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Once Upon a time: Cooking … Baking … Traveling … Laughing …


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BBB Rgaïf – Moroccan Flat Bread

I am a little at a loss as to what I should talk about first … because I’m excited about so much happening. Perfect with Vegetable Beef Soup I’m excited to celebrate the Babes baking together for SIX -6- YEARS! I’m excited to welcome our two new Babes to keep us at an even active dozen.

Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen

Cathy from Bread Experience

And I’m very excited to have Lien as our Kitchen of the Month. Lien ( http://notitievanlien.blogspot.com ) is taking us to Morroco for a very delicate, sweet or savory if you fill it, flat bread.

Upon reading Lien’s recipe, my thoughts went something like this:

  • Hahahaha…yes I am on the floor knees up holding on for dear life. Scared, terrified … Why go on! My best position with this maybe to just … Oh shut up, just gut it up woman, go find a kitchen … Yes, find a kitchen …
  • The words that scared me:  Thin as paper …
  • This just rolled across your desk Lien. Um, it’s square … and flat … and thin … square & flat that must be why it didn’t keep rolling and fall off and get lost.
  • I can’t imagine how this can work and I’ll have plenty of time to shake and be scared until visiting friends and family in Florida in February.

Well, the friends we’re staying with gave me the OK to try these out in their kitchen.  These were good but I consider this bake “challenged”. It is always something of a distraction to bake in someone else’s kitchen and use what is there but it is also fun and can give a very new perspective to our “opinions” of what will work. Whenever I’m baking a recipe like this one … let me pause here to define what “this one” means to me … Bread in general has a long chain of history going back thousands of years. We were baking eons before fancy stand mixers, before yeast came in packets, before high tech designed pans and ovens and long before hybridized flours. This flatbread and others like it have long been baked by almost every culture we know and under very primitive conditions that you and I might consider impossible. That is a big part of why I think it is so wonderful to see “ancient” grains coming (back) onto the market and it’s the rational I use for adding whole grains of any kind even when not called for in a recipe. So while I may find an unfamiliar kitchen a challenge, I try to think of it as more fun than impossible. For this baking I used cups to measure the flour as no scale was available, bleached AP flour as that was what was on hand and one cup of whole wheat flour that I had brought with me from Seattle to Florida. I can’t remember the last time I bought “bleached” flour for anything but it must have been 25 to 30 years ago.

BBB Rgaïf – Moroccan Flat Bread

Recipe By: Lien from “Vrijdag couscousdag” by R. Ahali

Yield: 10-16 flat breads

IMG_3745

Ingredients:

500 grams flour, half whole wheat, half AP(2+ cups total)

1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary

30 grams ground flax seed, will use next time!

5,5 grams dry yeast (used 1 1/4 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon salt

250 ml 250 ml water

50 ml olive oil

(after watching the video & slide show, I’ll be much more liberal with the oil next time; probably make it a mix of butter and olive oil)

Directions: Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Kneading by hand:  Make a well in the centre and add some water, start mixing in the flour where it touches the water. Little by little add more water and keep mixing in the flour. Start kneading, grease your hands with a little oil to prevent sticking. Knead about 20 minutes. Mine took about 12 minutes  to become smooth and supple.  Add water if it feels too dry. Whenever I have to add water to a mixed dough, I try to add enough by wetting my hands and kneading it in – it takes time but it can be done. The dough needs to be very elastic and no dough should stick to your hands. There was no resting/rising time called for by the recipe … but, right you guessed it, rebel that I am to make it fit my schedule, at this point I oiled the dough ball, covered and refrigerated it. Several hours later it was shaped and baked as you see below. IMG_3748 Shape: Make 10- 16 dough balls depending on your pan size and how large you want them. Coat every ball with a little olive oil. Let them rest for about 5 minutes. Flatten the ball with your hand as much as you can. Stretch the dough. Take care to get no (or a little as possible) holes in the dough.  (While you only see 8 balls of dough here, this only represents half of the recipe. I divided the dough in half for ease of shaping and to prevent drying the dough.) IMG_3754You need to stretch the dough until it gets as thin as you can, thinner than paper if possible. It’s best done on a counter top, stretching the dough and sticking it to the surface, so it doesn’t spring back. This is not easy. Now fold the dough in squares by folding the round sides inwards. IMG_4916 Just before putting the squares into the skillet on low heat, the squares maybe flattened and spread out some again. Bake the squares in a hot large pan on both sides. I found a lower heat allowed the squares to bake through without burning. Only use more oil if the Rgaïf stick to the pan. You can also deep fry them (as they do in southern Morocco).IMG_3749 Serve: You can serve them with syrup, (strawberry) jam, chocolate sauce. But also you can use savory things, like thinly slices meat, cheese ecc. You can also spread some filling in them, before folding and baking them just keep in mind to make it thin.IMG_3764 After I baked the breads, I watched the following and made the following notes. I believe you will find the note links one to a video and the second to a slide show. Notes from video:

Notes from slide show:

Before folding, I lightly sprinkled several of these with cheddar cheese, several with goat cheese and several with jack cheese and pepperoni.  Some Beef Vegetable Soup was the perfect dinner with these Rgaïf! IMG_4922On the plate above you’ll see one that looks burned (it was not) and is rectangular. That one I brushed with brown sugar and cinnamon before folding. We divided it. It was the hit of the bunch for the sweet lovers. I of  course really loved the goat cheese. What did these look like in a side view? Did the yeast have any effect on these?  You must forgive the poor quality photo next.  It’s a little out of focus but it’s the only inside/side one I took. IMG_4941 What will I do different:

  • be prepared to start at medium low temperature not high
  • flatten each square again before adding to the skillet for baking; aim to get thinner layering
  • be more experimental with fillings

These were great fun! Good enough to do again. I’d like to try them with a Moroccan tagine. Check out all the Awesome Twelve Babes on my right side bar! Want to help us celebrate SIX YEARS OF BAKING and be a Most Awesome Bread Baking Buddy?  That would be just super awesome with us.  Lien is Kitchen of the Month:   Become our Bread Baking Buddy, stretch, fold, bake, taste, eat and let us know all about it, by sending your details and results to me (as I’m kitchen of the month this time). Mail me your name, blog url, post url and attach your favorite picture of the recipe. Send it to notitievanlien(at)gmail(polkadot)com. Deadline is the 29th of this month. You’ll be added to the round up somewhere in the first week of March ánd of course receive a wonderful Bread Baking Buddy Badge to add to your own post. I’ll be happy to see your entries come in!! BBB logo February 2014


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Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Filled Pane Bianco

I must apologize to Natashya.  Living In The Kitchen With Puppies (Natashya ) our most wonderful Kitchen of the Month, gave us a glorious recipe … for white bread and I used almost half white whole wheat and added ground flax seed.  Sigh, then when it came time for the kneading … I reached for the whole wheat, really I did.  Still, I really like the look, the crumb and for sure the taste.  Then when the recipe called for 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder, well, I haven’t had any of that in my house for maybe 30 years.  Since, I had just bought a long stocking of fresh garlic, there was just no way I was going to the store for 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder.  So, I’m really sorry Natashya, I really played with the recipe … oh and oops, I had a really bad senior moment and forgot to add the cheese to the tomato, garlic filling but hey what’s cheese for if not to put between two slices of a loaf and grill it!  Oh yes it is a glorious bread.  Thank you Natashya for inviting me to play.  And thank you King Arthur.

