Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Michael5000 Kitchen: Curry Bread


Great cooks do not hesitate to improvise, to follow their muse into new culinary terrain.  This recipe was wholly improvisational.  Indeed, it was inspired entirely by circumstance.

It so happened that Mrs.5000 decided to purchase a new bottle of curry powder, despite the fact that there was still an inch or so of spice left in the bottle that we already had.  Needless to say, I inquired after this seemingly rash stewardship of resources, but Mrs.5000 was ready with the reasonable retort that she had had our existing bottle of curry powder "probably since college."  Now naturally one does not discuss a lady's age, but to give you an idea of the time frame here it is relevant to point out that I composed many of my own college papers on a "typewriter," and that Mrs.5000 is a bit of a cradle-robber.

To further underscore her point, my dear wife had me close my eyes and sniff each of the bottles in turn.  One smelled strongly of curry spice; the other smelled like the fading memory of an Indian restaurant.

So fine, the new bottle made sense.  But what to do about the old bottle?  The suggestion that we "just toss it" was of course unacceptable, as I am not one to write property off lightly and there was no positive indication that it had become especially poisonous.  I undertook to find a good use for it.

The Recipe:

What I did was, I made a batch of my go-to bread machine recipe for "potato bread," which is basically a white bread recipe that includes about 1 part mashed potato flakes for 8 parts flour.  Then, before I pressed the button that makes the bread machine spring to life, I dumped all of the remaining olde curry powder into the baking vessel.  And then I waited three hours.

The Results:

You might be surprised how well this worked.  The spice did not interfere with a beautifully rising loaf, for one thing.  The house started to smell fairly awesome after a few hours, and when the machine chirped we found that we had a very tasty savory bread on our hands.

It was also quite yellow.  That would be the turmeric talking.

It was, like most bread, delicious while warm from the baking, but it also seemed more flavorful after cooling.  It was perhaps less versatile than most breads -- no good for peanut butter and jelly, for instance -- but I found it was pretty good with hummus and even ventured a reasonable cheese sandwich.  I even ended up sharing a piece, after several caveats, with a teenager, who described it as "different but pretty good"; I should mention, though, that this was an especially polite teenager.

If you would like to experiment with your own Curry Bread, it occurs to me that you need not put away a store of curry powder now so that it will be ready to use many years hence.  Indeed, you -- or I, for that matter -- might experiment with using smaller quantities of fresher, more potent spices in our bread recipes, and see how that works.  After all, as I said at the beginning: great cooks do not hesitate to improvise.


Jennifer said...

You're the only cook I've seen who measures spices for recipes by bottle inches....

Anonymous said...

My grandma worked for McCormick's onceupon a time ago. When we cleaned out her house, I found a bottle of garlic salt (that she must have been given inlieu of a cash bonus - because the only spice that she used beyond preground pepper & salt that did not go into cookies was Lemon Pepper!) that was so old that it included MSG on the ingredient list.

(I was suprised that it was not in that curry powder.)

mrs.5000 said...

"there was no positive indication that it had become especially poisonous"...

Way to share our kitchen safety standards with the world!

I wish I knew for sure how long I had had that bottle of curry powder. It's possible it's the one I bought as an undergraduate--which would mean two cross-country moves in a Honda Civic--but it's also possible I replaced it more recently--when I moved to Portland, say, which would be early '94.

It's presumbably clear that Indian food is something we go out for.

Rebel said...

LOL - I've been making my own version of 'curry bread' for a while. I have a Challah recipe that calls for saffron. Saffron, if you didn't know, is slightly more expensive than uranium.

So instead I substituted a good dash of curry because it would add a nice dash of color and yumminess. I agree that it doesn't work so well with peanut butter. But it is nice for chicken sandwiches, or toasted with a bit of butter.

Yay for culinary adventures!

Rebel said...

And also - while spices don't tend to become especially poisonous sitting on a shelf for years and years... they do lose their spiciness. It's generally recommended that you get rid of your spices after a year or two. You can keep them longer if it's a whole spice (whole cloves, whole peppercorns). But seriously - if you've got any spices from last century, toss 'em - they're not really going to add much flavor to your food.

UnwiseOwl said...

Or, apparently, bake them into bread.

gl. said...

i've missed posts from the michael500 kitchen. i'd love to see a whole series on arbitrary kitchen experiments.