Thursday, December 07, 2006

Warm soup and a hearty rye bread...

I wish the weather would make up its mind! We are offically getting our first snow right now - although it is just flurries and probably will not be sticking around. Next week they are predicting temperatures close to 60... hopefully it will either just be cold or warm, I don't like the in between!

For part of tonight's dinner, I thought it would be nice to make some fresh bread to have along side. Brown Beer Rye Bread peaked my interest as I've been wanting to make another beer based loaf after the success we had with the Onion and Fontina Beer Batter Bread we made a couple weeks ago. Just like the other recipe, this one begins by cooking fresh onions until tender and golden so they have time to cool before adding to the dough. However, this is a yeasted bread rather than one relying on other leaveners. For a more unique flavor, warm brown beer, yogurt and mild licorice scented caraway seeds bring a unique flavor to this chewy loaf. We used a medium colored German beer which seemed to punch up the rye flavor with it's darker malt flavored background. Sometimes the amount of flour called for needs to be adjusted depending on where you live, but I found this recipe was very close as the dough was pretty easy to work with - just tacky enough without being too sticky to knead well. Right before baking, a light egg wash is brushed on the dough to allow the crust to take on a rich deep golden color.

We just had this toasted tonight, but I can't wait to try a sandwich with some thin sliced meat or as a base for a more adult-flavored grilled cheese.

With it being so windy and chilly, tonight was perfect for a warm and filling soup. If you still have some cooked turkey in the freezer from Thanksgiving, this recipe for Turkey Soup With Cheddar Dumplings turned out to be a great way to use up ours. Fresh carrots and onions refresh leftover turkey stock from the freezer with some additional water to thin for liquid in the recipe. While the veggies simmer away until tender, a few dumplings are quickly thrown together. These are not those heavy and bland dumplings that you may have had before - they get a boost in flavor and texture with crunchy cornmeal, corn kernels and sharp cheddar. Once they are portioned out into balls and the soup is at a gentle boil, they are dropped in and allowed to absorb the savory essence of the rich stock. As they cook, the dumplings blow up into light pillows that just melt in your mouth as you enjoy the soup.


  1. Hummm, the soup looks great and your description of the dumplings made me want to try them!!
    It is definitely soup weather around here too!

  2. I had been reading your blog and you seem to make bread making so easy. I for one have no luck making bread, however, I found this no knead recipe on one of the other blogs and I will try that. The dumplings look sooo delicious and light like clouds. Oh yeah, Jeff you lucky dawg!!


  3. That is a gorgeous loaf! Now I can't seem to get toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup off my mind.

  4. What a great meal for a chilly night!

    I couldn't believe it when I saw snow as I drove home from work last night. At first I thought it was just the wind kicking up some debris. Ugh....winter is here. Hey maybe I should go make some soup....

  5. It's 6 AM here and I could eat that soup looks delicious, Joe!

  6. CHEDDAR dumplings!? With corn and cornmeal!? Wow - those look and sound goooooooood!

    I'm also trying to get into a bread baking kick, having recently made Farmgirls Oatmeal Toasting Bread, and picking up a copy of the highly recommended (and hard to find!) "Bread Alone". Will have to add your bread to the list of stuff to try!

  7. Ana - It has been pretty warm around here for being December... does not stop us from having soup though!

    JD - Thanks!

    s'kat - I love tomato soup with a side of toasted cheesy sandwiches... hmm - that will have to be put on the to-do list soon!

    Barbara - I wish the weather would figure out what it wants to do!

    Val - Thanks!

    Jeph - Let me know if you give it a try!