Sunday, April 06, 2008

Grinder bread!

Wah, wah wah. Enough of that.


My grinder sandwich bread recipe:

Wet ingredients, all at room temperature:

1 egg
1 cup drained plain whole milk yogurt
(maybe about 1/4 to 1/3 cup lukewarm water-or milk- as needed to make resulting dough sticky. Better to err on the side of too wet now, since flour is easier to incorporate into dough than liquid is.)

3 cups plain white flour
1 HEAPING tablespoon of yeast granules
1/2 level tsp sugar
1/2 tsp chicken or vegetable bouillon granules. Yes really.

Stir wet ingredients together.

Dump all dry ingredients into Cuisinart, mix for a couple of seconds (no, you don't need to proof the yeast; this isn't 1866.)

With the Cuisinart OFF, dump wet ingredients into dry. Now whir until the clump of dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl. This takes no more than a couple of seconds. It won't be perfectly mixed; that is not a problem. You'll mix it completely when you knead it.

Shut off machine, ignore the dough in there for 20 minutes.

Dump dough out onto floured counter top and knead for 8 minutes until it is smooth. It will be sticky.

(Remember, flour is really, really reactive to the ambient humidity, so there's always a margin for wiggle in the wet to dry ratio. If the dough is altogether too ridiculously gluey and unmanageable, lightly sprinkle in flour each time you fold and knead for a few strokes, and think about the texture before you add more, until it becomes less gluey. It should still stay somewhat sticky, though. You will have to flour the board and pick dough off your hands every now and then. The important thing is that the dough is smooth; that you cannot feel any lumps or granules in it. Smooth is the important thing and the end product you're going for. At this stage, if you're going to err, err on the side of a little too sticky.)

Put in a covered, room-temperature bowl and let dough rise in a warm place (99-101f) for 1 hour.

Handling the dough lightly, push dough down and form it into a ball in the bowl. Then take it and form it into a long, french-style loaf on a flat, lightly greased baking sheet.
(Try to keep the top free of creases; it won't hurt the bread but they will split apart in the oven. If this can't be done, the bread is still perfectly good and edible; it just isn't magazine perfect. I try to keep it as smooth as I can because we make huge 'grinder' sandwiches with this bread and the intact crust acts as a nice case to hold all the goodies inside. If you do get creases in the top, brush a little warm water into them with a wet paper towel or your fingers and then pinch the edges together; that can glue them. But it isn't vital.)

Let the formed loaf rise for 20 minutes in a warm place.

Bake in 400f oven for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.

Turn out onto a rack and cool.

To make grinder sandwiches: Split the loaf lengthwise. With a fork, lightly scrape out some of the fluff to make a shallow cavity in each half of the bread. Then fill with meatballs, shrimp, cold cuts, lobster salad, whatever you like!

I made this recipe specifically for grinder sandwiches. The bread has a distinctive flavor, but it doesn't fight with the ingredients, and it has a structure that holds up to sloppy stuff. It's on the heavy side; this isn't an airy, fluffy bread full of cavities like a french loaf.

Now-you could bake this in a regular loaf pan and it turns out fine. Slice it up for sandwiches and toast; its great.

If you wanted to get really rooty zooty, you could add some fresh herbs to this; rosemary and garlic are very nice!

If you want to be all 'gourmet', you can make this dough up to the first rising stage, and then put it in a covered container in a chilly place-like a cold cabinet or the front entry; NOT the refrigerator- overnight. Then bring it back into the warm part of the house, let it warm up to room temp, and THEN put it in a slightly warmer place (99-101f) to rise for 1 hour. This is called 'cold fermentation' and you will be surprised at how much it really does make the bread taste better.

People always wonder-where the hell do you rise bread that's warm?

There are such things as 'proofing chambers' that you can buy. It's just a box that gets slightly warm. For about 35.00! Wigga please.

If you have a heating pad that has a good temperature control-i mean, one that doesn't sneak up hotter and hotter over time but stays the same- you could set it on its lowest setting (no higher than 101f!!) and let the covered bowl rest on there.

If you have a deep kitchen sink, you can warm it up with hot water, and then float the covered bowl in a couple of inches of very warm water with a towel over the whole thing. Don't do this if you have cats, though. They cannot stay away from dough rising in a sink full of water for some reason; they tip over the dough and lay on top of the towel and just cause all kinds of trouble.

