April 26, 2010

A Meadhouse mountain range...

... of bread.

DSC09421

Meade advocates keeping bread in this position. You don't need to wrap it up. Just put the cut side of the loaf down on the cutting board and it will stay fresh just as long. This assumes you've got "artisanal" bread. I don't argue about such things. But I do photograph them sometimes when so many artisanal loaves have lined up on the cutting board.

58 comments:

MadisonMan said...

You could make a nice egg salad sandwich with any of those.

froggyprager said...

Nice photo, we also get similar bread (maybe from some of the same Madison bakeries) from time to time. I was always thought that around 5-10 hours after being baked you needed to put the bread in a plastic bag or it would get hard and stale fast. Does this really work? Best way to keep it fresh the longest?

garage mahal said...

A big hunk of 7 yr old cheddar from Ehlenbach's to go with that and you got something going there.

Bill Harshaw said...

Suppose I have artisanal bread?

El Pollo Real said...

Still halving it all eh? :)

former law student said...

At our house the white dust on the bread would be mold. We freeze bread that won't be eaten in a day or two.

I will have to try the Meade method, however. Crust loses its crispness when bread is stored in plastic. But bread hardens quickly stored in paper. Wax paper bags avoid both those extremes, but try to find them.

Triangle Man said...

Way to give the finger to Atkins.

Ann Althouse said...

Bill calls attention to my now-corrected spelling error.

Tom said...

Do I see a crack on the cutting board? Even so, the board looks rather dry--looks like it's time for some oil.

Joan said...

That's a lot of bread for a two-person household to eat before it gets stale. Well, it would be if I were one of the two people -- I have a slice of bread about once a week.

I miss it, but I do not miss the extra weight I could be toting around. Worth the sacrifice.

Lovely photo, though. I bet that bread is awesome, toasted and smeared with butter...

AllenS said...

You need 10 pounds of cold cuts and cheese to go with that bread.

Ann Althouse said...

That's several days accumulation of bread. We keep buying fresh and I would just throw out the old, but Meade will not.

Also, there's extra because of the Farmers Market.

dbp said...

In our house we love artisanal bread, but we call it "good bread" or GB for short. Toast is of course, GBT.

Yes, even the kids are onboard with this nomenclature, but then I suppose they think everybody names things like we do.

Original Mike said...

I do the face down thing, but bread still loses it's freshness quickly. I really wish the standard loaf size was smaller.

Original Mike said...

@dbp: Yes. Good Bread. As opposed to Balloon Bread.

Class factotum said...

You would throw away food? That's wasteful. You must not be a Wisconsin native. I come from the tribe of We Who Do Not Waste Food.

Old bread is used for strata and bread pudding. Or croutons. Or meatloaf. Or toast.

BJM said...

We use this method too..except we plonk a large stainless work bowl over the board at night or leaving the house to thwart our two cats. Loosely wrapping cut loaves in a clean dry linen napkin or dish towel will keep cut loaves fresh longer too...but you do lose some of the crusty crispiness.

btw- the first loaf on the left looks to be Pain au levain; the perfect ingredient for Hazan's zuppa dei poveri a wonderfully satisfying soup of stale bread, potato and rocket.

Meade said...

New loaf --
1. Cut in half
2. Half - cut end down on bread board
3. Other half - wrapped in foil, popped in freezer
4. ???
5. Profit!

kimsch said...

I can't leave any bread on the counter, out like that or in a plastic bag. My cats will bite through the plastic to eat the bread. This always perplexes me since cats are true carnivores, yet they'll eat grass and bread...

WV: catol (really). I can't leave bread on the counter because the catol eat it.

kimsch said...

Meade, you need an avatar. You just don't look good as a white b on an orange background.

Ann Althouse said...

I prefer mountain-range bread to free-range cats.

mariner said...

The loaf on the far right looks similar to an Italian bread I love.

Unfortunately I haven't found it anywhere in the U.S., though some places come close ("Missed it by that much!")

Suburbanbanshee said...

Leaving bread out attracts bugs and vermin. I realize that's not a big concern in early spring, but soon the ants will try to come in....

Trooper York said...

Hey has he been pinching those loaves?

Wait a minute is that a clue?

AllenS said...

Feed the old bread to the squirrels in the back yard, then when the get all fat...

mariner said...

dbp:
Toast is of course, GBT.


Lightly toasted is LGBT?

Suburbanbanshee said...

Of course, if you put the cutting board into a breadbox, the bugs would be a less likely outcome.

