Thursday, June 23, 2011

The French Onion Soup Dilemma

We use a heavy crock at work to serve French Onion Soup in .  A Buttered Toast Round topped with Gruyere cheese and fresh herbs sits on top.  To keep it from getting soggy while it is going out to the dining room it should rest completely on the rim of the dish.  When simply bread in Phx closed down we lost our loaves of bread that you could cut a 4.5" round out of each slice.  We've done some searching and some limping along making do.

We got in these pans to make bread for the croutons.  The stinkers don't fit in the proof box at all.  We had to be creative and make proofing happen in a hot box for holding food.  The process involves:  3 cans 2 hr heat sterno, 1-400 perforated pan, 1 200 pan and a quart of very hot water.  You light two sterno and put them under the upside down 400 pan, the perforation allows the sterno to remain burning. Then you top that with the 200 pan.  Light the 3rd sterno and set it off to the side.    By the time you retreive the water the 200 pan should be nicely warmed up.  Pour the water into it slowly, (too much water or too cold of water doesnt produce enough steam) and close the doors fast.  Resist the urge to check on it multiple times as it slows it down horribly. It's totally redneck and I know it.  It's also stupid to have pans that we know we need to proof that don't fit the proofer, so EH?

We stuck with a lean, low hydration recipe to make the bread rise tall with a crisp crust to hold it's shape after baking.

We work (knead) the dough slightly longer than I usually would to get this shape and to make the regular, close crumb.  If the bread has holes too large it is more likely to crack and fall in the soup crock.

Mostly when they come out of the oven I just want to caress them and sniff them from time to time.  The boys have wild dreams of a really really big mufellta sandwich stuffed with every imaginable good thing.  or maybe a philly with a ton of meat, or maybe...well it changes every hour that the bread is cooling.

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