There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses
by Isabel Allende

Starting in November of 2009 Michelle at the Big Black Dog formed a group to bake its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. I loved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so I signed up with the group. Michelle first had us do a couple of warm-up assignments, which were my first attempt at blogging. The first "Official" post was on January 15, 2010, and it was followed by 41 more, on the 1st and 15th of each month. When I signed on I said I would bake the whole book, and like Horton (the elephant) I meant what I said and I said what I meant. I finished baking the book on October 1, 2011. Having completed that challenge, now I am just going to do some stuff, and post about it. As part of that stuff Michelle is posing a new, and different, challenge for us each month.

I am still baking bread, mostly the Five Minutes a Day kind, and if you would like to try the Five Minutes a Day bread method there are some links, with recipes, in the right hand column to get you started. Please give it a try.

But first, a word from my sponsor . . .
Depending on to whom you listen, however, our standard of living, may, or may not, be threatened by climate change--global warming. Though scary, it is hard to sift through all the shouting and conflicting information to figure out who is right on this issue.
One person, Greg Craven, has suggested changing the question from "which side is right" to "what is the wisest thing to do given the uncertainties and the risks involved?" To me, this seems like a very productive way to refocus the conversation. So, if you are confused about, concerned by, or interested in the issue of global warming please take a few minutes to watch his VIDEO. If you find it interesting or helpful, please pass it on to others.

This day be bread and peace my lot.
Alexander Pope

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Julia Child

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb
(And some are only half baked.)

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw, via Sharon

Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.
George Herbert

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Four-leaf Clover Broccoli and Cheddar Buns, Mesquite Bread, and a Diet of Worms (14 of 42)

Several of the other posters in our Bread Braid have discussed their pets.  Michelle, obviously, has her Big Black Dogs.  Elwood has his bees and rabbits (here is a recipe, Elwood, for Honey Roast Rabbit).  Clarice has Harry.  So Zoe(y) and I thought we would share our worms with you.  Worms you may ask?  Of course.  You all remember Bullwinkle buying the Lazy Jay Ranch with its herd of worms and having to drive the herd by pounding on the ground with sticks.  And Wikipedia even has a List of Fictional Worms.  And worms make great pets.

Now we do not have just any old worms, we have Red Wigglers.  And we all know from the jingle on WKRP in Cincinnati what Red Wigglers are-- Red Wigglers, the Cadillac of Worms
Here is a picture of my worms.
Aren't they cute?
And useful, too.
They take this (kitchen scraps)
and turn it into this (vermicast, aka worm castings, aka compost).
And this is where they do it, their Worm Factory.

The spigot in the front even lets you draw off the leachate for compost tea.  There is one down side--fruit flies.  But you just need to keep the factory where that does not matter.  Also, I learned that hard way not to put melon seeds in the factory,  unless you want volunteer  melon plants wherever you spread your compost. 

So how do my worms relate to this episode of the Braid, you may ask?  Because I used the vermicast from my worms to feed my Jalapeno Peppers and Cilantro (variety Caribe) which  I used  in the Mesquite Bread.  So if we are what we eat, my peeps and I are worm poop (I have been called worse). Also, Mesquite Bread has a western flavor, like Bullwinkle's Lazy Jay Ranch.  

I was not sure what to expect from the mesquite flour, which is obtained by milling the seeds and the pods of the mesquite plant.   I got my flour from Casa de Fruta, though there are other sources.  What astounded me was the smell of the flour.   I have used mesquite for smoking in my Old Smokey Electric Smoker,  which I just love, and I guess I expected the flour to be resinous.   Instead, it smelled terrific, to me sort of like hot chocolate.  The folks at Casa de Fruta describe it as "similar to mocha coffee, cinnamon and chocolate" and note that "[w]hen the flour is heated in the oven, alone or in mixtures, a pleasant aroma appears that is somewhat similar to coconut."

 Anyway, it was fun to use mesquite flour, and the bread turned out great.

I had some dough left over after making the required loaf, and so I made a flatbread on the grill.  I divided the dough in half, rolled each half thin, sprinkled some mozzarella on one half, topped it with the other half of the dough and rolled them together.  Then I threw it on the grill for about 4 minutes per side.  (Judy noted in our Discussion Group that she does not understand why people would want to grill outside when it is almost 100 degrees.  The trick, however, is not to live somewhere that it so damned hot!)  If you have the grill going for something else the bread cooks in no time, and has a nice grilled flavor.  This bread was great, and would be even better with some pepperjack cheese.

