Sunday, September 14, 2008
First, let me say how happy I am to be baking bread again, instead of pie in a cereal bowl, especially when Pinknest made the same pie and it turned out perfectly. Not that I begrudge her this pie success. Not at all.
Second, I didn't blog last week, but not because I was in a jealous snit. Although perhaps I was. I was visiting my daughter, who's in her first year of residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. (Yes, that's a Frida Kahlo picture). Detroit is not only famous for Henry Ford and his eponymous hospital, but also for the Diego Rivera room at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
But back in Minneapolis, there was bread to be made.
Jim and I were invited by a friend for a "turkey dinner." At first I thought she was going to have Thanksgiving early, but she and another friend had spent three weeks in Turkey last spring, and they wanted us to experience some authentic Turkish food, at least as authentic as it could be several thousand miles away. I said I'd bring bread. I'd already made simit, alternately called a "Turkish croissant" or a "Turkish bagel," but I'd already made that and I wanted something different.
So I Googled Turkish bread, and got this great recipe from Paula Wolfert from the May 2007 edition of Food and Wine.
How could you not like it? It starts with a sponge that rests and rises overnight,
so you know it will have great flavor;
it's a recipe from Paula Wolfert, who is the queen of Mediterranean cooking, and it's a flat bread that puffs up during baking.
Also, it's got a white flour to whole wheat flour ratio of about 7 to 1. (I'm sorry, I know that I should be a bigger fan of 100% whole-wheat bread, but I really like this better. It makes a stiff dough, but not too stiff to handle.
After the bread slowly rises, it's divided into four pieces, each weighing 267 grams. (Well, that part's not in the directions, but when I weigh things, I feel like I'm in charge. Maybe if I'd weighed the pie dough? No--forget the pie dough, already!)
Each piece of dough is flattened into a shape more or less oval and more or less eight inches by ten inches. Then you make ridges with your fingers and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds (or nigella seeds, if you have them, which I didn't). The ridges are very definite in the unbaked dough,
but it puffed up enough during baking to make them less so.
I'm sure this bread has a name other than Turkish Ridged Flat Bread, and I wish I knew what it was, but it was quite good--crispy and chewy at the same time. (Thanks to knowledgeable reader Aparna, I now know it's called pide). The recipe made four loaves of flat bread, and each of them had a different shape and slightly different texture because of the differences in length and height.
Okay, so it's bread and not pie. So it'll never make it on a dessert tray, unlike Pinknest's beautiful rum cream pie. But it's an honest loaf of bread, with good, honest American small-town values. (Never mind. I forgot for a minute that the Republican National Convention has left town. I don't have to say that any more).