I am not a proficient bread baker. I do enjoy making bread from scratch with and without the use of a bread machine. When I received this cookbook to review I was a bit intimidated, only because I don’t bake bread often. None of the recipes, bread or otherwise, are difficult. I say that because the breads do not require kneading. Besides getting the liquid the right temperature to activate the yeast, kneading is probably just as intimidating to bakers. There’s no guessing if you’ve kneaded it enough, you just don’t have to do it at all.
Many recipes in this cookbook require one of the bread recipes. Hence the name, Bread Toast Crumbs. Some, like orzo gratin with feta; tomato and shrimp; and fried custard cream and blueberry brown betty, use fresh bread crumbs. Many recipes refer you to notes within the book for guidance on the type of bread to use and how to make the crumbs.
But in addition to using bread recipes with other recipes, there are stand-alone ones as well. For instance, the cranberry-walnut dinner rolls, buttermilk pull-apart rolls and roasted garlic bread.
Reading the whole title – Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves and Meals to Savor Every Slice – you may think the dishes revolve around breakfast and sandwiches, but not so. The recipe I chose to make was Roast Chicken Legs and Toast; perfect for dinner.
I have to say I improvised. I do not own two one-quart bowls so I shaped the loaves and put them on buttered baking sheets. I thought about borrowing bowls but as I asked friends they mentioned that they have had glass bowls shatter at temperatures over 400°F so I was leery. Fortunately my baking sheet trick worked like a charm.
The bread is delicious. I sliced the four servings for the chicken recipe and still had an entire loaf left. It didn’t last long. As I read through the bread recipes, just about all of them say to bake in bowls. If you’re not comfortable doing so, I think the sheet pan method would work with the other recipes too. The great thing about this recipe, and others that require you to bake a bread, is you can make the bread a day or two in advance. It’s a bit overwhelming to think about making savory French toast with thyme or summer vegetable strata in addition to making the bread that same day too.
My kids devoured the second loaf of peasant bread before I knew it but, because the recipe makes two loaves, you can certainly make other recipes that use it too. Plus you could freeze the extra loaf for future meals. Other recipes that use the peasant bread, as an example, are mussels with saffron; creme fruit and grilled olive oil toasts; leek, ham and Emmental croquet madam; and the food cart grilled cheese, to name a few.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs (7 to 8 ounces each)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 tablespoons vinegar (white balsamic or red wine)
- 4 slices peasant bread (see recipe below), ¾ inch thick
- 1 cup packed fresh basil or parsley leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 to 3 cups mixed green lettuces (5 ounces)
- Place an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat it to 450°F. Place the chicken legs on a rimmed sheet pan. Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels, rub all over with 1 tablespoon oil, and
- season liberally with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken, skin-side up, on the sheet pan, transfer to the oven, and roast for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a 9 × 13-inch baking pan, whisk together 3 tablespoons oil with 2 tablespoons vinegar and a pinch of salt. Lay the bread into the pan, turning to coat so each slice evenly soaks up the dressing. When the chicken has roasted for 30 minutes, remove the sheet pan from the oven, add the soaked slices of bread to the pan around the chicken, reserving the 9 × 13-inch baking pan, and return the sheet pan to the oven for 10 minutes more, or until the bread is golden; check frequently during the last 2 to 3 minutes so the bread doesn’t burn. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a plate. Flip over the slices of bread and place them back in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes more, until they are deeply golden.
- In the bowl of a food processor, blend the herbs, garlic, a pinch of salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until smooth.
- Remove the toasted bread from the sheet pan and tuck 1 slice under each leg of chicken resting on the plate. Immediately pour the herb sauce over the sheet pan, and scrape up the crispy bits with a wooden spoon. Transfer the bits and pan sauce to a small bowl. Place a toast-leg pair on each plate. Pour any juices from the chicken plate into the bowl with the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Using the reserved 9 × 13-inch baking pan, toss the salad greens lightly with some of the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Pile a handful of greens onto each plate. Just before serving, spoon a little sauce over the chicken pieces.
Recipe ©2017 Alexandra Stafford Published courtesy of Clarkson Potter
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- Softened unsalted butter, for greasing
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast. Ad the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the water is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky ball.
- Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 1½ hours, until the dough has doubled in bulk.
- Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Grease two 1 quart, oven safe bowls with the softened butter - be generous. Using two forks,deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the blow quarter turns as you deflate, turing the mass into a rough ball.
- Using your two forks and working from the center out, separate the dough into two equal pieces. Us the forks to lift each half of the dough into a prepared bowl. IF the dough is too wet to transfer with forks, lightly grease your hands with butter, then transfer each half to a bowl. Do not cover the bowls. . Let the dough rise on the countertop near the oven (or another warm, draft free spot) for 10 to 20 minutes, until the top of the dough just crowns the rims of the bowls.
- Transfer the bowls to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 17 to 20 minutes more until evenly golden all around. Remove the bowls from the oven and turn the loaves out onto cooling racks. If the loaves look pale, return them to the bowls and bake for 5 minutes longer. Let the loaves cool for 15 minutes before cutting.
Editor’s note: This recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher. The author of this review received a copy of the cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves and Meals to Savor Every Slice. No other compensation was received from the publisher. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
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