A Bit of Culinary Magic
I never would have believed it possible; the concept of making bread in a pressure cooker just seems wrong. How do you get something like bread (relatively dry and fluffy) out of a pressure cooker (very moist and pressurized)? Making stews, vegetables, rice and noodles, soups, potatoes and yams in a pressure cooker… all these make sense to me – but bread?
As unlikely as it may seem, making bread or cake in a pressure cooker is very doable, and the results are both tasty and hearty – meaning they're a treat for your tongue and they'll stick to your ribs. There's not much by way of a crust on the bread, but I don't view that as a deterrent.
If you make a sandwich, you won't have to worry about having any hunger cravings for hours. Don't let the fact that it has substance fool you into thinking it has no flavor – quite the contrary! What's more, you can play with the recipe to your heart's content, swirling in cinnamon or adding vanilla, using different flours, etc. What a wonderful discovery!
So I've made room in my thinking for making bread in a pressure cooker. The next hurdle is getting my head around using a pressure cooker inside a microwave. The pressure cooker is ‘old' technology, used for canning and such, right? Why would I even consider putting one in a microwave? It turns out that Nordic Ware makes a ‘real' pressure cooker designed to be used in a microwave – unlike some cookware being marketed as microwave pressure cookers, which don't build up any internal pressure. That pressure is what sets pressure cooking apart from conventional cooking, making it faster, healthier, and more energy efficient than conventional cooking. I even found two recipe books online which Nordic Ware provided with the purchase of the pressure cooker in years gone by, but recently the number of recipes seems to have dwindled significantly. The earlier recipe book has about 150 recipes for appetizers, beef, pork, lamb, veal, and poultry main dishes, soups, vegetables, and desserts, while a newer recipe book offers only a tenth of that number of recipes. You can click on the links to view the recipe booklets (they're in pdf format), or right click on them to download them to your computer. There are also a number of other recipe books for pressure cookers available online, but you'll need to adapt the recipes for use with the smaller pressure cooker.
On top of the questions I've raised above is another, over riding question – who would even think of putting a microwave on a such a small boat? (and why!)
That will be the subject of my next post.