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.

Whitley’s recipe is not shaped as a ring but as “1 large cob”. Cob, you ask? Thank goodness for the internet!

A cob is a small, round loaf of bread, or a small, round bread roll. […] [T]hey’re small and round and sort of shaped like cobblestones. They could also be likened to lumps of coal, and ‘cob’ is an old word for ‘little round lump shape’, or thereabouts. Then too, in the local dialect, your ‘cob’ was your ‘head’, and this loaf is sort of shaped like a head. One thing is certain: a cob is not a roll, bap, or bun. It’s a cob. Size doesn’t matter There are small cobs that you use to make a cheese cob, and there are large cobs that you slice up and use for toast, or half-moon shaped sandwiches. They’re all cobs
– | Best British breads: a history of cobs

Whitley calls for making about 2 times too much leavener, saying: “Throw away the remainder, or freeze it, or use it in small amounts in other breads“. Forget that!

I decided to follow Hanseata’s (FreshLoaf) lead by “recalculating the amounts I really needed for one loaf“.

Paula Wolfert also includes a recipe for Chickpea-Leavened Bread in her book, Mediterranean Grains and Greens. Happily, our public library has a copy of this lovely book (we may neeeeeeed to buy our own copy – there are several very interesting-looking recipes). Equally happily, Paula Wolfert includes the recipe on her website (please see notes below the BBB recipe for the link).

Naturally (you know me), when I announced the recipe to the other BBBabes, I hadn’t made the bread yet. But there was something rather attractive about creating a chickpea leavener! I felt compelled to create that chickpea foam!

Whitley doesn’t call for sesame seeds on the outside of his cob. But I love the look (and taste) of them, so I added them to the recipe.

Arkatena is a type of “koulouri”, a circular bread made with leaven using the foam produced from chickpea fermentation called Arktis. They are produced in Omodos and Koilani village, in Limassol district. The preparation of Arkatena is quite long: milled chickpeas and ginger are immersed in hot water in the morning and by late evening, “foam” starts rising at the surface.
– Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity | Traditional Arkatena Bread

I was positive I would have no problem at all making Arkatena bread with a real Arkatena starter. Because I’m an expert! (Cue giant pipe organ playing ominous chord.)

Here’s how things went:

BBB Arkatena Bread diary:

3 December 2019, 14:13 I still haven’t decided if I’m going to continue to follow Hanseata’s lead and simply use our whole wheat starter and just up the amount of chickpea flour. But I might need to create that chickpea foam! It sounds too cool.

20 December 2019, 17:06 I just got Paula Wolfert’s book “Mediterranean Grains and Greens” out of the library. She includes a recipe for chickpea-leavened bread. She has included the recipe and notes online on her website. Here is something a little alarming that Victoria Athanassiady (from Chania on the island of Crete) wrote to Wolfert that “[I]t is not an easy bread to make. It requires much practice.

Eeeeek!!! How clever of me to choose “one of the most difficult, demanding breads” for us to bake in January! (And I thought that last month’s Kringle was difficult….)

I’ve come to [Victoria Athanassiady] to learn the secrets of one of the most difficult, demanding breads of the entire Mediterranean, a fermented ground chickpea leavened bread that has become my nemesis. After numerous failures I have been tempted to give it up, but this bread is so delicious, golden, and aromatic, I am determined to finally get it right. The bread is made from a fermented dough of ground chickpeas
Shape the loaves […] and let rest in warm place until the dough is swollen by one-third […] Since you won’t see much of a rise prior to baking placing the bread in the oven is pretty much an act of faith. […] I brought a sample to Christoforos Veneris, a chef from Crete whose father had been a baker. He took one look at its smooth sides and said: “You killed it!”
– Paula Wolfert, Mediterranean Grains and Greens

More and more, Mrs. Mace’s (Stasher) version – please see notes below BBB recipe for the link – that uses a wheat starter and chickpea flour is looking much more attractive, isn’t it?

Next week after the flurry of activity settles down, I’ll try fermenting some chickpea flour and let you all know how it goes.

2 January 2020, 17:45 Oh oh. I haven’t yet tried making a starter with chickpea flour…. :lalala:

I was amazed to see, on PBS the other day, Diane Kochilas (My Greek Table) featuring some Cretan village ladies making barley rusks. The bread they were making looked very much like the Arkatena bread!

