Monday, June 16, 2008
I choose Annie Golden for the day after the Tony's because she has something that many Tony winners would envy, a piece of the heart of everyone she knows. To have Annie Golden in your life is to have a source of love and laughter that never dims.
She is a nurturing family woman who has had a lot of rough paths in life but she paves each path with rose blossoms and carries burdens on her narrow shoulders as casually and without complaint as most of us carry a backpack.
I am lucky enough to know Annie Golden the performer, the consummate singer/songwriter whose show Velvet Prison still elicits rapture from those who have seen it.
Movies, television, Broadway and now...a bread?
This bread has been fed to Annie many times and never had a name, people call it the bread, the wonderful bread and always ask before every party...are you going to make that bread?
The bread like Annie is quite adaptable, different cheese, different formulations of the the dip, even different bread recipes all work.
Play with the recipe, change it. Think of it as a live performance, it never has to be exactly the same, it just has to be good.
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 cups water
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
Since I realize that not everyone bakes bread on a daily basis I am going to go step by step here.
1.. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water. Cover with a towel and set aside for about 15 minutes. When you come back it should be foamy.
2.. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the milk, the olive oil, 4 cups of the flour and the salt; stir until well combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together but is still sticky, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes.
3.. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
While the bread is rising get your butter garlic mixture ready and grate your cheeses.
Take a mass of garlic, a head is not too much and saute it in a stick of butter until it is lightly brown and the butter is reeking of garlicky goodness. Chop 10 anchovies and throw them in the butter. (Pesto also works, play with it.)
The cheese; whatever you've got. 3 to 5 cups and some pine nuts if you have them, a few chopped olives are good too.
Literally the cheese can be any mixture of ends, rinds, bits of cheddar...mix it all up. I keep the bits in a bag in the freezer just for this bread. They ALL work, they all taste good.
Get your biggest springform pan out and put a sheet of parchment in the bottom, oil the sides.
Oil your hands and pick the dough a ball at a time, roll in your hand, dip in the butter and place into the pan, keep doing it leaving about 1/2 inch of space between the balls. Got a layer? Take big handfuls of cheese and throw it over the whole thing. Pine nuts and olives, throw then in now too.
Do it again.
At the end you should have about 3 layers of cheese and bread.
Cover and set aside for an hour or so until it is springy.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for about 50 minutes until is is puffy and golden and just a touch crisp on top.
When you serve it to your guests let them grab the balls by hand and tear the bread apart. It will give you a chance to tell them the story of a little girl from Brooklyn singing in a rock band in the East Village who got discovered by Milos Forman and cast in the film Hair.
Not just a bread, her story would make a great movie.
Now go back up and click on Annie's name. I hid a link in her name that will be a special treat for those of us who love her.