The other bread for this assignment was Broccoli and Cheddar Buns.  (Note that the gluten amount given in the recipe is an error, it is 1/4 cup for the full recipe.  There is a list of errors on the HB in 5 site.)  These were a big hit.

The first step is to chop the broccoli.   I think that it is essential to the success of the recipe that you do this while singing Dana Carvey's   "Choppin' Broccoli" song.

To make the buns, you treat them like cloverleaf rolls--form the dough into 4 small balls and put them in muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Just before baking you top each roll with shredded cheese.   I again used Cabot 50% Cheddar, which was named Best Low Fat Cheese by Prevention Magazine, was pronounced the one they liked the best by Cooking Light Magazine, and was a Recommended low fat cheese by Cooks Illustrated.  In keeping with the "healthy" theme, I also cut down on  the amount of cheese called for, but I still think there was plenty. 

Every one of my tasters thought these were very good, though none identified the broccoli without a hint or two. 

Since I had some dough left over, I decided to use a similar technique and make monkey bread in my new  Monkey Bread Pot.  Instead of cheddar I worked some Parmigiano-Reggiano into the dough and formed it into balls.  Instead of rolling them in butter  I sprayed them lightly with canola spray.  This worked just as well,  and the Monkey bread was terrific, if I do say so myself.  

One final tip.  I was having trouble figuring out how best to store my dough scrapers to keep them handy without having to sort through a junk utensil drawer with doughy hands.  I got a small letter sorter, and keep it on the countertop where I do my rolling and forming. 

So that's it for this time.  Be sure to check up on what everyone else did with this assignment at Big Black Dog, and tune in again next time.


  1. Around here most of the bait shops have their worms in vending machines. Just cracked me up the firs time I saw the worm vending machine!

    Darn, now I wish I had been able to find the Mesquite Flour. I'm going to keep my eye out for it but it might come to having to order it on line.

    Great storage tip for the dough scrapers. Most times I have to dig for mine too!

  2. I could make several comments about Guff,s blog including one about how I feel about having worms in my basement. Instead I'm going to comment about the deliciousness of the broccoli and chese bread. It has a great flavor and the crispy cheese on the top makes it even Better. Also, I think any bread is better grilled. Wow,Dana Carvey was young in that video.

  3. I'm getting some Mesquite Flour sent to me (same brand you used). Im so excited. Your bread looks great!
    I love the monkey bread idea!! hmmm...i wonder how they'd taste if each one was filled with a little cream cheese and chive mixture :D

  4. Love your post! I made the mesquite bread a few months ago. It was really good!

    Your brocolli and cheddar buns look really good. I thought they tasted great. Good idea to make monkey bread with the leftover dough. I froze mine for future use.

  5. Ha, Ha, Guff! When I moved from Southern CA to NE Tennessee, I thought I was done with the really hot weather. Guess I'm not!

    Love your worm castings and bin. A friend has one in her basement, I think it's fascinating.

    Your breads look terrific! Is that a cast iron pan for your flatbreads?

  6. Your Mesquite rbead looks great and so do the buns. Love your articles :)

  7. Thanks so always making me laugh and teaching me something at the same time. I had never even heard of Mesquite flour. Nice to know the source.

  8. Thanks for the shout out and the recipe. I doubt that MJOL will allow me to use it. He named the rabbits right off the bat to keep that from happening.

    The worms are way cool. I've been meaning to do the worm thing for our compost, but so far have only used the rabbit poop..and yes I have been called worse also.

    The bread looked great. I couldn't find Mesquite flour, but now with your source, I'm going to have to try it. Chocolate huh?

    The rolls looked good too, and now I'm heading out to find a small letter and their gadgets.

    Great post as usual.

  9. Here wormy-wormy, come here boy. Oh, good wormy! Oh, yes, they are so cute and snuggly!

    Thanks for giving Harry some attention! I wrote about my compost in the Spring, too. Yep, I learned the hard way about those cantelope seeds...

  10. Great job and I love the inclusion of the Dana Carvey video! Hilarious! I too am ordering mesquite flour...soon I hope!