Wild Stab at Ksra (BBB March 2019)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for Ksra (do as I say, not as I did) to go with Moroccan Tagine; reading difficulties – again…; commercial yeast? we don’ need no stinkin’ commercial yeast! information about Bread Baking Babes;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Ksra

There is really no single Moroccan bread, but there are countless variations on a theme – Naomi Duguid, Flatbreads & Flavors

BBB March 2019

I was thrilled when Kelly announced that this month’s BBBabe bread is Ksra or Kesra – to go with Moroccan tagine. How perfectly timed this is for us! It would give us a chance to use our tagine (as if we need an excuse).

When I was wandering around the internet looking at other peoples’ Ksra adventures, I was reminded that there is a recipe for Ksra in Flatbreads and Flavours. Hey, we have that book….

I raced to the kitchen to look. As I took Flatbreads and Flavors from our cookbook shelf, I remembered that we also have Anissa Helou’s book, Mediterranean Street Food. There was bound to be a recipe for Ksra there! Of course there is.


Most [Moroccan] households prepare their own dough and […] in the mid- and late morning, women or preschool children walk down the lane with the shaped loaves on a board, covered with a cloth. They carry the board balanced on their heads or slung on one hip. When you see the array of breads lined up for baking at a local bakery, […] you realize that there are nearly as many different kinds of bread as there are households.
    Household bread in Morocco was traditionally made with a sourdough starter […] but that is now changing as commercial dry yeast becomes more widely available.
– Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford, Moroccan Anise Bread Ksra, Flatbreads and Flavors, p.242
There is nothing I like better than to buy bread from one of the Berber women who set up stalls in the medina. […] Morocco is an extraordinary country, only a few hours’ flight from sophisticated London or Paris, yet completely unspoiled by modern life. Going there is like going back in time to the Middle Ages. Last time I was there, I was taken to a farm a few kilometers away from Marrakesh, […] [O]ne of the young girls set about making the bread. She kneaded the dough in a large earthenware dish, shaped it, wrapped it in acloth, and left it to rest. When it was time to bake it, her mother set another flat earthenward dish over a raging fire built with olvie branches, and when the dish became really hot, she started baking the bread for our lunch. It was as much a delight to watch as it was to eat. Tunisian bread is similar to Moroccan but without sesame seeds and with ground fennel sees in place of the anise seeds.
– Anissa Helou, Moroccan Bread K’sra, Mediterranean Street Food, p.81

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Wild Shroves

summary: What to do with extra wild yeast starter; we treasure our Taylor Forbes cast-iron waffle iron; thank you, Mum!

Don’t forget to have shroves today!

sourdough waffle

Instead of making pancakes, we served our shroves in the form of waffles, adding some of our wild yeast starter to the batter. Of course we did!

And we threw in some pepitas too.

We served the waffles with beautifully smoky bacon. We couldn’t believe how light and crispy they were! (continue reading )

Delving into the Archives: Brussels Sprouts and Fiery Red Chilies

summary: Brussels Sprouts with Fermented Black Beans and Chillies; Hot!!; reading ‘Deep Run Roots’ by Vivian Howard aloud; brief review of “Burma: Rivers of Flavor” by Naomi Duguid;

[W]hen summer became September and the local produce staring at me was eggplant, muscadines, peppers, and okra, I had to go work – Vivian Howard, Chapter 18: Okra, p.399

Brussels sprouts

This past summer, when we were blissfully sitting outside on the porch, listening to the leaves rustle and reading Vivian Howard’s excellent memoir/cookbook, “Deep Run Roots”, when we got to the recipes for ‘Grape-Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sausage’ and ‘Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Pomegranate with Blue Cheese Honey Vinaigrette’, we knew that as soon as Brussels sprouts started to arrive at the vegetable store, we HAD to try them. (continue reading )

Shape Shifting (BBB February 2019)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for BBB Chelsea Buns (sort of); brief history of Chelsea Buns; shape/recipe shifting; BBB’s 11th anniversary; information about Bread Baking Babes; Let’s Keep Baking!

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): 11th Anniversary Chelsea Buns

[It’s] the best of all buns, on account of their melting buttery sweetness, and the fun of uncoiling them as you eat them. – Jane Grigson, English Food

BBB Chelsea Buns

Ha! There’s nothing like looking something up after it’s made, to find out its origins….

In the days before roller-milling, when all breads were wholemeal to varying degrees of fineness, and the finest flour was probably off-white or a pale fawn, the baker’s delicacies for the English gentry were the buns that bore the name of a town or district. London had the Chelsea bun and the London bun, while the city of Bath produced the mighty Bath bun, full of dried fruit and sprinkled with crushed sugar.
– Adrian Bailey, ‘Cousins Under the Crust’, The Blessings of Bread, p133
The Chelsea Bun is closely related to the Currant bun. In 1824 Duncan Higgins adapted Wigley’s currant bun recipe to create the classic Chelsea bun at his bakery close to the fashionable Chelsea district in London. It is rolled up like a cinnamon bun.
-Pamela Foster, Abbey Cooks Entertain, p.50
According to legend, on the first day that [the bun] was introduced by the Old Chelsea Bun House, 50,000 people queued up to buy one. […] [T]his spiced fruit bun, which was once an Easter speciality, spawned dozens of imitations. […] Related to the long-established fruit and cinnamon buns from which it’s inspired, this sweet, sticky treat is a square-ish form of currant bun first created [around 1700] at the Chelsea Bun House on the Chelsea/Pimlico borders. It’s a rare example of a food item associated with just one place.
– Sejal Sukhadwala, The Londonist | London Food History: Chelsea Buns
They’re the British version of a Danish pastry and were first invented in the Old Chelsea Bun House in London some time during the 1700s. This Chelsea bun recipe is enriched and often flavoured with lemon or spices; the classic filling is butter, brown sugar and dried vine fruits, and once baked, they’re glazed to make glistening spirals of light bread dough drenched in toffee-ish flavours or icing.
– Rachael Funnell, Emma Mitchell’s Apple and caramel Chelsea Bun recipe https://www.theenglishhome.co.uk/apple-caramel-chelsea-bun-recipe/
‘It is singular’, wrote sir Richard Phillips, an addict of the original Chelsea buns, ‘that their delicate flavour, lightness and richness, have never been successfully imitated […]
   Sugary, spicy, sticky, square and coiled like a Swiss roll, the Chelsea bun as we now know is a pretty hefty proposition. […] [I]t is worth knowing the principle on which Chelsea buns are made. Recipes vary considerably in details, but the basic bun dough is fairly constant.
   First prepare a simple bun dough, as for the Bath buns on p.480
– Elizabeth David, English Bread and Yeast Cookery, p483

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