Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eng Bread for Caribbean Rum Braised Scallops on Pineapple Red Pepper Pesto for "the Project"

So many things to blog about in this very simple dish.  And the bread was inspired by a rat... Really, a rat.

Take a look at this bread.  Beautiful swirl of my Caribbean Roasted Red Pepper Pesto surrounded by Eng Bread.

And here, take a look at it nicely toasted, with a brushing of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

And I owe it all to a rat.

Well, maybe a bit to the most famous mouse... Mickey Mouse and their geniuses of animation.

Here's the story (which includes the story of a lovely lady)...

Yesterday, I was baking.  Just a loaf of Eng Bread.  It is so easy, I can make it in my sleep.  In fact, once I did the first kneading and the bread and yeast were working it's first rise, I laid down to catch a nap (and some of you think that bread baking is hard work... but I digress).  I was flipping channels to see what I would have on while I was napping (it's a guy thing).  Low and behold, Ratatoulle was just starting.  If, like me, you have never seen the movie, you probably have seen clips on ads.  A rat wants to be a chef, a bumbling human needs the rat to become the best he can be and the evil chef is put in his place.  the movie is a little longer, but that is essentially the plot.

Oh, and there is a love interest for the bumbling human, Colette, the talented female chef being held back by evil male chef.

OK, that's enough back story to the movie, but at one point, Colette was assigned the task of teaching the bumbling human about a professional kitchen.  At one point, she explained the job of the bumbling human vrs the job of the evil head chef...

A cook's job is to follow the recipe.

A chef's job is to be inspired and to create.

I have been vague about "the Project", and it is in fact going to be many things.  ONE of the many things is an attempt to be better about listing my tastier recipes.  Writing them up in a classic manor, a familiar way where any cook can follow them.

But as I laid there, an old man, older than dirt, watching a kiddie movie (no popcorn), Colette's words worked their magic.  I had planned to make Rum Poached Scallops with a Roasted Pepper - Pineapple Pesto last night.  It is a recipe I have made in the past.  In fact, I have made it often once I found it.  ALWAYS a pleaser.  One of my favorites, and I wanted to add it to "the Project".

But, wearing the Armour of Colette's words, Girding my Loins with her inspiration, I pondered what I could do to be inspired.  Was I willing to create?

You bet I was...

And my, wasn't that dramatic writing for just a swirly bread?  I'll start toning it down, but remember, I was being inspired by a rat, I should be given a little latitude.

Eng Bread.  You know it, you love it, you've seen it before.

It's just a simple loaf of French Bread, with just a bit extra sugar.  Very easy, very fast and tastes great.  Go ahead and click the link and see what I mean.  Anyone can make that bread.

I had done the mixing, and had kneaded by hand for about 15 minutes (if you have a mixer with a bread hook, the machine does ALL the work).  i have found that the easiest way to make a loaf of this bread is to spread it out in a circle (like a pizza) and roll it up.  Again, more details at this link... Eng Bread

So, I have my pizza shape (thick, @3/4 of an inch thick).

I laid out a layer of the Pesto.  About a cup and a half's worth.

I have recently blogged the recipe for Caribbean Red Pepper Pesto.  the added pineapple in the pesto really adds an extra sweet kick.

I was licking my lips... This was going to be amazing...

Or, a soggy mess.  I was concerned that the moisture from the pineapple would make the cooking dough too wet to bake.  So, in hopes of avoiding that, I doubled the amount of nuts in the recipe.  That should help to absorb some of the moisture.  I also let the pineapple rest on a paper towel while I chopped the nuts.

As you can see, I rolled up the dough (like you were making cinnamon rolls).

I did my usual "trick" to make the outside look better.  

I did an egg wash so the toppings would stick.

I added some of the Sesame Seed with Kosher Salt Herb Mix I blogged about yesterday.  

I sprinkled some paprika (just a pinch) to make the crust a beautiful deep rich color.

And then, I did a wise thing.  I have gotten into the habit of cooking by temperature instead of time.  Most bread should cook till the internal temp is 190 degrees.  My standard Eng Bread recipe has the bread baking for 30 minutes.  Sometimes it takes 35 minutes for it to cook, and sometimes much less than 30 minutes.  Depends on the oven, the shape of the loaf, how much the second rise has accomplished, etc.  My point is, better to use a remote temperature prob than a timer.

This bread, with all the extra internal moisture, took a whopping 45 minutes to cook.

As you can see in the photos, the very center was indeed cooked, but was very moist from the juices.  The extra cooking time was certainly needed.

By toasting the bread, that problem is fixed.

I am enjoying a slice of this (toasted, with a brushing of Olive oil) for breakfast, and my my my is it ever good.

