Today is Easter Monday, celebrated in Cleveland as Dyngus Day! We haven’t had much time to post recently, so even though we are a little late to the party, we figure there’s still a little time to share some Easter bread, this time with a local influence. In Cleveland there has historically been a large Czech population, especially in the appropriately-named Slavic Village neighborhood, which also hosted a large Polish population. One of the most traditional Czech Easter foods is Mazanec – an leavened sweet bread with dried fruit and raisins, served primarily at Easter. Mazanec is considered a cousin of the English hot cross bun, and sometimes also has a cross shape on top. You can try making Mazanec for your spring celebrations with a recipe from Honest Cooking.
Tag Archives: bread
One of our favorite – but lesser known in the US – food holidays is right around the corner: St. Joseph’s Day. St. Joseph’s Day is widely celebrated in Italy and the among the Italian diaspora in the US and elsewhere on March 19th. We have previously covered some St. Joseph’s Day sweet treats, including the perennial favorite zeppole. However, one of the showstoppers on St. Joseph’s Day is actually St. Joseph’s Bread (Pane di San Giuseppe). You can find recipes for Pane di San Giuseppe at Kitchen Link and Mangia Bene Pasta. It is a bit more of a complicated bread, but it also allows for it to be sculpted into equally complicated shapes, like staffs, carpentry tools, and wheat, which are a must on the St. Joseph’s Day table. This altar below, from Trapani in Sicily is probably as detailed as you can get!
Some of the best Kosher bread and pastries we have ever had have been in an unexpected location – Miami. Surprised? Well Zak the Baker in Wynwood (We visited 405 NW 26th St Miami, FL 33127 – Zak the Baker has since moved) has made a name in Miami for having some amazing breads and pastries, and some of the best avocado toast anywhere. Though we get our fill of Cuban and South American food in Miami, we have also made Zak the Baker part of our Miami food routine. And we aren’t the only ones, since Zak the Baker seems to be constantly bustling! Continue reading
Hot Cross Buns are a sweet treat traditionally associated with Good Friday, the Friday before Easter. These little doughy goodies are sweet rolls with currants and a signature cross made out of icing on top. Their origin is could possibly go as far back as ancient Greece, but they really came to fame in England, when a law was passed prohibiting the sale of spiced breads at any other time but funerals, Christmas and Good Friday. In the intervening centuries, the laws fell, and hot cross buns have spread across the world, even becoming popular year-round. They are now available all over the English speaking world, and 70 million were sold by British supermarket chain Tesco on Easter weekend alone in 2010. The classic recipe is pretty similar all over the world: check out this recipe for Trinidadian hot cross buns, and another classic take from the UK. Though classic is good, why not try a chocolate-orange variety, too?
We are huge fans of Brazilian pão de queijo, and we were excited to try its Colombian cousin the “pan de bono” or pandebono on a recent trip to Miami. No, not BUENO, bono. Hmmm. Like pão de queijo, the dough is made from tapioca flour, however, the addition of corn flour also gives it a more bready texture, and it is a bit sweeter than pão de queijo. Our first stop to try pan de bono was a Colombian bakery, Ricky (several location, we went to 252 Buena Vista Boulevard #108, Miami). We were hooked instantly on the slightly-sweet cheesy bread. There is nothing better than a cafe con leche and a pan de bono for breakfast in Miami, at least for me. I have not tried any pandebono offerings in Chicago yet, though I am intrigued by this recipe from Lucky Peach. Do you know of a good place for pandebono?
Our previous attempts at making bread were not terribly successful, but we’d love to give bread making another try. One of the techniques we recently learned about was the Japanese Tangzhong bead-making method, which involves making a roux (called the Tangzhong) and incorporating it into the dough. Apparently this addition results in a very soft, tender loaf of bread. There are countless different breads you can make with the Tangzhong method, and many recipes we found are for various types of Hokkaido Milk Bread (here’s a cinnamon and chocolate chip version and a Nutella version). We had a favorite milk bread back at our local fruteria in Chicago, and we are mourning the fact that they don’t carry it any more. Maybe some of these Japanese milk breads are worth a try to fill our cravings. You can also try your hand at hot cross buns and 10 grain milk bread made with the Tangzhong method.
The eaters have never made homemade bread. Well, we love to eat it, but it always seems just a little bit too intimidating to be enjoyable. It seemed so fraught with danger! However, we came upon a bread making recipe that seemed easy enough for us to attempt. The recipe for Ciabatta comes from Lifehack – which boasts a mere 4 ingredients (Yeast, flour, water and salt), no kneading and 1 minute of prep time (8-12 hours of rising time, though). After doing some morning errands L threw together the ingredients. After the 8-hour rising we added spicy salt and olive oil to our proto-bread and waited impatiently as it baked.
The results? Not bad! Though we suspect something is wrong with M’s underheating oven – our first attempt was pretty good!
Butter Nan, Tandoori Roti, Onion Kulcha – Photo by Silly Jilly
Indian cuisine, owing to the size and diversity of the country is completely eclectic and varied. We must confess that when we thought of Indian flatbreads the ubiquitous naan came to mind, but we are now diving deeper into the dizzying array of delicious Indian breads, and you can too! We found a brief but informative guide to Indian flatbreads, which lists the leaving agent and ingredients of each. For example, naan is leavened with bread, while kulcha is leavened with yogurt and baking soda. If you want to keep exploring, check out the list of Indian flatbreads on Wikipedia.