Industrial Harvest


Hot weather recipes by sarah kavage
July 5, 2010, 9:53 pm
Filed under: baking | Tags: , , , , , ,

Yet another thing I did not really think about when I planned this whole adventure was that I’d be taking on a project that involves a great deal of baking in the summertime.  We’ve had a few days of 90 degree heat already, and the mere thought of turning on a 450 degree oven on top of that makes me start sweating (well, we’re always sweating these days so nothing’s really different, and not that I’m complaining, but it still doesn’t really make for good cooking weather).  Then last week, as if he’d heard my plight through the psychic friends network, Industrial Harvest fan Mike Glodo sent along an email with a few recipes for stovetop breadmaking.   Three variations on non-yeasted, fast and easy flatbreads that require no oven time, just a hot griddle –  which I pass along to you now, pretty much verbatim:

PIZZA / PITA / NOT PAPADUM BUT GOOD

Base Dough

About 1 cup all-purpose flour

Add 1/2 t kosher/pickling salt (no iodine)

Olive oil 2t to 1T

Water about 1T

Flour close by for your hands (this gets sticky)

Put flour and salt into wide flat bowl.  Have big metal spoon handy.

Form a well in the middle.

Pour a little water and oil into the well.

Use spoon to gather in flour from outside well.

It clumps. Good. Mix it around a bit, add more water and oil, continue gathering until the dry ingredients are pretty much gone. Form into a ball, cover with plastic (I use a recycled tortilla wrapper, just rinse it off after use and it’s already food-grade). Stick it in the fridge for 20-30 mins (not essential, but improves texture)

Then:  Take about 1T of dough, drop it into some flour (de-stickys it) and roll it into a ball.  Roll out thin on a floured surface into ~4-5″ diameter disc.

PIZZA

For stove top pizza – plop into a moderately hot small cast iron (preferred) pan.  Make sure all ingredients (garlic/cheese/sausage/whatever) all ready to go before you drop the disc.  This moves fast.  Flip over and add ingredients (dried basil, diced garlic, olive oil, parm, ricotta, f’r instance).  Cover loosely with a pot lid to drive heat to surface (but you don’t want to steam it)

In the oven:  Add topping, put the pan in oven and git ‘er done. Takes about 8 mins in oven.
Bake at 500 degrees or so; put disc into a warm cast iron pan (as above) but don’t flip and add ingredients to the surface.


PITAS

The difference here is that with the same dough, you’re going to roll it out *thicker* and put it onto a much hotter pan. This seals the bottom of the bread, and drives steam (usually!) and starts to bubble up the top.  Once you see the top clearly start to separate in a couple of places, flip it.


NotPapadumButGood

Use the same dough, thin or thick or even thinner.  Once dough is rolled out into the disc, sprinkle on red pepper flakes or garlic or dried basil or caraway seeds or fennel seeds or coarse black pepper. Mix and match is cool. Roll into surface of the dough, flip, roll in some more.  These can be dry fried (remember, there’s some olive oil in the bread) or in a little butter or oil.

They are great with anything that looks like raita or tzadziki etc. Drain whole milk yoghurt, add some salt, cumin, lemon juice, mashed garlic, olive oil. Bash it about, let it rest in the fridge to tighten up. Great also for scooping up curried whatevers.

Main thing – the dough preparation takes maybe five minutes.  Stick it in the fridge, and the cooking goes pretty fast after rolling them out. You can also iterate proportions of cake (pastry) flour.  I jack up that in this same recipe to about 1/3 soft flour to 2/3 bread when I use almost the same recipe to make flour tortillas.  Soft flour makes ’em a little more foldable.

I haven’t tried these exact formulas yet, but the same night I received Mike’s missive I was making up some pita dough using this recipe expressly for the purpose of stovetop flatbread, with the whole wheat pastry flour.  We topped them with a fava bean / tomato / onion /olive oil mixture, pesto, some arugula and cheese here and there.  Once I got the skillet temperature worked out, they were absolutely delicious.  The pastry flour did make them deliciously soft and pliable and not too tough / chewy/grainy tasting, despite using 100% whole wheat flour.  With Mike’s recipe we could have saved ourselves a bunch of time by not worrying about the yeast or  rising the dough, so take his advice if you want to have more time for summer things and less time and fuss in the kitchen.  Enjoy!



PITA by sarah kavage
January 16, 2010, 5:14 pm
Filed under: baking, recipes | Tags: , ,

We had our friend T in town for a night this past week.  His presence at our dinner table was a good excuse to get back on the baking.  I turned to an old standby, pita bread.  Homemade pita – with a pocket and everything – is so much better that store bought pita does not make it on my shopping list anymore.  Pita is also less time-consuming than loaves, and pretty easy for dilletante bakers such as myself to get great results. 

Here’s my recipe:   
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/4 cups flour (I used 1/3 white flour, 2/3 whole wheat flour from Fairhaven Mills co-op)
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar (I usually don’t add the sugar, but supposedly it makes them brown more quickly and gives more food to the yeast)
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet) yeast

I primed the yeast by putting it in the water, adding just 1 cup of flour, and letting that sit about 30 minutes till it was bubbly on top and puffy.  Add the rest of the ingredients, mix it up and give it a quick knead and let it rise for about 45 minutes.  Then divide the dough into 4 equal parts and form it into balls.  Let the dough balls rise for about 10 more minutes, then press them into 8-inch rounds about 1/4 inch thick.  Bake on the bottom rack of a 450 deg. oven for 5 minutes; you definitely don’t want to overdo it.  The pitas will puff up while baking (if you’ve got kids, the puffing will be quite a treat to watch), taking on their signature “pocket” form, and may get slightly brown when they’re done, but don’t wait for them to get brown before you pull them out of the oven – you want them to stay pliable. 

The whole wheat dough made for a pita that had more flavor, but was grainier and not quite as decadently divine as the standard white flour pita.  I kind of forgot that with whole wheat you need more water / less flour which probably would have improved the results.   They were still better than store-bought, especially when piled with homemade babaghanoush and falafel and veggies.  We never made it out of the kitchen, preferring to stand and nosh and catch up as other friends dropped in to say hi to T. 

In the middle east, pitas are made in 800-degree brick ovens like pizza (in fact, pizza itself, and the word pizza may have evolved from pita, which basically means bread or flatbread in several languages).  The very high temperatures are what cause the puffing.  The yeast goes into shock somehow and aids in the puffing, along with steam.  In searching online after the fact (here for a whole wheat pita recipe and check out the comments here for lots of useful tips), higher oven temperatures – 500 degrees – and a bit of misting in the oven with a spray bottle are recommended to encourage puffiness.