    » Barley Rusks
    » My Greek Table Episode 103
  • 5 January 2020, 23:23 I know I promised that I would test out the chickpea starter over the holidays. And here it is the twelfth day of Christmas and the test starter is only 7 hours old…. Ooops!!

    Day 1 Arkatena Starter

    I began mixing the chickpea flour starter today at 4pm. Fingers crossed that something happens!

    I don’t dare to look at it yet. Do you think it’s maybe, just maybe starting to bubble?

    I’ll look tomorrow. I’m too lazy to go back down to the dark kitchen to see.

    6 January 2020, 16:15 Exactly 24 hours later, I was amazed to confirm that there really are a few tiny bubbles. I mixed in more chickpea flour and water and crossed my fingers again.

    Day 2 Arkatena Starter

    7 January 2020, 16:35 At exactly 4pm, I looked inside the bowl. Wow!!! It really has bubbled up. How cool is that?

    :stomp: :stomp: I WAS going to include the image of the amazing bubbles. The bowl looked like it was half full of a very fine mousse.

    I’m pretty sure that I snapped some pictures. But they are nowhere to be found! I’ve looked in the camera, the Arkatena folder, and the computer’s trash. Gone. You’ll just have to take my word for it!

    Then, as I was mixing carrot cake for T’s birthday tonight, I suddenly realized (I’m not very good with scheduling…) that there is no way that I can bake the bread on Thursday. I won’t be here!

    So, I have evilly decided to throw this test batch into the compost and begin again late tonight. This should work out for baking the bread on Friday. Shouldn’t it?

    23:01 Pea-ewww!!

    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, but with the addition of some wheat flour on the third day it settles down to a pleasant acidity, with a hint of beany aroma from the chickpeas.
    – Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters, p190

    “Rather uninviting”, eh? WHAT a pong from the bubbly sludge that I just threw out!

    I’ve now mixed a new batch of chickpea flour and water.

    9 January 2020, 00:12 The drive home tonight wasn’t terrible but still, I was a little later than 24 hours to mix in the second round of chickpea flour tonight – by about half an hour. The sludge had already started to foam a little! I didn’t take a photo though. I also didn’t get too close to ascertain if the smell was “rather uninviting” or not. Happily, once round two of the new chickpea flour went in, it just smells like chickpea flour. Quel relief.

    22:50 Sigh. I can’t read…. And I’m the one who copied the recipe out!!

    Day 3 […]starter: In the late afternoon, one day before you will be baking the bread
    – me, BBB January 2020 recipe

    I just did step 3 of the starter. Around 10pm is still considered to be late afternoon, isn’t it? :lalala:

    As I began to stir in the whole wheat flour, I got a definite whiff of “rather uninviting”.

    After a few more hours fermentation, you should have a lively arkatena starter.

    I’m counting on Whitley to be right!! I’ll hang around until midnight or so and mix the leavener ingredients with my “lively arkatena starter”. I hope….

    I was taking a look at the dough ingredients and have decided to reduce the amount of whole wheat flour (I’ve already received a fair amount of flak about the addition of chickpea flour). Shhhhh!!! Don’t tell the other BBBabes that I’m not exactly following the recipe!

    10 January 2020, 01:28 Whoa!! That is a stiff, dry mixture! I added a little extra water. I also made an executive decision NOT to add vital wheat gluten until I’m making the actual dough. (150grams allp)

    I sure hope this works! The starter wasn’t exactly lively. :lalala: Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed.

    10:56 Oh dear. Back to the drawing board. The supposedly really lively Arkatena starter has done nothing! All I have is a lump of pretty dry dough instead of a bubbling leavener. Now I’m really regretting tossing that first test!

    But considering the amount of flour I’ve used so far, I’m going to throw in some commercial yeast into the dough ingredients. There’s no way I can justify tossing all of this into the compost!

    Depending on how the fake Arkatena bread turns out, I may try again. Then again, I may not. There have been a lot of disgruntled murmurings about the graininess of this bread. (Sometimes I think I should give T a loaf of Wonder Bread when he says he doesn’t want all that whole grain in the bread….)

    13:18 I added 2 grams of active dry yeast. I haven’t added the salt and fennel seeds yet though.

