February 27th, 2008
Bread and Injustice

I’m fuming right now because I was almost finished with my entry and my &$#% program ate the damn thing. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but I was working in a draft form, so it should’ve saved it. AHHHH!!! Kicks desk because I can’t reach the computer.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program. I finished my first round of edits last night a little after midnight. I’m going to go through my critique partner’s comments, then hopefully send it in by tomorrow. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. (Yeah, I hope it’s not a train too.;)

I found out that the Preditor and Editor site is being sued. If you’re a writer and haven’t managed to make it over to this site yet, then go now. I’ve visited this site a lot because it’s one of the rare places that you can actually get the truth about people and things in the publishing industry. They’re taking donations through PayPal in order to fight the lawsuit. If you have a little extra, please contribute. I know I will be.

Now onto the bread. 🙂 There are too many varieties of breads to list here on my blog. If you go into the grocery store, you’ll get a small taste of just how many types of breads there are on the planet. I don’t have a lot of notes for the bread class because most related to the individual recipes we were making. The menu last night consisted of Brazilian Cheese Rolls, Sausage Bread, Cheesy Herbed Popovers, Gruyere Popovers, Cheddar-Parmesan Crackers, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Bulgur (flat) Breads, and Orange Glazed Blueberry Scones. And yes, the latter tasted as good as it sounds. 😀

I’m just going to throw out the random notes that I took. If you’re confused about anything, just drop me a note in the comments. Here they are in no particular order: All Purpose Flour can be bleached or unbleached. You normally don’t use bleached flour when you make bread. You also don’t tend to use eggs in making bread. They add too much internal moisture. That said, if you’d like your bread to be softer, then add more water to the recipes. Most recipes call for warm water, room temperature beer or milk. You don’t ever want to use hot water when making bread because it starts the cooking process (and ruins the bread). Steam is what makes bread crunchy. If you don’t own a steam oven, you can create steam by using a squirt bottle. You squirt water into the bottom of your oven (once it reaches the preferred temperature) to cause steam. Do this twice before you put the bread inside. Space it out by a few minutes. Once the bread is baking, then squirt the bottom of the oven once. This should give you a nice crunchy crust. (Note: If you have an electric oven, do NOT squirt the coils.) To test whether your bread is done, knock on the outside of the crust. If it sounds hollow, then the bread is done. If it sounds solid, then it needs more time in the oven. If you don’t have time to allow your bread to rise naturally, then turn your dishwasher on high until it gets the water nice and hot. Once it reaches a good hot temperature, turn your dishwasher off and place your bread (which should be inside a boil covered with flour brushed cling wrap) into your dishwasher and close the door. The steam will speed the rising (yeast production) process.

A couple of random tips: When making popovers, be prepared to eat them right away. They don’t freeze nor do they reheat well. Flat breads work best if they’re cooked on an oven stone. You can buy those at most kitchen stores. If you roll blueberries in flour before you put them into the scone mix, it’ll keep them from dropping to the bottom of the scones during baking.

Here is a quick recipe from our Brazilian chef, Patricia. These Brazilian Cheese Rolls can be frozen so that you can use them any time. Just freeze them ‘raw’ on a cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen, remove them from the cookie sheet and drop them into a freezer baggie. They’ll be there ready to use when you want them. Also, you can use any hard cheese in this recipe. Soft cheeses will NOT work. Now to the quick, easy recipe, which will break many of the rules that I mentioned above *ggg*: 1lb of tapioca starch, 1/2 cup of hot water, 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil (can substitute canola or olive, but note that the olive will change the taste of the roll), 2 to 3 cups of Romano cheese or Farmer’s cheese, and salt to taste. (I suggest adding a pinch of salt.) Prehead the oven to 400 degrees (or 200 I believe in the UK). In a bowl, mix the tapioca starch with hot water. Set aside to cool. When cool, add the egg and milk and mix well, and then add the cheese. The dough is good when it does not stick to your fingers. Make small balls (use an ice cream scoop), set on a greased sheet pan (cookie sheet) and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300/325 and finish baking, about 10 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well it is. 🙂 Patricia’s recipe was used by a chef who was competing for the James Beard award. So you know they’re good. Two things to note, is that the rolls are supposed to be soft AND chewy. And that it may take more water than the recipe calls for. Don’t be afraid to add more water if you need it. The girl who made it last night said she ended up adding almost a cup more to her recipe. Enjoy!

14 comments to “Bread and Injustice”

  1. I’m going to donate to Predators & Editors, too. They’re so marvelous and doing such a flat out good thing. I hope all writers can give them a hand.

    As for the bread, oh…I loves me some bread. Sadly, I only eat 100% whole wheat/grain these days, but I do make this: which needs no kneading and comes out great!

    Just to clarify – did you really mean 1 pound tapioca starch? I’ve never used it, so that’s very likely completely right, it just sounded like a lot. 🙂

    Thanks again for your cooking classes! And hey, I picked up OFF LIMITS just yesterday! Whoo Hoo!!

  2. Yay for the end of edits! That recipe sounds fabulous, and the P&E thing is ridiculous.

  3. Jo, I agree. Preditors and Editors has been doing a fabulous job and a tremendous service to writers everywhere. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe. As to your question, yes, I did mean 1 pound of tapioca starch, which comes out to 16 oz. (I believe…never was good with the ounce thing.;). But the recipe definitely calls for a pound. You’re making a lot of these delicious little balls. *g* Thank you for picking up the book!!! 😀

  4. Charli, Thank you! I’m so close. Sniffle. *ggg* The recipe is delicious and very versatile. I agree about P & E. (shaking head)

  5. Soup with fresh bread is my favorite meal. Thanks Jordan.

  6. You’re welcome, Bernard. I hope you like them. 🙂

  7. Oh, no! Almost an entire post, eaten. That really stinks. At least it was fresh in your mind, which could help some with reproducing it. And thanks, too, for the bread tips. I definitely have to try the cheese bread recipe. Cheese and bread–two of my favorite things. Now I just need to wash it down with some dark chocolate and I’m set.

  8. Congrats on those edits! Gotta go…suddenly I’m hungry… 😉

  9. Caryn, I’m surprised you didn’t hear me yelling. *ggg*

  10. Thanks Raine! Fingers crossed they’re on their way to N.Y. tomorrow.

  11. Way to go on the edits — I’m always glad to see those go out the door. 😉

    Bread is one of my guilty pleasures. I know I’m not supposed to limit how much I eat, but I need at least one loaf of French bread a week or I go through withdrawl.

    My mom always taught me to check the expiration date on the packs of yeast at the grocery store, as old yeast doesn’t work well. She also passed along a good trick to help with the rising process — spray the top of your dough with PAM or a nonstick cooking spray, and cover it with plastic wrap (as in, right on top of the dough.) The plastic wrap traps the yeast bubbles that might otherwise escape, speeding up the rising process, and the spray keeps the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough.

  12. That should read “I know I’m supposed to limit how much I eat.” Even my subconscious is rebelling. 🙂

  13. Thanks Lynn! I incorporated a lot of your suggestions. 🙂

    Yes, I love bread too. The cooking spray is a great trick, much like the dishwasher steam one. Thanks for sharing. 😀

  14. Lynn, You and me both. 😉