Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Daring Bakers: Dutch Crunch Bread

 Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

I had never heard of Dutch Crunch Bread before.  Apparently it is very popular as a sandwich roll in the San Francisco Bay area - I have been there are few times but have not run across this before.  As you can probably guess from the name, this bread originated in the Netherlands where it is known as tijgerbrood or tijgerbol (Tiger Bread) because of its strange appearance.  Well I love good bread and I love a good sandwich so I was all over this challenge.

The bread recipe was mostly a typical bread recipe until it came to the end.  Before you stick it in the oven you mix up a rice batter - like a bread dough recipe but very thin - and spread it on the rolls.  It is one of those recipes where you just have to wonder how someone ever came up with it.  In the oven the rice batter cracks as it dries and gives the bread a very distinct look.

I can't say my bread looked as nice as some of the others doing the challenge but it still looked cool.  Not sure if I would really call it a crunch but the topping does add a different texture and it also adds quite a bit of flavor to the bread as well.  It is also kind of a messy bread to eat as the topping kind of crumbles as you eat it.  I did enjoy it and will make sure to try to find some next time I am in San Francisco to see if what I made is anywhere close to the real thing.

The challenge was to make a unique sandwich with our bread.  Not sure I really made anything unique.  We are having such a beautiful early spring here in Minnesota so I just decided to grill up some chicken breast with Cajun spices and topped it with some avocado, tomato, and lettuce - not anything very original but it was delicious!

If you would like to try making Dutch Crunch Bread yourself check out the recipe titled "Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my" in the Daring Bakers Recipe Archive.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daring Kitchen: Red Wine Braised Chuck Roast

The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.

I am currently in FL on vacation and trying to type this on my iPad so I will probably be keeping this a little short. I would as thinking I would skip this one since I didn't have much time but when I saw that it was braising I had to do it - everything is good braised. My wife is a big fan of braised short ribs so I was thinking I would do the Michael Ruhlman Red Wine braised short ribs. Well I did a stop at the local supermarket and learned that they didn't carry short ribs. I had a sick kid at home and trying to get ready for vacation so I didn't really want to deal with getting to a meat market for ribs so I decided to fake it. I had a chuck roast in the freezer so I cut the pieces into sort of rib shape pieces ( McRib anyone? ) and just followed the recipe after that.

The recipe was easy to follow. I made the braised meat a day ahead - it is a lot easier to time that way. The only problem with that plan is that you get to smell it cooking all day and then you don't get to eat it right away. The unique thing about the recipe is that you braise it with vegetables to make a nice flavorful sauce but then you throw the veggies away and cook some new vegetables so they are complete mush. I served mine over polenta that I cooked using Alton Brown's Savory Polenta recipe. The polenta was great and it was a very easy recipe since it cooks in the oven. The faux ribs were also a big hit with my wife and myself. Great tasting fall apart meat with a fantastic flavorful sauce and nice tender but not mushy vegetables. I also loved all the mushrooms - it was a lot of mushrooms but I never complain about too many mushrooms.