    I also had to entirely omit the vital wheat gluten because I cannot find it in the freezer. I THOUGHT I knew where it was…. (<rant-alert>On a sidenote: why are freezers so ridiculously difficult to organize? Shelves? Can’t we have shelves? Or size-adjustable compartments? :stomp: :stomp:</rant-alert>)

    As I was putting the lump of unlively supposed-leavener into the bowl, I saw that there was some activity at the bottom! Just as a test, I thought I’d see if it floated.

    Ha!! Not a chance. It sank like a stone.

    17:58 I just pre-shaped the bread.

    I cannot get over how smooth this dough is! And thanks to the commercial yeast, it has risen nicely.

    Does it ever smell different from our usual bread! It’s not unpleasant. But I’m not certain I love it. However, it will probably be delicious with tomorrow night’s chili con carne.

    13 January 2020, 15:46 I feel like such a failure, having resorted to adding commercial yeast! Our fake Arkatena bread was really good though. I do plan to try again with the actual recipe – really I do – but I don’t think I can manage it in time for 16th.

    Ha. Perhaps I’ll bake as a BBBuddy. :-)

    And, according to Paula Wolfert, if it DOESN’T turn out, it can be made into rusks as sge suggests in her book, “Mediterranean Grains and Greens”:

    Happily this is a bread you can practice on with good results since you need not discard your mistakes. Even when your first efforts aren’t perfect, you can still turn them into good- tasting rusks. […]
    To Make The Rusks:
    Prepare step 1 through 4 in the recipe for Chick-Pea Leavened Bread, in step 5 after you have shaped the loaves, use a wet thin-bladed knife to cut each loaf into one-inch thick slices. Reform the two loaves and place them in the oiled pan. Bake as directed above for 30 minutes. Bread is three-quarters cooked. Remove to cool on a rack while oven temperature reduces to 250 degrees. Break apart slices, place side by side on the stone or tiles and continue baking until completely dry throughout and pale golden, about two hours. When cold, store the rusks in tins or cloth bags. […] Crushed rusks make good sturdy breadcrumbs. – Paula Wolfert, Mediterranean Grains and Greens

Arkatena Bread Cheat

Ah! The wonders of commercial yeast!

Sure, the loaf may be a little flat but at least it rose and turned into edible bread. Highly edible….

It was especially good with butter and thinly sliced cheese.

Arkatena Bread Cheat

Below is the Arkatena Bread recipe that I gave to the other BBBabes. Please, do as I say, and not as I did:

Arkatena Bread
based on Andrew Whitley’s recipe for Arkatena Bread in “Bread Matters”, p.190-193

If you like bread with a hefty crust, chewy crmb 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 […] called arkatena and made with natural fermentation of chickpeas.

Makes one large loaf or ring

Please note that the Chickpea starter takes 3 days to create.

Chickpea Starter (3 day process…)

  • Day 1
    • 17g chickpea flour (aka gram flour, garbanzo flour, besan)
    • 23g water
  • Day 2
    • all the starter from Day 1 (total of 40g)
    • 17g chickpea flour
    • 23g water
  • Day 3
    • all the starter from Days 1&2 (total of 80g)
    • 46g 100% wholewheat flour
    • 35g water


  • 50g wholewheat flour
  • 50g chickpea flour
  • 145g unbleached all-purpose flour and 5g vital wheat gluten (or 150g bread flour)
  • all the bubbling arkatena starter from above (161 grams)
  • 120g water

Actual Dough

  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 290g unbleached all-purpose flour and 10g vital wheat gluten (or 300g bread flour)
  • 10g wheat germ (omit if you mill your own flour)
  • 300g water, divided (keep back 25g for adding the salt)
  • all the leavener (531 grams)
  • 10g seasalt
  • 2g fennel seeds


  • water
  • sesame seeds
  1. starter: In the late afternoon, three days before you will be baking the bread:
    • Put 17 grams chickpea flour (aka gram flour, besan) and 23 grams water into a medium-sized bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix it together. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on. Andrew Whitley writes:
      Keep this mixture as near to a constant 28°C as you can manage.
    • In the late afternoon, two days before you will be baking the bread: Use a wooden spoon to stir 17 grams chickpea flour and 23 grams water into the mixture in the bowl. Re-cover the bowl with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on.
    • In the late afternoon, one day before you will be baking the bread: Use a wooden spoon to stir 46 grams wholewheat flour and 35 grams water into the mixture in the bowl. Re-cover the bowl with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on. Andrew Whitley writes:
      After a few more hours fermentation, you should have a lively arkatena starter.
  2. leavener: In the late evening of the day before you will be baking the bread, put all the leavener ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to create dough that is about 27°C. This is what Whitley writes about how to achieve the desired temperature:
    To determine the temperature of water for breadmaking, use the following formula:
    2 x desired dough temperature minus actual flour temperature equals required water temperature

