Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Poppy Bread Spirals

Every since Purim and eating the yummy hamantaschen cookies that are part of the holiday, I've been obsessed with poppy seeds.

And since sourdough has been a big part of my life since receiving some starter last December, I decided to try a sourdough poppy-seed swirl bread.

I must admit, it only turned out mediocre.

I didn't have any milk at the time so I just added butter to the bread. Milk usually makes the bread soft, and I thought butter might do the same. I could also have added mashed potatoes.

As I was adding warm melted butter to the flour, it occurred to me that the heat might actually start to cook the flour as I was kneading it. I think that might be what happened, or I over-kneaded the bread. It turned out a little tough.

Still, it came out pretty even though it was dense. A nice solid loaf to have with the remains of my seasonal canned produce: applesauce and kraut.

As the bread sat for a few days the sweet poppy filling and butter actually made the inside swirl of the bread kind of moist, so it turned rather pastry-like.

Not a perfect baked good, but a fun project.

I started thinking about poppy plants in general, and where the poppies came from, which got me started thinking about Afghanistan. It's too bad that such an amazing plant is so often destroyed because of drugs and the effects of the drug war.

And I wound up typing this into Google:
"afghanistan support agriculture peace poppy"

Oh goodness. I started doing some reading, but to untie the many tangles of the drug war (and to be more poppy-specific, the war in Afghanistan), I'd have to be getting paid to write this article and do the research.

But in any case, I found a few interesting links about agriculture in Afghanistan and it's connection to working towards peace. Here they are if you are interested.

Poppies for Peace: Reforming Afghanistan's Opium Industry

USAID website on alternative economic growth in Afghanistan

Growing Saffron as an Alternative to Poppy

(o.k. this last one sounds sweet, and paella with saffron tastes really good, but I'm not quite sure saffron costs can outpace the drive for heroin)

It's too bad that poppy can't be protected and used as a food and medicine source while preventing drug lords from turning it into heroin, but I just don't know if that's realistic. If anyone has read any good articles on the subject, I'm kind of curious.

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