5 Garlic Heads

There are those of us who obsess about somethings.  Like measurements.  I’m not one of those.  Especially I’m not one of those when life tries to keep me in sleepless chaos.  Amazing how you can be totally exhausted, even falling asleep sitting up but as soon as you get horizontal, the brain leaps into high gear and starts reviewing every thing that’s got you tied to the worry wart and your eyes are wide open all night.  So while I can’t be bothered to obsess about measurements, Elizabeth takes care of all that obsessing for me.  (Not being one to name names.)  This is the kind of recipe I would look at and think “WAY to much yeast.”  No slow rise with flavor develop with this one.  BUT I’m getting a different picture lately.  Ordinarily I’d have been inclined to make it a tablespoon.  Since Elizabeth raved about the oven rise and I was using some whole wheat, I went with the 4 teaspoons.  I did put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes and let it rise then about an hour and a half.

As to the sugar … I’m at the end of a bag of brown sugar that’s gotten a little dry … so I used a clot (sort of like a big pinch).  See how carefully I measure.
Gosh, I’m beginning to feel rather heretical.  Normally, I go with the metric measures.  I really like just pouring flour from the bag into the bowl on the scale.  For some reason known only to the cosmos, I used the cup measures.  Go figure.

Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Filled Pane Bianco

Roasted Garlic
Recipe from: King Arthur Flour’s website adapted by Natashya
Yield: 2 loaves

Filling

Ingredients by volume:
* 1/2 cup warm water
* 1/4 cup sugar ~ sigh, couldn’t do it, just a pinch
* 4 teaspoons instant yeast
* 1 cup warm skim milk
* 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons salt ~ didn’t really measure
* 6 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
* 1 (8 1/2-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
* 5 heads garlic, roasted, yes really
* 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese, forgotten but topped with parmesan
* 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil ~ not quite

S shape

1) Combine the water, sugar (I used just a pinch), yeast, milk, olive oil, eggs, salt, and flour, and mixed and kneaded by hand, until you’ve made a cohesive, soft dough. By hand, the dough formed a smooth ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and turn to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 45 minutes.  To roast my garlic and let it cool, I wanted a slightly slower rise.  A twenty minute rest in the fridge followed by an hour and a half rise on the counter worked very well.

2) Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the sun-dried tomatoes; lay them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Using kitchen shears, finely chop the tomatoes.

3) Line two baking sheets with parchment. Gently deflate the dough and divide it in half. Roll one piece into a 22″ x 8 1/2″ rectangle. Sprinkle on half the garlic, cheese, basil, and tomatoes.

4. 4) Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal.

5) Place the log seam-side down on a baking sheet. Using kitchen shears, start 1/2″ from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1″ deep, to within 1/2″ of the other end.

6) Keeping the cut side up, form an “S” shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the “S” to form a “figure 8”; pinch the ends together to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes.

Playing around

7) For the second loaf, I played with a different shape.  Filled and rolled the same way but cut the ends became the center buds and the log cut into triangles.

IMG_3244

8) While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.9) Bake the first loaf for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent the loaf with foil after 15 to 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. Bake the remaining loaf.IMG_323910) Remove loaves from their pans; cook on racks. Store any leftovers well-wrapped, at room temperature.The cheese sandwichBecause I forgot the cheese in the filling, I tried several slices on the grill … OH MY OH MY what a glorious cheese sandwich.BBB logo april 2013Want to try this bread with us?  You know you do!  If you wanna give this one a bake too, you’re all very welcome to bake along as our Bread Baking Buddy. Bake, tell us what your thoughts are about it, blog and send it all to Living In The Kitchen With Puppies (Natashya ).  Here’s the scoop from Natashya:  I invited the Bread Baking Babes to have fun with this bread, and all Buddies and home bakers are welcome to join in. If you would like to bake this delicious bread – bake it up, blog it, and let us know how you liked the experience. Send me a link by April 26th, and a medium-sized photo if I can’t get one from your site, to kitchenpuppies AT gmail DOT com – I’ll put up a round-up on the 27th.  Send an e-mail with Buddy for Tomato Basil & Garlic Filled Pane Bianco.  Really, you’ll enjoy this even if you don’t use five heads of garlic.