Today’s question illustrates a dilemma so common to cooks: You buy an ingredient for one recipe, then wonder what to do with what’s left over. The component at issue is bread flour, great for turning out yeasty loaves but not, it might seem, for much else.
More about that in a minute. First I want to put in a word for the terrific cazuelas — Mexican casseroles — that chef Patricia Jinich writes about in today’s Food. All three are sensational! Also today, read Tim Carman’s take on the meat eater’s dilemma: As the sources of tasty animal flesh increase, so do the reasons to back off on eating it. And Joe Yonan writes about the “everlasting meal,” a mindful approach to cooking that could particularly benefit the single cook.
Are there any uses for bread flour other than bread? I have a big bag left over from a recipe I tried, but I’m really not a bread baker.
Bread flour is a high-gluten flour that, as its name suggests, is primarily used to make bread products. I wish I could tell you that it’s actually extremely versatile, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In most recipes you can’t use it to replace all-purpose flour.
However, if you usually don’t bake bread because of the time and energy required where yeast is involved, there’s some good news. Bread flour is used in many no-yeast-required recipes for rolls, flatbreads, crackers and other foods.
Even if you think it’ll be months before you use it again, the flour won’t get rancid if you store it in the freezer. (Or, if you’re out of room there, the refrigerator is good. Just keep it away from that leftover onion tart.) So it won’t go to waste while you wait for inspiration to use it again.
Here’s one recipe from our archives that might entice you. It’s a dessert. No yeast required, and you can make it year-round. Give it a try!
Now if only someone could tell me what to do with the big bottle of powdered galangal I had to buy last weekend so I could use 1/4 teaspoon of it in a custard recipe. . . .
This easy apple crisp was a favorite at the Stanford Court hotel in San Francisco, where it was created by its former pastry chef, Jim Dodge. What makes this crisp different is that the apples are cut into chunks, not slices, which gives them a firmer texture and a better appearance. Throw in some golden raisins, too, if you like. Serve warm or at room temperature.
10 large, tart green apples, such as Granny Smith
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 18 pieces
Unsweetened whipped cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores (a melon baller works great as a corer). Cut each apple half in thirds across the core and then in quarters the other way. Toss the pieces in the lemon juice to keep them from turning brown, then transfer them to a 2 1/2-quart shallow earthenware baking dish. Lightly press them into the dish, making a fairly even surface.
Use the paddle attachment on an electric mixer on low speed to combine the flour, both sugars, the nutmeg and the cinnamon, then add the butter pieces. Once the mixture begins to resemble coarse meal, watch it closely. As soon as it starts to form clumps, stop mixing. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the apples.
Bake until the topping is lightly browned and the apples are tender, 40 to 60 minutes. Serve warm from the oven or at room temperature, plain or with unsweetened whipped cream.