From the title of this post you might think that I’m talking about sour cream as the super star here… but you’d be wrong. I’m actually talking about piloncillo. That awesome, very mexican unrefined sugar which you’ll find in cafe de olla, atole, capirotada (mexican bread pudding), calabaza en tacha…. or in most barns. (Because I’ll let you in on a little secret: mexican horses don’t eat sugar cubes, they eat tiny piloncillos). Piloncillo is great because it’s unrefined…but unlike sugar, it has a lot more flavor. It’s sweet and smokey and caramel-y. And it comes in little cone shapes. The only downside to it is that it has to be dissolved before you can use it in most recipes, but that’s not really a problem since all it takes is a little bit of hot water. So I went ahead and used it in a delicious and easy recipe for 100% whole wheat bread, with a dollop of sour cream, which resulted in a moist, rich, slightly sweet loaf. The perfect breakfast bread, with a couple slices of smoked ham and a little bit of butter, or as toast to accompany a creamy soup. (And on the plus side, if you don’t have, can’t or won’t find piloncillo, you could always use maple syrup, molasses or agave nectar!) But I won’t bore you anymore with the details about little cones of sugar, instead why don’t you go and read more the recipe?
Some flavors are incredibly easy and almost everyone likes them. Think vanilla ice cream, ham and cheese, croissants. They’re the superstars of every kitchen/store because we’ll never tire of them and because we’re used to them. The same goes to people, design, fashion, decor, and pretty much everything else. But then there’s the other side of flavors, the unpopular, frowned upon by some and grossly overlooked ones. Like strong mustards, fennel and stinky cheeses. While they may go very high on our foodie-enjoy-almost-anything lists, the majority of people will pick a croissant over a whole wheat bagel any day. Oftentimes I do as well. But when you think about it, it’s really those things that you enjoy because of their strong characteristic flavors that really stick in your mind. And when they’re combined in your plate in such a way that their strengths don’t fight but compliment each other, then you’ve got what I think is a real ingredient experience. Such is often the case with rye breads or pumpernickel, for instance. It might not be ideal for a way-out-there sandwich or for any other recipe involving a lot of actual cooking….but if you’ve got some fresh bitter arugula and a good slice of cured ham lying around…..heaven. This bread turned out to be one of those things…a strong, earthy, moist, compact affair which in the company of some roasted sausages and maple syrup might make you squeal in delight (or you can just smile, if you’re the strong silent type). I tweaked the recipe I found at food.com to include wheat oats and maple syrup…and then I made dinner rolls which turned out suprisingly well for rye; a good hard crust and incredibly soft inside, the ideal roll for scooping up some mushroomy sauce or a jus left from your dinner steak. (Not that I ever scoop up sauce with my bread. ever. Yeah right) Read more for the recipe.