Are we really going to do this? Again….
A while back, we read Michael Pollan’s brilliant book Cooked and cannot stop thinking about the sections on fermentation.
As a means of processing a raw foodstuff, a sourdough fermentation is a wonder of nature and culture, an example of an ancient vernacular “technology” the ingenuity of which science is just now coming to appreciate. “You could not survive on wheat flour,” Bruce German, the food chemist at UC Davis, told me, “but you can survive on bread.” The reason you can is largely due to the work of these microbes going about their unseen lives. And though modern food science can simulate many of their effects in commercial bread production, by using commercial yeasts and other leavening agents, sweeteners, preservatives, and dough conditioners, it still can’t do everything a sourdough culture can do to render grass seeds nourishing to humans.
Sourdough fermentation also partially breaks down gluten, making it easier to digest and, according to some recent research from Italy (a nation of wheat eaters with high rates of celiac disease and gluten intolerance), destroying at least some of the peptides thought to be responsible for gluten intolerance. Some researchers attribute the increase in gluten intolerance and celiac disease to the fact that modern breads no longer receive a lengthy fermentation.
– Michael Pollan, Cooked, p202-203
But as excited as we were about it, I couldn’t quite bring myself to introduce another pet into the kitchen. Until I read Jane Mason’s cookbook, “All You Knead is Bread”…. (continue reading )
Bread Baking Babes (BBB) July 2017: Velvety Bean Bread
Cooked pureed white beans are the basis for this nifty bread. Unless you tell people, no one will guess, though they will puzzle over the velvety even texture and the depth of flavor
– Naomi Duguid and Jeffery Alford, HomeBaking, p160
Pureed Beans? In bread?? (continue reading )
Bread is the Staff of Life
Bookmarked Recipe: Aish Baladi
Not long ago, I saw the loveliest stack of round bread at Karen’s Kitchen Stories with the intriguing hashtag “Eat Like an Egyptian”. They looked not unsimilar to pita bread, but seemed to be covered with beads. They looked incredible.
So I did a little more reading about Aish Baladi. (continue reading )
Bread Baking Babes (BBB June 2017: Kaak)
It sounds like violent coughing, doesn’t it? Or tropical birds screeching. But don’t let the sound of this bread’s name fool you.
Trust me, kaak is nothing at all like that. It looks great. It tastes great. And it’s ridiculously easy to make!
My first and last day in Beirut is always the same: I have to get some kaak. Kaak is the street bread that Beirutis love more than anything, it is our pretzel, our simit, our croissant; you get my point. This time, my new friend, Hind, took me to a bakery in Basta (the neighborhood in Beirut that no tourist will ever venture in unaccompanied); I was in heaven! […] Kaak is delivered to all the cart vendors throughout the city. They dangle them on a rail in their chariot, covered in plastic for protection. You buy it and they will fill it with a choice of zaatar or picon cheese (a cheese spread similar to cream cheese). I always want mine with zaatar, of course!
– Joumana Accad, Taste of Beirut | Kaak (street bread)
They swing from rods in the rolling street carts, looking like purses except they’re coated with sesame seeds. Take a closer look and you see that they are ka’ak, a Middle Eastern flatbread, popular in Lebanon, often eaten as breakfast or for a snack. From the carts, you can get ka’ak filled with za’atar or smeared with cheese or hummus.
-Gin, Gin’s Kitchen | Ka’ak – Middle Eastern Flatbread
Sesame Galettes, in one form or another are a street staple through the eastern Mediterranean […] In Greece, Turkey, and Egypt they are shaped into rings and in Greece they are made slightly sweet. In Lebanon they are shaped like handbags, and the vendor will tear the fat “bag” part open to sprinkle the inside with a little za’tar. In Tripoli and Syria the galettes are shaped into flat disks and are often sold filled halloumi cheese seasoned with sumac.
-Anissa Helou, Turkish Sesame Galettes Simit, Mediterranean Street Food, p116
I often make Anissa Helou’s Koulouria (Greek Sesame Galettes) on p.118 of her cookbook “Mediterranean Street Food (read more here: sesame twisted rings), especially in the summer. They’re perfect for the barbecue!
So I was thrilled to try this slightly different version of the bread that Karen (Bake My Day) chose for this month’s BBB project. I especially liked that the BBB recipe seems more straight-forward than Helou’s.
(continue reading )
I know I’ve said this earlier, but it was a major highlight for me. Last summer, I was one of the lucky ones to be in the recipe testing team for Jamie Schler’s (Life’s a Feast) cookbook, Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet. Her recipe for Fouace Nantaise (that amazingly didn’t make it into the book, because Jamie had too many orange recipes!) calls for orange blossom water.
We loved the fouace, but I knew I’d never make enough of it to get through all that orange blossom water. So, one day, I was stir-frying kale – with coconut oil, of course!
Pro Tip: If you stir coconut oil into your kale, it makes it easier to scrape it into the trash
– Kingsport Humor
Clearly, the Kingsport people didn’t cook their kale correctly…. (continue reading )