    Cover with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light on. Whitley writes that this takes about 4 hours and that the leavener is ready when it has “expanded appreciably but not collapsed on itself“. I confess that I am not likely to pay strict attention to Whitley’s temperature formula and may simply use body temperature water instead of getting my thermometer out… :lalala: I am also assuming that the covered bowl of leavener will be happy to staying overnight in the oven with only the light on.
  3. actual dough: In the morning of the day you will be baking the bread:
    • Put flours, wheat germ, the leavener, and all but 25 grams of water into a large mixing bowl. Stir with a dough whisk (or wooden spoon). Cover with a plate and set aside on the counter for 30 to 40 minutes.
    • Adding the salt and fennel seeds: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into the final 25 grams water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough. Dump the fennel seeds on top.
    • Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
    • Stretching and folding the dough: Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter and spring, into the oven with only the light turned on). Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. You’ll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother (in spite of the grains from the multi-grain cereal). After the final time of folding, the dough is ready to pre-shape.
    • Pre-shaping: Scatter a light dusting of all-purpose flour on the board and gently place the dough onto the board. Fold the dough over in half, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Continue folding in half until the dough is shaped in a ball. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for about 30 minutes.
    • Shaping and adding the topping: Without breaking the skin, use the dough scraper on the sides to tighten the dough ball further. Once it has been tightened, run your hands under the cold water tap. Poke a hole the center of the ball to form a ring, then gently rub the top of the ring to wet it thoroughly. Cover the top with a single layer of sesame seeds. Lightly spray again before putting the shaped loaf onto a piece of parchment paper (or into a rice-floured brotform). Cover with the tea towel again and let sit for an hour or so to allow the loaf to almost double.
    • Baking: To know when it’s time to bake, run your index finger under water and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread with the tea towel and leave it in the oven with only the light turned on. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, leave the tray on the counter. Put cast-iron combo cooker and/or baking stone on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 400F. When the oven is preheated about fifteen minutes later:
      • Combo Cooker: Use the parchment paper to lift the shaped loaf into the frying pan part of the combo cooker. Immediately put the hot deep-sided pan of the combo cooker on top as a lid. Put the bread in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 375F. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking for another 30 minutes, until the crust is a lovely dark golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when knuckle-rapped on the bottom.
      • Freeform on Baking Stone: Transfer the shaped loaf (including the parchment paper) onto the hot stone. Place an overturned stainless steel mixing bowl to cover the bread. Immediately turn the oven down to 375F. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking for another 30 minutes, until the crust is a lovely dark golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when knuckle-rapped on the bottom.
    • Cooling: When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating. The bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.


Measuring units: It’s significantly easier to measure ingredients by weight. A digital scale is ideal, but a spring scale also works. If you do not have a scale, please look at this excellent online resource from Gourmet Sleuth: Cooking Conversions Calculator

Fennel Seed: In his recipe for Arkatena Bread, Andrew Whitley calls for a whopping 20 grams fennel seed – roughly 10 teaspoons! That must be a typo. I made an executive decision to remove a zero.

Salt: Andrew Whitley calls for only 7 grams of salt (1.2% baker’s percentage). This too could be a typo, although it may also be due to Whitley’s refusal to use baker’s percentages.
I may offend the baking fraternity by also rejecting the system known as “baker’ percentages”. This bizarre throwback seems to me to defy logic as much as language by treating the flour quantity in any recipe as 100 per cent and relating other ingredients to that. […] If you want to know how much salt there is in a recipe expressed in this way, you cannot go by the stated figure (1.5 per cent) because it tells you only what percentage the salt is of the flour (in [the] example, salt is in fact 0.89 per cent of the dough).
– Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters, Chapter Three: Taking Control, p.66

Whitley’s total for his Arkatena dough is 1027 grams, making 0.68% for the percentage of salt, or a baker’s percentage of just 1.03% for the salt, ie: rather low…. For some people, even 10 grams of salt may be low. But 1.8% salt (by baker’s percentage) seems reasonable.

edit 16 January 2020: As it happens, I added only 8 grams salt because I was foolishly following an older version of the recipe I had copied out. :lalala: However much salt is used, there’s a very good reason to weigh the salt, rather than use volume measures. For more raving about this, please see Salt is salt, right?