Word verification: monstens. How you feel when you see a fabulous beast reaching for your bread.

kimsch said...

Ann, we tried an alarm on the counter to try to keep the cats off but it didn't work. I'm wavering about the sonic anti dog barking thing.

Ann Althouse said...

Bread, Potato, and Rocket Soup

2 cups diced peeled potatoes (can leave unpeeled if potatoes are clean)
3 cups water
1 tbsp. salt
1 bunch / 1/2 lb. rocket (arugula), preferably the sharper "wild" variety, washed and coarsely chopped
2 cups stale Acme pain au levain, crusts removed and cut in cubes
1/4 cup Trader Joe's Kalamata olive oil or other flavorful, dark green extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Put potatoes, water, and salt in a big pot, bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes. Add rocket, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are done. Remove pot from heat, add bread, cover, and let sit for ten minutes. Add olive oil and pepper, correct salt, and serve.


http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2009/03/serious_bread_acmes_levain.php

Ron said...

I prefer mountain-range bread to free-range cats.

I cut my free range cats in half and they still go stale...

Mark said...

Any of those breads would make great breadcrumbs for crab cakes, stuffing, breading for deep frying...

And of course, slightly stale bread is great for dipping in a really nice olive oil, or for eating with good olives....

Slice and cube it for use on salads...

Lynne said...

I'll confess to being sort of mystified by the crisp-crust mania.
I make all our bread and I always cover the cooling loaves with a cloth to make the crust more tender, not so crisp. It just seems more versatile that way- easier to slice for sandwiches and toast; less messy.
Maybe I'm just too lazy to paint the loaves with an egg wash before I put them in the oven, or spritz them with water now and again as they bake, like the French do.

Lynne said...

... And for the record, I'm a cat-fancier as well.
Hmmm. I appear to be lending diversity to the group.

knox said...

We keep buying fresh and I would just throw out the old, but Meade will not.

Holy crap, don't do that. Make bread pudding. This is the best. You don't need a baguette, use any stale bread.

Baguette Pudding Laced with Baileys
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 baguette, thinly sliced
4 T. apricot jam
golden raisins

2 large eggs

2 large yolks

1/3 c. Castor sugar (can used reg. granulated sugar)
1 and 1/4 c. heavy cream
1 and 1/4 c. milk

4 T. Baileys

Demerara sugar (to sprinkle on top)
 (can use Sugar in the Raw)
—————————

1. Spread 1-2 tablespoons jam on the bottom of an 8 X 8 pyrex dish and sprinkle some of the raisins on top.

2. Butter the bread slices.
3. Arrange the bread in the dish in overlapping layers, sprinkling the dried fruit between.

4. Beat the eggs, yolks and sugar together until creamy. Then beat in the cream, milk and Baileys.

5. Slowly pour this mixture over the bread.
 Press the bread down gently with your fingers so they all get soaked in the milk mixture.
7. Let stand at least 20 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard.
 Or let sit overnight in frig.
8. Preheat the oven to 350.
9. Place the dish in a roasting pan and surround it with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. (This prevents overheating the custard which might curdle.)

10. Sprinkle the pudding with the demerara sugar and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.

11. Shortly before the time is up, warm the apricot jam until runny.
 Dab this glaze over the pudding and let stand 15 minutes. (The custard will continue to cook and firm up during this time.)


credit: Gordon Ramsay

Class factotum said...

Kimsch, our cats are omnivores. Laverne likes peaches, pears, and tomatoes. She has tried coffee pods, but those don't appeal to her so much.

I tried everything to keep them off the counter: sticky paper upside down, spraying water on them, putting pots and pans on the edges so they would knock them over when they jumped up and be scared. Nothing. They didn't care. Now I just use a cutting board any time I prepare food. They win.

Here is a photo of Laverne eating a peach: http://class-factotum.blogspot.com/2010/01/chats-du-jour-do-i-dare-disturb.html

Original Mike said...

"And of course, slightly stale bread is great for dipping in a really nice olive oil,"

Or last night's coffee.

Trooper York said...

My Korean friend told me that poodles are by far the tastiest.

But you do use a lot of butter.

Just sayn'

Sea Urchin said...

I got a loaf of homemade bread on Wednesday as a thank-you for babysitting a friend's two young kids. We had planned to babysit for free, as the kids are well-behaved and super fun, but I'm planning on demanding more of that whole wheat bread in exchange for future assistance. It was like candy. A little butter, a little honey -- the loaf was gone within 3 days.

