Tomato Rosemary Einkorn Focaccia Rounds #BreadBakers

Some people turn their kids' rooms into dream spas or exercise studios or (don't shoot me) man caves once they move out. I turned my daughter's room into a kitchen annex. Everywhere you looked there were baking pans and rolling pins and proofing baskets and every gadget under the sun (many of them stupid but still)…and a commercial shelving unit filled with flours and grains. (Somewhere in there too was a mattress that we could put on the floor so Junior Dough wouldn't have to sleep in a cat bed when she came to visit. Yeah, we really know how to pull out the stops for guests, don't we? Fawlty Towers right here on Long Island.)

Despite the fact that I'm not exactly the most healthful eater you'll come across—although I do try…sometimes—I've always loved stuff like vegetables and whole grains. So whenever I come across a new grain, I add it to my collection and then look for ways to use it. Einkorn is one of those. I'd probably heard of it in passing but decided to check it out for real one day while trolling for new cookbooks on Amazon. Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat by Carla Bartolucci popped up as a recommendation so I figured "Why not?" and into the cart it went, along with a bag of einkorn wheat berries.

Fun facts about einkorn (thanks to Carla Bartolucci's company, Jovial Foods):

  1. It's been around for more than 10,000 years its cultivated form. It was one of the first foods planted at the dawn of agriculture and grew wild for millions of years before that.
  2. Unlike other grains, it's never been hybridized.
  3. It's got 40% more protein and 15% less starch than commercial wheat.
  4. The gluten in einkorn lacks the high molecular weight proteins that many people can’t digest, so it's good for people with gluten sensitivities to modern wheat. (BIG IMPORTANT NOTE: Einkorn does contain gluten so it's not okay for people with Celiac Disease.
  5. it means "one grain" in German, so named because it has one grain attached to the stem, unlike commercial wheat which has four.
  6. It was abandoned as a commercial crop nearly 5,000 years ago because it's difficultharvest and mill and has one fifth the yields of modern wheat. Just a few years ago, itnearly became extinct.
  7. That would have been baaaad, because it's a really, really nice grain.

So what to make, now that I had the grain? The book is loaded with great photography and wonderful recipes but the one that grabbed me was the focaccia. First, because well, focaccia. But throw in tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and rosemary? Made of win. What was particularly intriguing about this focaccia though is that, instead of just plunking the tomatoes and whatnot on TOP of the dough, it's all an integral part OF the dough. There's just a teensy bit of planning involved, since you need to make a yeast starter at least 6 hours in advance (or you can create an einkorn starter well in advance—which I was too antsy to do this time around, although I've got one bubbling away now), but otherwise it's pretty much a no-knead proposition. Just squoosh and go. The taste is wonderful, complex and savory, especially with tomatoes and rosemary straight from the garden, with the nutty whole grain flavor of the einkorn. (I went with whole grain, freshly milled, since this month's #BreadBakers theme is whole grains.)

So check out the grain, check out the book, check out Jovial (now the world's largest grower of einkorn and the story that made that happen). And check out the links below to see what the other #BreadBakers came up with.

Note: As always, none of my links or recommendations are affiliated or sponsored. I only talk about things I personally use and like.

Tomato Rosemary Einkorn Focaccia Rounds

Ingredients

Tomato Base

  • 6 Tbsp/80 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, mined
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup/75 grams pitted and sliced olives
  • Leaves from 2 3-inch springs fresh rosemary, chopped

Yeast Levain

  • 1/4 tsp plus a pinch of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp/130 grams warm water (100°F)
  • 1 1/4 cup/120 grams whole grain einkorn flour (or all-purpose einkorn flour)

Dough

  • All of the yeast levain
  • 2/3 cup/157 grams warm water (100°F)
  • 5 cups/480 grams whole grain einkorn flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil for forming the rounds

Directions

  1. The day before or early in the day that you plan to bake, make the yeast levain. Mix the yeast and water together until the yeast is dissolved, then add the flour and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. The levain will be very bubbly when ready.
  2. To make the tomato base, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat, then add the tomatoes, garlic, salt and oregano and cook for about 5 minutes to break down the tomatoes.
  3. Turn off the heat and cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the rest of the olive oil, the rosemary and olives and set aside.
  4. To make the dough, add the levain and the water to a large bowl and stir together until the levain has dissolved. Add the flour, then the salt and mix together with a spatula or dough whisk (or with your hands) until the dough comes together.
  5. Add the tomato base to the dough and squoosh the dough withyour hands until all of the oil is absorbed and the tomatoes and olives are fully incorporated. Scrape the dough into a rough ball, cover and set aside for 3–5 hours.
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and divide into 12 pieces.
  7. With lightly oiled hands, roll each dough piece into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Flatten each ball into a round, approximately 3.5" across, then press your fingertips into the rounds to make indentations.
  8. Cover the pans with oiled plastic wrap (or sheet pan covers) and let rest for 60–90 minutes.
  9. Bake the rounds in 425°F preheated oven for 18–20 minutes until lightly browned, rotating the pans and switching racks midway through for even baking.
  10. Definitely best eaten the days it's made, but the rounds will keep for about 3 days in a plastic bag or up to 1 month in the freezer.

Adapted from Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat by Carla Bartolucci

Notes

I milled my own whole grain einkorn flour from einkorn wheat berries. I love using different grains but since I don't use as frequently as I do white flours or standard whole wheat flour, I'm a little wary of storing them already milled for any length of time (rancid flour and unwanted critters? Shudder) so I usually keep the whole grains on hand and mill my own. The whole grains last a long time and I mill only what I need each time. I lurve my NutriMill, which also came with a nut and seed grinder at the time I bought it.

The recipe calls for cherry tomatoes but since I'm still harvesting San Marzanos from the garden, I used them instead. Perfecto.

I'm big on reusable stuff so I love using sheet pan covers and bowl covers for baking instead of throwaway plastic. No waste! I use CoverMate, which can be found in most grocery stores, silicone covers and even shower caps.

Whole Grain Breads from #BreadBakers

This month, the BreadBakers theme is Whole Grain Breads, either yeast or chemically leavened, but in the spirit of the USDA recommendation, half of the grains had to be whole (got that?)—hosted by Cali's Cuisine

#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 an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.
BreadBakers

Pletzl – Jewish Onion Bread #TwelveLoaves

The older I get, the more I find myself reminiscing about my younger days, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. I haven't yet reached the stage where every young person I come across gets treated to "Back when I was your age…blah blah blah…and WE NEVER COMPLAINED!" You know, the sort of yapping about The Good Old Days that makes you want to be mean to the old people who won't shut up about it. No, most of my reminiscing is about how cheap things were (although probably not, when adjusted for inflation, but why quibble?), concerts I went to (talk about cheap, New York's Schaeffer Festival? Two bucks, top ticket price, people. Two.), and, not surprisingly and most importantly, FOOD.

Now granted, some of the food of my youth isn't memorable because it was GOOD, more like weird—Space Sticks? Shake-a-Pudd'n'? But a lot of it really was good, especially the breads. Clearly, I'm a bread fan going waaaay back. The breads of yore are actually a major conversation point for my dad and me, especially the ones we remember from our neighborhood "appetizing" store—more than a deli, sort of a little shop of Jewish gourmet goodies. Aside from a bread slicing machine that I still covet to this day, they also had a wall of freshly baked breads of every variety—bagels, challah, all kinds of ryes including the corn rye that my dad's been bugging me about ever since I started baking again, sweet breads and this…pletzl, otherwise known as Jewish onion bread.

The pletzl I grew up with was called onion BOARD, not onion bread, probably because traditionally, it does kind of look like a board covered with poppy seeds and golden onions, rolled flat and thin so that it's like a somewhat crisp but doughy cracker. And when I wanted to recreate it, that's the route I took, the one that respects tradition. (Cue the music and let's all sing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof!). But I say, tradition, schmadition. I mean, even Tevye reluctantly embraced change. Not that the traditional pletzl isn't good—the ones I made didn't let me down in the nostalgic memories department—but I was up for something a little different. So when I stumbled on this pletzl recipe, tradition went out the window. This is not your bubbe's pletzl.

Jewish focaccia is more like it. Instead of the flat, cracker-like pletzl I remember, this one is thick and light and pillowy, although the dough seems to be a bit drier than the usual focaccia. It's still topped with the traditional pletzl's sweet-savory onions—carmelized in this case—but deviates from tradition once again by sprinkling the mix with peppery, onion-y, slightly bitter nigella seeds instead of poppy. The result still does the pletzl proud—a new twist on an old tradition.

Major props to Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories for July's #TwelveLoaves theme—Jewish breads—and my trip down Memory Lane. Aside from the breads I remembered, when I looked through my ever-growing library of bread books, I found I had not one but three all about Jewish baking (plus two books on challah baking alone) and looking through them, I discovered many more breads that I never knew about. My original pletzl bakes came from one of them, Secrets of Jewish Baker. Two others are Inside the Jewish Bakery and A Blessing of Bread and all are interesting reading.

P.S. I finally got around to making my dad his corn rye. For me, the memory was better than the bread but he LOVED it. Score some most-favorite daughter points for me!

Pletzl – Jewish Onion Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (105–115°F)
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon nigella or poppy seeds

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix warm water, yeast and sugar then set aside until mixture is foamy.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 2-1/2 cups of the flour (set the rest aside) and 1-1/2 tsp salt. 
  3. With the flat beater attachment and the mixer on the lowest speed, add in the yeast mixture and 2 Tbsp of the oil and mix until the dough just comes together.
  4. Switch to the dough hook and continue mixing on medium speed for about 6–8 minutes, adding remaining flour only as needed to make a smooth, elastic dough that isn't sticky.
  5. Form the dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled large bowl, cover and set aside until doubled.
  6. While the dough is rising, add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil and 1 tsp salt to a skillet and cook the onions over medium-low heat until soft and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  7. Once the dough has risen, place it in a lightly oiled baking sheet (approx. 15x10x1), stretching and pressing the dough to fill the pan. Leaving a 1" border, prick the dough all over with a fork, then cover with oiled plastic wrap and set aside to rise until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400°F while the dough is rising.
  9. When the dough is ready, brush it lightly all over with the egg wash, then cover the dough evenly with the onions and sprinkle with the nigella or poppy seeds.
  10. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
  11. Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool a bit, then cut into squares for serving. Best eaten still warm from the oven.

