Sunday, May 31, 2020

Monotony Breakers, Baked Goods and Buffets-Food Service in the 80s

I was the first dietitian for university dining services, charged with one primary task: planning monotony breakers for residential dining. Together with the food service managers from the four dormitories, we brain stormed themes for the year. Some monotony breakers were seasonal-some were meant to impress the parents.

The four resident halls ranged in size from 200-1000 students. I tested the recipes in large and small settings. Each hall presented the food differently. The staff dressed for the occasion and enjoyed the time.

The pepperoni rolls, a West Virginia favorite, went over big in the tailgate meals. The fresh oranges flung onto Mountaineer Field when the Syracuse Orangemen arrived were a bad idea.

Popular recipes like the chicken enchiladas were placed on the cycle menu. These were made onsite from scratch. My favorite item-Challah bread-was enjoyed on Rosh Hashanah Eve.

I was recruited to return to the hospital as a senior dietitian. My first task was to revive the bake shop offerings.
There was a movement then to forego bakers' labor and buy processed baked goods from purveyors. I never thought that was a good idea! Our bakers made breads, Challah, 3-flour braided bread, Reuben loaf (for which we won an award), apple strudel, pineapple nut coffee cake and pumpkin roll. We enlarged our repertoire of gourmet cookies (chocolate cordial cups was one of my recipes). 

St. Lucia's Wreath, a holiday bread, came complete with candles and ribbon.  Our bakers received training for cake decorating. 

Patients received decorated items to coincide with special events.

Catering for daily meetings and special events became routine. There was plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Many hors d'oeuvres were homemade. I learned much from the catering managers, production staff and director.

While the department no longer had a meat cutter, the cooks still roasted meats. There were few processed foods and no pre-washed or pre-cut produce. We still bought milk from the university dairy.

I was pleased to find the 3-flour braided bread recipe in the hospital quantity recipe books from the early days. I was even more pleased to find the home-size version in my own recipe collection. This bread is made with half whole grain flours and is moist and soft. The recipe starts with one base dough, divides it in thirds, then adds the other 2 flours (so you can use the same mixing bowl). The only draw-back is it requires quite a few bowls for rising!

Three Flour Braided Bread

(1 loaf-16 servings)

Mix flour, sugar, salt and yeast in bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place.
1 cup 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 tespoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast

Melt butter into warm water.  Gradually add to mixing bowl, beating at medium speed 2 minutes.
1 cup 2 tablespoon water, heated to 125 F
2 tablespoon butter

Add 1/2 cup flour. Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of dough.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Divide dough in thirds, placing 2 of the 3 batters in separate bowls.

Whole Wheat Dough
To the dough in the mixing bowl, add molasses and whole wheat flour. Knead at low speed for 5 minutes. Place whole wheat dough in another bowl greased with olive oil spray. Cover bowl.
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup 2 tablespoon whole wheat flour

Rye Dough
Place another piece of the original dough in the mixer. Add molasses, caraway, cocoa and whole rye flour. Knead at low speed for 5 minutes. Place rye dough in another bowl greased with olive oil spray. Cover bowl.
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup 2 tablespoon whole rye flour

White Dough
Place the remaining piece of the original dough in the mixer. Add all purpose flour. Knead at low speed for 5 minutes. Place white dough in a separate bowl greased with olive oil spray. Cover bowl.
1/2 cup 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
Allow all dough pieces to rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Punch dough down. On a floured surface, roll each piece into a rope, about 14 inches. Braid 3 ropes together, forming one loaf. Pinch ends together and fold under. Place braided bread dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise until double, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack.


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