By Quentin H. / April 15th, 2022
I noticed this week that I have been trying to keep little touches of Florida in my life here in California. I still listen to the same morning radio talk show (Elvis Duran & The Morning Show), thanks to the show still airing live for its last hour or so on the East Coast when I am getting up on the West Coast. I have Orange Bird decorations scattered through my apartment, including most prominently on top of my CRT television. I even renewed my annual pass to Walt Disney World despite being able to only go maybe a couple of times a year now. Of course, I still talk frequently with my friends from Florida and I keep up on Florida news.
It is all of these aspects of how my life was just a year ago that makes me feel a little less homesick and makes me think that I can still go back anytime. I am trying my hardest to also build something approaching a coherent life for me here in California, and I am trying to integrate that into my life too. When I first moved to Florida from my home state almost a decade ago, I definitely didn’t try to integrate my life from there as much into my Floridian life.
I know that I should be less ‘Floridian’, since I no longer live there and I need to work on fitting in a little more here. That said, I sincerely doubt that I will be putting away the Orange Bird anytime soon since I love the little bird with Love, Eorzean Style.
If you’ve missed an installment of Cooking Eorzea, you can check out all the prior recipes here.
Recipe of the Week
For this week’s Cooking Eorzea column, I made bread for the first time in my life. More specifically: Bacon Bread! Yes, just like from the Makin’ Bacon (Bread) quest from the “Return to Ivalice” quest line. This recipe, the 21st recipe that has a ‘Medium’ difficulty, is supposed to look like a shaft of wheat and have bacon interwoven into it.
Here is what this recipe from the Los Noscea region is supposed to look like:
Featured Ingredient of the Week
This week’s featured ingredient is ground mustard! This spice is made from ground mustard seeds, and it was surprisingly hard to find in bulk quantity from a store other than Amazon. I almost had to buy several jars of smaller quantities from Wal~Mart until I stumbled upon the Amazon option. Ground mustard smelled INCREDIBLY potent as I was using it for this week’s Cooking Eorzea, and I was impressed with how much of a kick it gave the overall dish.
My Cooking Attempt
For this /emote dish, let’s start with all of the necessary ingredients:
I first added the all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, and the salt together in a bowl before mixing them together by hand.
I added the oat milk and water into a pan together, and set it over an ignited stovetop until it reached about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
I added in the active dry yeast, and let it set for 10 minutes to try to bloom the yeast into action. The yeast didn’t bloom, and I discovered that the pot had heated up to the mid 130s, and so the yeast were all dead by that point.
So, I repeated the last few steps a second time, and I BARELY turned on the stovetop this time. The yeast heated up to the 110s, and began to properly bloom (thankfully!).
I added the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stirred them together.
When the dough just started to come together, I pulled the dough out and placed it on a kneading surface that I had previously dusted with flour. I started to knead it together and let me tell you- it was HARD work. I kept folding it over and pushing it down with all my weight repeatedly for 10 minutes. You can see the difference in how the dough came out between the first photograph (from when I started) and the bottom photograph (when I finished). Whenever the dough would start to stick too heavily to my kneading surface or my hands, I would scatter in a bit more flour to help loosen it up.
Once that was finished, I spread out a small amount of olive oil around a large bowl.
I placed the dough inside of the bowl, and covered it with plastic wrap before letting it sit for an hour-and-a-half. You can really see how the dough rose during that time.
I placed a pot of water on the stove to boil.
I pulled the dough out of the bowl, kneaded it a second time for a short bit, and then started to tear it into four fairly-equal sized balls.
I ended up having to tear from and add pieces to different dough balls to make them more equal. This was the final result.
I covered the dough balls with a kitchen towel and let them rest for another 20 minutes.
While the dough balls were resting, I added the bacon strips to the boiling pot and let them cook for five minutes before pulling them back out.
I laid the bacon strips out on plates covered in paper towels and I patted them dry. I was surprised that the bacon had managed to cook through completely in a pot.
After I finished with the bacon, I laid out a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray.
After the dough finished resting (again), I removed the kitchen towel.
I set aside some of the dough balls, pulled out my rolling pin, and started to stretch one of the dough balls out. I tried to make them long enough to fit the bacon slices inside and wide enough to fit two pieces inside with space to spare.
The dough was sticky! Once I got it into a shape I was MOSTLY happy with, I spread out a lot of ground mustard on top of it. I made sure to leave enough space around the edges so the dough could close up on itself when I rolled it together.
I then added in two strips of bacon on top of the ground mustard, and made sure that they didn’t overlap each other.
I then tightly rolled the dough over the bacon, trying to create multiple layers before pinching off the ends.
The below photograph is what the final first loaf looked like after I placed it on the baking tray.
I then repeated the process for the other three rolls. Here is what the first two looked like before being rolled…
And here is the fourth and final pre-rolled loaf. You can see that I was getting better at rolling out dough to something of the correct shape, though it turned out to be a bit harder than you would expect!
Once all four loaves were on the tray, I covered them with a kitchen towel for another 40 minutes.
I then got out my kitchen scissors, and I made cuts at a 45 degree angle every couple of inches in opposite directions without cutting fully through the dough. I then moved each segment to the left or right in opposite directions.
I then sprinkled water over the loaves.
I preheated the oven to 450 degrees, filled a deep dish with a cup of water, and then placed the dish full of water on the rack below the bread loaves once the oven was at the proper temperature.
As the bread started to bake, I melted a couple tablespoons of butter in the microwave.
After 10 minutes, I pulled the loaves out of the oven, brushed them down with the melted butter, and then sprinkled the flaked sea salt on top of them.
Once that was done, I placed it back into the oven for 20 more minutes. Halfway through, I lowered the temperature from 450 to 400 degrees.
And here is the final dish after the loaves were done!
Naturally, I started to eat the bread afterwards! And honestly, it was a bit harder on the outside than I would have liked, though I liked how it naturally lent itself to being snapped into segments. That said, it was SO good. The bread and the bacon and the ground mustard made this dish remind me a lot of a pretzel bread, and I honestly wished that I had some gouda dip to put each piece in. I actually shared this dish with some of my friends too, and they all really liked it.
Making bread is HARD and time consuming. Kneading is really tough to do, especially for 10 minutes, and I could feel it in my shoulders afterwards. If I was to make this Cooking Eorzea dish again, I would definitely not leave it in the oven for so long so that the outside crust would HOPEFULLY not be as tough to eat through. That said, this is a great party appetizer snack, especially with how people can just tear off each chunk from the final loaf to eat.
I want to thank Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook. I also want to thank the staff over at Insight Editions for giving me permission to use the photos from their book to show how these recipes are actually supposed to look. Furthermore, I owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the logo for Cooking Eorzea on really short notice. You should check him and his works out over on Twitter.
Finally, I want to thank both Hiromichi Tanaka and Naoki Yoshida for producing FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in both iterations of the game. Cooking Eorzea seriously would not have happened without both of you creating this game’s amazing world.
For next week’s Cooking Eorzea column, I whip out the cast iron again to make cornbread! This will be exciting as I have never actually made cornbread before.
So please come back next Friday to see how it turns out!
Have you made bread before? How hard did you find kneading to be?
Let us know in the comments below!
CookbookCookingCooking EorzeaEorzeaFFXIVFinal FantasyFinal Fantasy XIVFINAL FANTASY XIV OnlineHiromichi TanakaInsight EditionsMMORPGNaoki YoshidaPCPlaystationPlayStation 4PlayStation 5SESquare EnixSteamVictoria Rosenthal