Friday, 26 February 2010

Beef Stew Bread Boule

I realised when making the bread dough for my home-baked cheese explosion that I could use the bread to recollect a vague memory I had when living in my country of origin. In the latter part of my teenage life, I remembered hearing people talking about a certain establishment which came up with "Curry in a Loaf". A simple idea, it involved wrapping pre-cooked chicken curry with bread dough, and baking the whole lot in the oven. Sometimes the curry was bagged in plastic before being wrapped, apparently with no due concern to plastic melting under high heat.

Eating bread with a gravy dish has got to be one of the simple pleasures in life. With this in mind, it is perhaps a bit puzzling that the idea of baking stew into bread has not really caught on. I hope to mitigate this with the post that I'm about to write.

I have acquired the entire range of the recently-introduced Basics stock cubes some time ago, and am currently trying to work my way through them. The beef stock cube was found to be acceptable, although to be honest, I really could not taste any difference from using it.

This might be the only time I took a photograph of all the ingredients I will use in a post. Perhaps I should do this more often.

If you have not already, follow the bread dough recipe found in the home-baked cheese explosion post, link found above. Then prepare a simple beef stew by sauteing some mushrooms before browning some beef fairly quickly. Feel free to fry onions before all that, if you want to; I refrained from doing so this time because our kitchen was running out of them, and I was rushing for time, given the long process needed to make a stew and prepare the bread boule.

As ever, the Basics mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes.

For seasoning, I used some mustard, the herb mix, pepper, and crumbled up one beef stock cube. This was followed up with half a bottle of white wine before the whole thing was allowed to simmer.
In the meantime, prepare the bread dough, according to instructions found at the cheese explosion post. You will want to make it as flat as possible, with just enough thickness so that it will not tear when wrapping the stew. A rolling pin, or in the absence of one, a wine bottle would do the trick nicely.
When the stew is ready, spoon it onto the centre of the flat sheet of dough. Take the corners of the dough and wrap the stew by folding the corners above it, such that all the corners meet. Somehow.
Bake at 225 degrees Celsius, until bread has a dark hard crust.

This was hailed by my flatmates as the first true success of this blog, something that actually looked good and tasted good (in their opinion; I've always thought my food was okay!) as well.

I never realised that I would actually have this much fun baking my own bread. It is a real pity then, that I did not prepare enough dough for one more post. One possible idea, for example, would be to come up with some sort of reinterpreted cheeseburger, where a ragout of minced beef, mustard, a bit of tomato or ketchup and cheese is whipped up and put into a bread bowl.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Beef Stock Cubes£0.2910+£0.79No palm oil. Skip both and buy OXO or Bovril instead.

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