If there is one thing universally loved and eaten by all people then it must be bread. Bread has been staple food for generations of humans through centuries. The beauty of the bread in its seeming simplicity when two ingredients – flour and water – are mixed together, kneaded, formed, baked, and enjoyed. So easy, yet there are literally hundreds of books out there devoted to the chemical and physical properties of bread, the technology of bread making, the history, the recipes and traditions. There are so many cookbooks on bread that one can spend months, if not years, studying and mastering the craft of “flour and water”.
Of course, there are usually more than two ingredients in classic bread preparation. Salt, fat, sugar, leavening agent, milk, nuts, seeds, fruit, or vegetables might also be added to enrich the dough, make it fluffier and more palatable. In modern times industrial bakery goods also include dough conditioners and bread improvers of all kinds.
The staff of life
Also, breads are not always baked. They can be fried, steamed, and cooked on a hot unoiled surface (like tortillas). The whole new world will be opened to anyone who is courageous enough to delve into the making of “the staff of life”. The other world to discover is recipes with bread. Those use bread as a primary ingredient. From classic French toast and biscuits with gravy to egg in a basket and pig in a blanket. The latter are great examples of how to kill two birds with one stone – to have fun and to feed the kids.
An egg in a basket
So, an egg in a basket is a fried egg in a hole of a sliced piece of bread. The dish is usually prepared by cutting the centre of sliced bread (aka “the lid” or “the hat”) which is then buttered. The bread is fried in a skillet from both sides with butter (or any other type of fat). At some point, one egg is cracked into the hole. The egg might also be a scramble version if one desires. The catch is to properly cook an egg. To get it right, a pan may be covered or the bread may be flipped to obtain an even cooked yolk side.
As for the pigs in blankets, those are just different types of sausages in different types of pastry, biscuit, croissant, or even pancake dough. Many countries serve this type of hors d’oeuvre with mustard, ketchup, aioli sauces, and whatnot. To cook it in no time, you’ll need sausages you like and store-bought pizza dough. Just put it on a table and cut it into strips or triangles. Use these dough pieces to roll the sausages into or wrap them around, tucking one end in on itself to secure it, pop into a 180 ˚C oven and bake for 20 minutes until well browned and puffed. Serve with whole-grain Dijon mustard and a glass of juice.