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Braiding Bread?
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gingerpale...I want that coppery KitchenAid, too! but my one-and-only 35-year-old KA refuses to give up the ghost. I've already warned my husband that when my KA finally goes, I'm going straight out and buying another regardless of cost.

Two things: note that the Cheese Board book always gives directions for hand mixing, etc., as well as for using a mixer. I don't see any reason you can't mix/knead in a bread machine. After we bought my mother a bread machine, that's exactly what she eventually decided was best for her. She just takes the dough out of the machine, plops it into pans where it does its final rise, and then she bakes in the oven. Turns out great.

This challah dough is stretchy, springy, eggy and results in a springy, eggy baked loaf -- the result of all that butter and eggs, I guess. After all my cheerleading, I hope it comes close to what you want. By the way, I use that full recipe and form two loaves, not three. And I bake at 350.

Fingers crossed...(Actually, I think the inscription in one of my Peter Reinhart books is "May your bread always rise...", which is a pretty good metaphor for most things in life, don't you think?)
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Georgia I did the challah today. No braiding, 1/2 recipe, 2 nice little round loaves. The crumb is soft and smooth and pale yellow. The outside got a little too brown (your 350F suggestion is a good one) and yes, less sugar would make it more of a go-with for dinner.
I was delighted to see the breadmaker work as kneader--I don't get how that little bent-finger-shaped metal doodad can take the place of hands, forearms, shoulders mooshing with great force! But the book said knead 12 minutes, so the machine twizzled 'round for 12 minutes and I had a beautiful soft perfect ball of dough. (Remember though I made only 1/2 recipe.) Rose beautifully both times. I would not hesitate for a minute to do a braided or otherwise-bulbed / bulbous loaf, now that I know it will work.
I made (an Emeril recipe) Clay Pot Honey Lemon Chicken for dinner, the bread was nice with it.
I'm looking more at the Cheese Board Collective Works -- now that I trust them/it!
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

YAY! Laughing
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sweetbabyjames



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 357

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a lovely thread. GP, I've always thought of challah as a dessert to be eaten along with dinner. Smile I sometimes make it with white chocolate and dried sour cherries.

I was lucky to find an old copy of Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooknig at a garage sale this summer, and it's been on my nightstand ever since. I've since decided I much prefer recipes written in prose! At least for bedtime reading and inspiration.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay sweetbabyjames, next time I'm in Beantown I buy dinner and YOU deliver your sour cherry challah!
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sweetbabyjames



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 357

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David, that would be my pleasure!
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey everyone, didjahear that?

David and James are hosting a party, and we're all invited! Smile
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sweetbabyjames



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 357

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A happy thought to brighten up a gloomy Boston day! I was going to say you should wait till spring but a cozy cooking party would be such the thing right about now.
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember Boston winters. Oh, lord, do I remember them. Even living a short walk from the late, lamented Haymarket Square, didn't make up for it.

You're more than welcome to your weather, James.

But, to be fair, folks could do worse than visiting Beantown in the spring.
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sweetbabyjames...how lovely for you to have discovered Elizabeth David. Is this the first book of hers that you've experienced? If so, you've got a lot more delight ahead of you. Isn't it a gift to "discover" such a wonderful writer?...when it happens, we all feel we've encountered a kindred spirit. One wonders why that magic occurs with so few writers...indeed, with so few people in general. When it occurs, it's a gift.
(As to the stories of her not-so-pleasant personality...well, those can be ignored, right?)

For a more contemporary experience, you might take a look at Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries. It's the same kind of fine prose, fine palate and sensibility, in today's London. That one is a mainstay on my nightstand.
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sweetbabyjames



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 357

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KYHeirloomer, I don't blame you. I don't know what Haymarket Square was like, but a trek to the North End to compare cookies at all the caf├ęs in competition with one another helps us through.

Georgia, I can't believe I hadn't heard of Elizabeth David before. Or maybe I did but didn't realize what I was missing. A cookbook that begs to be read aloud! (Yes, I think the list is long of great people with hard personalities.) I will definitely check out Nigel Slater, thank you!
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I lived in Boston, James, Haymarket was still operating. Then they decided to restore Fanuil Hall and Quincy Market---which at the time were all but falling down.

Haymarket was, until its demise, the oldest continually operating market in America. I had written about it once, and actually used the Athaneum's records as part of the research. Established in 1630, the Colony leaders had to, by 1633, establish and post rules for its use. It was those rules I was researching.

One of them went something like: "No spoilt, rotted, or blown meat can be offered for sale."

Anyway, when I was there it only operated on Fridays and Saturdays. All pushcart peddlers. And the closer it got to closing on Saturday, the lower the prices. I once bought 16 pounds of rock shrimp, for instance, for four bucks---which even in the late '60s was a damn good price.

The vendor had them in 4-lb bags, and was asking $4 each. He was down to his last four bags, and was anxious to go home. So we struck a deal. And there I was with enough shrimp to feed all of Beacon Hill.

Haymarket abutted the wholesale meat market. All those places sold retail; but you had to buy at least a primal. Then they'd cut it however you wished, at no extra charge. I was paying 99 cents/lb for beef tenderloin, for instance. And at that price, you could use it for stew meat and not think you were wasting it. Chickens were 22 cents; bone-in pork loin 49 cents. Etc.

Given the availability of fresh food like that, and the low cost, we did a lot of entertaining at home. There were dinner parties, and buffet gatherings, and brunches almost every weekend.

When we left Boston, and I walked into a supermarket for the first time, I almost had a cardiac when I saw the prices.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I actually DO hope to make it back to Boston come springtime, maybe earlier! Arriving from Central Canada and having spent a good portion of my life on the Prairies Boston can't really throw anything at me I can't shrug off! And sweetbabyjames and cigalechanta are both wonderful guides and wonderful people with whom to spend time! Must make sure cigalechanta is in town next time I visit! swb took me to the Cordon Bleu School restaurant my last trip, my turn next one!
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...more on Elizabeth David...SBJ, in addition to the "cookery books" (as she would say), you might seek out An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, which I know is available in a good quality paperback and is not expensive (less than $15 on Amazon, I believe). It's a collection of her shorter articles and writings -- perfect for bedside reading, toting along on the T (or the Metro or the Tube--wherever you happen to be).

I find that the glimpses I get from ED's writings about the culinary state of Britain during the 1950s and 1960s are nearly as educational as her writings about France, Spain, etc. That's not a sarcastic or snarky remark, by the way. British food these days is just fine, thank you, but it's easy to forget that Britain faced food rationing until well into the 1950s! No wonder that was not a period of culinary glory for them. Readers of ED at the time must have cried at their limitations.

Another food writer you might check out is Jane Grigson, sometimes called the "Elizabeth David of British cooking". I'm not so sure about that myself, but she's dandy in her own right (...or "write" Wink )
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, getting back to my original query, Georgia pretty well nailed it.

If you start braiding at one end, according to sources I checked with, the individual ropes can (likely will) stretch, getting longer and thinner as you work.

By working from the middle, you assure symetry of the loaf, as any stretching is likely to work equally on both halves.

It's likely, too, that the drawing in the new book were done that way for clearity rather than as an actual instruction. I notice that Peter Reinhard, in BBA, does the same thing. But I know he actually braids from the middle outwards.

Another mystery solved. Confused
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