For some reason, I’ve apparently had a need for sweet bread-type things this past week. Last Wednesday, I made some sweet Indian roti, I mixed them up again on Friday, and today I cooked Portuguese sweet muffins. At this point, though, I can say that I am quite thoroughly breaded out. Oi. However, I did reach this point of sweet bread saturation quite deliciously, as you’ll see.
Happy little sugar-laminated breadsThe roti is really nice to quickly satiate a sweet bread craving attack. Flour, salt, water, and sugar is all you need along with a little bit of time to mix the first three into a dough, roll them, sprinkle with the sugar, fold up, and roll out again before pan-grilling. They come out chewy and light, with fabulous layers of gooey sugar. For variation on Friday, I added a tiny bit of sugar to the flour and salt for the dough along with some oil before the water. The oil makes for a more tender bread that is easier to flatten. However, for some reason the sugar-laminating doesn’t work quite as well. Some seems to get…absorbed by the bread and it starts to brown before all of the sugar gets a chance to become melty. I think I like them without the oil better, though maybe if I’m particularly wanting a tender bread, I’d go with the oil.
As for other tender breads, today’s Portuguese sweet muffins were a fantastically fun and delectable adventure! I’ve had a packet of yeast lying around since I bought one from my sister over a week ago, and I just couldn’t decide what to make with it. Today, it came to me in a sudden craving for the Portuguese sweet muffins my dad used to regularly buy from Trader Joe’s (a natural foods supermarket chain). After searching high and low–or really, just a few minutes at AllRecipes.com–I came upon this recipe that, aside from a lack of lemon, looked like it would at least come pretty close.
No Portuguese were harmed in the making of this muffinIt surpassed Trader Joe’s by galaxies. While I would appreciate the addition of some lemon in these muffins, it certainly isn’t necessary. I can’t imagine it being removed from the Trader Joe’s version because it needs the freshness of the flavor to make up for the lack of freshness in the muffin. Seriously, now that I’ve gotten very confident in my bread-making ability with these muffins, I will never, ever buy packaged breads again. I so rarely get cravings for bread that it’ll be worth the time to spend baking my own. I get cravings for cakes and pastries much too often to completely exclude packaged stuff, though, as much as I prefer homemade. ;x
Soft and moist inside, firm and dry outside–perfect!Being moist by nature, these muffins wind up with a completely different texture when packaged. The muffin becomes uniformly moist with tougher tops and bottoms in a package, whereas the fresh ones I made had a more extreme, pleasant contrast between the doughy, soft interiors and firm, dry tops and bottoms. Toasting is absolutely necessary for the Trader Joe’s muffins because the chewiness of the exteriors is just unpalatable right out of the bag, but I wound up eating my muffin sans toasting today. I think it could very well be enjoyed toasted, and at the same time, it isn’t a detriment to devour it as-is.
There’s nothing like sweet breads topped with maple syrupI didn’t quite consume it “as-is,” though. 😉 After tasting a small piece to see how it was plain, I had the sudden idea to top it with a little maple syrup and a pat of butter instead of my usual toasted-and-buttered treatment for the Trader Joe’s sub-pars. This concoction thus satisfied not only my desire for a sweet bread but also pancakes. While Portuguese sweet muffins are certainly not like a pancake, I almost exclusively have maple syrup on only either French toast or pancakes, so the association between “syrup” and “pancakes” is very strong in my mind. I’d never consider dressing a Trader Joe’s sad-excuse-for-a-muffin in this manner, though. I think I’ll stick to having those toasted-and-buttered.
So the moral of the story for all my bread-making recently is that if bread is on my mind, it’s time to whip out some mixing bowls, flour the table (the only flat surface large enough for kneading here–unfortunately), and heat up the stove or oven. Store-bought goods just aren’t worth it.