Giving your Loaf a New Slice on Life

28 Jun

I’ve been working at a Bakery / Coffee shop called Euphorium Bakery, for the past month now. It’s been going well, and as always, I’m a perpetual sucker for new opportunity so I decided to contribute to their new corporate newsletter. Fingers crossed, I hope it gets published. Basically, I’ve gone back to my food roots, and wrote something Wholesome, something in inGrained in me, and I hope I’ve Risen to the occasion as I seek to get the most out of every loaf of bread. Enjoy!

***

It has been three days now, your Euphorium loaf of Campaillou is starting to stare back at you, and in dire need. It was only a few days ago when your meals were a blissful treat of warm toast and jam, of pressed hot sandwiches, and of nice chucks of bread, butter, and a bowl of hearty soup. But now your loaf has made its rite of passage, the drying of any quality baked bread, made with no preservatives. There are only two slices left but due to its lack of moisture, you can’t be bothered and it looks like it is destined for the birds. What’s a loaf to do? Well don’t fret, for any true bread lovers this is just a new beginning; a journey towards a more wonderful and crunchier future.

A sidewalk sign drawn by Dominic Durocher himself.

A side-walk sign drawn by Dominic Durocher himself, for 202 Upper Street shop.

First of all, before your loaf is dried, try to prolong your loaf for as long as possible by placing it in a plastic bag after the first day after purchase. The plastic bag doesn’t have to be sealed air tight; in fact it is better if the loaf can breathe a bit. By simply placing it in a plastic bag, though, you can add two or three days to its delicious shelf life, by locking in some of the moisture and keeping your loaf fresh. The reason the bag shouldn’t be air tight, is to allow some breathability. This way, no mold will form over extended periods, and believe it or not, it’s actually a good thing for the bread to eventually dry. At all costs, avoid freezing bread, as forgotten freezer bread brings upon the inevitable and unpalatable freezer burn.

Once a loaf of bread is completely dried it is in a state of suspended animation; it won’t go bad, but you can re-use it at any time. This is nature’s gift to bread; it is a natural preservative allowing us to use a loaf for a multitude of purposes, beyond toast and sandwiches, over many months at a time. Some of the more obvious uses of dried bread are to place dried chunks in a food processor and making bread crumbs for breading fish or chicken. Or there is the act of chopping them up into bite size pieces, adding some olive oil and garden herbs and making croutons, great for a fresh salad or a homemade French onion soup. But the possibilities go well beyond these treats.

When I was a child my Grandmother would hoard any stale bread and make a delicious dessert. For the most part, stale bread and great dessert do not belong in the same sentence, but in this case they do. She would mix dried slices of bread, with a mixture of eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla, then add raisins and other nuts, and bake for over thirty minutes to create her delicious bread pudding. It always tasted best with some fresh cream and sugar poured over top. My grandfather would collect dried bread to make his world famous turkey or chicken stuffing. By simply re-animating the bread with hot chicken stock, he was always able to create the perfect bread consistency for any savoury stuffing. You can also slice it thin before drying, and create wonderful dried bread crisps, perfect for bruschetta or simply served with sharp aged cheddar or pâté. Then there’s a delicious recipe from Austria and Northern Italy, known as Canederli. Rehydrate dried bread with milk, mix with sausage and other savouries, stuff with mozzarella and then boil in stock, and you have one delicious bread and meat dumpling.

Toast and sandwiches are at the heart of so many of my meals, but always remember that the possibilities don’t end with the crusts. Every time you think your loaf is done, I guarantee you that there’s always a different way to give your bread a new slice on life.

Cheers

Dominic Durocher

Here’s their website if you’re interested: http://blog.euphoriumbakery.com/

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