Jewish butter, serve with bagels
“Its like butteh” –Linda Richman
So Amiee told me that she is working on a line of baking projects and that got me to thinking about the ingredients we use and where they come from. Since we are dedicated to the DYI concept I thought that I would whip up some butter. Butter besides being useful in baking is also delicious on fresh toasted bagels and bialys. For those of you interested in the subject, the idea of non-kosher dairy products is based on not knowing what non-Jewish farmers might have been doing in the production of their milk, cheese and whatnot. With today’s industrial production that is largely a thing of the past.
In the interest of full disclosure, I also have the better part of a half gallon of heavy cream in my fridge. I was in Costco the other day and picked it up on the premise that I would use it for topping on a birthday cake, pumpkin pie and perhaps some other dishes. A week later and I still have a pint or so left- so lets make butter!
BTW, you know that fear you have of letting the whip cream go to long and it suddenly becomes butter? Turns out it’s not that easy- takes the better part of 10 min with a stand mixer to get there. Pretty hard to do by accident.
Directions after the break
Chewy, Shiny and with a crisp crust
Growing up outside of Milwaukee we had almost no access to decent bagels. In fact the only time we had a steady supply was during the two years I attended Sunday school at Congregation Emanuel b’nai Jeshrun. Back in the day they were located on Milwaukee’s east side, next to my Alma mater, UW-Milwaukee. Since we lived way out in the sticks it was nearly a 45 min drive each way and my dad would take me. We always picked up the Sunday New York Times (there was no home delivery in those days) and then stopped in Shorewood for bagels and lox. Lox came from Benjy’s deli. Bagels came from the Bagel Nosh (sadly long gone), around the back of the same little shopping center off Oakland Ave. My most memorable moment there was one Sunday that we pulled up to see the door propped open and smoke pouring out of it. Undeterred, my father suggested that I see what the story was so I hopped out and made my way into the darkened store. There I found other customers still lined up at the counter and staff members filling bags with fresh bagels. After placing my own order I asked about the smoke and was told it was an electrical fire in the kitchen. That event has become my benchmark for deciding whether or not a food product has a loyal fan base. If people are willing to brave a smoky building for it- it’s probably pretty good.
So, gentle reader we come, at long last, to the end of the road to bagel nirvana. What did it take? In the end it required a willingness to change flour, embrace an additive and use less water that I would have thought advisable. Recipe after the break.
Rinsed and waiting for fresh brine
Pickles are a deli staple. My favorite pickle memory is my then two year old son scarfed down a whole tray of sliced pickle spears in a Chicago deli while we waited for our sandwiches. He finished the small tray and looked up at us and asked if there were more- truly a sour tooth.
In any event, having always been a fan of pickled veggies I was delighted to come across a recipe in Michael Ruhlmans masterful tome Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing. This first batch turned out a bit on the salty side so I am soaking them in fresh water for a day or two to knock down the salt content. But having said that this is one of those cooking projects that requires only patience.
More after the break.