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bread

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You can thank inventor, Joseph Lee for that crispy casserole topping

What do homemade meatballs and crab cakes, crispy-topped casseroles, and crunchy fried shrimp all have in common? They all benefitted from one man’s interest in creating a perfect breadcrumb. Joseph Lee (born in 1849), an African-American son of slaves, was a pioneer in the automation of bread and bread crumb making, overcoming the poor odds he was dealt as a young boy. Held in bondage in the South for much of his youth, Lee eventually became a servant in Beaufort, South Carolina, then served for 11 years as a steward in the U.S. Coast Survey, where he picked up an affinity for bread making. By the early 1880’s the self-taught chef and baker owned two successful restaurants in the Boston area. By the late 1890s, Lee owned and managed the Woodland Park Hotel in Newton, MA, and opened a catering business called the Lee Catering Company, serving wealthy Boston clientele. He also operated the…

What’s the difference between an English muffin and a crumpet?

When it comes to breakfast breads, most of us are carb-loving connoisseurs. Toasts like wheat, rye, and sourdough are just the beginning. Scones, muffins — both blueberry and bran, biscuits and bagels make their way into our morning meal more commonly than we’d care to admit.  And of course you know the English muffin. It’s the sturdy, humble base to your oozing Eggs Benedict and the spongy exterior of your McDonald’s McMuffin. English muffins, and all of these other common carbs, are sold in the bakery and bread aisles of just about any grocery store nationwide. So that leaves the crumpet.  What the heck is it? You’ve probably joked about tea and crumpets in your best stuffy-English accent before, but did you really know what you were talking about? Have you actually ever seen one in the States? English muffins and crumpets are two entirely different creatures, but they have…

The man who invented sliced bread and the origins of the popular phrase

Lots of things are declared “the greatest thing since sliced bread,” but have you ever wondered, just what timeline we are talking here? Sliced bread is one of those inventions that seems like it should have always been part of our diets, and the accompanying phrase, forever part of our vernacular. But it’s much more recent than you would expect. So when was this ubiquitous food staple first invented? Bread is one of the world’s most commonly prepared foods — it’s also one of the oldest. There is evidence of humans making crude variations of the stuff as far back as the Neolithic era. Sliced bread, however? That’s a different story. For perspective, Queen Elizabeth II, Tony Bennett, and Betty White are all older than sliced bread. The first automatically sliced commercial loaves of bread didn’t hit production until July 6, 1928, in Chillicothe, Missouri. It was all made possible…

Is it safe to tear off the mold and eat the rest of the bread?

Bread. It’s one of those foods that you always like to have at your house, yet it gets moldy so quickly. When you see a loaf start to go bad you just rip off the green stuff and use the rest. All is good, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, that one little circle of moldy bread does ruin the whole loaf. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends that you toss bread at the first sign of mold. It seems excessive, but it’s true. Studies have shown that mold has long, threadlike roots that can penetrate deep into the entirety of nearly any food it grows on. And mold is nothing to take lightly. The microscopic fungi can cause a wide range of health problems including allergic reactions, breathing problems, stomach problems, and some molds — those that produce the substances known as aflatoxins — can even cause liver cancer.…

Crock pot stuffing saves time on Thanksgiving Day

Between the sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and about a dozen other side dishes, something has to give. After all, you only have one set of hands and one oven. If you’re looking for ways to make Thanksgiving more manageable this year, look no further. Crock pot stuffing is a set-it-and-forget-it recipe that is easy, delicious and decadent. I know some people like to cook stuffing in the bird, but in our family, that just wouldn’t be enough. We LOVE stuffing, and need lots for leftovers, so we always prepare an extra baked dish of them. The stuffing that cooks inside of the bird is good, but I’ve always loved baked or crock pot kind because it has more texture and some crunch you just cant get cooking inside the bird. This recipe is so easy to make, but the best part is that it won’t take up precious time in…

