Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time

Stirring tales of eating, cooking and foraging in my never-ending quest to provide, great-tasting (local and organic whenever possible) EATS for me and my boy(s).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where Does Bread Come From? Tales of Baking and One Miserably Misshapen Challah

The answer, according to Izzy, would most likely be, "the bakery or the oven" but in other households you would probably hear an altogether different answer, which would most likely be "the supermarket".

I don't really buy bread from the supermarket, except Whole Wheat English Muffins from Whole Foods (which are great in a pinch because they freeze well and have no additives), or their freshly baked breads. Most of the time we get bread from our local bakery, Pecararo, a Greenmarket bakery or we make it ourselves.

Bread has always been a staple of Izzy's diet, as well as ours and I couldn't imagine serving meals without it. I think of bread as one great kid-friendly food but yesterday I discovered this may not be the case for everyone.

While waiting for Izzy to emerge from school, talk amongst the moms turned to lunches. One mom commented that her child would not eat bread. This seemed unimaginable to me. I asked if she had tried different kinds of bread. She had. Then I asked if she had ever given him bread fresh from the bakery. It seemed that the thought hadn't crossed her mind. She seemed willing to give that a try.

Even better yet, I added, "Why not bake bread with him at home?" That would really be the best way to get a child interested. For bread-baking is an entire physical experience, involving all of the senses and who can resist home-baked bread?

Certainly not my little sister C. I remember baking bread with her, when she was probably three or four. She would sit at the table, gobbling the fresh baguettes, slathered with butter, with no mind to eat anything else. Izzy and I have baked bread several times and he, too has been quite taken with the fragrant loaves.

We don't bake bread often enough but one occasion that certainly warrants fresh bread is Rosh Hashanah, when I make fresh Challah. I would say I have been baking challah for over 15 years and have always had fantastic results. I use the recipe from the Silver Palate. I have baked it with Izzy since he was born and today we embarked upon our yearly Challah-makingtradition. We kneaded and punched it and rolled it and twisted it, til it looked like challah. And it did look lovely. All was going according to plan, then we left it to proof. While putting Izzy to bed, I left the loaves on the counter for a tad too long and they overproofed. When I eventually got around to putting them in the oven they looked sad and deflated but I had to bake one anyway to see the results.. This is the pathetic loaf that emerged. Even the first challahs I baked were more presentable than this one. How did it taste? Well better than it looked but how can I possibly serve that? It looks like some sort of challah pancake. On the other hand, should I go through the trouble of making more tomorrow, when I still haven't made the main course?


Stay tuned for more trials and tribulations of our first vegetarian Rosh Hashanah meal,

1 comment:

Jessica said...

The last line of this post makes me so happy. (: