Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving - US version

Why do Americans and Canadians celebrate thanksgiving in two different months?

I actually decided to google that, because at the Thanksgiving I attended yesterday I was asked several times to explain the difference and sadly couldn't.

According to the good people at the ever-reliable and never biased (ha!) Toronto Sun, Canadian thanksgiving is celebrated in October to give thanks to a successful harvest - a tradition that has been passed down for thousands of years, from my knowledge of ancient Mesopotamia Harvest Festivals and feasts were celebrated even then.  Martin Frobisher brought the tradition to Canada during his search for the Northwest Passage (good luck, buddy) in 1578.

American thanksgiving on the other hand, didn't come around until after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Bay in 1620.  Because of their lack of preparation for winter, by November they were out of food and the Natives in the area held a feast for them (or something of that nature).  THEIR Thanksgiving is also in thanks to those generous people who helped them out.

So there you have it folks, the difference between Canadian and American Thanksgiving.  Here's a couple of bread recipes I used for the party I went to and they were highly popular.  The first one comes from one of my favourite blogs and the other comes from a Canadian cookbook called "Cooking at Home" (from Company's Coming).

Buttercrust Rolls

4 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, unsalted, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 - 5 1/2 cups flour
1 egg white + 1 tbsp warm water for wash

Dissolve yeast into water in a small bowl and let sit for around 5 minutes until is gets foamy.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, head the buttermilk (just until there are a few bubbles around the side of the pot) and add the butter stirring so the butter melts - don't let it boil!  Turn off the head and stir in the sugar.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking soda.  Make a little well in the flour, pour the salt in, and then cover it up.  Pour in the yeast and the buttermilk.  Crack two eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork for a few seconds.  Add them to the batter as well.  Mix with an electric mixer (but use the "kneading attachments" that look like little spirals instead of the egg beater ones we normally use) on low for about 5 minutes until the dough forms a nice round and smooth ball.  I added 4 1/2 cups flour at the beginning and then added about 1/3 or 1/2 cup more during this process.

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough into bowl.  Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place for about 1 hour.  Dough will double in size.

Preheat oven to 375F or 190C.

Take dough out of bowl and place on floured surface.  Knead lightly and then divide into golf-ball sized pieces.  Roll them out into tubes and tie into knots, like a pretzel.  Place on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart and brush with egg wash.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.  Serve warm with melted butter!

Next bread recipe to come soon!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so impressed that you made your own rolls!