Last week I spent a lot of time making bread.
I was trying to make a Jack-o-Lantern Loaf by carving a face in the top just before baking. It never quite worked so I gave up on the idea for the time being, but it served as a fantastic crash course in bread baking.
The main problem was that when the dough was too wet I ended up with a smiley face, and when I made the dough stiffer it wouldn’t allow itself to be formed into a ball and the one face that did turn out ended up on a loaf that had propped itself up (like a laptop opening, or, you know, a book, those paper thingies).
I chose the recipe for Nigel Slater’s “A Really Good and Very Easy White Loaf” from this post at The Amateur Gourmet. There is nothing like a little taunting to get me to move into action in just under a year. The loaf turns out adorably rounded, and the very first comment says it resembles a pumpkin, which must have stuck with me until now because it was the first recipe I thought of when I decided to make jack-o-lantern bread.
The recipe as is calls for eight cups of flour which makes a very impressively sized loaf that would be perfect to casually display when you expect guests to come around. But, halving the recipe makes a loaf that is plenty big enough for two people. I suggest cutting it while it’s still warm inside and melt Halloween chocolate between slices, it is so good that way. Also, it’s the perfect vehicle for pumpkin butter.
I also decided to make an early Halloween dinner and made the Prosciutto version of an Awful Edible Flesh Worm.
I included sauteed kale as Swamp Greens and mashed cauliflower as Maggot Mash. (Cut cauliflower into pieces which you steam the crap out of, mash in a bowl and add a little butter and a little half-n-half, salt and pepper, surprisingly delicious.) Too bad it wasn’t a Farmers Market Wednesday, I was really hoping to find purple cauliflower so I could call it Gray Matter!