When doesn’t a baked, bread-y offering—sweet or savory—seem appealing? We’re all spoiled by those really well-made and tasty items found at coffee and tea houses around town. Some shops bake their own, but many get them from local artisan bakers like Berkeley-based Third Culture Bakery, where the creative Taiwanese and Indonesian duo of Wenter Shyu and Sam Butarbutar turn out taste-bud magic in the form of Asian-fusion confections. Treat yourself to their Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Scones made with coconut milk and topped with Jacobsen Salt flakes, or chewy-on-the-outside Custard Cakes, or their beloved gluten-free Mochi Muffins topped with black and white sesame seeds. Find these treats at East Bay spots like Blue Willow Teaspot (a wonderful tea house where I first discovered Third Culture confections), or Boba Guys, Alchemy Coffee, Catahoula Coffee and Kaffeegarten, Open Café, 1888 Coffee, Highwire Coffee, Asha Tea House, 1951 Coffee, and Bartavelle Coffee.
If you’d rather keep your crumbs on your counter at home, check out this new cookbook on baking (and using every last morsel of bread)!
Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves and Meals to Savor Every Slice
by Alexandra Stafford
(Clarkson Potter, 2017)
Alexandra Stafford, who pens the Alexandra’s Kitchen blog and writes for Food52, had a much-loved and closely held peasant bread recipe from her childhood. She’d sneak images of the bread into photos on her site and was eventually persuaded to post the recipe, which instantly became a hugely popular success with her readers for its ease and simplicity. Her no-knead bread recipe is the centerpiece of her new cookbook. The dough can be assembled in just a few minutes, rises in an hour, and after a second short rise, bakes in buttered bowls. No tricks or traps.
Stafford also shares a number of flavor variations (like Cornmeal, Jalapeno, and Jack; and Three Seed) and forms (Cranberry Walnut Dinner Rolls; Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread; and Quinoa and Flax Bread, among others). Good bets include standards like Food Cart Grilled Cheese and Summer Tartine with Burrata and Avocado. Use the bread to soak up Mussels with Shallot and White Wine, to make Seafood Bisque in Bread Bowls, or to sop up the juices from Mustard-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Thyme Bread Crumbs. Use leftovers or ends to make Panzanella Salad Three Ways, Blueberry Brown Betty, and No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Cookies.
Get the book if for no other reason than to have the bread recipe, though you’ll definitely be grateful for the dozens of other creative recipes and beautiful photos, and for the tips for using every last heel and nub!
Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers.