Nángbĭng – Uyghur Flatbread #BreadBakers

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One of the things I enjoy most about baking is venturing into different cultures and learning about their histories and traditional foods. And so it goes with this bread, Nángbĭng, a traditional flatbread of the Uyghur (pronounced Wigger, at least according to a video I found online). Who, you may ask, are the Uyghur? Good question! So pay attention, class. There may be a quiz.

From Wikipedia (I know, I know. Shut up. The Uyghur American Society backs 'em up. So there.): The Uyhgur are a Turkic ethnic group, mostly Islamic, living in East and Central Asia, primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China, where they are one of 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities.

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Bread plays an important role in almost all ethnic cultures and for the Uyhgur, that bread is the flatbread they call nang (not sure where the "bing" part of the name comes in but lets roll with it.) According to Saveur, which is where I found this recipe, it's typically rolled out, sprinkled with seeds and spices (or not) and baked in a tandoor. It's also made with a flour that's lower in protein than the typical American all-purpose flour, and it's this lower gluten flour that gives the nang a fluffy texture. Of course, since most of us have access to neither Chinese flour nor to a tandoor (What? I don't have a tandoor?!? Well, not yet anyway…) the recipe is adapted to use a baking stone and a combination of all-purpose and pastry flours. 

I love flatbreads and this one was no exception. Easy and fun to make, with a great fluffy texture, it's best eaten warm (I slathered mine with hummus—very multi-cultural). It was also a good way for me to ease back into baking, which, frankly, hasn't gone so well for a while. Most of my attempts, in fact, ended up looking a lot like this flatbread only they weren't supposed to. There's a saying the food affects your mood but I can tell you for a fact that mood affects your food too. And my mood until recently has been pretty black, oh, since around November of 2016, if you get my not-so-subtle drift. So it's good to be back (ish). 

This nángbĭng is my entry for this month's BreadBakers theme: Flatbreads with yeast or starter, hosted by Sonia. Make sure you check out the list below to see what the rest of the crew baked up. They're a super talented and creative bunch.

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Nángbĭng – Uyghur Flatbread

Ingredients

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. active dry yeast 
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2⁄3 cup pastry flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. peanut oil
  • Optional toppings: sesame seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, ground black pepper, sea salt

Directions

  1. Add the yeast, sugar and 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water to the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit for about 10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together the flours, wheat germ and salt, then add to yeast mixture, along with the butter and oil.
  3. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until just combined, then switch to the dough hook and kned on medium speed until the dough is smooth, about 6–8 minutes. Cover the bowl, set aside and let rise at room temperature until doubled.
  4. Deflate the dough, then cover and let rise again until doubled. While the dough is rising, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 500°.
  5. After the dough has doubled for the second time, transfer to a floured board and divide it into 4 pieces. Round off the pieces, then cover and let rest for about 15 minutes.
  6. Using a rolling pin on a floured board, roll each piece into a 7" round and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the rounds and let rise for about 30 minutes.
  7. Right before baking, prick the rounds all over, then brush with water and sprinkle on any toppings.
  8. Slide the rounds onto the baking stone, bake for 3–5 minutes or until the edges are just browned.
  9. These breads are best served warm.

Recipe source: Saveur

Notes

The original recipe says to add the salt in with the yeast, sugar and water mix but this just about killed me dead. All I could hear in my head was "YOU'LL KILL THE YEAST! YOU'LL KILL THE YEAST!"—a warning that's the bread baking equivalent of "You'll shoot your eye out!" I'm mean, that's a helluva lot of salt, so not wanting to be a yeast killer, I added it in with the flours instead, it worked just fine and I can sleep at night.

I only had whole wheat pastry flour on hand and I didn't feel like schlepping out to the store AGAIN so I rolled with it, no prob. I did find the dough to be very sticky though, so I added about another tablespoon of flour during the mix.

I baked in two batches, sliding the rounds and the parchment onto the baking stone. About 2 minutes in, I slid them off the parchment directly onto the stone to finish the bake.

I use a wide-tooth comb as a docking tool. Works great and it's a lot cheaper than a docker. It's probably the first time I opted for cheap over a gadget. Go me!

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#BreadBakers for April: Flatbreads with Yeast or Starter

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. Big thanks go to this month's hosts Sonia at Sonlicious and Stacy at Food Lust People Love.

