Quick bread that doesn’t require yeast is great for children not familiar with the kitchen
When my daughter and son-in-law went off to explore Japan for 10 days, I moved into their home to supervise the grandchildren.
The last thing Karen said to me was: “Teach them how to cook while we’re gone.” The first thing I thought was” “I’ll be lucky to cook myself with their schedule of hockey, junior lifeguard club and scuba lessons.”
The 16-year-old has spent the last four summers at the Dirty Apron Cooking Camp, so he’s a pro. But the preteen twins didn’t know how to turn on the oven, or what a broiler was. So I decided to teach them how to make bread.
They’ve seen their mother use yeast to make pizza dough and were surprised when I told them we were going to make quick bread that doesn’t require yeast. They seemed concerned when we poured in a bottle of beer, but were excited to slather butter on the tasty bread when it came out of the oven, toast it in the morning for breakfast and make sandwiches with it for their lunch bags.
During the week I produced an easy, cheesy garlic loaf as well as popovers, a family favourite.
Tartine’s Pull-Apart Cheesy Garlic Loaf
I first tasted this bread while visiting San Francisco, home of Tartine Bakery.
1 head garlic, left whole, plus 4 cloves, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 round loaf country-style bread (about 2 pounds)
½ cup (125 mL) butter
2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped parsley
1 tsp (5 mL) each finely chopped fresh rosemary and thyme
1 tsp (5 mL) each sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups grated white Cheddar
Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C). Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil.
Cut the top 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) off the garlic head, exposing tops of cloves. Place on a square of foil and drizzle with oil. Wrap foil tightly around garlic and bake until cloves are soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Place foil packet on the edge of the prepared pan.
Slice bread across the top in a 1-inch cross-hatch pattern, cutting most of the way through but leaving the bottom crust intact.
Heat butter in a small saucepan just until melted and add grated garlic, swirling to mix. Add parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper and swirl pan to combine. Brush top and cut sides of bread with seasoned butter, working it into the crevices. Sprinkle cheese over top and into crevices.
Set loaf on prepared pan and bake until cheese is melted, 18 to 20 minutes. Unwrap garlic and serve with bread.
Makes 1 loaf, 12 to 15 servings.
Bubbly Beer Bread
This hoppy, malty bread is delicious slathered with butter and served with a hearty soup and a cold beer. You can also use pale ale or experiment with flavoured brews like pumpkin or mocha. (Adapted from Three Ingredient Baking by Sarah Rainey, Penguin, 2018.)
3 cups (750 mL) self-rising flour
1 to 4 tbsp (15 to 60 mL) sugar, to taste depending on sweetness you prefer
1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) sea salt
12 oz (330 mL) dark beer (I use Newcastle Brown Ale)
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp (15 ml) melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Coat a 10-by-5-inch (25 cm x 12 cm) loaf pan with pan spray.
In a large bowl, whisk flour with sugar and salt. Pour in beer gradually to minimize frothing. With a wooden spoon, stir only until a few streaks of flour remain. Fold in cheese.
Transfer dough to prepared pan and pour melted butter over top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until top is golden and a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Unmould onto a rack to cool.
Makes 1 loaf, 12 to 15 slices.
Marlene Sorosky’s Popovers
I’ve been making popovers for years, but according to California cooking teacher Marlene Sorosky, the secret is to scald the milk first.
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 (375 mL) cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, melted (optional)
Heat milk in a saucepan or the microwave until steaming but not boiling. Set aside.
Beat eggs an electric mixer. With mixer running, slowly pour in hot milk. Add flour, salt and sugar; mix on low until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in butter. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat it to 375 F (190 C). Place popover pan or muffin tin in oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and spray interior and edges of cups with pan spray.
Whisk batter well and divide among cups, filling almost to tops. Bake until puffed and deeply browned, 35 to 40 minutes for small popovers, 45 to 50 minutes for large ones. The longer they bake, the less they will deflate. If browning unevenly, rotate pan for last 10 minutes.
Unmould and serve immediately or hold, uncovered, for no more than 4 hours and reheat for 3-5 minutes in a 450 F (230 C) oven.
Makes 6 large popovers.
Kitchen Hack: Elevate frozen rolls
Thaw rolls, brush tops with egg wash and dip in your favourite seeds, seasoning blend or grated cheese. Bake according to recipe or package directions.
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