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Bread And Breakfast: Comfort Food Recipes To Start Your Day

Just as bread rises, so do we when we partake of it as part of our breakfast in the morning. Breakfast is the meal that best highlights bread’s most memorable pleasures—imagine slathering a warm, toasty slice with luscious, creamy butter, or dunking a crusty chunk of bread in hot coffee. Bread is the easiest thing to grab as you head out to work or school in the morning. It can be filled with your favorite spreads and meats, thus easily turning into a complete meal. Bread for breakfast can nourish your body and soul. 

And what about making bread? The whole process is thoroughly pleasurable: the feeling of the flour, the heady beer-like aroma of yeast, and the dough in its different states of ripeness, from that big pillow of plumpness during fermentation, the resilience one feels during shaping, to the awesome turgidity of its fully proofed splendor. And nothing beats the exhilarating texture and taste of freshly baked bread in the morning! 

My interest in bread making began when I was about nine years old. Whenever we would visit my grandparents’ restaurant (which had a bakeshop too), I liked to watch the bakers make meat buns, cinnamon rolls, ensaymada and pizza dough. My interest in baking came to a head when I noticed the way the dough would rise during its final proof. The buns looked so round and smooth! One day, I just couldn’t help but give each of those adorable puffy balls of dough a good smacking as I was on my way out of the kitchen. A few hours later, my mother took me aside and showed me the disastrous result of what I’d done—the meat buns had deflated and were wrinkled all over. I, however, felt no remorse, and became curious instead. Why did that happen? How did that happen? Since then, bread and bread making became for me a scientific mystery that needed to be unraveled. 

Today, I teach and train future bakers, experiment with natural starters and hone my skills in hand-shaped breads. This is where my bread journey has led me. Bread making makes me happy. It has afforded me many opportunities. It has given me good friends and lasting relationships that have deeply enriched my life, and most importantly, it continues to feed my sense of wonder and my need to explore. Indeed, bread is life, and I would like to think that I am a living testament to this. 

 

Fabulous French toast 

Challah is the best bread to use for making French toast as this light, airy bread is thick enough to absorb all of that eggy and milky goodness. It can be substituted with brioche or any similar thick, enriched bread. Always use a serrated knife to slice bread, as this preserves its crumb structure. It is best to use stale bread as it is firmer and can soak up much of the egg-milk mixture. 

 

 

Challah French Toast 

Makes 10 to 12 slices 

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional 
  • 6 whole eggs 
  • 3/4 cup whole milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon iodized salt 
  • 1 loaf challah bread (recipe on page 34), or any enriched bread, sliced thickly 
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, for pan frying 

1. In a bowl, whisk to combine cinnamon, nutmeg, whole eggs, whole milk and salt. Blend well. Transfer mixture to a shallow container like a pie plate. 

2. Dip both sides of each slice of challah into the egg-milk mixture. Set the slices on a tray. 

3. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a 10 or 12-inch frying pan or skillet. Fry each challah slice until golden brown. Flip to brown the other side. 

4. Serve warm with whipped raspberry butter (recipe below) or any flavored butter, vanilla syrup (recipe below) or maple syrup, and bacon strips. 

 

WHIPPED RASPBERRY BUTTER (Makes 1 cup): 

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry jam 

In a mixing bowl fitted with a whip attachment, whip the softened butter with the raspberry jam until light and fluffy. You can substitute any jam of your choice to flavor the whipped butter. 

 

VANILLA SYRUP  (Makes 2 cups): 

  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped, or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup refined sugar 
  • 3/4 cup water 
  • 1/4 cup glucose or corn syrup 

1. In a saucepan, whisk together vanilla pod and seeds or vanilla extract, sugar and water. Bring the mixture up to a boil. 

2. Add glucose or corn syrup. Continue boiling for about 1 minute. 

3. Fish out the vanilla pod, if using. Cool the syrup before transferring to a container. 

 

Home on the range 

Ever since the introduction of canned corned beef to the Philippines during the American colonial period, Filipinos have had a longstanding love affair with a breakfast of corned beef and pandesal. Pair this with a cup of hot coffee, and it’ll surely make your day! Chill the corned beef filling to firm it up so it is easier to fill the dough pieces. Pre-portion the filling using an ice cream scooper. To ensure that the filling does not burst out of the bread, keep the filling well within the middle of the flattened piece of dough. Any grease on the edge will make sealing the dough difficult. Uneaten corned beef pandesal can be stored in the refrigerator, and will last up to 3 days. 

 

 

Corned Beef Pandesal 

Makes 8 rolls 

DOUGH: 

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon powdered milk 
  • 1 1/2 cups water 
  • 3 medium whole eggs 
  • 1/4 cup refined sugar 
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons iodized salt 
  • 1/4 cup shortening 
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) 
  • all-purpose flour, for dusting 

1. Lightly grease 8 fluted molds (4-inch diameter) with shortening. Set aside. 

2. In a bowl, whisk to combine instant yeast, powdered milk, water, whole eggs and refined sugar. 

3. Add in bread flour, all-purpose flour and iodized salt. Mix to form a dough. 

4. Knead in shortening and work the dough until smooth and elastic. Shape into a tight ball and leave to ferment for 1 hour under a sheet of plastic. 

