Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Minute Bread, or Pão de Minuto

What if you're having last minute guests and have nothing fancy in the house to serve? And what if you just want to bake something quickly as it's summer and you don't want to let the oven overheat your kitchen? And what if your kids want to eat a nice snack but don't want to wait?

This recipe might be the answer. My auntie used to make it for us when I was a kid, and I have the best memories about it. I remembered how wonderful it was when she announced that the Minute Bread was almost ready. We would wait those endless 15 minutes patiently, because we knew it would be ready in just minutes. As you might know, patience is not something that most kids come equipped with, and that's why this bread is so magic for me. It's fast, looks like bread, and might taste like a delicious cross of a roll and a biscuit.

This recipe is based on a few recipes published on Brazilian cooking websites, including one from Nestlé, that suggests using yogurt to replace milk. This interpretation of them has less of everything: I decreased the sugar, flour, and even baking powder, and substituted canola oil for the suggested fats.

Normally I bake the no-knead bread by Jim Lahey, which takes something like 15 hours to be ready. I love the long process and the amazing results of the method. My kids also enjoy having a slice of the rustic, honest bread, covered with butter. But sometimes this little roll is so easy and so much like comfort food to me, that I fall into temptation, leave my foodie self behind, and just relax and enjoy my kids' company eating one of these, still hot. And then I go back to my childhood memories searching for more recipes to share with my kids...

Minute Bread

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg, plus one yolk to brush on top
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk or yogurt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 sticks mozzarella, cut in 1-inch slices (optional, and any other cheese will do) or cubes of salami

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lay a silicone mat on a baking sheet, or lightly oil the sheet. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Form a well in the middle and slowly incorporate the whole egg, milk, and oil with a wooden spoon. When the dough begins to take shape, knead with your hands until it's a nice moist, even dough. If it's still sticking too much to your hands, add more flour but don't go beyond about 3 cups total. Form little balls — like meatballs — filling their core, if you chose to, with mozzarella, cubes of salami, or anything that will make you happy. Set rolls on prepared baking sheet. Beat the egg yolk and brush a little on top of each roll. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Enjoy while still hot.

P.S. We plan to resume posting twice a week — as usual — in late August, when our kids are going to be back to school.


Jennifer said...

So simple, and so yummy for a quick addition to dinner tonight! I wish I'd had these when I summered in Brasil so many years ago!

Anna said...

Jennifer, you just made me think that this recipe is another way I found to to bring Brazilian flavors to the Summer in California : ). I hope the recipe works fine for you!


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