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bread

Beer Makes Bread? Sort of.

This past week, my younger daughter put up a note on her Facebook page about smelling ale and it making her want to bake bread. And I thought, “hunh…is there enough yeast still left in beer or ale to do that?” Now, scientifically, what happens with beer or wine for that matter is that the yeast that gets put in eats up all the sugar, produces CO2 and alcohol as a byproduct and once the alcohol level gets high enough (for the particular strain of yeast – all of them are different and some wine yeasts can produce as much as 15% alcohol by volume before they conk out), the yeast get killed off. (more…)

Ya Gotta Ricotta

white pizza3First, let’s get the housekeeping out of the way.
1) Ricotta is not technically a cheese. It originated as a way (whey?) for Romano cheese makes in Italy to harvest more protein out of the whey.
2) Ricotta is made by making the whey more acidic (either by adding something such as vinegar to it or allowing it to naturally ferment for a day) and then heating it up. This causes more protein to precipitate out of the whey. The liquid is passed through some sort of filter such as a fine cloth and the resulting curds (ricotta) are left behind.
3) Ricotta is NOT cottage cheese which is made from milk itself and is not cooked. One of the advantages of ricotta vs. cottage cheese in terms of cooking is that if you try to make things with cottage cheese which are heated, the curds will start to separate, releasing whey. This is why baked products such as cheese cakes, etc. are best made with ricotta rather than cottage cheese. This is one place where Aunt Toby (who is big on substituting) will have to draw the line. Don’t try it. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Stale bread 4 ways plus a trifling dessert

I know, I know..I promised something on stale bread all the way back probably before Christmas, and as usual, got distracted (it’s Michelle Obama’s arms, doncha know?). What Aunt Toby wants you to do is to think about stuff that we usually just throw away; or give to the birds; or throw on the compost heap, as food that we can recycle into something else. So, you say you don’t like the stems of broccoli – cook ‘em up in chicken broth, run it all through a blender and you’ve got yummy broccoli soup (jazz it up with some cheddar and you are good to go). We’ve covered left-over mashed potatoes already. Today’s topic (as you can see above) is left over bread. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Bread – One Dough, Three Ways

bread So, we’re back in the kitchen and we’re going to make dough that we’ll turn into: bread for toast and sandwiches, cinnamon buns, and a sort of finger roll that can be baked in a toaster oven for those folks who are not in the mood to fire up the stove or it’s August and you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Bread

bread Probably the only people in the United States who have not noticed the change in prices of baked products are folks who “do Atkins.” Over the past year or so, grain/flour prices pretty much have gone through the roof, affecting everything from meat and eggs to pizza and that humble household commodity, bread. Perhaps now is a good time to learn how to make your own. (more…)

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