Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Weekend Chow - part 1 Homemade Cheese Steaks

The red-head and I had a nifty chow weekend, and I thought I might summarize.

On Saturday, we had home-made cheese steaks. I was so into it that I was planning to blog about the whole thing. But in full disclosure, the most interesting part turned out to be another baking failure.

To me a good cheese steak should be thinly sliced tender ribeye, or maybe top round, grilled onions, provolone cheese, no sauce, on a nice crusty Italian roll. Many of my favorite steak shops get their rolls from Conshohocken Bakery or one of the other regional shops. There's one in Reading called ATV that's popular, but way over-rated. We had decent meat, some local grocery stores sell real sliced steak meat in addition to that psuedo-meat they call Steak-um. I've tried slicing our own, but don't really have the equipment to get it as thin as I'd like.
But back to the rolls, this is where I attempted to become more homemade. None of our cookbooks had anything resembling the crusty roll necessary for a good cheese steak, so I consulted the web, and came up with this recipe.

It looks exactly like what I need. But, I must add a disclaimer that it took me 2 batches of this to realize what I was doing wrong. The recipe itself is delicious from a taste pov, but is really incomplete. They author tells you to simply mix the ingredients together and then form balls of dough. He gives rising times, which although assumed to be approximate, aren't even close. My first batch may have been affected by old yeast - which may have been the problem with our focaccia bread. It wasn't expired, but it's close. So I used a fresh jar, and also used warmer water, didsolving said yeast in that water as I do for my pizza dough before adding the dry ingredients. My second batch rose about 3 times as much as the first, but still not anywhere near the volume needed for a cheese steak. Not knowing a lot about baking, I just kinda figured they would continue to rise in the oven to the size needed. Nope.
I talked it over with the RH and after thinking about it, and after doing some research, I believe it was simply a matter of letting them rise as long as they needed - 2 or 3 hours if needed.

The first batch made fantastic breadsticks.

The second batch made fantastic plump breadsticks. I was pretty frustrated by that point, so I ended up driving over to a local pizza shop to grab a couple of Conshy rolls. No big deal I guess, we've still got the breadsticks, and we still had awesome cheese steaks. We overcooked the meat a little bit this time, but still yummy!!!

1 comment:

Kate said...

Breadsticks.....cheese steak

cheese steak...breadsticks....hmmmm

Ok, both! They look divine!