Leavener: Freshloafer, Hanseata, chose to build her leavener by adding chickpea flour to her already-created whole wheat starter, adjusting the ingredients list as follows:

5 g whole wheat or rye starter
15 g water
15 g garbanzo (chickpea) flour
45 g all first step leaven
19 g water
23 g whole wheat flour
4 g garbanzo (chickpea) flour
91 g all second step leaven
68 g water
28 g whole wheat flour
28 g garbanzo (chickpea) flour
85 g all-purpose flour
100 g whole wheat flour
300 g all-purpose flour
10 g salt
300 g water
1 – 2 g fennel seeds
300 g production leaven (all)

edit 16 January 2020: Because my chickpea leavener failed, I took the liberty of adding 2 grams of active dry yeast to the actual dough recipe.
Additionally, in deference to T’s horror of “health bread”, I added less whole wheat flour, subsituting with unbleached all-purpose flour. And because the vital wheat gluten is still lost in the freezer, I was forced to omit turning our all-purpose flour into bread flour. With the bread turning out as well as it did, I’m suspecting that bread flour isn’t necessary at all. I’ll probably omit it every time now.

Wheat Germ or not: Apparently, most commercial flour is roller milled, rather than being stone milled. There is a reference to this in Michael Pollan’s book, “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation”, but Andrew Whitley goes into much more detail, citing Industries des Céréales, 2005, Nº142, Avril/Mai 2005:

Before the invention of roller milling, all flour was produced by crushing wheat between revolving stones. All parts of the wheat — bran, germ and starchy endosperm — were pulverised and mixed together […] The roller-milling system, deployed from 1870 onwards, was quite different. It passed the wheat between pairs of steel cylinders, which gradually stripped the layers off the grain, sifting the material thus produced into a series of streams, […] [reducing] several important nutrients, including calcium, iron and B vitamins, which the stones had formerly dispersed throughout the flour. Removing the germ, which contains virtually all the valuable vitamin E of the wheat, was a nutritional disaster
[A]lmost all the ‘whole’ wheat flour produced today is from roller mills.  
– Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters, p22-25
[L]a mouture sur meules permet d’augmenter sensiblement les teneurs en magnésium et en zinc, que ce soit en agriculture conventionnelle ou biologique (environ 30%)
[Grinding on stone makes it possible to increase appreciably the magnesium and zinc contents, whether it is in conventional or organic culture (approximately 30%)]
En général, la farine en provenance de l’agriculture conventionnelle est produite avec des moulins à cylindres et celle issuue de l’agriculture biologique est produite par mouture sur meules. Dans ces conditions, la comparaison des teneurs en elements mineraux des farines fait ressortir des differences tres significatives
[In general, flour from conventional agriculture is produced with roller milling and that from organic farming is produced by stone grinding. Under these conditions, the comparison of the mineral content of the flours shows very significant differences.]
Average amounts fo various grain and flour minerals obtained by stone or roller mill grinding
Tableau V : Teneurs moyennes (mg/kg m.s.) en quelques minéraux des grains et farines obtenues par mouture sur cylindres ou meules en cultures conventionnelle et biologique (Récolte 2003)
[Figure V: Average amounts (in mg/kg m.s.) of various grain and flour minerals obtained by stone or roller mill grinding in conventional and organic crops (2003 Harvest)]
– French National Institute for Agricultural Research,
Influence du type de mouture (cylindres vs meules) sur les teneurs en minéraux des différentes fractions du grain de blé en cultures conventionelles et biologiques (pdf) (en français), Industries des Céréales, 2005, Nº142, Avril/Mai 2005


Arkatena Bread cheat

It turns out that we really love this bread! I bet it will be even better when it is leavened with the chickpea flour starter!

T thought it had a little too much fennel (imagine what he would have thought if I had blindly followed Whitley’s advice to throw in 20 grams of fennel!) but I really liked it. Next time, I’ll compromise and add just 1 gram.

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep Baking

If you’ve managed to get this far, you know that I am the host for January 2020’s Bread Baking Babes’ project.

