Use Up Stale Bread by Making This Classic, Hearty Soup

Soup is often hailed as the antidote to cold weather. But when winter really kicks in, brothy soups won’t suffice. Something with staying power, a little more stick-to-your-ribs goodness, is the trick to surviving winter. That’s why thickened, creamier soups win.

But you don’t need to add heavy cream or make a roux to achieve soups like this. All you need is some bread. All you’ve got is old and stale bread? Even better.

Source: Bread Is the Secret to Thicker, Heartier Soups

Make Polenta in About 15 Minutes with This Shortcut

As you’ll know if you’ve ever tipped a bag of coarse-ground cornmeal into simmering water without doing the math, polenta for dinner is a much bigger commitment than standbys like pasta or quinoa or rice. “Ready when you are!” the standbys say, while polenta lights up a cigarette and heads out the door.

Source: A Genius Shortcut for Better, Faster Polenta

It’s similar to the oats overnight recipe

In Brazil, they have two kinds of polenta.  The sweet one that you can find in Northeast Brazil, and the regular one in the rest of the country. Here’s the recipe for the sweet polenta:

  • 1 L/~5 cups of dairy milk
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of butter
  • a little bit of salt
  • Cornmeal (“Brazilian cuscuz” – similar to American cornmeal, but not entirely the same thing)

If you want to add some grated coconut to the mix, go ahead. It is gonna taste delicious. You just need to mix everything when the milk is about to boil.

PS: In Brazil, polenta is a breakfast food.

It’s the Flour, Not Just The Yeast, That Makes for Perfect Bread

Why do some wheat dough balls rise well and bake into perfect loaves while others are flat and hard as a brick? A new study says it’s as much about the flour as the yeast.

Source: It’s the Flour, Not Just The Yeast, That Makes for Perfect Bread

What about the water?  J. Kenji López-Alt from SeriousEats (and previously Cook’s Illustrated) wrote about performing a test concerning the effects of water on pizza crust.  They used multiple bottled waters, with different levels of dissolved solids as well as NYC tap water in the introduction of his new book. His panel of judges weren’t able to detect a significant difference between any of the crusts made with the different waters. At this point, I think it’s safe to say this is a myth or at least a very large degree of self-induced bias.