It would probably be good for me to just give in and learn to make bread, but figuring out how to extort it from my friends is so much more fun.

knox said...

Urchin, it's easy. Just do it the no-knead way.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour

¼ teaspoon instant yeast

2 teaspoons salt


1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at room temperature.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Cover with acotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Chip Ahoy said...

The thought of buying bread makes me laugh.

Here I go, thinking about it.

Hahahahahah.

See? Told ya.

For home bread bakers, my I recommend the Sassafras clay cloches? Clay bakers designed for roasts work very well too, (eBay) used upside down to avoid the ridges designed to elevate roasts. Drop exceedingly wet dough into exceedingly hot pre-heated cloches, dangerous, I know, and bake on exceedingly high. Remove cover. Finish to darken and crisp.

If you're lazy, or between six to twelve years old, you can even use Jim Lahey's no-knead method which works quite well.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Ah yes, the bread position.

Fred4Pres said...

I never tried that method, but I can see how it would work.

Meade has good taste in bread (unless you picked it out Ann), then again if Meade picked it out that means you have good taste in picking out partners to pick out bread.

El Pollo Real said...

Where's Titus amidst this discourse on loaves?

Michael Hasenstab said...

Apologies in advance to all parties who are named or otherwise involved in the comment just below.

Ahem. Althouse, did Titus happen to stop by to pinch your loaves?

Michael Hasenstab said...

Gah. El Pollo beat me to it.

AlphaLiberal said...

Clearly you don't have a dog. Or it wouldn't last long!

Jane said...

I am slightly OCD. The thought of the dust on the bread would give me pause. But I know, there are worse things.

kimsch said...

Class factotum,

My cats all eat non-meat foods. One likes peas. I can't open a can of peas without giving her a tablespoon or so off the top. One loves green olives, pimentos and all. One cat I had used to drink an old Pepsi product Pepsi Free. It wasn't diet, but had lemon flavor added to the Pepsi. But that was decades ago... My Siberian and one cat love to drink my coffee right out of the cup; hot or cooled. Of course there is sugar and half&half in the coffee...

wv: knicur = what underpants gnomes wear.

1. obtain knicurs
2. ???
3. Profits!!!1!!!111!

lyssalovelyredhead said...

With just two people, we almost never use up bread, so I tend to stash all sorts of ends in a corner of the fridge. Periodically, we gather it all up, even the spare hot dog buns, and make a strata for breakfast (and lunch, and maybe a leftovers based dinner). This one, from Cook's Illustrated, is particularly excellent (use any sausage and cheese combo- I usually just use Jimmy Dean and Cheddar)

http://cookingquest.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/strata-with-spicy-italian-gruyere/

El Pollo Real said...

Ah yes, the bread position.

Heels high!

Pastafarian said...

This post has inspired me -- I just mixed up some bread dough and it will rise in the pantry overnight.

As good as this bread in your photo looks (and it looks like damned nice bread), nothing beats fresh-baked.

Deborah said...

There's nothign I love more than bread and butter and jam. Nothing. Okay except maybe ice cream. My cats do not eat anything except their own (expensive0 food. They do not get on kitchen counters. The dog is a different story. If it doesn't move fast enough, he'll eat it. The horses, well, thank goodness they're not house horses.
wv: omstorte. What you make with leftover bread.

Ann Althouse said...

Chip Ahoy said... "The thought of buying bread makes me laugh."

Meade used to have a job baking bread. But he hasn't assumed that duty here... except quick bread... corn bread, etc.

Jason said...

Ok, Meade looks like a pretty fit and trim guy. How in the world does he maintain that on so much beer and bread?

Then again, I imagine in his prior occupation, he was pretty active. But still!

The good professor must make him work up quite a sweat, ifyouknowwhati'msayinandithinkyoudo.

Ann Althouse said...

"As good as this bread in your photo looks..."

The truth is I'm not happy with the quality of the bread here.

Juba Doobai! said...

Ah, you need some 'broom' bread to go with that. 'Broom' bread is a great tasting loaf I used to make; found the recipe in a book of artisanal bread. It's got flax and other interesting things in it. Why 'broom'? Eat a slice and it cleans you out, pleasantly so.

Some cheese, a cup of Caribbean creole chocolate, some NZ butter, and you're in food heaven, Meadhouse. Give that combo a whirl!

former law student said...

The truth is I'm not happy with the quality of the bread here.

Bread quality is a subject we could all sink our teeth into, I think. What breads are your standards, and in what way do Madisonian breads fall short?

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