Chocolate Pumpkin muffins

These dense and chocolatey muffins hit the just right spot for fall. The pumpkin keeps them super moist and adds just a hint of a fall flavor. Devour them as dessert, breakfast, or as a snack along with your tea or coffee. Note that this recipe makes two dozen muffins because 12 disappear way too fast! Chocolate Pumpkin muffins Makes 24 muffins (2 pans of 12) Ingredients 3-3/4 cups all purpose flour 3 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup baking cocoa powder 1-1/2 tsp baking powder 1-1/4 tsp baking soda 1-1/2 tsp salt 1-1/4 tsp ground cloves 1/2 tsp nutmeg 3 large eggs 2 cans (15 ounce) pumpkin puree 1-1/4 cups canola oil 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup pepitas Directions Preheat over to 350ºF. Spray 12-count muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the dry ingredients — flour,…

Apple cinnamon streusel bread

Christmas cookies take all the glory, but I say there is nothing better than fall baking. The smell of this apple cinnamon bread is mouth-watering. It will float out of your door and into the street, mixing with the cool, crisp fall air — De-lightful! As far as quick breads go, this recipe is a bit more involved. It’s still very easy to make, it just has a longer ingredients list thanks to the streusel topping — but trust me. The crunch you get from those toasted oats and brown sugar is worth the extra step. I like to use Granny Smiths in almost every apple recipe I make, but just about any apple should do the trick here. I’ve used Granny, Rome, Gala, and even Honeycrisp before — all amazing. Apple cinnamon streusel bread Makes 1 loaf Ingredients 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1/2…

Ginger Pear Bread Recipe

This time of year pears are seemingly available everywhere, but it wasn’t always that way. Pears are native to Asia and Europe, so the first pear tree wasn’t planted in North America until 1620 in the Massachusetts Bay colony. Today, there are more than 3,000 varieties of pears grown around the world. The U.S. is the third largest producer, with most of the commercial crop coming from Washington and Oregon. California, Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan are also top growers. While pears are in season, try this bread with fresh fruit. You can used the canned stuff in the off season. Just like banana bread, this recipe is a great way to use up slightly over-ripe pears. The flavor is not overly sweet, so you’ll find it delicious for a lighter breakfast.  The pear ginger combination is an interesting alternative to other more common breads like apple or zucchini. This…

The is what the color of your bread bag twist tie means

Think of all of the sandwiches you have made in your lifetime — for yourself, for your kids, for road trips and lunches and late night snacks. Have you ever once stopped to notice that the color of the twist tie on your sandwich bread bag varies — or why that is? It turns out, bread bags aren’t just randomly wrapped up with whatever colored twist tie is available. Those little pieces of wire wrapped in paper (or the hard plastic U-shaped square tags) are, in fact, used as an indicator of just how fresh your bread will be. It’s a hidden little behind-the-scenes secret at grocery stores. While you use the ‘expiration’ or ‘sell by’ date, employees restocking shelves can quickly look at a loaf and recognize the color code. Here’s how to know when you’re bread was baked: Monday: Blue Tuesday: Green Thursday: Red Friday: White Saturday: Yellow Wednesday…

This is why a baker’s dozen is 13

Ask for a dozen roses from a florist or a dozen eggs from a farmer, and you’ll expect to receive an even 12 items. But if you ask a baker for a dozen doughnuts, you could go home with 13, or a baker’s dozen. Not that we’re complaining, but why do bakers have their own unit of measurement? The next time you’re snacking on that 13th bonus treat, you can thank crooked bakers back in medieval England. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, there were laws that regulated that a loaf of bread was worth the price of the wheat used to make it. Bakers caught overpricing undersized loaves — apparently a practice common enough to necessitate regulation — saw harsh penalties including fines, beatings, and jail time. Anyone who has ever made baked goods knows that getting them to come out the same size isn’t easy. In the Middle Ages, most…