Monday, January 5, 2009

Waffled Bread

Glen has a thing for kitchen appliances. I admire this in him, because we have been able to make some really cool, very specific chow with his appliances. But I can't lie: kitchen appliances take up a shitload of real estate in our already tiny city kitchen, and they compete for the prepping space (like chopping and rolling, for instance), and cleaning their nooks and crannies is daunting, especially since many kitchen appliances cannot be immersed in water.

These are just some of our (primarily Glen's) appliances.

I'm not put off about the appliances enough to complain too much, though; but I think in the next few weeks, a reorganization is completely in order to better accommodate all the gadgets; Glen bought me a waffle maker for Christmas, so the reorg is more necessary now than ever before.

When it comes to kitchen appliances, Glen does not screw around. He's been lucky enough to find many killer appliances at the thrift store, but when that doesn't happen, he has no problem throwing down serious coin for the right device. And I'm sure this was the case with my new waffle maker, the KitchenAid Pro Line. There's a gauge on the thing that looks like it came out of a high-performance vehicle, for crying out loud, and the iron is on a spindle, so you can cook two large Belgian waffles in just a few short minutes. Because of the counter space issue, I have been thinking over the last week or so of what else I can cook in this waffle iron so it can earn a permanent spot on my counter.

My model is black-n-chrome, rather than all chrome, but this gives you an cooks waffles in both the upper and lower chambers.

Get ready for lift-off!

I am, of course, looking forward to making plenty of regular waffles, to eat at breakfast, or to serve with chicken. I have not yet had chicken and waffles, but I'm a big fan of chicken and biscuits with honey, and can easily take the next step to waffles. I also want to try savory waffles, and have been looking around for enticing recipes (I found one utilizing some cornmeal and cheddar cheese that I may try later in the week). Making waffles will certainly help me use up some more flour that Glen picked up recently, so again, feel free to send along any recipes you may have.

I had been thinking along the lines of using the waffle iron as a panini press, but we, of course, already have one of them. A very sweet model, too. I started thinking about biscuit dough in the waffle iron, biscuits being one of my favorite foods and all, and my mind naturally turned toward bread. I'm told that Indian bakers slap thin naan bread dough against the side of the oven, and when it falls off, it's done. Bread dough, when thin, doesn't take long to cook. So, I set out today to use it to bake (iron?) bread.

One of the few appliances I brought into the relationship with Glen was my Welbilt Bread Maker; my mom got it for me in 1993. I use it primarily to do the hard work of bread making — the kneading — and then I take it out, and plop the dough in a normal bread pan, or I roll it to make my family's near-famous pepperoni bread. So, this morning, I allowed the bread maker to prep the dough, and when it was ready, I experimented. Since I no longer have enough space to work with a rolling pin, I worked manually with the dough, balled, on a plate. At first I spreading them thin and made them as round as possible, and placing them just so on the waffle griddle. The results were fine. But it occurred to me that I probably didn't have to work so hard to flatten the dough, since the machine could do that, and since yeast bread and quick bread (like waffles) undergo different chemical reactions when exposed to heat, I gave up the idea of trying to make perfect waffle-shaped loaves. So, I began placing small fistfuls of dough in the center of the griddle, and pressing it closed. The results were some lovely, though haphazardly shaped, loaves of bread that I will serve tonight with a hearty tomato soup and salad.

Yummy waffled bread

In case you're wondering, I'm using a fairly straightforward white dough recipe that lends itself to many applications. I got it from my sister, Jenny, and it's below, in case you want to try it.

4 1/4 cup flour (I used bread flour)
1 3/4 cup water (room temperature)
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

If you're familiar with baking bread by hand, you'll probably know what to do next. I find this part of bread making to be kind of finicky, which is why I'm glad to have the machine. I toss everything into my bread machine, put it on the kneading cycle, and in about an hour, I've got some lovely dough to work with. Anyway, try it, even if you don't use it to make waffles.

1 comment:

Old Mill Hill said...

Interesting way to expand the limited repetoire of what Alton Brown would consider a "uni-tasker."