So, to see the entire recipe, you will have to come back tomorrow to see how I braised the sea scallops in Rum.

But here's my new take on Eng Bread...


Makes one 2-pound loaf
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (about 100º F)
1 tablespoons granulated yeast
1  tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
3 cups all-purpose white flour (no need to sift)
2 1/2 TBS Sugar

Extra 1/4 cup Flour  to aid in kneading
a pinch of Sea Salt

And secret ingredient you will see in a second... keep reading.

For the Pesto (Originally inspired from a recipe by Penny, from LAKE LURE KITCHEN.

2 large red bell peppers, washed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6 tablespoons Macadamia nuts, finely chopped
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crushed Pineapple, drained

  1. Mix the dry ingredients first.  I like to do the mixing stage in a gallon size ziplock bag.  Aids in keeping a bowl clean, or your  countertop.
  2. Add the water and mix well.  Be sure the water is warm, but not too hot.  Anything above 110 degrees will kill the yeast before it gets a chance to do it's magic.
  3. Now it's time to knead the bread.  Keep the extra flour handy, as the dough at this stage is very wet.  Knead for at least 10 minutes.  You will need to add flour to get to a sticky, but not too sticky phase.  With experience, you can feel and see the bread become hydrated.  That is when the ingredients mix completely, and it is ready for a rest.
  4. Modern Bread makers call it proofing, old timers call it rising.  But whatever you want to call it, form the dough into a ball, cover with a towel and let it rise for 2 to 3 hours.  The dough will double in size in that time (again, reminds me of my fat cat, who also doubled in his preferred size)
  5. And now, it's time to punch the dough down,  form the loaf, add toppings and allow the final rise...
  6. Punching the dough is exactly what it sounds like.  The yeast releases gases.  That is why the dough doubles in size.  When you take a punch at the dough, the gases are released.  The dough returns to it's original size.  If you are dividing the dough, use a knife to cut the dough, instead of tearing.
  7. But I like to make a big loaf, no dividing.  You can make a round inverted bowl shape, or in this case, I made a loaf size.  A little kneading is fine (it's just fun to knead), but no more than a minute or two.
  8. If you press the dough out to a circle, even thickness, and roll it up, it forms a nice submarine shape.
  9. Before you roll up, spread the pesto out on the bread like a pizza.
  10. Roll up the dough like a sub.
  11. And now, a few tricks I have learned...

  1. Do an egg wash.  Just a beaten egg, brushed on.
  2. Really, trust me on this, this next step... it works... But shhh, don't tell anyone...
  1. Sprinkle a pinch of paprika over the bread.
    Really.  I am serious.  The paprika will give you a beautiful amber color to your crust as it bakes.
  2. Sprinkle a little rough cut sea salt.  This will over power any additional taste the paprika might add.  really, do the paprika, no one will be able to taste it, and your bread will look amazing.
  3. Take a sharp knife, or a serrated bread knife and make decorative 1/4 inch deep slits into the top of the dough.  If making a loaf, do slanted stripes across the top, or if making a bowl shape, make a tic tac toe pattern.  Do this AFTER the egg wash, AFTER adding the paprika and salt.  When it bakes, it will show up better.
  4. Now, position the dough on a sheet of parchment paper, on a pizza stone, or jelly roll pan and allow a final 45 minute rise (no more)
  5. I bake the bread (350 degrees) using a remote read thermometer, with the prob inserted into the center of the bread.  The bread is done when it reaches an internal temp of 190 degrees.  If you cook by time, it takes about 25 minutes if you are baking a loaf (long, thinner, like a submarine), or about 30 minutes if you are baking a bowl shape.
  6. IMPORTANT... With the added moisture in the bread, cook for 45 minutes, or until a remote thermometer prob reads 190 degrees.
  7. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before cutting!
  8. Best toasted!

Come back tomorrow for the scallops, but start thinking about your recipes, how to make them better.

Don't be a bumbling human, 

Be a Colette, 

Be a rat...

Think about how to make your recipes better...


  1. So you are officially a chef rather than a cook! I love it. And following recipes is severely overrated. I try never to do it. I'm always adapting.

    I love the stuffing for this bread! Savory cinnamon roll. Minus the cinnamon. Plus red pepper heaven.

  2. This looks beautiful and delicious Dave! I agree with Joanne, you are turning into quite the chef.

  3. Look at those sexy brown arms! I loved that movie, one of my favorites!

  4. you are awesome..such difficult dishes...:) making me go hungry at 10.49 :)

  5. I hope my comment goes through.... Looks tasty!

  6. You are headed for the Food Network, cher! Fabulous!

  7. Wow! That looks soo good. I feel inspired and think I am going to try a variation of it over the weekend!