finally, Joanne, quoting from recipe as given to me, and sorry to be so poky:
Mrs. Dunn's Potato Rolls
Boil 1 potato till soft. Place in large mixing bowl, and crush with a potato masher. Add 1 1/2 c bread flour 1/2 c sugar 1 Tbsp yeast 1 tsp salt
Adjust potato water to make 3/4 cup, and heat it until too hot to touch. Melt 10 Tbsp butter or margerine in water. Add this to the mixing bowl. Beat 2 min "at speed 6"
Add 2 room temp (must be warm) eggs 1 more cup flour Beat at medium 2 minutes
Then add the rest of the flour (3-4 cups), knead 10 min Let rise in warm place until doubled, punch down,refrigerate, cover tightly (i.e.with plastic wrap) punch down until it rests. The next day or two, up to 2 weeks, pinch off quantity desired and form into rolls and cover with melted butter. (I place into muffin tins sometimes and cover with wax paper here) Takes 2-3 hrs to rise. When rolls have baked only a short while, brush melted butter over them. This forms a smooth shiny crust.
(You're supposed to intuit temp and baking time, but 375 F for until they're done works. Like maybe 15 min depending on how big each roll is.)
Just found this recipe and it seems perfect to me on so many levels. For one thing, you don't have to make a ton at one time, for another, it's stovetop. I'll be making this in a cast iron pan instead of non-stick, though.
1 packet (7g) instant dried yeast 250ml warm water (A U.S. cup plus a bit) pinch of sugar 2 cups whole wheat flour 1 cup white bread flour (or strong flour; in Switzerland use Zopfmehl (farine de tresse)) (Using bread flour ensures there’s sufficient gluten in the dough.) 1 tsp salt 1 tsp olive oil
a non-stick frying pan or two lids to fit the pans mixing bowl clean washed pillow case
Mix together the warm water (from the tap is fine), yeast, and pinch of sugar. Leave in a warm place until frothy.
Mix together the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the liquid gradually, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add the oil, and as soon as it’s formed a ball start to knead. (If it’s a bit dry, add water drops at a time until it’s kneadable). Knead until smooth and pliable.
Put the dough ball in a plastic bag or in a clean bowl covered with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until more than doubled in bulk.
After the dough has risen, punch it down and knead again. Cut into 8 to 12 equal pieces. Round off each piece into a smooth ball, and leave, covered with a damp cloth or plastic, to rest for about 10 minutes, on a floured surface. (This resting time I find is critical for the successful formation of the pocket inside the pita.)
Flatten the balls with your hand or a rolling pin to your desired diameter (for 12 pieces, about 5-6 inches / 12-15 cm is good). Let rest again for a few minutes so that the dough balls ‘relax’. [Edit: this was omitted before. It’s not critical, but if you’re having trouble getting a ‘pocket’ to form inside the pita, give this step a try.]
Heat up one or more non-stick frying pans, over medium-high heat.
Take a flattened ball and put in a hot frying pan. Cover with lid. Leave for about 2-3 minutes, until it puffs up. Flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Some will puff more than others - don’t worry if the puffing is minimal, you can still use it.
Take out of the pan and immediately put into the pillow case. Close up the pillow case. This allows the pita to cool in a somewhat closed environment, so the surface is sort of pliable rather than crispy and brittle.
Although I do know somebody in Paris who enjoys using her bread machine, I would consider it very silly for most people to go about baking bread in Paris with its multitude of bakeries or all sorts. Some of the bigger boulangeries bring out new, crusty, warm bread every 90 minutes.
On the down side, Paris bread is notorious for drying out too fast -- a baguette is only good for half a day in most cases. (You can't call it 'going stale' because it turns into something a bit like styrofoam.) Out in the villages, bread is made differently and can stay relatively fresh for 3 days.
I know a couple of people who have bread machines but I'm not impressed with the result. I find that the crust is never hard enough.
You can buy good Banette or "baguette tradition" in Paris that keep at least 24 hours. Here where I live there are no good baguettes and I always buy bread at the market twice a week -- but not white bread though.
bjd: I have a Panasonic breadmaker which I use from time to time, the bread is excellent every time and I can choose between a light, medium or dark crust. We use the machine to make our own pizza dough too.
They look delicious Bixa! Enjoy all the treats on your holiday! We did, thankfully due to all of the walking we did I was able to enjoy anything I wanted and only gained a few pounds which are gone now that I am home back into routine. But what a delicious holiday we had, hope you are having the same!