And we know that in spite of all the warnings that it’s so drastically difficult, you’ll want to make this bread! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make Arkatena Bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 January 2020.

Here’s how to let us know:

  • email me
    » Remember to include your name and a link to your post
    » Please type “BBB January 2020 bread” in the subject heading

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please email if you want to be included.

If you don’t have a blog or flickr-like account, no problem; we still want to see and hear about your bread! Please email me with the details, so your walnut bread can be included in the roundup too.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ January 2020 Bread.



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7 responses to “Arkatena Bread… Almost (BBB January 2020)

  1. Karen Baking Soda (Bake My Day)

    It does look good though, I’d say definitely inviting!
    I think about buddy baking if I can find gram flour (ha who am i kidding I know where to find it)

    edit: Wooohoooo! This is thrilling news, Karen! I look forward to your report. (You’re going to be amazed at the foam that appears with the chickpea flour fermenting!) – Elizabeth

  2. Tanna (MyKitchenInHalfCups)

    So I’m with T, I’m not in this one with fennel but rosemary sounds good to me.
    I consider you got a really glorious looking loaf here Elizabeth, not at all flat in my book. Your loaf looks gorgeous with fabulous crumb.
    We are loving this bread. I’m enjoying Whitley’s book again in hardback now (I had it originally on my iPad).
    This was a terrific choice for January. I didn’t really think it difficult.

    edit: Maybe my problem was believing that it was difficult. I’ll try again! Without adding even one grain of commercial yeast. – Elizabeth
    Whitley’s book is definitely worthwhile re-reading, isn’t it? I cannot believe how much I missed the first time through. (Ha. It turns out that I have learned – and retained – something, in spite of myself, as time goes by.)

    1. Tanna (MyKitchenInHalfCups)

      I remember reading his book the first time around but it seems even richer the second time.

      edit: This is exactly my experience. I tried to buy it back then and got a message that the book was out of print and unavailable. I’ll try again now that the book has gone into a second edition. – Elizabeth

  3. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    The loaf definitely did have a tangy odor! But didn’t taste particularly sour… (Like my fragment there?) I have definitely lost things in the freezer that I darn well KNEW were in there somewhere. Love the shine on your crumb. Really loving this bread toasted!

    edit: It is delicious toasted, isn’t it? And. Loved your fragment! There should always be at least one fragment. (Maybe I’ll put that into the commenting guidelines.) – Elizabeth
    I really should look again in the freezer. I feel certain the vital wheat gluten is there!

  4. Cathy (Bread Experience)

    Thanks for the challenge Elizabeth! I really like the flavor of this bread. I’m glad I did the chickpea starter, but I may try it differently next time.

    edit 18 January 2020, 18:30: I’m so glad you liked it, Cathy! I keep waffling about the chickpea flour starter, and find myself considering fermenting the chickpea flour, creating a leavener out of our Jane Mason wheat starter, and then adding the fermented chickpea sludge to the actual dough. This would make it a 2 day process instead of 3. – Elizabeth

  5. barbara

    Glad you got a good loaf out of it. I can’t wait for the follow-up report when you make it the official way!

    About the freezer, I don”t know what I’d do without the shelves and wire basket we put into ours. Even so, it’s sometimes hard to find things.

    edit 18:30: I’m looking forward to the followup too, Barbara. Although… I confess I’m a little nervous. Will it work??
    As for the freezer, I have installed a few shelves and some baskets that have labels on them. And yet, things still get lost. (I found the vital wheat gluten today – it was pretty much where I thought it should be. I can’t even begin to imagine where it was when I was looking in exactly that spot the other day. I looked twice! NO. Thrice!!)
    – Elizabeth

  6. Katie (thyme for cooking)

    You must have a chest freezer…. mine is the other kind with lots of shelves. I’d be lost otherwise.
    Valiant effort on the bread. As someone famous once said about plans ‘gang aft agley’
    Still – a good bread is always appreciated, right? Even a creatively made one.
    Sorry we didn’t get to see the bubbles…

    edit 20 January 2020, 18:32: I WISH we had a chest freezer, Katie! Our freezer is one of those tiny things attached to the fridge. The only shelves (if you can call them shelves) are on the door.
    When I make the bread again, I’ll try to remember to take a photo of the bubbles.
    – Elizabeth


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