 

 

Almond Flour Bread #BreadBakers

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This almond flour bread is another entry in the "not half bad" category. Again, as with my pistachio, rose and cardamom shortbread cookies, you might not think this is a ringing endorsement, but this bread is made with almond flour (because I'm sure you couldn't figure that out from the title). Almond flour comes from almonds (you probably couldn't figure that out either.) Almonds being a nut. And as regular, loyal readers (all 12 of you) of this blog know, I hate nuts with the power of a thousand blazing suns. So "not half bad" is actually pretty darned good.

At least once a year, I attempt something nutty in the hopes that I'll do a 180 and embrace the nut, because the damned things are everywhere and I'm tired of being a nutty pariah. I generally fail miserably but over the years, I've grown to marginally tolerate pistachios and cashews and sometimes, things of almond origin—excluding extract and the actual nut itself. I still, in fact, loathe the taste and smell of almonds, but for some reason, almond milk and almond flour aren't very almond-y to my palate. I make my own almond milk regularly (the leftover meal goes into the compost) and hello? Macarons? So while I was tempted to bail on this month's #BreadBakers challenge—breads with nut meals and flours—I decided to celebrate my limited acceptance of the nut and forge bravely ahead.

This almond flour bread is right up my alley. There are no nut bits to gross me out and it's a good old yeast bread, which is never a bad thing. It's extremely easy to make—basically dump it all in a bowl, do the typical bread-y thing…VOILA! You got yourself a bread. The taste isn't noticeably almond-y, the bread has a nice chew and the crumb is fine and dense, which makes for great toasting and sandwich loaf.  My only issue with it is that I didn't get a particularly good rise, which probably was the result of a little hesitancy on my part. You see, as soon as the weather starts getting hot, so does my un-air conditioned kitchen—my house is basically a giant proof box—so when I baked this up, the thermostat indoors registered 85°F. I always have a period of adjustment when I bake bread in the summer before I get things right, with changes to water temperature or rise times (which I watch nervously), otherwise I end up with an over-proofed loaf. I probably erred too much on the side of caution with this bread, because it's probably a bit under-proofed and I could have let it go a bit longer before baking, hence the less than stellar rise. Live and learn. It's still a darned good loaf, nutty origins or not.

Be sure to check out the links below to see what the other (non-nut averse) BreadBakers baked up this month. And thanks, Cindy, for the challenge!

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Almond Flour Bread

Ingredients

  • 570g/4 cups bread flour
  • 90g/1 cup almond flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 375ml/1-1/2 cups warm (105–115°F) water*
  • 3 Tbsp honey

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, salt, and yeast.
  2. Add the water and honey and mix on medium speed until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down and divide in two. Shape each half into a loaf and place in greased 8x4 loaf pans. Cover the pans with plastic wrap that's been lightly sprayed with cooking spray (shower caps or Covermate bowl covers are even better and you don't need the spray). Let rise until doubled.
  5. Place the risen loaves in a preheated 425°F oven, bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375° and bake for an additional 15–20 minutes, covering the loaves with foil if needed to prevent over-browning. (The loaves should be golden brown.)
  6. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Notes

*If you live in a giant proof box like I do, adjust the water temperature as needed. My water was definitely on the cold side, to slow down the rise.

I've tried both Bob's Red Mill and Trader Joe's almond flour and prefer Bob's. It's much finer and bakes up nicely. Trader Joe's isn't bad but if that's all I've got, I generally sift it or run it through the food processor to get rid of the larger bits.

Recipe source: ChezCateyLou

#BreadBakers for June: Breads with Nut Meals and Nut Flours

This month's BreadBakers' theme is Breads with Nut Meals and Nut Flours inspired bread, hosted by Cindy at Cindy’s Recipes and Writings.

Enjoy all these creative breads using nut meals and nut flours from The Bread Bakers Group!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers

Apple, Pear and Persimmon Stuffed Brioche #BreadBakers

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Fall. Forget about what the song says. THIS is the most wonderful time of the year as far as I'm concerned. Summer is GONE. Done. Finito. Dead. An ex-season. And for me, that means no more whinging and moaning about the heat and humidity until people want to take me out to sea and throw me overboard with lead weight attached to my ankle. Most importantly though, it means no more baking in a kitchen that feels like a blast furnace. WHEEEEEE!