I love taralli and tarallini. My teef are soft though, so I'd have to be wary of those whole almonds. Good breadsticks (made by the baker, with olive oil) are also a treat. Somehow I missed this thread before; must try making my own pita. Definitely a cast-iron pan; mine is pretty much non-stick now (I bought it at least 20 years ago, at a so-called garage sale (no garage). It was made in Carleton Place, a town near Ottawa. There is a Lebanese bakery/deli that makes excellent house-made pita, bit south of me.
I think the tortilla maker in Paris closed; painful for a couple of Mexicans I know there. One is the wife in a couple; husband is from Toronto but of Indian Tamil origin. Their daughter speaks French, English and Spanish; don't know if she speaks Tamil or any other South Asian language. I'd like to know if someone is making fresh tortillas there now. I suppose she could make her own, but she is a busy worker and parent with many other things to do.
There are several Mexican grocery stores in Paris that sell more artisanal tortillas that what they sell at Monoprix, but since I personally do not have any use for them at home, I don't know how good they might be. One of the principal shops is www.bocamexa.com
I bought an organic baguette two days ago. The only reason is because the supermarket was sold out of normal baguettes, so I had to pay 0.80 instead of 0.55. I should have gone to a normal boulangerie and bought a normal half-baguette since I only ate about 40% of the baguette. I keep all of my unused baguette for 2 purposes -- some of them I grind up for bread crumbs in my food processor and the others I take to duck ponds sooner or later. If I finally manage to go and see my second cousin near Amiens, I will take any bread that I have with me, because she has ducks and carp in her extensive pond and before her husband died, he always asked me to bring any bread that I had with me.
The bakery a half block from my house specializes in sourdough breads. About once a week I buy one of their hearth-style loaves, always the one that is part whole wheat and has sesame seeds baked into it. They also have baguettes, which look like baguettes in France, but I was dubious. I truly hate disappointment and had to endure some in Italy, where I had some dreadful bread more than once. Really, I expected so much better from Italy. Anyway, the girl at the bakery described the baguette crumb as soft, making me even more dubious, but I finally went off with one of their mini baguettes. What a surprise! What a treat! It was real bread -- not exactly like French bread, but every bit as delicious.
I've also found really poor bread in Italy. Extreme disappointment; better "Italian" bread in my Petite-Italie neighbourhood (which is Italian only in a commercial sense now; descendants of Italian immigrants live throughout the city and region now). There is some good bread, but it is almost the exception. To say nothing of the croissants. Was happy to arrive in Turin with the strong French influence. How was the bread in Genova, bixa? They are also close to France (Côte d'Azur).
Bread in Amsterdam also disappointing. I thought it would be like German bread. That does exist, but is the exception and expensive. Most of the stuff is more like crap North American or British bread. There is a shop that does beautiful baguettes, but they are about 3 Euros. I was thrilled to find a Moroccan baker who does excellent whole grain bread with a definite crust - not as hard as a baguette, but with a nice crunch. Flattish bread - not as flat as a pita but flatter than most European breads. At reasonable prices.
The closest to French bread that my parents could find in small town Florida was Cuban bread, this in spite of the fact that places like Walmart Superstore and Winn-Dixie Marketplace made baguettes that were a perfect visual representation of what a baguette should look like -- but at the first bite it was obvious that it was all wrong.
Italian bread is kinda all over the place. Any town bigger than a few hundred people will have excellent bread made locally, but probably also less wonderful bread as well. Some people prefer the synthetic stuff. But if you want high-quality bread in Italy, it's almost always there to be found. My issue is the house is in Tuscany and the Tuscans make their bread without salt, and although the quality of Tuscan bread is generally at a high level, I still can't get past the lack of salt. Luckily, I found a local baker there who does both a very convincing French baguette and also a wonderful crusty pane Pugliese-- both with salt. I find it a little funny how loyal bakers tend to be to their Province's styles. On one side of the imaginary line, bread will be salted; on the other, it won't.
Yes, I like the Pugliese type bread. I have had excellent bread in Italy, but found the odds of poor bread higher than in France (though while I've been to many regions of both, I certainly haven't been all over either country). And there is horrid industrial bread in France as well as Germany.
Pretty sad, Bjd. Almost 20 years ago I lived near a small store that carried bolillos, the most common Mexican bread, that were really bread, even fairly close to French bread. Even then they were the exception, and bolillos have only gotten worse since then. They are tasteless, fluffy white pap.