Tag Archives: bread

Bread, glorious bread

A tough topic for a Keto fan. What do I do about bread made from wheat flour—with all those carbs? Bread in all its forms is so basic, so universal, so loved. And the bread we know best is made from wheat flour. High in carbs and protein. The must-have food for probably every culture throughout history. Leavened or unleavened. Flat or raised. Three ingredients or many. But if you eat the typical American diet, you’re eating way too many carbs and carrying way too much weight. Ketoistas are going to have to do without the bread we love or find a palatable substitute for wheat-flour bread. What to do? Let’s start here with some background and a global perspective. Here’s a bread primer from The New Yorker:

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Grandma’s Irish soda bread

My Irish grandmother, Annie Allen, arrived at Ellis Island in 1909, a twenty-one-year-old with two little boys, four and two, in tow. I can’t imagine. She joined her husband, who’d come ahead two years earlier and had never met his son Sam. Grandma set up house, had two more kids, and lived a long life in her own home, cooking, baking, and tending her garden until she passed in her late 80’s. As a young lad, I enjoyed her “Irish Cake” sitting with her for tea, a ritual she held to every afternoon around four whether I was there or not. Grandma’s Irish Cake is a variety of Irish soda bread, loved by many. We never captured her exact recipe, which I can be sure, came straight from County Down, where Grandma probably learned it from her mother, Mary Anne McGee.

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My first loaf

Another thing I inherited from Grandma—along with a deep appreciation for the warmth and sense of security that can happen in the family kitchen—was humility about my cooking and a certain dread that trying something new probably just won’t be as good as you’d hoped. “Oh, it’s not as good as…trails off…” always led to “Oh, it’s fine,” from my mom or another daughter-in-law. As the offspring of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and Norwegian Lutherans, I ask forgiveness for these feelings.

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“Food is something you eat with bread.” — Rick Easton

I avoided making yeast bread until now because it always seemed too fussy, time-consuming, and hard. Poor me. 🙂 Then, a friend started making his own sour dough bread. It’s reminiscent of San Francisco, our old home, and as good as any I’ve ever tasted. Now that I’ve got some time on my hands—you know why—I’m going to take the plunge. I’m starting with a no-knead recipe that I’ll adapt from recipes by Jacques Pepin and Mark Bittman. A day-and-a-half from now, I should have my first samples. Wish me luck.

Sliced bread

On July 7, 1928, the first loaf of sliced bread was sold in a grocery store in Ohio. The sale and the event were the result of the invention of the bread slicing machine. At the time, it was hailed as the greatest thing since packaged bread.

This just reminds us that our food lives, like every other part of life, are driven by invention and creativity. From the invention (discovery?) of controlled fire, to sliced bread to oleo (some things don’t work out), we are caught up in and are the beneficiaries, or victims, of endless cyclical innovations.

Most new developments are mergers of other inventions. Butcher Box merges organically-grown, grass-fed meat-o-culture with internet marketing and dry ice. My recipes are more and more the result of mergings, experimentation, and a pinch of creation.

What are your favorites among the dishes you’ve invented?

Thanks to The Writer’s Almanac for the background on sliced bread.

Best banana bread

I keep working on this recipe because I like it so much and it’s my fail-safe way to use up those over-ripe bananas. This latest version is the best yet. This version updates the temp-time combo for the crispy outside and moist inside that’s the holy grail.

I’ve tried several recipes over the years including a great one learned from my sister-in-law (a legendary cook) that was my favorite until I tried this recipe. I like it because when it first comes out of the oven, it’s moist enough and if your oven cooperates, you get a nice crustiness on the outside and a fully-cooked bread all the way through.  But the important thing is to use up those bananas (and potassium) before you have to throw them away! So, here goes…

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