Author Archives: ejm

About ejm

I am a freelance musician in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. What I really love is good food, books, movies, gardening (even though I have a black thumb) and bicycle travel. My foodblog is at adventures in food and drink, recipes, disasters, triumphs....

Arkatena Bread… Almost (BBB January 2020)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: new year, new difficulties for a new year; how to fail at following instructions; …do as I say, not as I did; attempting to make a chickpea flour wild starter; foam galore; lost photos; recipe for Arkatena Bread, inspiration: Arkatena Bread recipe, p190-193, Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley; cheating with commercial yeast; a Bread Baking Babes (BBB) project;

First of all, before I forget: Happy New Year!!

And now on to our New Year’s Task:

Bread Baking Babes’ Arkatena Bread, January 2020

[Chickpea-Leavened Bread] is not an easy bread to make. It requires much practice. – Victoria Athanassiady

Arkatena Bread Cheat

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.

Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley Around about the same time, I was re-reading Andrew Whitley’s excellent book Bread Matters, bookmarking several recipes and techniques.

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.
– | 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 )

North American Kringle (BBB December 2019)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for Pecan Kringle; scheduling problems; information about Bread Baking Babes; Nailed it!

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Kringle

What? No yeast?!

BBB Pecan Kringle

Being BBBabes, we excel at straying, don’t we? This month we’re making Kringle. Without yeast. One of us has been even more wayward than the others and is not only late, but has refused to add the glaze….

But first: Kringle?? What’s that?

If you’re not from Wisconsin (where it’s the official state pastry) or Scandinavia, you may be wondering, “What exactly is a kringle?” A kringle is a sweet pastry that’s hand-rolled from Danish pastry dough. The dough is shaped (usually in a pretzel, oval, or log shape), filled with fruits, nuts, or other flavors, then baked. A sweet icing is the finishing touch. […] Growing up, my mom made this recipe all the time. I believe the recipe comes from my aunt, but beyond that I’m not sure about its origins. We never called this yummy almond-flavored dessert kringle though, it was always Danish Puff.
– Ginnie, Hello Little Home | Danish Puff … An Easy Almond Kringle Recipe
Danish Kringle […] is a Danish-like pastry, filled with fruits, nuts, cheese, etc., then drizzled with icing. Over the years, a variety of fruit and nut fillings were added, and in the United States (not Denmark), the pretzel shape was changed to its present oval shape to eliminate the unfilled, overlapping parts.
[…] [They] were first introduced to Racine, Wisconsin in the late 1800s by immigrant Danish bakers.
[…] Racine, Wisconsin, is known as the “most Danish city in America.”
– What’s Cooking America Danish Kringle History and Recipe

(continue reading )

Sharing and Home-milled Red Fife Flour

feed the hungrysummary: Organic red fife flour; generosity of friends; Biscuit making, 100% whole wheat bread; sharing to feed the hungry;

We have the most generous friends! Look what we made because of them!

Red Fife Biscuits

We cannot believe how very fortunate we are to be able to get the most wonderful eggs from our lovely friends who have a sheep farm.

Eggs from sheep?! No, no, no. Our friends like to encourage sharing; the sheep share the space with some free running chickens. And the chickens help harvest the small market vegetable garden.

It’s a win win win situation. Especially for us. (continue reading )