I've just rediscovered a book I bought back in the mid-1970's. The Cooks' Catalogue is a compilation of photos, descriptions, and prices (very dated prices) of 4,000 pieces of kitchen equipment and utensils, along with 200 recipes. This comprehensive guide is "a critical selection of the best, the necessary and the special",
according to its contributors including James Beard, Barbara Poses Kafka, Elizabeth David, and Florence Fabricant, just to name a very few of the hundreds that were involved in the publication of this book many years ago. I could spend hours pouring over the extensive descriptions of the featured items, and after doing so, know exactly what I need for a specific job in my kitchen. After reading 133 words alone on the French Pop-Up Sponge where I am told, " You may think that we are being insanely francophile, telling you to import your sponge from Europe, but this is in truth better than the synthetic sponges in the supermarket, as it has tiny holes which release the water very slowly", I now have all of the knowledge (and more) I need when searching for a new sponge! And what you will notice if you find a copy of this book, are the insanely cheap prices of these items. Yes, they are certainly 1970's prices. Those were the days, and many of these beautiful pieces of kitchen equipment and utensils aren't out there any more; surely the casualty of high production costs, companies that have folded over the years, etc., etc.
Whether or not you are interested in purchasing any of the pieces shown in this book, it will give you an encyclopedic knowledge of just about anything and everything of usefulness in your kitchen. And in addition, there are the 200 included recipes.
Having just purchased a bag of pistachios, this recipe for Pistachio Bread by James Beard caught my eye. And you may wonder, is it any good? Well... no one in this house has been able to walk past it without cutting a slice, and that includes my husband who does not care for nuts and tries to limit his bread consumption. So yes, it is good!
* The one thing I strongly caution you on is the baking time. The recipe calls for 30 to 35 minutes. I believe my bread was in the oven about 25 minutes, or slightly less than that and it was dark. Also, a heavy hand in brushing on the beaten egg before baking causes the bread to darken up much more. It's an easy dough to mix and assemble and I'm certain I'll be making this often -- hey, my husband loves it!
• Pistachio Bread •
from Beard on Bread by James Beard and reprinted in
The Cooks' Catalogue
• 1 package active dry yeast
• Granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup warm water (100˚ to 115˚, approximately)
• 1 cup warm milk
• 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened butter
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup melted butter
• 1 cup shelled, salted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
1. Combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and water in a large mixing bowl, and allow to proof. Then add the milk, the softened butter, the salt and 1/2 cup sugar to the yeast mixture. Add the flour, cup by cup, beating well after each addition. (This dough is easy to handle but will be a little sticky at this stage.) Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead for a good 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. ( I had another cup or so of flour that I kept dusting onto the dough and work surface to keep the dough from sticking. Add sparingly what you must, a little bit at a time, until the dough kneads easily and is elastic.) Form into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, an turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free spot to double in bulk.
2. Punch the dough down and turn out on a floured board. Let rest for a few minutes, then roll into a rectangle about 18-inches-by-12-inches. Brush the surface with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/3 cup additional sugar and the coarsely chopped pistachio nuts. Beginning with the long edge of the rectangle, roll up the dough like a jelly roll, pressing each seam as you do so. Join the ends of the roll and pinch together to form a ring. Place the ring carefully on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Slice two-thirds of the way down into the ring, at 3/4-inch intervals. Twist each slice to the right so that the interior of the slice is now facing upwards. Let the ring rise in a warm draft-free place until almost doubled in size. Brush the entire surface with beaten egg, then bake in a preheated 375˚F oven for 30 to 35 minutes * -- SEE COMMENT ABOVE ON MY BAKING TIME -- until the bread is nicely browned. Cool on a rack before serving.
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5/8/2010 11:55:54 am
You are lucky if you get a cup of coffee at my house on Sunday mornings!
5/9/2010 03:32:29 am
Do you have Weebly pro?
5/9/2010 03:57:07 am
Curious Cat - Yes, I do have Weebly Pro.
5/9/2010 07:44:08 am
What a lovely bread!!
5/9/2010 08:38:11 am
Gorgeous bread and a wonderful story. Thanks. GREG
5/9/2010 10:33:17 am
This blog is just fantastic! and this is by far my favourite post! Mmmmmm! Tasty! Have you thought about <a href="http://www.newfranchiseonline.com">opening your own food outlet?</a> If you guys all got together to share each other's receipes, you'd make a bomb! and deservedly so.... great food, great ideas, beautifully presented and a real treat to read! Thankyou so much for the inspiration. I'm now off to try out some of those recipes!
5/10/2010 07:53:46 pm
Oh this looks great! And I just brought back a bag of pistachios from Turkey, so this is perfect! I just can't really figure out whether this bread is sweet or savoury? Do you eat it with jam or cheese, or both?! :-)
5/13/2010 11:29:06 pm
This looks absolutely delicious!
5/17/2010 11:18:57 am
Pistachio bread would be so good!
9/29/2010 04:20:01 am
Hello! your fan from Brazil! congratulations! for the wonderful recipe site, simply adore all are great, even to the smell and feel the love with which he performs them, I would like to receive "updates, his blog" on his blog , recures not have to subscribe, or giving this error, which is why I write, your fan from Brazil!
3/2/2011 04:45:15 am
Hi. This looks wonderful. I'm hosting a linky party over here: http://sweet-rolls-that-rock.blogspot.com/2011/03/sweet-rolls-o-rama-linky-party.html
12/1/2011 09:08:54 am
I've been baking this bread on special occassions for years, from my splattered and dog-eared "Beard on Bread" cookbook. Today I mixed the dough in my bread machine and it fit. Now it's cooling on my counter. It was nice to find the recipe here so I could send it to a friend who was drooling over my description of the bread. Yummy--can't wait to share it with new friends at a breakfast before a Holiday House Tour this weekend.
2/16/2012 09:15:00 pm
Pistachios are so underused in the kitchen. Glad to see the yummy gems are so prominently featured in this recipe. When I was a kid they always came dyed red. My fingers were often stained in a most frightening way, and my lips resembled a Kabuki character's or more likely The Joker's. ;-) Glad they went natural in the nineties.
3/24/2013 02:50:29 am
This looks and sound delicious! I'd like to take to Easter dinner but due to time constraints I will need to bake it 3-4 days before. Do you know if it freezes well? Thank you so much!
3/24/2013 03:27:00 am
JoAnn -- You should have no problem freezing the bread. Let it cool completely after baking, then wrap in plastic, then foil or a large zip-lock bag. I'd bring it out of the freezer the day before serving and let it thaw in its wrappings at room temperature. Day of, wrap only in foil and warm in a 300˚F oven for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
12/6/2017 01:47:59 pm
Just wondering if you put it in the freezer, if yes how did it turn out?
12/6/2017 03:49:00 pm
Hi Nancy... No, I did not put it in the freezer, but I think yyou could.
11/15/2014 09:53:33 pm
Looks so good
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