Archive for the ‘test kitchen’ Category

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Eat more bread!

September 10, 2006

Sourdough bread 2.0

Sourdough 2.0

Despite the fact that my husband’s yeast nursery is ugly and disturbing, I still manage to choke down — no, devour — the bread that results from it.

Better still, with advice gleaned from more expert bread bakers, he’s managed to improve the yeasty offerings this time around. The bread is still dense, but it has a bright, sour flavor and a delicious chewy crust that yields to a yummy interior that’s a perfect vehicle for soft melted butter. (Is there any better pairing to fresh, hot delicious bread than butter? I think not. But I’m willing to be enlightened. Send suggestions and I’ll eat them.)

He’s calling it Sourdough 2.0, and unlike most sequels, it’s actually better than the original. And since the results are yet another improvement, I’m hoping that this bread is a trilogy — or, perhaps like Rocky, just goes on forever until the main character drops dead.

Read on for a full report from my husband…. Read the rest of this entry ?

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It’s alive!… Wait, is that sourdough bread I smell?

August 30, 2006

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I remember a scene from one of Vogue critic Jeffrey Steingarten’s books (either It Must Have Been Something I Ate, or The Man Who Ate Everything), where he determined to make a homemade yeast starter and master the art of breadmaking. The episode is — as usual — a bit fuzzy in my memory, but I think it had something to do with him keeping his apartment dark and chilly for a matter of days in order to cultivate a particular kind of yeast. His wife had to walk around their dim apartment in a winter coat, muttering bitterly, while he and his yeast had a good old time under some darkened stairwell.

Recalling this, I was a little trepidatious when my husband approached with a foamy, dough-colored substance in our little-used cocktail shaker — now re-purposed as a yeast nursery. “I’m making a homemade starter!” he declared. I waited for the lights to go dark and the air conditioning to kick on. But, thankfully, there was no such inconvenience to me (my sympathies, Mrs. Steingarten) in my husband’s yeast-making, bread-baking endeavor.

So, I can now endorse the proposed methods my husband describes below for yeast-making — knowing that spouses everywhere won’t have to suffer. The one drawback is that when you think about how a homemade stater actually works — yeast (fungi) in the environment have a party in some nasty flour-water — it makes you want to wrinkle your nose, not open your maw. But trust me, you quickly get over it when you smell the bread a-baking. (Just don’t knock over that yeast nursery. Ew.)

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It puts the pasta in the press

August 29, 2006

More pasta

That pasta machine is the gift that keeps on giving. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband’s much-asked for birthday toy was an Atlas pasta press. But let’s face it, I’m getting as much use and enjoyment out of it as he is — which is the exact way all gifts should work, if they possibly can.

It isn’t all joy here in MHC-ville, though, fans. I did have to suffer some chewy pasta (one time) and the more odious duty of mopping up flour from our kitchen floor and vacuuming crushed pieces of noodle from our dining room carpet. Ah, what I suffer for my stomach. But all that experimenting and cleaning has paid off: K seems to have mastered the art of fresh pasta.

So to read about his success, and my satisfied belly, continue reading, baby…

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