The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Uses for "Strange" loaves?

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MarkS's picture
MarkS

Uses for "Strange" loaves?

Having grown up in the U.S. and having begun bread baking only recently, I am finding quite a few loaf shapes confusing.

For instance, just what do you do with a baguette? I know the simple answer is to eat it, but how? What good are slices of bread when the bread is 2" or less in diameter? What do the French do with it?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I take it "strange" means anything other than presliced toasting bread.  Time to get youself some "strange loaves" and eat them with the rule: you can't slice them like store bought machine sliced bread.   See what happens.  If you can't eat your bread without a toaster and cutting the bread toaster sized, then ... I will have to think about how I can warp your mind.   Might prove interesting.   Lessons in looking at the way we humans break cut up bread.  The animal world doesn't have these problems...  :)

Any baguette sliced thicker than an inch invites one to tear the bread into bite size pieces.   Cut the bread according to how it's served.  Baguettes, for example, are great soaker upppers for soups and stews beautifully replacing soda crackers.  Hold by the edge, dip only tip or as deep as you can gracefully bite off, let stop dripping, raise and bite.  Thin slices can be smeared with just about anything cheese spreads, egg spreads, meat spreads, vegetable relishes, food drippings, flavoured oils, the list goes on and on.  

My son likes to cut baquettes lengthwise and smear with herb garlic butter, then cut across in 2" pieces (but not all the way thru) wrap in foil and pop into a hot oven or grill.   Served on a platter or paper lined basket opening the alu packages one at a time to keep warm as the meal progresses.  

Around here (Austria) any white left over bread gets cut up into small cubes and turned into semmelknoedel.  Day old bread is dry enough to still cut and easily bite and often served sliced thin with cold cuts, mustard, and cheese.  The bread can also be soaked with water or broth, wrung out and added to meat loaf or hamberger patty meat instead of using rolled oats.   

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

from two left-over loaves and today I googled for Semmelknödl. I will make these with venison and wild mushrooms. Sound good ?  :)

Anna

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Careful choosing your recipe.  

If you haven't made them before the main idea is to moisten all the dry crumbs but not to soak them thru and then add enough flour to coat them forming a little bit of dough around each bread cube.  They should be wet enough to hold together but dry enough not to be wet.  One starts out with moist cubes and adds flour tossing the cubes and flour until the they are coated and just stick together using wet hands.  Rule of thumb is if they stick together too easily, add more flour.  You want to press it together and rub the surface lightly to seal in any holes or rough spots on the outside of the ball.  Wet hands between each shaping.   Size: about 7 to 8 cm across for 20 minutes of boiling.  

Test one dumpling in salted boiling water, if it falls apart in the first few minutes, add more flour to the rest of the bread cubes.  After about 20 minutes when they have boiled enough, the water seems to foam easily.  Take one dumpling out of the water and cut it in half.  The flour should be set and not raw or gooey, it should feel dry inside and each little bread crumb will be clearly seen as having soft original middles.  (That's how they soak up meat juices and sauces like crazy!) Do not return the cut knödel to the water if it is not done, it will soak up water.  Use a drier method to finish setting the flour, by either putting that knödel in with the roast in the oven or zap in the microwave under a cover. 

Ingredients include: egg(s) in water (or milk or both) blended well before adding,  a little salt for the flour used, chopped parsley, and stiff white dried bread crumbs (may be browned lightly in fat or not.)   If crumbs are already moist, reduce the amount of water in the recipe.  Use a very large bowl with plenty of room for the cubes and both your hands. Use a wooden spoon in the beginning.  If you think about flour to liquid ratios, the flour will be at least twice as much as the water/egg weight. 

Have fun!  

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

see where it makes sense to be very careful of not getting the cubes too "pappisch", as you said, they wouldn't absorb any of that good gravy:)

The next thing (one of these days) is to make yeast dumplings which I remember my grandmother making and serving these with blueberries which she had canned. 

Thanks!

anna

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I could show you in a flash, ok, maybe two flashes.  Quite easy actually.  

Yeast dumplings?   I know cream cheese duplings, very good with fruit.  

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

Hefeklöße (and it was during the war, so no goodies like cream cheese - I'll have to do a google).

anna

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

http://www.rezeptdatenbank.de/show.php?category_id=57&recipePage=9&recipe_id=37837

That is prolly the closest to what my Omi made since she served them with sweet blueberries.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Interesting how all one needs to do to have a steamer is stretch and tie a cloth over a large pot of boiling water.  Thanks for the link.  Looks like fresh yeast from the amounts.  Instant yeast would be, I'm guessing, around 5 to 7g.  

The cream cheese like Topfenknödel is a little different in that egg holds it together and the boiled ball is rolled into browned bread crumbs and caramelized sugar after it has set.  Topfen and quark are very similar.  

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

I seem to remember having had an original Chinese rice steamer made from bamboo. Hmmm, that would prolly work for Hefeklöße as well :)

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Might even be handy to cut out little circles of parchment to put under each one instead of flour dusting the steamer which might be a bear to clean!

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

:)

 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Baguettes are for sword fighting! 

To the victor goes the spoils, who traditionally slices them on the bias, rubs them with olive oil, tops with a basil leaf, dollops with a pat of good Brie, and then broils them in the oven until they turn into delicious, melted, Brie-basil toasts. Serve with fancy bubbles, like a 1985 Tattinger.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

...you have 12" slices. Surely, one has been to Subway?

Each slice rubbed with raw tomato (for acidity), topped with thinly-sliced Iberian ham (savory, salty, succulent), smothered with as much manchengo as you can stand (richness), and perhaps a slice of roasted red pepper (acidity, sweetness, smoky)? Et voila, mon ami! Vous avez quoi? Ham & cheese. (Substitute with packaged Oscar Mayer bologna and Velvetta if the in-laws are coming, perhaps with a daub of Grey Poupon to fancy it up a touch–because mustard kills everything makes everything better.)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or   How I learned to stop worrying and love the bread.  

 

Slicing...  Then again, one could just    pull    the     bread     apart.  

Other times I like how loaves are cut into wedges,

            thin at one end and gradually thicker at the other.  

I used to be one of the first to attack a

"strange" loaf by cutting slices all even

and  p e r f e c t  showing off my skills.                (and nobody cared!)

If you want to create an informal atmosphere, cut each slice a little different (by hand naturally, rotate the loaf, easy to do) and notice how a thin bite tastes a little different than a thick bite.  Thin can also be rather floppy and delightful and add grace to hand gestures if you talk with your hands instead of talking with a mouth full.  

A good bread will always leave you stuck wanting to talk with your mouth full.  "Terrible, just terrible, terribly fantastic bread!"