What comes first...the bread or the soup? Do you want the good news first or the bad news? Is the cup half empty or half full?
Last but not least....are you wondering what the hell I'm talking about?
This is the first official (but technically the 3rd) posting for HBin5, which is hosted by Michelle over at Big Black Dogs. She's doing an awesome job. We even have a calendar set up to let us know what's coming out way for the next 1 1/2 years of baking our way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (awesome cookbook for those who love those no-knead breads). Our assignment, should we choose to accept, was to make a loaf of bread, crackers and an epi loaf (basically, an epi is bread dough that has been sliced to resemble a stalk of wheat). For this assignment, so far I've only done 2 out of 3. The bread and the crackers. I plan on making the epi loaf this weekend. I'll let you know how that works out.
Have you ever made crackers before? I had "thickness" issues. Some turned out to be a little on the thick side and others were nice and thin. I also over seasoned mine. Argh. But those are my issues, not the recipes. I'm not allowed to post the recipe but you might be able to find it on the actual chefs' blog Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I have both of thier books....which I LOVE. The blog has several of their recipes (which are all no-knead btw...woooo hoo)....plus a ton of tips on techniques and knowhow.
I think I have issues with my fridge too. Well, not my everyday kitchen fridge but the one in the garage (for the overflow stuff). It gets super cold. If I were to put a head of iceberg lettuce in it...it would get ruined. Sooo...my point is, my dough gets WAY cold. I think I need to let my dough rise longer because of this. Something I need to adjust and play with. I'd like the bread to come out a bit lighter.
I also have decided to use White Whole Wheat flour. It's milder in taste but still retains all the nutrients. From what I understand, white whole wheat just uses the lighter colored wheat. Same nutrients. Same flour texture....lighter in color and flavor.
My other problem is I need to invest in a thermometer. One of those ones that I can insert into the center of the bread to make sure it's done. With this free-form techinque...I think it's a must. Even though the directions say...grapefruit sized wad of dough....well, it's not an exact science unless I decide to weigh it each time to make sure its a pound.
Soo....now that you all know my bread weaknesses....lets look at my crackers and see what I did wrong. (looks like you're getting the bad news first, then the good news )
After dusting my tub of dough with a bit of flour, I got out a wad (it's super cold....not dried out...just shy of being frozen)
Pulled it into a ball (my fingers got sooo cold)
Then I divided it in half so I could make two batches of crackers....two different flavors
Rolled the dough out really thin
Brushed with olive oil....sprinkled seasoning over it, then cut it into little crackers...
Oh ya...you need to pierce the crackers with a fork so they don't puff up like little mini loaves of bread.
Place on parchment paper and then cook. Now I heard about a nice little trick that I will try next time. That is....roll the dough on the parchment paper and cut and everything. Then you won't have to transfer these tiny little squares to the pan as you slightly distort each cracker.
Like I mentioned, I made two different batches. One was with the chili powder for a spicy flavor and the other one was with garlic powder, onion powder and salt.
Some were thick and doughy....and some were thin and crunchy. I really need to practice more. But I have to say... it was fun
Now...for my loaf. Same dough recipe. Only I used the white whole wheat. Which I do like the milder flavor much better. I still need to work on the time table...both for rising (since the dough is so cold to begin with) and for cooking...which proves my need for a thermometer. But it's ooooh so good. I seasoned the top of the bread with a little garlic powder, salt and pepper just prior to popping it into the oven. Lets just say...this is both of my teenage daughters favorite so far.
I made this loaf this morning before I went to work. 90 minutes rise time, 30 minutes cooking time. My plan?
To serve with a nice bowl of Garam Masala Cream Soup...which is so quick and easy...done in 30 minutes...can't beat that!
1/4 cup butter
1 lb chopped veggies (you're favorite....fresh, frozen....whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup flour
14.5 oz broth, chicken or veggie
2 1.2 cups milk
1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
Melt butter in a pan over med-high heat. Add your veggies and saute until tender. If using fresh, you may want to cover the pan so they get tender faster (especially if its been a long day at work and it's late and you're tired). Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 1 minute. Add the broth and milk. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes, until the soup is thick and creamy. Now stir in the garam masala and parsley. Serve and enjoy with a nice slice of homemade bread.
And while I'm at it, I think I'll enter this in Souper Sundays over at
If you need ideas on soups, salads or sammies....Deb's is the place!