Adapted from Epicurious

About #TwelveLoaves

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

Our host this month is Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories, and our theme is Jewish Breads. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves enter last month's "A Little Something Sweet" Breads!

If you'd like to bake along with us this month, share your Jewish bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

Man'oushe — Lebanese Flatbread #BreadBakers

I'm going to tell you about Lebanese man'oushe—a flatbread with endless possibilities for toppings and flavorings—and I'm not going to make the inevitable comparison to the dreaded "p" word. You know the one I mean. P*zza. It's gotta be rough to have a long food history— and what amounts to a national dish—only to have people say, "Oh yeah, that's (fill in your ethnicity/country of choice) p*zza!" So I'm not gonna go there. At least I'll try.

Man'oushe is arguably Lebanon's signature dish, most often topped with za'atar and consumed for breakfast—and in the past, baked in communal ovens or brought to a local baker to be baked and taken home—but there are as many variations as there are Lebanese people. In her book, Man'oushe: Inside the Lebanese Street Corner Bakery, Barbara Abdeni Massaad has tried to collect as many of them as possible and the result is a comprehensive collection of recipes and a beautiful history of both this wonderful bread and the rich culture from which it came. Vegetable pies, cheese pies, meat pies, endless combinations… You can see why man'oushe is so popular and why it deserved its own book (one you should definitely add to your collection).

I went for the traditional man'oushe here—topped with za'atar, a simple but heady blend of wild thyme, sesame seeds, salt and lemony sumac mixed with fragrant olive oil. The dough is rolled into rounds (Italians around the world are probably clutching their hearts right now—but THIS IS NOT P*ZZA!), then topped with the za'atar mix and baked until it's slightly golden. The resulting bread has a great tooth (chewier than p*zza—see how I'm not comparing?) that's hearty and filling. I had it plain for breakfast and it was awesome, but it's also a great vehicle for other toppings—here olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh mint from the garden, pickled turnips (that pink color comes from beets and it's REAL—no Photoshop tricks!) and a sprinkling of feta that rolled up into a bright and refreshing sandwich for lunch. We loved it, so much so that I'm thinking of baking my way through Barbara's entire book, not only because I'm up to my eyeballs in za'atar mix (thanks to an goof when I ordered my sumac and wild thyme) but because the wealth of recipe variations is so tempting.

Thanks to Mireille at The Schizo Chef for this month's fun #BreadBakers yeasted flatbreads theme! Be sure to check out the links below to see what the other BreadBakers were up to this month.

Man'oushe

Dough

Ingredients

  • 360g/2.5 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 150g/1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1.25 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Sift the flours and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer, then stir in the sugar.
  2. Pour the lukewarm water into a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the yeast mixture and oil to the flour and mix.
  4. Turn the mixer to medium and knead until you have a smooth, soft dough, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for a bout 1.5–2 hours, until doubled.
  6. While the dough is rising, place a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, degas gently, the divide into four equal pieces. Cover the pieces and let rise for another half hour.
  8. Flatten each ball, then roll each into a round about 10" in diameter.
  9. Place the rounds on pizza peel (or inverted sheet pan), then top with 2–3 Tbsp of the wild thyme spread, spreading in to within 1/2" of the edge.
  10. Slide the round onto the baking stone and bake until lightly golden and bubbly, about 8–10 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven, top as desired (or leave it plain) and serve while warm.

Makes 4 10" rounds

Wild Thyme spread

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Stir the ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.

Wild Thyme (Za'atar) Blend

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients together.
  2. Store in an airtight container.

Note: This recipe makes a LOT but can easily be halved or quartered.

Above adapted from Man'oushe: Inside the Lebanese Street Corner Bakery by Barbara Abdeni Massaad

Pickled Turnips

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 70g/1/3 cup s coarse white salt, such as kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 kg/2 lbs turnips, peeled
  • 1 small beet, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Place 1 cup of the water in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then stir in the vinegar.
  3. While the mixture is cooling, peel the turnips and beet, then cut like french fries.
  4. Place the turnips, beet and garlic into a large jar or container, then cover with the cooled brine and bay leaf and remaining water.
  5. Cover and let sit at room temperature for one week, then store in the refrigerator. The pickles will keep for about 6 weeks.

Adapted from davidleibowitz.com

Notes

The trick for making round rounds is to keep turning the dough as you roll, a quarter turn each time. Much easier than turning yourself, which never seems to work.

I found it a lot easier to spread the za'atar with my fingers than with a utensil like the back of a spoon. And less is more. You don't want to load up on the za'atar.

I used a french fry cutter to cut the turnips—because doesn't everyone have one?—but it certainly isn't necessary. Just cut 3/8" x 1/2" fry shapes and save yourself something else to wash up.

Yeasty Flatbreads from #BreadBakers

BreadBakers
#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. 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