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Jachnun ~ BBB ~ Questions of BREAD ~ 12 hours baking

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What makes it bread?  Is it one or more ingredient? Is it how we use/eat it?  Is there any one thing about bread that makes it bread?  The Babes have danced around this question in various ways from time to time.  Coffee cake? Does it qualify as bread because it uses yeast … because we eat it like bread … or because we eat it drinking coffee for breakfast?  Does a quick bread using no yeast but baking soda qualify because it’s named bread?  What qualifies bread to be bread?

Lien  brought us to the kitchen table with this introduction and question and her answer to the question:  This recipe was stuck in my head for a while. I guess the 12 hour baking time did that. Then I wondered is this a bread? No yeast, but baking powder?! No yeast can still make real bread, think flatbread, wraps and so on. But baking powder is linked to pastry in my brain. Things like banana bread (with baking powder/soda) is called a bread in English, but for me that’s a loaf cake and absolutely not a bread. So I let it sink in for a while to decide if it was bread worthy or not. It is not sweet, not eaten with sweet things, even if it is a breakfast item. And it’s function is a bread… I can see it like that, and so it is, and that’s what we’re baking. … It feels like an adventure…

What makes bread BREAD?  Not sure I have the answer but this is bread by any qualifying test I can come up with.  What do you think?

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Jachnun ~ BBB

Serving: 9-12

500 g bread flour, 100 grams of the 500 white whole wheat
45 g date syrup, recipe called for 20 of honey
pinch of baking powder, generous
12 g fine salt
300 ml water to make spongy dough
60 grams butter, melted

*Zhug
1 teaspoon chili flakes, or 1 red fresh chili pepper (or 1 tsp chili flakes)
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander, ground
4 medium garlic cloves
Pinch of cardamom, ground
Pinch of cloves, ground
½ teaspoon salt
30 g coriander leaves (or parsley if you dislike coriander)
Olive oil, enough to make a sauce-like consistency

Place all ingredients in a bowl and crush it to a sauce in a blender or with a stick blender.
Place the Zhug in a clean jar and refrigerate.
(Fridge shelf life about 2 weeks)
Serve with:
8 eggs, poached
1 large tomato (or 2 smaller ones)

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1. DOUGH
Mix the flour, date syrup, baking powder, salt and water together to form a sticky wet  dough and knead for a few minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes to let the gluten relax.  Next time: use at least half white whole wheat flour.  I think using the bread flour probably gave this the gluten needed to give this dough needed stretch so I’ll stick with bread flour for at least 50%.

To develop gluten you now start to knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place it in a lightly greased bowl and give it a stretch and fold like this: Lift up the side of the dough and fold it over, turn the bowl and repeat this for about 7 or 8 times.
Cover with plastic and leave to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Or leave your dough until evening.

2. PAN & OVEN
You can use a (ovenproof) cooking pan or springform (about 20 cm in diameter). Given an ill equipped kitchen, I used a skillet with lid.

Fold a long piece of parchment paper lengthwise and place it in the pan, so the ends hang over the rim of the pot.
Preheat the oven to 105ºC/225ºF and place a rack in the lowest position in your oven.  I might try one notch up from the lowest position to see if it would reduce toughness on the bottom of the rolls OR I wonder if lining the bottom of the pan with bread would influence that.

I mixed my dough early in the morning and didn’t shape it until 6 in the evening.

3. SHAPING

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Divide the dough in 6 more or less equal pieces, shape them into a ball and leave to rest 10 minutes before the stretching begins. I divided the dough into 6 pieces and rolled three that size. But the last 3 pieces I divided in half which gave me 6 smaller jachnun.  I liked the smaller size best.  Next time I will divide the dough to make 12 rolls.
To shape these rolls you have to stretch them using butter, oil or margarine.  Butter, flavor … I used butter.
Grease your work surface, place one piece of dough on it, grease the top and start working to make it the thinnest possible, while greasing it constantly. It is best to do this by hand, other methods (rolling pin) do not give the thinness.
When the dough is very thin (preferably like fillo or strudel dough) fold 1/3 of one side over onto the dough, repeat with the other side (like a business letter). You now have a long strip, keep buttering/greasing the top, while you roll – starting at the narrow edge- the dough in a tight cylinder.

This video will show you how: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oygxy4i3u30

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When I shaped the first roll, the video rolled in my head and I found myself patting the dough flat and lifting around the edges, stretching it out.  I didn’t get the nearly perfect rectangle that she did in the video but the defects pretty much didn’t bother the final outcome.

4. Prepare for the oven
I placed my rolls in a single layer which allowed them all to color evenly and dark golden brown.  NOTE: Would a layer of bread on the bottom of the pan prevent the hardness on the bottom of the rolls?  Would just moving the oven rack from the very bottom rack up one would solve that issue?
Traditionally eggs are cooked in the pan with the rolls, I skipped that part but I did have one of the rolls warmed with a poached egg the second morning.  It’s perfect breakfast.
Take a double layer of aluminum foil, cover the pot, securing the edges of the pan. Use a lid or a sheet pan to place on top of the foil. (or use a lid if available to keep it tight).
Place it on the rack in the oven and bake for 12 hours.

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5. You should understand you have to plan the timing of this… or get up in the middle of the night.
Mixing the dough in the early morning, leaving it out on the counter during the day, shaping the rolls and putting them into the oven at about the same hour in the evening that you want to take them out in the morning worked beautifully for me.  A twelve hour bake at 225 F worked perfectly.

The next morning you take out the pan, place the jachnuns on a plate and serve it with eggs around them. Serve with grated tomato and Zhug (a spicy and hot dipping sauce) for breakfast.  Reheat well.

I’ve marked this a laminated bread because of all the butter plastered on the dough and stretching it thin and folding and rolling AND because the aroma when I took this warm from the oven reminded me of croissants.

The book “Breaking breads” has a slightly different recipe for Jachnun.  It calls for all purpose flour.  My feeling is you’ll get better gluten development and crumb using bread flour but I did not try all purpose.  Experience/intuition tells we this would traditionally have been bake using whole wheat flour and butter.   I might try this with all white whole wheat just to see what it does, it would be better for me health wise but I wouldn’t want to lose the gluten the bread flour seems to add.

Cafe Liz has  interesting points on Jachnun and is worth checking out as well.

And Zhug … don’t miss it. WOW glorious. Too strong for you, reduce the hot stuff and/or miss in a little goat cheese.
Lien I will forever be grateful for this “bread”.

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You can see the crumb here is very bread like … no yeast can be bread?  Now go dip that in a poached egg will you?  Well, it’s my idea of a little roll of heaven and it’s bread.  So, yeast does not define BREAD.  What defines bread as BREAD?  I’ll keep baking…

Bake with us … help define BREAD … be a Bread Baking Buddy.   It is an adventure bake. Wanna give it a go, be Brave and become our Bread Baking Buddy. Shape, bake, sleep, taste, take a picture, tell us about it and sent it to the Kitchen of the month (that’s me this time: notitievanlien(at)gmail(dot)com) subject: BBBread february. And I’ll send you the Bread Baking Buddy Badge in return, to add to your post if you like ánd I’ll add you to the BBB Round-up, which will be on around March first. Deadline 29th of this month. Have fun baking!

By the way, this is Gorn’s latest love.