Monday, August 16, 2021

Hot Rocks



The Babes are certainly an adventurous group of bread bakers.  Take the August challenge, for example.  This recipe required a trip to the hardware store/garden center to purchase a container of rocks.  One more baking tool in the Babes’ arsenal.


Elizabeth, of Blog from OUR Kitchen, was the Kitchen of the Month for August, and she was excited to have everyone bake Naan Sangak, or Persian Pebble Bread. 

This is a basic naan flatbread that is baked on a bed of very hot stones in either the oven, or on a grill.   


The dough can be leavened with either yeast or sourdough starter.  I opted for the yeast version and used a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi from Master Class.  It was a great dough to work with and baked up nicely.


However, contrary to common knowledge, the bread did not release from the stones after baking.  There were a few stones that clung to the bread for dear life, having to be pried from the underside of the naan, but this baker was victorious in removing them.


This was a flavorful bread, easy to prepare, and fun to bake and eat, especially with the toasted nigella seeds on top.


If you visit Elizabeth’s blog, you can find the detailed recipe and a lovely story behind this interesting bread.  Then, head out to your local garden store for some smooth stones, and have a good time baking along with us.  Send Elizabeth your story by the 29th to be included in the roundup and get a Buddy Badge for Naan Sangak.


Check out the other Bread Baking Babes to see their pebble bread:



Friday, July 16, 2021

Lemon Cruffins


 July’s Kitchen of the Month is Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.  Aparna chose Cruffins as our challenge recipe.  Cruffins are supposedly a hybrid of croissants and muffins, but, to me, their texture was more like a dinner roll.

First set of cruffins was a lemon-flavored, yeast-based bread.  They were very tasty, especially when rolled in lemon sugar while they were still warm.  These were the most successful.


 Second set of cruffins, which were actually baked before the first set, were sourdough chocolate cruffins.  No yeast involved here, so sadly, there was negligible movement as well, even though the starter was used right at its peak, and the dough was given ample time to rise.  Guess I’m just a yeast lover at heart.



Check out Aparna’s cruffins, and the recipe she used.  Hers are gorgeous!  Also, stop by to see how the other Babe’s fared – they made some mighty fine-looking cruffins.





Sunday, July 4, 2021

Novel Food #42: Eastern Mediterranean food


For the last few months I’ve been reading non-fiction books.  I had one novel on the nightstand, but just couldn’t get into it, and it even focused on baking and offered recipes.  One of the best books was on genetic engineering (The Code Breaker) – a great read, but not inspirational for recipes.  Another was on healthy vs unhealthy foods and how one’s body can benefit from making changes.  In the end, I decided to share one of my recent cookbook acquisitions, Ripe Figs, featuring Eastern Mediterranean recipes.  


It seems like more and more cookbooks feature travel and personal stories along with recipes, and this is one such book.  In between the chapters are stories that talk about the culture, the people, and the politics of the region, and how sharing food and recipes is an act that brings everyone together, allowing differences to disappear.


I love the flavor profiles of this region, and a peek into my pantry and refrigerator would confirm that.   


This meal is delicious:  chicken marinated in pomegranate molasses, sumac, cumin, Aleppo pepper, and allspice.  The broccolini is cooked with red onion, red bell pepper, dill, and Aleppo pepper.  Both dishes were so flavorful.  


I’ve made more chicken dishes and salads, and have quite a few recipes tagged.  Tonight’s dinner will be Greek meatballs in tomato sauce, and I’m looking forward to digging in.

This is my submission for Novel Food #42.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Hungarian Almond Roll


June’s Kitchen of the Month was Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms.  Elle challenged us to bake Gigi’s Hungarian Almond Roll.

Apparently, my experience making this was different then everyone else’s, and I even made it twice!

For the first bake, I weighed all the ingredients and used the stand mixer for kneading.  From the first moment, I could tell that the dough didn’t feel right.  Even after a few minutes of hand kneading, it was just different, more like a cookie dough than a bread dough.  But, I continued on.  Instead of taking one hour for the initial rise, it took 10 hours (and, yes, the yeast was fresh).  I let it chill overnight, then, because it was rock solid in the morning, had to let it rest several more hours before it was usable.  I decided to bake it without the filling, because I didn’t want to waste either filling or dough.

For the second bake, a week later, I used volume measures for the ingredients, and hand kneaded the dough.  This time it took only three hours to rise, but the dough still didn’t feel quite right.  I did roll it out, and filled it with almond meal and currants, adding a dash of cinnamon sugar.  After an hour or so, I just went ahead and baked it.  While it smelled great during the bake, the loaf ended up being dry and crumbly, surprising for such a greasy dough, a very unbread-like result.


I double checked many times to see if I had missed some ingredient, but couldn’t find any errors.  I wouldn’t make this again as it was so disappointing.  Looks like the other Babes had better success.

If you're willing to give it a try, and hopefully have better results, go to Elle's blog for the recipe.


Check out the other Bread Baking Babes: