Cauliflower Cheese "Bread" Experiment

Contact: Joe Leonard, ragbraijoe@yahoo.com

January 11, 2017 (Madison, WI) - Tonight Deborah and I attempted a recipe for cauliflower cheese "bread," in which the bread is not actually bread, but cauliflower "flour."

Following the recipe, we "riced" a head of cauliflower (roughly...we had bagged florets). Ricing means you put it in a food processor and blend it until it looks like rice sized bits. This is not as easy as it sounds and the food processor jams up a little. I would alter the recipe to say use the grater attachment on the food processor first before using the blender attachment, although this extra step would have a high "pain in the arse" quotient. But if you are a patient person, I think that would work much better.

We put the riced cauli in a big bowl and added an egg, some Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and the following herbs:* Italian seasoning (basil, thyme, oregano, and some other stuff), garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then we mixed it all up and, remarkably, it did resemble moist pizza dough a little bit. This we evenly spread on a baking pan and then we put it in the over, preheated to 425 degrees F. The recipe said to bake it 12 minutes, but it was still soft and soggy after that amount of time so we ended up baking it closer to 20 minutes. Even then it was still soft, but we said eff it and proceeded to put some grated mozzarella on top and bake it a little longer until the cheese topping started to brown.

We let it cool 10 minutes before eating, with some marinara sauce for dipping.

I thought it tasted pretty good but Deborah was not impressed. She may have had higher expectations than me as far as the end product's resemblance to actual cheese bread, both in terms of taste and consistency. I tried to judge it on its own merits. It tasted pretty good and was fairly healthy (far less calories than actual bread and without the lethargy of traditional bread sticks). On the down side, the crust was too soft and crumbly. I hypothesize that the addition of another egg to the "flour" would solve this problem, if I ever made the recipe again, which seems improbable. It's worth trying once though, and if you do, try two eggs instead of one and let me know how it turns out. It can't hurt and it might help. We may have used more than one head of cauli...it's hard to tell with the bagged florets. Other recipes say to microwave the riced cauliflower for 10 minutes, presumably to remove moisture, before adding the other ingredients. Fresh herbs* and garlic would probably give it more flavor than the dried kind we used.

*Note: The recipe called for fresh herbs and garlic but we only had dried...whatever, it was an experiment.

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