Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jachnun

Our kitchen of the month was Lien of Notitie van Lien.  She challenged the Babes to make Jachnun, a Yemenite Jewish bread that has an overnight bake.  If you check out the various Babe sites, you will notice quite a variety of results.  It always surprises me that one recipe, prepared by different bakers, can turn out in such dissimilar ways.

Mine was no exception.  After some online research, I decided to bake my jachnun in a slow cooker overnight.  I used the same recipe (approximately), using all-purpose flour and honey.  I made the dough in the morning, so it could have a decent rest time, then prepared the rolls in the evening for the overnight bake.

The dough was extremely soft and sticky, so I don't know if that was correct.  I used my famous 'strudel' table to stretch out each one.  (It was rather like making strudel dough, and this table allows me access from every side.)  When they were rolled, I placed them in the slow cooker with layers of parchment paper, and set the timer for 12 hours.



The jachnun were definitely cooked, almost to the point of being inedible.  Next time, I would bake them for only 10 hours.  I served them with the traditional hard boiled eggs, but added sliced fresh strawberries rather than the grated tomatoes with zhug (a spicy condiment).




In the end, the jachnun were really very simple to prepare.  If you've made strudel dough before, it will be easy.  The tricky part is in the baking, but it is certainly worth trying at least once.



Jachnun

Ingredients

  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 25 grams date syrup (or honey)
  • 20 grams honey
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • 12 grams salt
  • 300 grams water (plus or minus)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, margarine, or oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, date syrup, honey, baking powder, salt, and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead for a few minutes. You can also mix and knead by hand. Let the dough relax for 10 minutes, and then knead again for about 5 minutes. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for an hour.
  2. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F and place a rack at the lowest position. Line the bottom of a 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan or casserole with with some stale bread and then with parchment paper.
  3. Divide the dough in to 6 pieces and shape them into balls. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. To stretch the rolls, oil or butter your work surface and place a piece of dough on it. Oil the top of the dough with you hands and begin stretching out the dough. Pull, stretch, and oil the dough until you have it as thin as possible. If you have tears, don't worry too much. When the dough is very thin, fold it in thirds, like a letter. Oil/butter the top, and roll the dough into a log. See this video. Continue with the rest of the pieces.
  5. Place each rolled piece of dough on the parchment in a single layer, and top with more parchment paper. Top with a double layer of foil, sealing the top of the pan tightly. Place a sheet pan on top of the foil. Place in the oven overnight, and bake for 12 hours. The Jachnun should be a deep golden brown. 
  6. Serve hot with grated tomato, hard boiled eggs, and zhug (recipe below).
Yield: Makes 6

To make the zhug, process 1 teaspoon chili flakes, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds, 4 garlic cloves, pinch of ground cardamom, pinch of cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a handful (about 30 grams) of cilantro in the food processor with enough olive oil to make the mixture into a sauce. This can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator.


Participating Babes:


Cathy from Bread Experience
Kelly from A Messy Kitchen
Karen from Bake My Day
 
 
 
 If you want to bake along as a buddy, send your story and photos to Lien at notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com) subject: BBBread February by the 28th of the month.  The roundup will be posted in early March.

3 comments:

hobby baker said...

Oh my, that one did get crispy crittered didn't it? But I never would have known if you didn't post that picture because your jachnun plating looks really nice with the egg and strawberry accompaniments! And I am quite envious of your strudel table.

Elizabeth said...

It was indeed a challenge this month, wasn't it?

I would have thought that the slow-cooker would stop the jachnun from getting overly browned! Go figure.

If you have any left-over, they make great croutons. I had one jachnun left that was impossible to cut in half even with our sharpest largest knife. I put it into a plastic bag for a couple of days and left it on the counter in our chilly kitchen. That softened it enough that I could cut it into coins. The resulting croutons were wonderful.

Karen Kerr said...

I totally would have thought that the slow cooker would have been insurance against burning! Go figure! I'm pretty sure trying them once is enough =)