Chicken Stock Bread

And believe me, a good piece of chicken can make anybody believe in the existence of God.” Sherman Alexie

Stock is usually one of those things that busy housewives don’t have time for at home, however, there are really easy methods for making a great one. Being the basis of many sauces or other dishes, chicken stock is a staple, a must-have in the kitchen. It can be created from the bones of the roast meat, where the bones are first cooked in the oven, then browned in hot oil with vegetables and a teaspoon of tomato puree. This method will result in a brown stock with extra depth of flavour and colour. To make white stock  one has to use raw chicken carcass or bones that are blanched and cooked with vegetables. It is a lighter option and its flavour will not overpower other ingredients in finished dishes. Although using raw carcasses could result in cleaner tasting stocks, but – depending what the stock will be used for – using roast bones and skin is just as tasty. Finding ways to create brown stock after eating roast chicken dishes − meaning planning ahead – the recipe will only really consist of throwing the carcass in a pan with any root vegetables and herbs that happen to be in the kitchen.

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It may sounds unbelievable, but consuming chicken stock has many health benefits. It boosts immune system, aids digestion, increases efficiency of protein use, can improve symptoms of joint pain and common cold, even allergies. The components of a healthy stock mostly come from the bones. In a properly prepared stock, the bones are allowed to sit in water with a bit of vinegar for an hour or so before heating. The vinegar acts like our stomach acid and breaks down the calcium in the bones, so the calcium and other minerals are transferred directly to the water.

“A Jewish woman had two chickens. One got sick, so the woman made chicken soup out of the other one to help the sick one get well.” Henny Youngman

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Ingredients
375 ml brown chicken stock
100 ml water
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp melted lard
20 g fresh yeast
4 tbsp warm water
625 g white bread flour
200-225 g wholemeal flour

Method
In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock. Remove from heat and add sugar, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm. While the mixture is cooling, dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand until foamy. Combine cooled stock mixture with yeast and water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 270 g of the flour, then add the remaining flour, a little at a time, to make a moderately stiff dough. Knead on a lightly oiled surface for 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume (about 2 hours). Lightly grease two trays. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into two balls, cover and let rest 10 minutes. Shape dough into two round loaves and place on trays; let them rise until doubled (about 1 hour). Preheat oven to 200 degrees C . Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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Using chicken stock instead of water adds an incredibly deep flavour to the bread, that can not really be replicated with any other method.

“I like chicken a lot because chicken is generous – that is to say, it’s obedient. It will do whatever you tell it to do.” Maya Angelou

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