Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In which I make wild generalisations about all Americans on the basis of one recipe

I made these dinner rolls yesterday, and usually I love Ree's recipes (mmmm.... enchiladas), but this time I have to ask you: Americans, is this how your bread usually tastes? Because OMG, I don't call that bread: I call it cake.

Don't get me wrong, it's delicious and all, nice and fluffy and buttery and... um, sweet. But that's not bread. The only time I ever had "bread" like that before was in Tonga. And I just assumed that Tongans are weird and unique with their buttery sugary bread.

Anyway, I'm going to make them again, and substitute the CUP of sugar with a tablespoon or so and see what happens. But dudes, we have got to talk about your sweet tooth. I thought I had one, but you guys win.

19 Comments:

EcoGeoFemme said...

It's true. There is high fructose corn syrup in almost everything here. Ecogeoman always complains about the bread in particular.

Anastasia said...

the best I can do is try to find bread that is sweetened with honey or brown sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

The History Enthusiast said...

I'll have to try this recipe. It looks similar to a dinner roll recipe that I've made before, but I don't recall my rolls being really sweet.

Though, I think our dinner rolls may be sweeter than our sandwich bread, for instance. You raise an interesting question....

The History Enthusiast said...

P. S.

The historian in me forgot to add that Americans started relying on corn syrup during World War II when sugar was being rationed. Interestingly, it seems to be in everything now, and I even saw a TV commercial the other day that tried to spin it in a good way. They argued that it's made from corn, so it has to be healthy. Yeah, I didn't buy that.

Sarah said...

When I visited Ghana I was shocked at how sweet and soft the bread was. Not what I think of as bread at all. Eating some with a piece of cheese was like eating a donut with cheese...

The Scientist said...

it doesn't look like it would even hurt the recipe if you take out the sugar.. it seems to just be flavouring!

a fellow kiwi expat friend of mine is in the states now, and he found the hardest thing to get used to there was the bread, saying it was all sweet. first thing he bought was a bread maker to make normal savoury bread in :-) so i don't think you're necessarily using too broad a brush

StyleyGeek said...

I've heard about the corn syrup. And I've seen that commercial (on YouTube). Hilarious.

I heard that the reason for the corn syrup in the USA was that there are regulations on how much sugar is allowed in processed foods. So they replace sugar with corn syrup. I don't know whether that's just an urban legend, though :)

StyleyGeek said...

I just looked at the bread we have in the cupboard, and the multigrain one has 1.4% sugar, while the white bread has 3.4% sugar (according to the nutritional breakdown label). The multigrain one doesn't even list sugar in the ingredients (nor any other sort of -ose, or syrup or honey or anything) so it may just be naturally occurring sugars in the grains or something. The white bread lists sugar as the final ingredient (after yeast, so there's less sugar than yeast).

Do any of you want to check what's on your bread labels? I'd be interested in a comparison.

shrinkykitten said...

one cup of sugar? Not in any bread I make! If I make bread, usually there is a tablespoon of honey in it - max. I sometimes like a sweeter sandwich bread to balance out the savoriness of the filling - but I still want to taste the heartiness of the wheat.

ScienceGirl said...

I can't stand American bread, but I always thought it was just me, coming from a country where bread is the main food group. My husband can't have corn syrup; that turns out to be pretty difficult to accommodate in the U.S.

JaneB said...

Yup, I find north American bread very... sweet. And that's just disturbingly wrong unl;ess it's a tea loaf with raisins in (even then it shouldn't be too sweet!). You also get this kind of bread in other countries though (e.g. Scandinavia, where it's offered alongside rye and pumpernickel but with no 'proper' non-sweet non-brick-like wholemeal bread).

JaneB said...

Posted before finishing, oops...

To me bread has maybe a teaspoon or two of honey or sugar to feed the yeast, but no other sweetener is needed unless it's dough for a sweet dish like say a stollen and that's NOT bread...

Lucy said...

I think corn syrup is in everything because there are huge subsidies for growing it so it's the cheapest sweetener available. And they've found ways to turn it into all kinds of other food substances. Apparently a McDonald's meal is more corn than anything else (I think I read that in The Omnivore's Dilemma).
The bread is incredibly sweet here. It took me years to find decent bread.

Tom said...

In the UK most bread is made with the Chorleywood Bread Process, a cunning industrial method which allows you to use lower nutritional quality flour, and make the whole thing faster. Brilliant!

And bread here is full of fat. They mix hydrogenated fat into the flour, bubble air through it, and then bake it. It's quicker and easier than messing about with yeast... but three slices of bread have about as much fat as a small chocolate bar.

This is a rather terrifying book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-Label-What-Really-Plate/dp/0141015667/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222892001&sr=8-1

Grace Dalley said...

You sent me running to read the label on the bread I buy! It says it has 1% honey and vegetable oil that is less that 1%, so that's a relief. Perhaps NZ-manufactured bread is more like the real thing.
Tom, I can't believe they put HYDROGENATED fat into your bread, that is SO bad for you, in any quantity!
Some of the time I make my own baking-powder-bread into which I put linseed and wheatgerm and oat bran and pea flour and walnuts and dates...which is all very nourishing and high in protein but I also have to use a good bit of butter or it tastes like sawdust. So it's not altogether healthy.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I don't think I've EVER made bread with a cup of sugar in it! Unless it's cinnamon rolls or something. (Mmmmm, cinnamon rolls....) Or challah or maybe brioche or the like. But I also have the world's worst sweet tooth and might not notice.

That said, though, I really dislike almost all regular packaged bread (the stuff that comes sliced, in a plastic bag) and never eat it (and I only eat rolls like in your recipe if they're served in a restaurant). I don't make sandwiches at home very often at all (though NLLDH does - alas, he finished a loaf yesterday so I can't tell you what's in the kind he eats).

If possible, I only eat fresh-baked crusty bread, usually from the Whole Paycheck bakery, ciabatta or Italian or French, which are each pretty much just flour, water, yeast, salt. There might be a little sugar to feed the yeast, but I don't think so. My pizza dough recipe uses a tablespoon of sugar. Even eating out, I only get sandwiches on ciabatta or a baguette or crusty roll if I can help it.

(I realize my bread preferences sound INCREDIBLY snobbish. It's not that I think this bread is morally superior; I'm all about the highly processed white flour, and don't tend to eat the uber-healthy multi-grain ones; it's just a taste preference. I really hate the texture of ordinary sliced bread. Unless it's toasted, in which case I can eat it by the ton.) (Of course, toasting caramelizes it, so we might just be back the the idea that I'm good with sugar. The butter helps, too.)

The amount of corn syrup used in this country is pretty frightening, I agree. And those pro-corn syrup commercials piss me off.

k8 said...

Yikes! That is a ridiculous amount of sugar for a dinner roll. I make my own bread and use little to no sugar. If it weren't for the yeast, I'd say that the recipe seems more like a dessert biscuit recipe - the sort you use for the biscuit-type of strawberry shortcake. Those should be sweet b/c they are a dessert.

k8 said...

Btw, a little sugar can be useful in yeast breads because the yeast feeds on it. By little, I mean something more like a tablespoon.

liz said...

I hate sweet rolls at dinner.

America is also home to sourdough!