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The Bernard Clayton Jr collection

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The sabich is a sandwich with a bunch of goodies layered into pita bread. I knew I had to make it as soon as I read this recipe. I've used it as a guide and changed the form slightly. On the bottom of a sliced baguette, I spread a thick layer of chickpea purée, topped that with fried eggplant slices, fried potato slices, sliced hard-boiled egg and cucumber slices, seasoning in between with salt and pepper. On the other half, I spread hot mango chutney and topped that with fresh coriander leaves. Put the two halves together and there's my version of sabich – which has become my favourite vegetarian sandwich.
    The slices that hold the sandwich together are from an egg-white bread. I made it to use up the last bits of flour in the pantry. I am going away and don't want to come back after three weeks to containers of flour hosting The War of the Weevils.
    And so for the past week or so, I have been making various breads using various types of flour.
    First, I made bagels using a recipe given by Adam Kuban at Serious Eats.
    Then, I made a loaf based on the recipe for honey-lemon whole-wheat rolls from The Wednesday Chef.
    And finally, because I had egg whites left over from when I made Coconut Crème Brûleé, I made French bread with egg whites, a recipe from
    By coincidence, these three recipes have two things in common: 1) the dough is made in a food processor, which is something I hardly do as I prefer to mix with my trusty powered-by-one's-own-energy dough whisk; and 2) Bernard Clayton Jr.
    I actually only realised the common elements after making the third bread. And funnily enough, Veggie Chick had asked me a few days ago whether I owned any books by Clayton Jr, the journalist-turned-baker and cookbook writer who passed away this April at the age of 94. The universe must be telling me something.
Cranberry bagels
    I think the bagel recipe is excellent (and Adam Kuban provides metric measurements, which I prefer). I made some plain bagels topped with poppy seeds, and to some of the dough, I added chopped cranberries.The ends of a couple of the bagels weren't stuck together properly, however, and the circles came apart during poaching so I ended up with bagel sticks instead. They were still nice and chewy.
Honey-lemon whole-wheat spelt batons
    For the honey-lemon bread, I substituted some whole-wheat flour for spelt and made batons instead of rolls. This is a very tasty bread even if mine turned out a little dry. I added a bit too much flour at one point and couldn't go back to remedy the imbalance.
Egg white baguettes
    For the egg white bread, I also substituted some of the white flour with whole-wheat. As usual, I did all the kneading by hand, but used Dan Lepard's exceptional method of the 10-second knead at 10-minute intervals. I don't know if it had anything to do with the egg whites, but my hands felt so soft and smooth after every knead! Unlike the recipe, I allowed the dough to proof in the fridge overnight. The bread rose beautifully in the oven. It was light with a closed crumb and soft crust. Now, since it touts itself as French bread, I was expecting a baguette-like texture with a crisp golden crust and open crumb. It is obviously not like that but makes good sandwich bread nonetheless and is another way to use up egg whites.

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