You might not know it, but hamburgers are all the rage out here in the Loire Valley countryside these days. All the restaurants seem to feature them prominently on their menus now. They're not much like American hamburgers, because they are very thick and cooked very rare. People often eat them with a knife and fork instead of picking them up with their bare hands. Meanwhile, the supermarkets have many shelves devoted to hamburger buns in their bread departments.
If you remember, I made a loaf of sandwich bread last week that I thought had an especially good taste and texture. We eat it mostly as toast with either cream cheese (fromage à tartiner) or butter and confiture at breakfast time. Since we no longer have bread brought to our front gate several times a week by an employee of the village bakery making the rounds, we have started making our own bread more often. We also buy several baguettes at a time in bakeries or at the supermarket, and then cut them up and keep them in the freezer until we're ready to eat them with our lunch nearly every day.
I have the same opinion of the hamburger buns from the supermarket that I have of supermarket sandwich bread. I just don't really like it or the buns. So I'm going to make another batch of the bread dough that I made last week, shape it into buns, and bake those to keep in the freezer. I'm hoping to be able to reproduce the recipe and get a result that will be just as good. Another option for hamburgers is to buy what is called un pain ordinaire — a fairly soft bread that has the shape of a super-sized baguette — and cut it into hamburger-size sections. You can also make sort of square hamburger patties that will fit a section of pain. But for now, I want to make my own hamburger buns. I've actually done it before, but not with this dough that includes some polenta and has such a nice texture.
Another summertime food we've made this year is Greek-style dolmas, also called feuilles de vignes farcies. That's blanched grapevine leaves wrapped around a rice stuffing containing olive oil, mint, raisins, and, this time, chopped almonds. It's flavored with a good amount of lemon juice and zest. We have 10 or so grape plants in our back yard, and we enjoy picking, blanching, and eating the grape leaves. Here's a post about dolmas from five years ago, and here's a 2010 post with a recipe for the filling.
The closeup of that bread is very appealing. I do so love good bread!ReplyDelete
It looks good, I think, and the bread has a "springy" texture that I really like. I wonder if that's because of the polents.Delete
This bread has a perfect "crumb"... it just looks delish!! As do your dolmas....ReplyDelete
I recommend acquiring a "Pullman" lidded bread pan. Non-stick if possible (see Amazon). You have to experiment a little to get the right quantity of dough to fill it up, but it produces a fine loaf once you've got the quantity right.Delete
But, you don't get a nice crisp crust on the top... I prefer my loaves with a nice rounded, dark, crusty crust...Delete
Just had a "mais" from our boulangerie.. a small, round crusted loaf-shaped losf... one of the best loaves I had from them.
They have gone "fait maison" on everything no... and it is beginning to show... they have just had the place redecorated too...
À chacun son goût... The whole point of pain de mie is that it is a soft, almost crustless loaf. I'm not trying to make British- or American-style bread. All of our bakeries around here make very good baguettes, boules, pains, and viennoiseries like croissants etc. But none of them (there are half a dozen bakeries within five kilometers) makes pain de mie on a regular basis. I eat 10 times more boulangerie bread than I do home-made pain de mie.Delete
I will have to try the stuffed grape leaves, I think feuilles de vignes farcies sounds much better. I have a grape vine and mint in the garden. Your bread does look good.ReplyDelete
Moussaka and now dolmathes. You're not building up for a visit? I have fresh frozen vine leaves . About time I used some. A very summery dish and deliciousReplyDelete
I've never been to Greece, but I've known Greek people in Paris and in Chicago. No, I have no travel plans right now.Delete
"They're not much like American hamburgers, because they are very thick and cooked very rare."ReplyDelete
That's the way I make them at home.
As to hamburgers in the Loire, we stayed at a B&B in Bourgueil a few years ago that was attached to a wine bar/restaurant. They served something they called a "Hambourgueil." It was basically a hamburger with foie gras on top.
Do you get freshly ground beef? I'm leery of packaged supermarket ground beef cooked rare. We buy good beef and grind it ourselves.Delete
I'm leery of supermarket ground beef period. I either buy it directly from a farm, or from a local shop that buys whole animals from Maine farms and butchers it themselves. I need to try grinding my own sometime. I just need to figure out the best cuts to use.Delete
I've always liked dolmas. Yours look great.ReplyDelete
My favorite sandwich buns are made from a brioche-like dough, though I've made onion rolls that make great sandwich bun. What kind of dough do the restaurants and bakeries use? I would hope that French hamburger buns are not as tasteless as most American ones.ReplyDelete
In France they often serve burgers on brioche or what they call pain brioché, which is similar but not as rich. I'm going to try my recipe with polenta in the dough, and maybe add a little softened butter to it during the kneading (by machine). The last loaf had some olive oil in it. Onion rolls sound good.Delete
Looking forward to your report on the burger buns.ReplyDelete
How do you defrost the baguette bits once they're out of the freezer? Or do you toast them some? I'm wondering if freezing and then thawing would make them mushy.
Usually we take the baguette pieces out of the freezer early enough that they have time to defrost slowly. Often we put them in a warm oven for a few minutes to crisp them up just slightly. We don't toast them except at breakfast, and they don't get mushy at all. There's nothing like a really fresh (but not necessarily hot) baguette, but the defrosted bread comes close.Delete
In France, I do the same thing. I freeze several baguettes, each cut in four, at a time, and defrost them in the refrigerator a day ahead. It works fine and I dont see any difference between the fresh bread and the frozen one. I buy my bread at Carrefour, and that is industrial bread even though it is baked on premisses, or so they say.Delete