Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Ho Bread and Me


Chicken and Orzo Vegetable Soup is a hearty, healthy, cold weather meal. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #soup


Spoiler alert: Although today's post is about a recipe, the recipe included is not the one I'm talking about. That probably only makes sense to me, but here's my reasoning (and you should probably have a psychiatrist on call in case you are actually able to follow what I loosely like to call reasoning). The thing is, I'm writing about the experience, because it certainly was one. I'm not sharing the recipe mostly because it's not mine to give (and there are other reasons too, which will become apparent as I tell my story). But the recipes I post on this blog are my own. Whether it's an interpretation of an existing recipe or not, it's either mine, developed from the dark recesses of my brain (or maybe my stomach), or my own spin on something I've seen or made. 


This was someone else's recipe, their family recipe.
I was reading my friend Mimi's blog, Messymimi's Meanderings, and she mentioned Hojaldras. In my comment on her post, I mentioned that I was off to google Hojaldras. The next thing I knew, she had emailed me a recipe. And oh my, did that sound good!
I know that since I write a semi-recipe blog, there's a lot that Mimi took for granted when sending me the recipe. One was that I know how to work with bread, you know, kneading, resting . . . but the truth is that I don't. Yeast and I do not get along. There have been battles, and I've lost all but one or two, so I avoid it like the plague. Kneading and resting (other than the personal kind) were not something I was familiar with (successfully, anyway). 
I read through the recipe and did a lot of googling and worked it all out in my mind. I was going to make one ingredient substitution, and if it didn't come out, well, my fault.
There were 2 problems in terms of making it. First, it had to be when at least one of my boys were here (so Hubs and I don't eat it all ourselves). And second, I wasn't sure I could do it. There's no yeast, but you have to knead this dough for at least 45 minutes (not a typo), then let it rest, then knead another 45 minutes. And that's before you roll it out. Yikes. I may have to go to the gym for a year to have the strength and stamina for this one.

But that recipe was calling to me. And one snowy morning, when College Boy was here, I decided to try it.

I mixed up the simple ingredients, moved the dough to a floured counter, and set the timer for 45 minutes. Let the kneading commence!

At first I was concerned. The dough was not sticking together, chunks were falling off as I tried to knead. I kept at it but at what felt like about halfway through my time, my arms were tired and the chunks were still falling off. I looked at the clock. It had been 5 minutes.

At the 10 minute mark, fewer clumps were falling off. That's progress, right?
At the 15 minute mark (yes, I was looking at the clock that often), my shoulders started to burn. 

At the 20 minute mark, Hubs came down for coffee. Maybe he'll offer to help. He grabbed his coffee and left.

At the 25 minute mark I was sweating. No dough clumps were falling off, but it wasn't really holding together either.

At the 30 minute mark I considered going outside and standing in the snow to cool off.

At the 35 minute mark, Hubs came back in. I started groaning ("I'm suffering" cues).
Hubs: What are you doing.
Me: Honestly? I think I'm being punked.
No offer to help, he left the kitchen.
At the 40 minute mark, I wondered if people would laugh when they read my obituary "had a heart attack while kneading."
I know, from google research, that I was going for shiny and elastic. At the 45 minute mark, I decided that shiny and elastic was in the eye of the beholder.

Now it needed to rest. It needed to rest? I needed to rest.

And get the soup started for dinner. Comfort food. I was going to need it.
Chicken and Orzo Vegetable Soup is a hearty, healthy, cold weather meal. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #soup
Chicken and Orzo Vegetable Soup
I knew where I was going to rest, but the dough? Where? For how long?

I put it in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for 2 hours. I'd seen that done with bread so it sounded good to me.

Nope. What came out of the refrigerator was hard as a rock. And I thought kneading was difficult the first time . . .
Not one to ever be a giver upper (note to self: rethink that), I pressed on. Or kneaded on. Or tried to.
At the 5 minute mark, clumps started falling off of the dough. Again.
At the 10 minute mark, my wrists started turning red.
At the 15 minute mark, I think my shoulders dislocated.
At the 20 minute mark, I could barely see the clock through my tears. Then wondered what that added moisture was going to do to the dough. Then decided it couldn't be any worse.
At the 25 minute mark, clumps stopped breaking off and I started to think maybe we should officially add tears to the recipe.
At the 30 minute mark, I was groaning, not for show but for real this time. College Boy came into the kitchen and suggested I use a mallet. Hubs left the house. Completely. Out into the snow.
At the 35 minute mark, I think I started to get delusional. I knew I had done something very wrong, but convinced myself that the all powerful Hojaldras g-ds would reward all my hard work by making them come out right anyway.

