First of all, before I forget: Happy New Year!!
And now on to our New Year’s Task:
[Chickpea-Leavened Bread] is not an easy bread to make. It requires much practice. – Victoria Athanassiady
In December, I suddenly comprehended that I signed up to host the BBBs’ January project…. As usual, I waffled about what bread to choose. I’ve had a recipe for Moroccan Batbout (made with semolina flour) bookmarked for ages. Then in November or so, when we were reading Ronni Lundy’s wonderful book Victuals, I was really intrigued by her “Real Cornbread” (using just cornmeal and no wheat flour at all). But that is a quickbread… sure, it’s bread, but I love making leavened bread with the BBBabes.
One of Whitley’s really intriguing recipes is for the Cypriot-style Arkatena Bread on pages 190-193. It’s leavened with chickpea flour!!
If you like bread with a hefty crust, chewy crumb and intense flavour, this one is for you. It is like french Country Bread gone rustic. It is amazing what a difference the addition of chickpea flour can make to a bread.
On a working trip to Cyprus, I visited a village bakery near Limassol. The area is know for bread and rolls called arkatena and made with natural fermentation of chickpeas. […] Chickpea or gram flour seems to be teeming with yeasts because it ferments in no time at all. Within a day of mixing it with warm water it will be active. For the first day or two it smells, frankly, rather uninviting […] There is only about 5 per cent chickpea flour in the final dough, enough for a modest nutritional gain (chickpeas are a good source of folate and copper). This could be increased a little, but beyond a certain point a bean flavour begins to intrude.
– Andrew Whitley, ‘Arkatena Bread’, Bread Matters, p.190
Arkatena is a type of “koulouri” (circular bread) made with leaven using the foam produced from chickpea fermentation (called “Arkatis”). They are produced mainly in Omodos and Koilani villages of Limassol district.
– CyprusHighlights.com | Arkatena Omodous
It sounds too amazing. Doesn’t it?
So. (Heh heh, not only am I beginning a sentence with “so”; I’m ending it with “so” too.) For January, Arkatena Bread it is. (continue reading )