given government surplus commodities. The storeroom and cooler was filled with butter, oil, lard, flour, pasta, peanut butter, etc etc.
When I started, I took over from the person who was doing the job and they had a recipe for bread using the surplus stuff.
It was the Directors instructions to make our own bread every day to save money. We had a commercial mixer and convection oven.
Anyway, no-one ate this "stiff" bread that the last cook made, and I thought I’d modify the recipe a little by adding honey and more white flour. What turned out was a softer loaf and with the addition of bowls of peanut butter on the table and warm bread at dinner time, the campers were full with little expense.
The place is called Camp Menogyn, a Minneapolis YMCA camp in the BWCA of Northern Minnesota. The bread contained eggs, butter, whole wheat and white flour and honey.
Ah yes, bread. While living in Paris I could not leave the boulangerie with a nice crispy baguette intact…..had to rip that end piece off and eat it. In Paris we bought bread twice a day, for lunch and for supper. Any leftovers were for "tartines" (bread spread with butter, cheese or preserves) for breakfast.
The Great American Bread Revolution finally began with the onset of restaurants like Chez Panisse and the lot. Chefs were actually starting to "think" about bread. James Beard wrote his classic book, people began baking again (our grandparents always baked bread), and we soon got out of the Wonder Bread regime. Not that Wonder Bread doesn’t have it’s place, it does, you cannot make a PBJ on crusty sourdough with rosemary and garlic!
Some of my favorites would baguette, ciabatta, focaccia, anything whole grain and rustic, sourdough. Oh yeah……..sourdough.
When I first moved to Alaska I thought it would be cool to make sourdough and my own starter but didn’t want to involve any packaged yeast…..those gold miners in 1898 didn’t have little packets of dried yeast. After a lot of research I learned they captured the "wild yeast" in the air (similar to the white film on grapes). So I set my bowl of flour and water with cheesecloth on top in a place where it would get good cross-ventilation, trying to capture yeast. (SO says snarkily, "why don’t you use a butterfly net to catch it?" Very Funny.)
After this bowl of glue sat for three weeks a few bubbles did appear but I was expecting a cauldron. This did not happen. Oh well, I proceded to make my bread anyway. First night I made the "sponge" and let it sit. Next morning I mixed up the dough, let it rise. Not much of a rise. (The dough at this point is devoid of shortening, sugar and commercial yeast.) Punch it down…..punch indeed! It was like cement! And put into loaf pans and let rise again. Same thing. I put the damned stuff in the oven (electric, and the first time I had ever baked in one…this is going to get ugly fast). After 30 mins. I check the bread which was smelling very good and sour. The loaves had risen a little, not much but were the same WHITE color as when I put them in. Not a pretty color for bread. Hmmm says I, if I brushed the tops with some butter that would color them…..oh and turn the broiler on so they brown without overbaking. I proceded to do just that. Turned the broiler on HIGH and walked away. 60 seconds later I open and door and WOOSH, flames shot out at me, all three loaves were ON FIRE and black as coal. I took the bread out and blew out the flames, thus creating a great amount of smoke and setting all the alarms in the house off. SO came running wondering what all the comotion was all about, as I was on my way outside with the smoldering sourdough bread. After this episode I was so disgusted I threw the starter away and vowed never again to bake bread that did not contain yeast (the kind you don’t catch with butterfly nets). [:D][:D]
Clothier, I loved the story about your father. So uplifting. Wish he lived near me. I love artisan bread, the crustier the better. Alas, I too, am on the Atkins diet. It does work (9 lbs. in 3 weeks). I find the only salvation is Arnold’s low carb Atkins bread, which is better than low-cal bread and gets me through my need for bread. I also miss a nice, crusty everthing bagel topped with salt, garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and other goodies. Well, maybe by Christmas I’ll cheat a little.
I did about 4 months on The Diet last year. I got used to it,I guess,and did get results. Lost 30–then regained maybe 10. Due,of course,to bread,bread and bread! I’ll live with it–I still run 2-3 miles 5 days a week and feel pretty healthy. I’m trying the South Beach Diet now–it allows a few carbs.
