A group of us are baking our way through the wonderful cookbook/travelogue “Flatbreads and Flavors” by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. We have set specific projects each month for each other but I’m afraid I just couldn’t stop myself from getting a jump on the others and making the kutma (Sorghum bread) on page 189. Please stay tuned for the first March project of truly delicious ka’kat (sesame rings).
This is the real reason that we bought sorghum flour recently. Sure, sorghum flour is a delicious addition to pancakes, but it is truly wonderful in bread.
Granted, because sorghum flour is gluten-free, the resulting bread is a little flat. Or is it? Perhaps the bread simply over-rose. It WAS very active, in spite of the fact that I added half the amount of yeast called for!
Whatever the case, we love the flavour that results from mixing wheat and sorghum flours. Next time I make sandwich bread, I plan to throw in just a littel sorghum flour. (Please read more about sorghum flour (aka juwar, jowar).)
Sorghum breads make a great traditional meal served with Yemeni Stew or with Yemeni spicy salsa. […] These breads have a very good easy flavor; they are delicious eaten on their own or as part of virtually any bread and soup combination.
-Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, San’a Sorghum Breads, “Flatbreads & Flavors”; p.191
The Yemeni Stew described in the cookbook is a chicken or lamb and lentil dish. And the Yemeni salsa is a combination of hot peppers, coriander leaf, parsley, garlic, cumin and cardamom. Both look to be delicious. But we decided to buck tradition and serve the kutma with the stunning brie-like cheese Champfleury – eeek!!!! THAT’S not middle eastern at all!, a wonderful red lettuce salad, yellow lentil and Polish sausage – augh!!!! THAT’S not at all middle eastern either! soup.
(Sorry no photos of the actual dinner – it wouldn’t do to have hard evidence of our transgressions. :-))
Here is what I did to make kutma:
based on the recipe for San’a Sorghum Bread in “Flatbreads and Flavors” by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
- 2½ c lukewarm water
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- ½ c whole wheat flour
- 2½ c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4½ tsp vital wheat gluten
- 2 tsp Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand)
- 2½ c sorghum flour (aka “jowar”)
- In the morning, pour water into a largish mixing bowl. Whisk in the yeast til it dissolves. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the whole wheat, all-purpose flours and vital wheat gluten. Beat well til smooth. Duguid and Alford suggest stirring the batter “100 times in the same direction”. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave it in a warmish spot out of draughts for 2 or 3 hours.
- Add the salt and sorghum flour to the bubbling mass in the mixing bowl. Stir well with a wooden spoon til the flour is encorporated, pulls away from the side of the bowl and forms a rough dough.
- Scatter flour (sorghum or wheat, whatever seems closest) onto the board and turn the dough out.
- Wash and dry the mixing bowl (this not only cleans your hands for kneading but it creates the perfect rising bowl as well).
- Knead the dough until it is soft and smooth – 5 to 10 minutes. Place the kneaded dough in the clean bowl (no need to oil it!!), cover with a plate and leave in a no-draft place to rise until it doubles. The oven with only the light turned on is ideal.
- Once it has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Cut it in two and set one part aside. The dough is quite soft and may be sticky. Knead one half a couple of times, then using a rolling pin, flatten it into a rectangle about 8inches by 14inches. Tightly roll it up jelly-roll fashion into a log shape. Use the dough scraper (or a piece of dental floss) to cut the log into 8 equal pieces. Place one disc (flat side down) on a parchment papered cookie sheet. Arrange the other dough discs around the first one in a flower pattern. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cover the tray with a clean teatowel, followed by plastic grocery bags and allow to rise til doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Bake the risen breads (don’t worry if the “flowers” have grown into each other) for about 30 minutes, turning the tray around half way through baking to account for uneven oven heat. The breads are done when they are golden on top and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Allow to cool completely on a rack before serving. (The bread is still baking!)
This bread is delicious served warm with lentil soup.
To serve warm bread, reheat it after the loaf has cooled completely. To reheat UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.
Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:
Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event hosted by Heather (girlichef)
that encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.