I’ve been thinking a lot lately about cheap white bread, and how its reputation has deteriorated to the point of it being on the same level as an old shoe.
First, it was shoved aside by “healthy” wheat, then people began buying authentic loaves of Italian and French, then upscale grocery stores all began baking their own breads. Before you knew it, the good, old brands had been moved to the grocery store’s bottom shelves, replaced by gourmet bread with three syllables and 12 vowels - like chibatta, focaccia, chichuahua and acunamatada.
I think it’s time to bring cheap white bread back. I want to start seeing it on “What’s Hot” lists in ladies’ magazines. After all, there’s a place for it in the modern world. Furthermore, there’s something very wrong about “peanut butter and jelly on lightly toasted 14-grain sesame honey wheat sun-dried tomato potato sauerkraut fennel seed pumpkin bread.”
Think of its nostalgic and historic value, for instance. Did you know that after the Civil War, white bread was the preferred choice of society’s upper crust? It signified purity and refinement, while the dark, coarse European breads were viewed as the bread of the poor immigrants struggling to make their way in America.
In 1930, following the invention of the bread-slicing machine by a guy named Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Battle Creek, Mich., the pre-sliced “sandwich loaf” was born and named Wonder Bread. By 1963, Americans were downing 9 billion or so pounds of the stuff per year. Then, of course, yuppies came on the scene who encouraged the return to Mother Nature and all those fancy breads.
I say we all gather together as one big loaf and launch this crusade, starting with you. Go ahead, go to the store, buy a bag of it and march proudly up to the register. Because I’ve got a few cheap white bread tricks up my sleeve you might enjoy.
And let me tell you - if you’ve never had a Cheap White Bread Dough Ball, you haven’t lived.
Cheap White Bread Dough Balls
Simply peel the crust off the bread slice, scrunch it into a tight ball and pop it into your mouth. Fun to eat in the company of salads and stews.
Cheap White Bread Dough Balls Stuffed With Cheese and Baked in Garlic Butter
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese
12 slices cheap white bread, crusts removed
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Dash garlic powder
Place 1 tablespoon cheese in center of each bread slice. Fold corners of bread up and squeeze in your hand, forming firm ball.
Combine melted butter and garlic powder and mix well. Roll each dough ball in garlic butter and place on baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees 10 minutes or until golden, turning once.
Yield: 4 servings.
Cheap White Bread Crumb Topping With Romano and Oregano for Chicken
This topping is also great on cooked pork chops and fish.
3 slices cheap white bread
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
4 baked skinless and boneless chicken breast halves
Process bread slices (crusts and all) into crumbs in food processor or blender; do not overprocess. Remove to medium bowl. Stir in cheese, oregano, salt and pepper. Add broth and mix gently.
Place chicken breasts on baking sheet. Mound some of mixture on top of each chicken piece and broil 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 4 servings.
Cheap White Bread Baskets
Remove crusts from cheap white bread and discard. Flatten bread with rolling pin. Spread some softened butter on 1 side of each slice. Press bread, buttered side down, into muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly toasted. Fill with everything from chicken salad to barbecued beef to mashed potatoes.
Cheap White Bread Rolled Sandwiches
Remove crusts from bread and flatten slices with rolling pin. Spread some butter on each slice. Spoon row of finely chopped chicken, egg or tuna salad. Firmly roll up slice and place, seam-side down, on platter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Great for lunch boxes, luncheons or as finger food at a party.