This certainly hasn't been a typical fall—thanks for nothing, Global Warming! It's mid-October, but the leaves have barely started turning and those that have are just kind of…well, blah. No blaze of color. (Those of you in a no-Fall zone, work with me here.) But the weather has definitely gone from sweltering hot to cool and crisp, and I want something cozy and comforting, something that will give me the warm fuzzies, something that says FALL even if the trees say otherwise. So I'm kicking off the Fall Follies here at the House of Dough with some of the best tastes that fall has to offer—namely, the fruits of the season. This rich, buttery, mock-braided brioche is filled with some of the classics—apple, pears and persimmons—sprinkled with chai spices and topped with a crunchy streusel. You want warm fuzzies? We got 'em right here. So cut yourself a slice or six, make yourself a nice cuppa, curl up on the sofa in your Hello Kitty jammies (not that I have them, no siree), grab a good book and enjoy.

This brioche is my contribution to this month's #BreadBakers, Fall Fruits and Vegetables, hosted by Pavani at Cooks' Hideout. Thanks, Pavani!

Apple, Pear and Persimmon Stuffed Brioche

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 1/3 cup water at 110º F
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons butter

Filling

  • 1 lb. mixed apples, pears and fuyu persimmons, firm but ripe (about 1 large for each), chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp chai spice blend (recipe below)
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour or Instant ClearJel

Streusel Topping

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chai spice blend
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Place the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top, whisk gently and let sit for about 5 minutes, until it looks active and bubbly.
  2. Fit the paddle attachment to the mixer, then add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture in the bowl and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides as needed.. The dough will look very dry and shaggy.
  3. Add the eggs and mix gently. Add the sugar then turn the speed up to medium-low and mix for about 4 minutes, until the dough forms a ball.
  4. Switch to the dough hook and with the mixer on low speed, add the butter  2 tablespoons at a time, making sure each piece is incorporated before adding the next one and stopping to pull the dough from the hook and scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough should be very soft. Once the butter is incorporated. continue mixing for about 10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Transfer the dough to a bowl (I love these Cambro containers; no guessing as to when the dough has doubled), cover and set aside to rise at room temperature until it's doubled in size. Punch down the dough, then cover and place in the refrigerator. Check the dough every half hour and punch it down again. After about 2 hours, the dough will stop rising. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. To make the filling the next day, peel, core and chop the fruits, then place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and toss the fruits, then add the sugar, chai spice blend, scraped vanilla bean seeds and a pinch of salt and toss to combine.
  7. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the fruit mixture and sauté until the fruit has softened slightly. The juices will have thickened somewhat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. When cooled, stir in the ClearJel or flour.
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper, transfer the dough and roll it out to a 10" x 15" rectangle (don't sweat it if it isn't exact). Transfer the parchment with the dough to a baking sheet.
  9. Spoon the cooled fruit mixture down the center of the dough, lengthwise. Then cut diagonal strips about 1-1/2" wide down each side of the dough, leaving an uncut border around the filling. (A bench knife works great for making the cuts.)
  10. Working from alternating sides, fold the strips over the filling in a mock braid. Brush the braid lightly to remove any excess flour, then cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until puffy and almost doubled.
  11. While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  12. To make the streusel topping, place the flour, sugar, chai spice and salt into a bowl and mix together. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until it holds together and crumbs form.
  13. When the dough is risen, whisk the egg and brush it lightly over the dough. Sprinkle the streusel on top, breaking up the larger pieces if needed.
  14. Bake until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Adapted from Food52 

Chai Spice Blend

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, cut small pieces
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken into small pieces (or 2 tsps ground cinnamon)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 7 allspice berries
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns

Directions

Place all ingredients into a spice grinder and pulse until you have a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

You can substitute an equal amount of ground cinnamon for the chai spice if you prefer.

Make sure you use fuyu persimmons, not hachiya. Both are fairly common but fuyus are short and squatty and can be eaten out of hand like apples, while hachiyas are taller and sort of heart shaped and are generally are used to make purees. Trust me, you DON'T want to confuse the two and use hachiyas for something like this, where you need a firm fruit. A firm hachiya is an unripe hachiya and an unripe hachiya is overwhelmingly astringent. Try biting into one and you might never un-pucker. I did it so you don't have to.

 

 

#BreadBakers for October: Fall Fruits and Vegetables

For this month's BreadBakers, we're baking breads with fall fruits and vegetables (apples, grapes, pears, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, acorn squash, butternut squash and so on). Thanks to Pavani at Cook's Hideout for hosting!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

BreadBakers