Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Pao de Leite Condensado - Condensed Milk Bread


I was having a craving for a sweet bread.  In Portugal we have a few sweet breads, with a special one for Easter called Folar.  The Folar usually contain hard boiled eggs in the center.

I will probably make one for Easter this year, and share the recipe with you here, as well.
The recipe I'm bringing you today is for a condensed milk sweet bread, which is not only divine, but so easy to make as you use a blender for the liquids and then just mix with the flour and rest of the dry ingredients.  Before going into the oven to bake, you brush on a egg yolk and milk mixture, which in turn give it this beautiful brown color, and a distinct taste that is unbeatable.

You can also turn these into rolls if you wish, but the fun part really is in the preparation, as you cut the dough into slices which in turn produce a loaf that is practically ready to cut.

This makes a delicious toast slathered on with butter, or you can make french toast, or a sandwich too.  If you like Hawaiian bread, you will love this one.
The recipe itself makes 3 or 4 loaves, depending on the size of the loaf pan you are using. 

Pao de Leite Condensado - Condensed Milk Bread
4 eggs
3 tablespoons butter (or  75 grams)
2 cups of milk (480 ml)
1 can condensed milk (395 grams)
3 tablespoons sugar (36 grams)
1 teaspoon salt (2 grams)
8 cups all purpose flour (1.120 kg)
Half a tablespoon Yeast (15 grams)
For glaze:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk

In a blender, add the eggs, butter, milk and condensed milk, and blend until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, add the yeast, sugar, flour and the salt.  Remember not to let the salt and yeast touch, so that the salt does not kill off the yeast.  I always add my yeast and my salt on opposite sides of the bowl.
Pour the contents of the blender into a big mixing bowl.  Then start adding the flour mixture, a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  When it becomes hard to stir, transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth but still slightly tacky.  
Transfer into a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel, and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
Punch dough down, transfer to a floured surface and cut into 4 or 3 equal parts (depending on the size of your loaf pans or if you're making 3 or 4 loaves).
Take each dough ball and roll out into a rectangle, do not roll too thin.  Then start rolling the dough back up, as if you were making cinnamon rolls, pinching the seam at the bottom and both sides.  I just take both sides of the dough on each end and pinch to close.  

Next, take a dough cutter or a big knife, and divide the roll of dough into equal parts.   I usually cut in half, then half again and half again, etc.  It doesn't really matter how many parts you cut it into, obviously the more cuts you make the thinner the slices will be.  I did 16 slices in each loaf, so I cut the dough into 16 equal parts.

Next, carefully lift the whole loaf up, keeping the slices together, and place into the loaf pan.

Do the same with the remaining dough balls.

Cover with a kitchen towel again and let rise for another hour or until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 355 degrees.   In a small bowl, mix together 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons milk.  Brush over the prepared loaves, and then bake in the oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until brown and cooked through.  Just keep an eye out, obviously each oven is different.

Once the loaves are out of the oven, brush each with a little butter, remove from pan and let cool completely.
I keep my bread in a ziploc bag, and usually as with all my other bread, I keep it in the fridge so it stays longer.  

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Bacon Spaghetti

I grew up in a house with 4 siblings, at a time when we didn't have a lot of money.  Both my parents worked hard to provide for the family, and there was never a time we went without anything, especially food.  

Meals were a big deal, they were not only sustenance for our bodies, but they were a time to come together as a family, sit around the table, and talk about our day and anything and everything in between.

We always had a family member living with us, my greatgrandmother was there from my earliest memories, until the day I married and left South Africa.  At some point, my uncle lived with us too, and then my grandmother and grandfather, and so on.  So family meals meant a big table, filled with people.

It was important to my stepmother and greatgrandmother, to have meals on the table that were filling, but most of all enough for everybody.  It is not cheap feeding a big family, so they had to get creative at times and use what they had on hand.  Lucky for me, our family is Portuguese, and we know how to cook, we learn from a very young age.  Not to toot our own horns, but we are very much aware of what spices go well with what, and can easily and effortlessly make a delicious dinner with a few ingredients.

Bacon Spaghetti, was one of those meals that I loved, and still do to this day.  It is one that I make when I am in a pinch, or need to cut back on the grocery budget, or for example, now that the prices of food and everything else are soaring.

It doesn't take a lot of ingredients, and you can make as much or as little as you need.  Now remember, I don't cook using measurements, I eyeball everything, so I'll try to tell you how to make it, best as I can.

If you do try it, I would love to know what you think, so please come back and leave me a comment down below.

Bacon Spaghetti

Bacon, cubed (the amount depends on how much you're making, if it's for a lot of people use a pound)
Spaghetti noodles
Onion, diced
Tomato, diced
Tomato sauce
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili flakes
White wine
Bay leaf
Fresh Parsley
Boiling water
In a pot, add a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, diced onion and diced tomato, and cook until onion is translucent.   Add in the bacon, and cook for a few minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, bay leaf, paprika, chili flakes and tomato sauce.  Mix well, then add in the white wine and the fresh parsley.

Cook for 5 to 10 minutes.  

Next, add in the spaghetti noodles, then pour in boiling water, until it covers the noodles completely, about an inch above.  Give everything a good stir, place the lid on and cook until the noodles are to your liking.  Remember to give it a stir once in a while, and check to make sure it has enough liquid, if need be, add in a little more water.  Check the seasonings, and adjust as needed.

I like to cook mine until the spaghetti is al dente, and the sauce is thickened.

Serve immediately!