What I do is I heat up the oven for about three minutes on it's lowest setting, and then turn off the heat, open the door and let it cool back down until I can just place my hand on the wire rack and keep it there comfortably. You pop the covered bowl of dough right in there and shut the door, and it will stay nice and stable. And cat-proof.

If you have a tank style hot water heater, that's another good place...just set the covered bowl on top of it and let it go for an hour. Another good place? On a sunny warm day? Set the bowl on the seat of a car that's parked in the sun.

I made the mistake of rising dough on top of a radiator, and, no. Same goes for in front of the furnace vent. NO.


Anyone want some blue columbine? Or some 'Pink Panda' strawberry?
Ooo, I know, how about some iris laevegata? It's white! It only grows up to 51/2 feet tall and only spreads once again its former size each season. And it's roots are really easy to break up if you have a small saw, and a butcher knife. And a shovel. And a dirt fork. And are fat. And jump up and down and cuss.


  1. Anonymous1:49 PM

    yay!!!! first!!!!!

    i'll have to send you some pictures of the lantana my mom just bought me. they're gorgeous. and hard to kill.

  2. What if I don't have a Cuisinart?

    Is this gonna make me sick like Ma Beastie's chickpea curry?

  3. pink: taunt me not with your lantana! i am just far enough north that lantana will not grow for me-usda zone 8; the winter kills it. down in oregon my family had the most glorious lantana shrub; little perfect miniature bouquets of multicolored flowers!

    mj: use a big bowl and a big mixing fork. the only part you really have to transpose is the part about cleaning the sides of the bowl. instead, dump the mixed wet ingredients into the mixed dry ingredients and combine until everything looks evenly wetted; then cover and ignore for twenty minutes.
    and yes, you'll barf like a hound.

  4. The last paragraph reminded me of the Rumplestiltskin story when he got mad at the..... what ever. he got mad and jumped up and down. I was so there in my head. My next pile of foodie magazines will be yours, they grow like mushrooms here and I let them.

  5. Anonymous6:08 PM

    so basically what you're trying to do is maim some, kill others, slightly wound most?

  6. FN, I shall now taunt you with tales of my beautiful lavender lantana, all cascade-y and dramatic-like with its badass self. I'll have to post some pics over at my joint. ;)

  7. mj, I don't have a cuisinart either. I just use a fork and a potato masher, actually. those little pastry mashy things work well too.

  8. SSA: Can you come over and make it for me?

    I'd rather mix the cocktails.

  9. Now I have a question , a propper cooking questioin.
    Flour , is it strong bread flour or just ordinary white.....

  10. gale: yeah, except cuter than rumplestiltskin. yay for food mags!

    pink: mostly yard out all the stuff i didn't plant, good and bad, and then get rid of what there's too much of. dandelions top the list.

    xul: well thanks! just thanks! *weeps*

    ssa: i think what mj was looking for was whether or not she could use a vibrator. i don't think she has any other small appliances, hon. shhh. i know. she's canadian.

    mj: oh, we know. we KNOW.:)

    beast: i've been using ordinary white. if you were to use strong bread you might have to separate the egg, use only the yellow, and then up the milk or water proportionally.

  11. Aha , so its the egg white that holds the rise , instead of the gluten in the strong flour....I geddit now :-)

  12. MJ is probably still playing with her Vacuum Screamer !

  13. What am I waiting for, you ask?

    The man sticks bananas up his arse!


  14. Shut it, Beast.

  15. The shops sell bread you know.

  16. Oops sorry, maybe Oregone is like Zimbabwe and a loaf costs more than you make in a week in that case thinks mud cookies, many cultures eat them.

  17. you know, you COULD use a vibe, if only with the proper attachments.

    I'm sure MJ has one of these in her vast arsenal of wibbly-wobbly machinery.

  18. SSA: Thanks. I’ll store it next to this one.

  19. oddly, knudson is the only one worth replying to:
    1 loaf of average bread= 2.50
    1 loaf good sandwich bread = 3.10
    disgusting, non?

    one loaf of my muk-made good sandwich bread = about 65 cents.
    if i make my own yogurt, 20 cents. if i buy farm eggs, 10 cents.
    plus, my good sandwich bread far, far surpasses anything that comes from a store or a bakery because i knead it with my ti
    ...never mind.

  20. Waaaa!I want all of those plants (and the climate for them)Get some chooks to deal with dandelions.
    Lantana? Down here, it's 'way up near the top of the Weed Police hit list.

    Ah! The dough that has been forgotten on the back window shelf of a car. Or the roof of the lean-to shed.Can't beat that home style taste, can you?