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Posts tagged ‘sweet bread’

Bacon & Cheese Pull-Apart Bread

Great for brunch, this golden bread is packed with flavorful bacon, cheese, and fresh herbs between each heavenly layer. Adapted from a sweet bread recipe by legendary baker, Flo Braker, this bread is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Serve warm with unsalted butter for an extra decadent treat.

Recipe_Bacon_PullApart_Bread_HomeMedium

Ingredients

2 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
2¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

for the dough

For the Filling

6 slices hickory smoked bacon, cooked and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup finely chopped soft herbs, such as flat leaf parsley, tarragon, chives, dill, and thyme
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

for the topping

Preparation

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine water, sugar and yeast. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Add salt and softened butter. Add 2 cups of flour and mix on medium speed until combined and a shaggy dough is formed.

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Switch to the dough hook, and with the mixer on low speed, the rest of the flour a few tablespoons at a time until the dough is formed.

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Knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and becomes springy and pliable, about 8 minutes.

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Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a round ball. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow to rise into warm location until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

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Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Allow to rest for a few minutes before rolling out into a 12 inch x 20 inch rectangle.

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Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, then season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the diced bacon and parmesan cheese.

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Then add garlic, herbs and cheddar cheese evenly over the dough.

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Cut the dough into 6 equally sized strips.  A pizza wheel works well for this. Using a large offset spatula to lift the dough, stack the strips on top of each other.

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Cut the stacked dough width wise into 6 rectangles. A large chef’s knife works well. Stack the squares on top of each other, cut side up in a lightly greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Once filled, drizzle the remaining butter over the top.

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Cover the loaf with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for about 45 more minutes.

Bake in a 350 degree F preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown on top and the center of the loaf registers 190 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

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All About Sweetbreads

According to the Larousse Gastronomique, sweetbread is “the culinary term for the thymus gland (in the throat) and the pancreas (near the stomach) in calves, lambs and pigs.” Larousse further states that thymus sweetbreads are “elongated and irregular in shape” while pancreas sweetbreads are “larger and rounded.”

But sweetbreads are neither sweet, nor are they bread. The word “sweetbread” was first used in the 16th century, but the reason behind the name is unknown. Sweet is perhaps used since the thymus is sweeter and richer tasting than muscle flesh. Bread may come from brede “roasted meat,” or is used because bread was another name for morsel.

Southern Fried Sweetbreads Recipe from Gourmet Magazine

Sweetbreads fit into the category of offal, along with other organs, meaning “off-fall” or off-cuts from the carcass of an animal. Sometimes known as variety meats, the heads, tails, and organs of animals have long held a place in European kitchens. In the days before the supermarket (admittedly most of human history) when people butchered their own animals, nothing was wasted from the carcass. Thus many recipes for the nasty bits were created to make the most of these odd, often highly nutritional and tasty cuts. Sweetbreads, aka thymus glands, help young animals fend off disease, and after about six months, they are no longer needed and disappear. So sweetbreads are only found in calves, lambs and kids, with the sweetbreads from milk-fed veal calves being most commonly eaten.

Sweetbreads from New York’s legendary La Grenouille

Offal has always had a cult following in professional kitchens, though less so with home cooks until recent years. Sweetbreads are highly prized by chefs for their mild flavor and tender, creamy texture. They are quite versatile and can be prepared many ways: sautéed, poached, grilled, fried, roasted or braised. Sweetbreads are often supporting stars in pâtés, terrines, sausages, cold appetizers, stews and salads.

Sweetbreads au Monarch by Deana Sidney of the wonderful blog, lostpastremembered

Cooking
However they are cooked, sweetbreads must be soaked in cold water for a minimum of three hours, or even up to 24 hours, to remove any blood. Change the water a few times during the soak. Then blanch the sweetbreads—this makes their texture firmer–bring them to a boil in a pot of water and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Place in ice water to cool quickly and then drain. When they are cool enough to handle, take each sweetbread and pick it over, taking off the fatty, gristly, sinewy bits and veins. The trick is to do this without cutting or removing the membrane, though the membrane is removed in some recipes, so the sweetbreads can still be used if the membrane is accidentally broken.

Traditionally, French and Italian chefs serve sweetbreads in rich, creamy sauces, such as veloute sauce or brown sauce, like Madiera, or truffle sauce. Sweetbreads can be served breaded and fried, or grilled after a night-long soak in buttermilk, sautéed, poached or broiled. In the modern renaissance of offal sweetbreads are increasingly being seen on the menus of the nose-to-tail set.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
Sweetbreads Grenoble
Veal Sweetbreads with Wild Mushrooms
Veal Tenderloin with Sweetbreads in a Carrot Orange Stew