At the 40 minute mark, I started the next step, rolling the dough into balls. Rolling it in my hands and kneading are pretty much the same, right? No? I said I was delusional.

Next you let it rest. For how long? I was thinking maybe 3 days sounded about right.

While they were resting (on the counter this time), I'm coming up with a strategy for dedicating my life to the goal of never kneading again. In fact, I'm petitioning Mirriam Webster to have the word removed from the dictionary.


Next you roll them out very, very thin. Mine weren't as thin as I'm sure they would have been had my wrists and shoulders been functional. 

All that's left is to slit them and fry them.
Ho Bread and Me | picture taken by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com
I knew immediately they were not as light as they should be, but eternally hopeful, we tried them. Dry. Very dry.
How could I have screwed up this badly? A debacle of this magnitude is not the result of one ingredient substitution. Let me look at the recipe again:

water? Ummm . . . water? Did I add the water?

Ahh, so that's why the tears were helping. If only I'd added 1/2 cup of them . . . 

Of course, I couldn't let the whole day's work go to waste, so I slathered some garlic and oregano butter on them and served them as garlic rounds. 
Actually, they were good. Dry, but good. 
Ho Bread and Me | picture taken by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com

Nonetheless, I think we all know what the bottom line is here, I owe Mimi an apology for making such a mess of the family recipe she had so graciously shared with me (that'll teach ya). And while I'm apologizing, I may as well add one to the Colombian people, the Panamanians, all of their ancestors, and their future generations. 
And my wrists, and my shoulders.

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Chicken and Orzo Vegetable Soup   


Printable Recipe

NOTE: This recipe can be cooked in a slow cooker or on the stove.

6 cups vegetable broth
1 can stewed tomatoes 
1 tsp minced garlic
1 small onion, chopped 
1 large carrot, chopped
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper 
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
about 1 1/4 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 cup zucchini, quartered
1 cup broccoli florets
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup fresh spinach
3/4 cup orzo

*Coat the slow cooker with non-stick spray and turn it on to high. Add the broth and tomatoes to the slow cooker. Mix in the garlic, onion, carrot, Italian seasoning, basil, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cover and cook for 1 hour.
*Add the chicken, stir and cook for 2 hours.
*Add the zucchini, broccoli, and mushrooms. Stir and cook for 1 hour.
*Mix in the spinach and orzo. Cook for one more hour, stirring now and then.



  1. I love your play by play Oh how I relate! Carol C.

  2. Replies
    1. Well that's the first time I've had a wordless comment.

  3. I think I'll stick with your soup. My shoulders couldn't take 90 minutes of kneading!

  4. Soup for me, too. Comfort food is indicated--though I am intrigued by Mimi's Hojaldras!

  5. Although I joke about my lack of cooking skills, and it's true, I got into bread baking in my late teens and early 20's. Nothing like homemade bread! If I had seen "45 minutes" I would have run like you-know-what. You are brave to have even tried it. Of course I just had to google this bread and I found a couple of recipes for this bread. Both said to knead until smooth and then rest 2 hours (as I recall, this is a typical resting period after a first knead). Well, it shouldn't take anywhere near 45 minutes for a dough to become smooth and easy to handle. So I'm really curious about the 45 minute Olympic knead. Not that I'm a bread expert. Just thinking back about 50 years. And PS I love chicken soup. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. It could be, if you don't have clumps of dough falling off, that 45 minutes is how long it takes to really get the dough smooth and elastic. It does have to be rolled really, really thin.

  6. Oh, dear. Yes, it's hard to knead for that long, which is why i use the bread machine on the dough setting. Without water, well, i guess it would be as you noted, about impossible.

    Please know i've put the recipe on my blog before, and you are more than welcome to share it here. If you want to try again, i suggest you go buy a used bread machine from a thrift store or borrow one from a friend.

    1. Believe it or not, I actually am going to try again. I don't take failure well. But since I don't want to go into stores, I'm just going to have to psych myself up for more kneading. We'll see how long that takes.

  7. That upper body workout is better than going to the gym! If you put together the recipe correctly you end up with something tasty at the end.

    1. Well, I came up with something edible. Does that count?


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