Back to bread. Has anyone else noticed that all these "Artesian Bread" places kinda taste the same? $4 for a loaf should get you a perfect loaf but I notice that these places are offering a great looking product but tasteless. I try to avoid these new chains and find the local bakery.
I will agree–Publix makes a great Cuban loaf.
There was an article in the Boston Globe last week about how bakeries are hurting because of the Atkins craze. I heard a similar story on NPR a month or so ago. One reason I could never do Atkins, if I wanted to, is bread (and pasta!)
Here in Rhode Island it sometimes seems like there’s a bakery on every corner – there are two within a block or so not far from my house. So there is a lot of choice. My favorites…to my taste, the best Italian bread in Rhode Island is from a little bakery on Federal Hill named Palmieri’s (their bread is also sold in some markets around the state.) Dense, hard, slightly crispy crust, and what flavor – unlike any else around here. Flour, water, yeast and salt – what else are they doing to get that taste?
An upscale bakery with a few locations in the Providence area is Daily Bread (reviewed on this sitehere.) They do great pizza by the slice, sandwiches and a wide range of breads. Not all of which are my cup of tea – several of them taste too much alike – but there are a couple of standouts. For those who enjoy white bread from the supermarket, their white sandwich loaf is a revelation. It’s the same style but done really well, with bakery freshness, flavor and character. It makes superb grilled cheese. Then there’s the Tuscan loaf. Eaten plain, it’s good but not necessarily great. But slice and toast it, and then drizzle a little olive oil with crushed red pepper on it…heaven.
Yeah, I’m curious about this Atkins thing, too. It seems everyone’s on it. But does it really produce results? If dropping bread & sugar, etc. would help me return to my once-vampy figure, then I will wholeheartedly consider doing the diet.
Marble rye with fresh butter. I make my own butter with cream, salt and a clean mayo jar! We have a restaurant called the Atlanta Bread Compnay that has outstanding soups, salads, and breads.
The Sundancer is also doing the Atkins thing. I have had no bread, grain, sugar or starch in almost eight weeks.
I cannot say I do not miss bread with a good coating of slightly salted butter cause I do. It is just one of those things I gotta do if I want to hang around.
Paul E. Smith
Not to mention peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…
So many breads, so many different occasions…
Our local Publix (grocery) bakery has really good bread for a supermarket. They offer real Cuban bread, which is necessary for, um, Cuban sandwiches, and their Chicago hard rolls, when stuffed with the correct meat & cheese, make a tasty fist-sized nosh.
I hate the junk that you get in cellophane bags (Pepperidge Farm is about the best you can expect) – but unfortunately, that’s the only kind a certain, picky 11-year-old boy in my household will eat.
Does pita count as real "bread"? Love that stuff – when stuffed!
Guess I’m in the minority, because I find bread and crusts rather dull and boring. To me they serve as nothing but a vehicle for whatever you can put on top.
I also tend to eat the toppings off pizza and leave a pile of pizza bones (crust) behind.
It may be one reason I don’t find Atkins as difficult as others. Don’t particularly like rice or potatoes either. Lucky me.
I, too, no longer eat much bread — but, at the same time, it figures prominently in those moments when I indulge myself. I love many kinds, but especially a crusty Italian or French bread with either butter, olive oil or cheese. And, as has been widely discussed on this board, bread plays a key role in the success or failure of a cheesesteak.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a delicious loaf at a decidedly non-Roadfood place, a steak house in New York called Del Frisco’s. I liked the restaurant, but the bread was probably my favorite part of the meal: a big, round loaf served without a knife. They instruct you to rip it with your hands, making it even more enjoyable.
Alas, Atkins seems to be pushing bread right off of the table. Too bad. I could, and have, made a meal of bread, butter and a cup of coffee. I like chewy, crusty breads that put up a fight such as country white, wheat, rye, sourdough.
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