Many years ago in the United States, there was a cooking company that was built on having a hostess sponsor a party in her home, and a representative of the company would demonstrate all of its kitchen gadgets. It was one of those parties that you felt obligated to go to, and also buy something, because your friend was having the party. Even if you’d just been to one the week before!
So for the few years that this company was popular, I collected quite a few gadgets. (I don’t remember the name of this company, and I don’t know if they’re still around.)
Something I did purchase were canapé molds. I thought they were pretty cool. I purchased 2 flower-shaped molds, 2 star-shaped, and 2 heart-shaped. I used the star breads for a New Year’s party once and they were so pretty!
Here are the flower molds I’m using today:
Essentially, you bake a yeasted dough inside these molds, and slice the breads to use for canapés.
Recently I was asked to be part of a special event, and I wanted my contribution to be unique. So I decided to practice with these molds since it had been such a long time since I’d used them for caterin. Fortunately, after a little digging, I discovered the recipe that was created for these molds, although the recipe is for 3 and I only had two of the same flower-shape.
I wanted to use the recipe because I remember once I made my own bread dough and filled the molds up too much, and there was a lot of bread overflow in the oven. I think I even remember some flames.
So here’s what I did. If you need a more involved tutorial on baking bread, there is a recipe with many more photos here.
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water. I keep my yeast in the freezer, and it lasts for years.
Once the yeast has dissolved, give the mixture a stir, then let the bowl sit in a warm place for about 5 minutes. The yeast will cause the mixture to rise and bubble.
Heat the milk and butter together until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm. Pour it in to the yeast mixture.
Begin adding flour 2 cups of flour. I typically keep the dough moist for the first rise. Cover the bowl, and after 1 1/2 hours, the dough will look like the second photo.
Add a generous amount of flour to your work surface and remove the dough from the bowl. It will be very soft. Carefully work flour in to the dough as you’re kneading it.
After about 5 minutes of kneading, the dough will be nice and smooth.
Add a little oil to a clean bowl, place the dough in the bowl top-first, then turn over. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise for about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in to 3 parts, and gently roll each part lengthwise.
Place the dough into a greased mold. Place the lid on the molds and place them horizontally in a warm place for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees meanwhile. Then bake the molds for 10 minutes, and lower the heat to 375 degrees. Continue baking for about 25 minutes, then remove the molds from the oven.
Let them sit for 10 minutes, then remove the lids. The photo on the right shows what the bread looked like after I removed it from the oven, the photo on the left shows the bread with the “heel” sliced.
Remove the breads from the molds and let them cool. Then slice and serve.
I served them with my faux Boursin spread.
Alternative, you can place the sliced breads on a cookie sheet, brush them with oil, and toast them in the oven first before serving. This makes them firmer and easier to spread.
Either way, they add something special to a party spread.
Now, it does take a little effort to make these, especially for me because I only have 2 matching molds, but I think it’s worth it. If you don’t own molds like these, you can always use cookie cutters and cut shapes out of sliced bread.