Monday, June 14, 2010

A Quest for Bread..

No one made better bread than Mary Pack. We tried, and now that we can't talk to her, none of us seems to be able to remember or master her process. She even baked for the Inn in McKenzie Bridge before it burned down........120 little loaves, three days a week. Sigh. When we were kids on the farm in Junction City, nothing brought us across the mint fields faster than the cry, "Bread's done!" Slices three inches thick with butter from Violet's milk. That Violet. She was some cow.

I make pretty good French Bread. My sister Penny and I practiced that when our kids were little. They loved to knead and punch the dough. Lately I have wondered about all of the different breads we eat from all over the world. They all have the same stuff, but they come out so very different. So I'm on a quest to find some different breads to bake.

I have a book.... that's what we did before there was Google. The book is called "100 Great Breads" by Paul Hollywood. If there are any out there he hasn't tried, they can't amount to much.

Flat bread is a favorite, so I thought I would try that first. I want to work my way up to flour tortillas and a dark rye, but I'll start simple. The idea here is to, one day soon, grow my own wheat, oats, and rye, learn to thresh them, and make great artisan bread in the brick oven I posted about last month...... that's where I'm headed. I should just build the oven and call it good, but that doesn't seem to have a point.

4 cups of white flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 oz yeast
1 1/4 (plus)cups water

Mix it and knead to a stiff dough.
Cover and let rest for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F
Spray the baking sheet and put it in the oven to heat.
Make small 3 oz balls of dough.
Let rest for five minutes.
Roll into a circle about 1 cm thick ( I think mine was too thin)
Place on hot baking sheet and bake for five minutes.
They will puff, so make sure your racks are adjusted accordingly.

Someone told me that Pita bread was a poor man's lunch box. I LOVE all the different things you can stuff in Pita. It was really not very difficult, and a lot faster than a raised loaf. It took about thirty minutes spread out over an hour and a half. You let the dough rest for an hour.

I need to refine how I roll it out.

They bake better on a cookie sheet than a baking tile. The tile made the bottom side too hard.

They puffed up really well, but only had a thin pocket on one side. I need them to puff with a pocket in the middle. I think I made them too flat. They will deflate as they cool.

They don't keep well, unless you wrap them up. I left a piece of one on the counter overnight to see what would happen, and it was rock hard by morning, but we had six sandwiches stuffed with our ground pork, onions, celery, and cabbage relish.

Now I think I will try Koulouri-Cypriot Village Bread... or Olive and Sun Dried Tomato.... or Chocolate and Sour Cherry.........for real.

It's a great book.


  1. Check out for a seemingly simple tortilla recipe. You can use the lard you rendered yourself. ;)

    Love you Mom!! See you in a few days!

  2. Love it!! My favorite thing to stuff in these I think was the chicken salad... cool chicken raised not 100 feet away, lettuce from our own garden, mozzarella made in mom's kitchen, grapes, celery... I'm drooling mom. Thanks for a great lunch and an even greater legacy. You really rock my boat.