5. Gently punch down the dough. Divide equally into 8 pieces, then further divide each piece into 3 pieces. 

6. Shape each piece into a ball. Let rest under a plastic sheet for about 10 minutes. 

7. Flatten each ball to form a circle with the ends thinner than the middle. Fill the middle with about a tablespoon of corned beef filling (recipe below). Enclose the filling by sealing the edges well. 

8. On a tray lined with a moistened tea towel, roll the filled pieces to moisten the surface then coat them with Japanese breadcrumbs. 

9. Arrange 3 filled pieces in a greased fluted mold to form a clover leaf shape. Repeat with all the remaining pieces. 

10. Place the filled molds on a tray and cover with a plastic sheet. Let proof for about 30 to 45 minutes. 

11. In a preheated 350°F oven, bake the filled pandesal until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm. 

 

CORNED BEEF FILLING: 

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 medium onion, minced 
  • 1 large can corned beef, preferably Delimondo, Palm or Purefoods brand 
  • 3/4 cup grated potatoes 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

1. In a skillet over medium heat, sweat garlic and onion until tender and translucent. 

2. Add corned beef and grated potatoes. Cook until potatoes are done. Season to taste. 

3. Remove from heat and cool down completely before using. 

 

Not your usual rolls 

Just like cinnamon rolls, except that they’ve been filled with chocolate. They’re made in exactly the same way as cinnamon rolls, using the same dough formulation and baking techniques.These rolls can be made in a variety of ways: make them as whole pull-apart bread (as seen here), or as individual rolls. Instead of chocolate, you can also use about  2 tablespoons of peanut butter or any nut butter, and mix with the ingredients for the filling. 

 

 

Chocolate  Breakfast Rolls 

Makes 16 rolls 

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar 
  • 1 1/4 cups water 
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast 
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 whole egg 
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons iodized salt 
  • softened butter, for greasing and brushing 

1. Grease one 9-inch round cake pan with butter. 

2. To make the cocoa-butter paste, in a bowl, whisk to combine butter, cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. Set aside. 

3. In another bowl, whisk water, instant yeast, light brown sugar and egg. 

4. Add flour and salt. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape dough into a tight ball and leave to ferment for 1 hour under a plastic sheet or towel. 

5. Gently punch down dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a loose ball and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. 

6. Grease the surface of the table with butter. Lay a piece of dough on the greased surface. This will make it easier to shape. 

7. Place about a tablespoon cocoa-butter paste on the piece of dough. Using your hands, stretch and flatten the dough into a square until the dough gets very thin. The cocoa-butter paste acts as a lubricant and will eventually cover the entire surface of the stretched dough. 

8. Fold the left side of the dough to the center and then fold the right side over as you would fold a letter. Starting with the bottom end, roll the dough tightly. With a sharp knife, cut the roll in the middle, exposing the spiral design. 

9. Arrange the rolls cut-side up in the buttered pan. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough pieces. 

10. Leave the shaped dough to rest for about 45 minutes or until fully proofed. Keep the dough covered under a plastic sheet or towel. 

11. In a preheated 350°F oven, bake the rolls until golden brown. Remove from the pan and brush with softened butter. Serve warm. 

 

Breakfast dissonance 

Pizza for breakfast? Why not? This is the kind of breakfast that you should make to thank your beloved wife or husband in the morning! The presence of eggs and bacon on this pizza automatically turns it into breakfast, but of course, it can be enjoyed any time of the day. And if you can’t be bothered to make the dough from scratch, go ahead and use store-bought pizza crust instead. We won’t judge! To save on time, you can pre-cook the bacon slices and eggs then add at the end of baking. The number of servings depends on the number of eggs used, ideally, one egg per slice.

 

 

Pizza Crust 

Makes 2 pizzas, to serve 6 to 8 

CRUST: 

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour, sifted 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast 
  • 2 teaspoons iodized salt 
  • 1 2/3 cups water 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • bread flour, for dusting 
  • TOPPINGS: 
  • 2 cups store-bought pizza sauce 
  • 1 pack bacon strips 
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced 
  • 6 medium whole eggs 
  • 1/2 cup quick-melting cheese, grated 

1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley 

1. In a bowl, using a whisk, combine bread flour, all-purpose flour, instant yeast and iodized salt. 

2. Add water and combine to form into dough. Once dry ingredients are fully moistened, add olive oil and knead dough until smooth. 

3. Round dough into a tight ball and let ferment for 1 hour under a plastic sheet. 

4. Punch down dough to remove the excess carbon dioxide. Divide dough in half and loosely shape each portion into a log. Let rest under a plastic sheet or towel for 20 minutes. 

5. On a surface lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough and shape into a rectangle about 12 inches in length. Transfer the shaped dough onto a greased baking sheet. Do the same process with the other rested log of dough. 

6. Allow the shaped pieces to rest for about 10 minutes. Use a fork to prick the surface all over. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven. Store the parbaked crusts in the freezer for a month or use them right away. 

7. To make the pizza, spread about a cup of pizza sauce on each parbaked crust. Sprinkle bacon slices evenly, then arrange tomato slices in one layer. 

8. Place the pizza in a preheated 350°F oven and bake for about 5 minutes. 

9. Remove pizza from the oven. On each crust, break 3 whole eggs then return pizzas to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more. 

10. Immediately top with grated cheese while pizza is still hot. Or else, return pizzas to the oven to melt the cheese for about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm. 

 

*This article was originally published in Food Magazine Issue 1, 2017

Produced by Ginny Mata

Photography by Ocs Alvarez

Styling by Bel Alvarez