Monday, May 17, 2010

Bread Baking Babes: Twofer Breads from a Bad Babe

I've been a Bad Babe the past few months.

Between traveling over hill and dale for my crazy work schedule and well, being distracted trying to earn an exemption into the LPGA (yea, right..) I have to truthful and tell you that baking bread hasn't exactly been at the top of my list lately.

It isn't that the breads the Babes have been baking aren't interesting and when I see the recipes posted in our secret clubhouse, I get all excited. BUT, by the time I find a few minutes to actually sit down and bake, I'm out of time before we are suppose to post. SO, I promise the gals that I will be a "buddy" that month. And you know what happens right? Yup, before I know it I've missed that posting date too! BAD BABE!!!

Anyways, last month my very good friend, twin sister and mother of just about the cutest little boy you have ever laid eyes on, Sara at I Like To Cook was our host kitchen and she gave us one of the best breads we've ever done, Potato Bread with Chives.

BBB logo april 2010

Now, I have to admit when I first read this recipe I thought to myself how can anything "vegan" be really that good. After all, I'm not a huge fan of soy milk but this bread is F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.

Sara gave us the option to shape the bread any way we wanted and I opted to make little knots.

april BBB Bread: Potato Bread with Chives

I also added a bit of garlic to the dough to go with the chives and coated the knots with garlic butter when they came out of the oven. They were a HUGE hit when I took them to my watering hole. I love this bread so much, I actually keep single servings of soy milk on hand now so I can make it when ever I want to!

This month, Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies is our host kitchen and she has picked a humdinger of a bread for us this month: Tunisian Spicy Bread.

BBB logo May 2010

These are like empanadas but with those fantastic middle eastern spices and heat, Heat, HEAT baby!!

May BBB Bread: Tunisian Spicy bread

The dough is made from Semolina flour and is rich and eggy and frankly, really not my favorite dough we've made. But that is OK because it is the filling (chakchouka) that is the star of this bread.

A filling made of tomatoes, onions, peppers with chilies, cayenne pepper and harissa, it pushes the bread, which is a bit bland in taste to the background. Which, in my opinon is A-OK. I love the filling so much, I'm glad I made a big batch. I've been dipping corn chips, the leftover frozen Naan that was our January bread this year, carrots and anything I can think of into it.

If you want to be a Bread Baking Buddy this month for the Tunisian Spicy Bread visit Natashya's blog for details. You have until May 24th to get her your post about your experience with the Tunisian Spice Bread and don't worry about the spicy part, she let's adjust the heat to taste.

Unfortunately, you can't be a buddy for Sara's bread because the deadline has passed but you should really give the bread a try. I even use the dough for pizza dough! It's that good.

And don't forget to visit the rest of the Babes listed over there on my sidebar to see how they shaped their Potato Bread with Chives and how spicy they like things with the Tunisian Spicy Bread.

May 2010 Bread Baking Babes Bread Recipe:

Tunisian Spicy Breads
from Savory Baking from the Mediterranean by Anissa Helou

These are a Tunisian spin on r'ghayefs. Here the dough is made entirely with semolina flour and enriched with oil and egg, and the filling is enclosed between two circles of dough. The breads are usually pan-fried, but I prefer to bake them. Although the amount of harissa and cayenne pepper in the filling may seem excessive, the heat of the spices is tempered by the bread casing. The filling, which is called chakchouka, may also be served on its own as a salad or a dip. Harissa*, made by grinding chili peppers, garlic, and caraway seeds, is widely available in Middle Eastern markets and in some supermarkets.

*or feel free to make your own harissa! There are plenty of recipes online.

Makes 20-22 small breads


For the dough
3 1/3 tsp (1 1/2 pkg) (16.5 ml) active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups (828 ml) fine semolina or semolina flour
1 1/2 (7.5 ml) tsp fine kosher salt or sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp (22 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the breads
1 whole egg
All purpose flour for kneading and shaping

For the filling
3 Tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 heaping cup) (250+ ml)
1 medium bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup) (178 ml approx)
2 small chili peppers, such as serranos, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) harissa
1/2 (2.5 ml) teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fine kosher salt or sea salt


1. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water and stir until creamy.

2. Combine the semolina and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the 1 1/2 Tbsps (22 ml) olive oil and the egg to the well. Gradually add the yeast and 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsps (188 ml total) warm water, bringing in the semolina as you go along. Knead until you have a rough ball of dough.

3. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 3 minutes. Invert the bowl over the dough and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for about 2 to 3 minutes more. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest while the filling is prepared.

4. Make the filling: Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until golden. Add the tomatoes, chopped peppers, harissa, and cayenne. Season with salt to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is soft and the sauce is very thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.

5. Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place on a lightly floured work surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 400F (205C). Roll out one ball of dough until it is 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) thick. Using a 3 1/2 inch (8.9 cm approx) pastry cutter, cut out as many circles of dough as possible and set aside. Briefly knead the extra dough together, and place under the plastic wrap, next to the other ball of dough. Turn the circles over and place 1 tsp (5 ml) of filling in the middle of half of the circles. Cover with the remaining plain circles and press on the edges to seal. Flatten the breads slightly by hand and pinch the edges to flatten further and seal well. Brush with olive oil on both sides and transfer to a non-stick baking sheet, or to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone pastry mat. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. continue making the breads until the dough, including the scraps, is used up.

7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.

Note: To pan-fry the breads, heat a little oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place as many breads as will fit in the pan, brush the tops with olive oil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden on the bottom, pressing on the breads if they puff up. Turn the breads over, brush the cooked bottoms with oil, and cook for 3 minutes more, or until golden all over. Serve immediately.

April 2010 Bread Baking Babes Bread Recipe:

Potato Bread with Chives
from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson

"The addition of mashed potatos gives this bread a moist, dense texture and delicate flavor that is accented by that of the chives. This bread is best eaten slightly warm from the oven on the day it is made. It is also good toasted."

2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar or pure maple syrup
2 Tb corn oil
2 tsp salt
1 cup cold mashed potatos
1 cup soy milk or other dairy free milk
5 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
2 Tb minced fresh chives

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and 1/4 cup of the water. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, then stir in the remaining 3/4 cup of water, the corn oil and the salt. Mix in the potatos, then stir in the soy milk. Add about half the flour, stirring to combine, then work in the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Transfer to a lightly floured board.

Lightly flour your hands and work surface. Knead the dough well until it is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes, using more flour as necessary so the dough does not stick. Place in a large lightly oiled bowl and turn over once to coat with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, lightly oil a large baking sheet and set aside. Punch the dough down and knead lightly. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle with the chives, and knead until the dough is elastic and the chives are well distributed, 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into one large or two small round loaves and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly and cover with a clean damp towel or lightly oiled plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place and let rise again until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400'F. Use a sharp knife to cut an X into the top of the loaf or loaves. Bake on the center oven rack until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes, depending on size. Tap on the bottom of the loaf or loaves - if they sound hollow, the bread is done. Remove from the sheet and let cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing.