After one year and 104 recipes, I finished the Brooks Bakes Bread Project on March 27, 2012. You can still find me baking and cooking at my new blog, Tangled Up In Food.

Categories: Flat Breads

Armenian Thin Bread
October 3, 2011

by stacy
Published on: October 3, 2011
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“Throughout the Middle East one finds many versions of the crisp flatbreads.  The one I have chosen here is simple to make, a good keeper, and extremely pleasant in flavor and texture.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

My final loaf in the “Flat Breads” chapter was Armenian Thin Bread, which I made last night (two chapters down, nine more to finish!)

Here are the ingredients:

Armenian Thin Bread Ingredients

What I love about flat breads is how straightforward they can be.  I mixed the ingredients together and then kneaded my dough.  The dough took a long time to rise–almost 2 hours–and then I divided it into fourths and rolled it out into sheets.

My oven racks were still positioned from when I made two sheets of Bread Sticks, so I was able to bake both baking sheets at once.  I rotated the baking sheets halfway through the 15 minute baking time to ensure even baking.

Armenian Thin Bread

Armenian Thin Bread tastes very similar to Pita loaves–soft, spongy, and delicious–but the process for making Armenian Thin Bread is much simpler.  It is an excellent bread to serve with hummus, but it also tastes wonderful plain…like the loaf that disappeared right after coming out of the oven.

Note: This bread is not a very good keeper; it is best eaten fresh out of the oven.

 

Norwegian Flatbread
October 2, 2011

by stacy
Published on: October 2, 2011
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“[Norwegian Flatbread] entails a deft rolling job, but is well worth the trouble because of the crisp, mealy flavor that is excellent with smoked fish or salt meats cut paper thin.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

It has been such a beautiful fall weekend that I have gotten behind in my posts.  On Friday night I made Norwegian Flatbread for dinner, served with hummus and squash (since Mike and I have vegetarian leanings, we didn’t have any smoked fish or salt meat handy).

Here are the ingredients:

Norwegian Flatbread Ingredients

It was surprising easy to find barley flour–the wide selection at my local Cub Foods grocery store never ceases to amaze me.

With only four ingredients, this is one of the simpler recipes in Beard on Bread.  I mixed the ingredients together, kneaded the dough, and rolled it out.  The dough was supposed to be “paper-thin”–I could only roll my dough out to be five-sheets-of-paper-thin.  Next, I cooked the dough on the stove on medium heat for about 10 minutes on each side.

Norwegian Flatbread

Since I didn’t want to spend the whole evening watching Norwegian Flatbread cook, I used my frying pans in addition to my griddle.

Norwegian Flatbread

Norwegian Flatbread isn’t much to look at, and because I didn’t roll my dough out thinly enough, my bread was chewy instead of crispy.  However, it paired nicely with hummus and the barley flour provides a unique, whole-grain flavor and hearty texture.

Lefse
July 2, 2011

by stacy
Published on: July 2, 2011
Categories: Flat Breads, Lefse
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“Lefse is a rather unusual flatbread of Scandinavian origin…it is easy to prepare and delightful to eat.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Since I grew up in northern Minnesota, where it seems like everyone has a Swedish great-grandmother, a Norwegian grandfather, or a Finnish surname, I am familiar with lefse.  (And for the record, I’m also one-quarter Finnish.)  Making a delicious batch of lefse seemed like the perfect way to start off my holiday weekend.

Here are the ingredients:

Lefse Ingredients

The brown bag in the front is cardamom, a spice which is frequently used in Scandinavian baking.  My father makes an incredible cardamom bread using my great-grandmother’s recipe.

The lefse was easy to prepare–I just had to mix all the ingredients together and roll out the dough.  I mixed 3 cups of flour into my dough instead of the 3 1/2 called for by the recipe, using the extra 1/2 cup to flour my rolling surface and the rolling pin.

Lefse Dough

Lefse is definitely trickier than Beard lets on.  In my experience, lefse is a very thin bread, about the thickness of a pancake, and it is served rolled up.  Actually rolling dough that thin is a challenge.  My first batch was definitely too thick–after cooking on the griddle the pieces puffed up to almost one-half inch.  By the third batch, I was able to get a much thinner bread, but still not thin enough to roll up.

Lefse Baking

Thickness issues aside, the lefse was delicious.  It had a perfect amount of sweetness and a delicate, rather than overpowering, flavor from the cardamom.  Mike and I ate our way through most of the batch and just like Beard said it would be, it was delightful.

Lefse

 

Pita Bread
May 11, 2011

by stacy
Published on: May 11, 2011
Categories: Flat Breads, Pita
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“Pita loaves are great fun to make.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Pitas are the only commercially produced bread that I’ve bought since starting this project.  I was in the mood for some beef pita pockets and vegetarian pita pizzas for dinner this week, so on Monday night I decided to try making some pitas myself.

Here are the ingredients:

Pita Bread Ingredients

Because Beard’s recipes run on the salty side, I cut the amount of salt in half from one and a half tablespoons down to three quarters of a tablespoon.

Pitas are rather time-consuming.  After letting the dough rise for an hour and a half, I divided it into 8 small balls and then let those rise for a half hour.  Then, I rolled each ball out into a circle (some of which were more circular than others) and let the circles rise for another half hour.  Finally, it was time to put the pitas in the oven.

Pita Bread After Third Rising

Since I don’t have two ovens, or an oven large enough to fit two cookie sheets in it at once, I had to bake the pitas two at a time.  This recipe requires a bit more finesse than the bread recipes I’ve tried to this point.  Per instructions, I set the oven at 500 degrees.  For the first batch, I baked them on the bottom shelf for 5 minutes (per Beard) and on the top shelf for 2 more minutes (Beard recommends three to five minutes, but my oven runs hot).  The pitas came out a little over-browned.

Pita Bread

For my second attempt, I took the pitas out of the oven after their five minutes on the bottom shelf.  This was much more successful: the pitas were “puffed up like balloons and just very lightly browned” as Beard says they are supposed to be.

Pita Bread

The next morning, the pitas had mostly deflated.

Pita Bread

I saved sampling them until today, when we made pita pizzas with hummus, feta cheese, spinach, tomato, and onion.  The texture was perfect–soft and spongy.  The flavor was excellent as well, so cutting the salt amount in half was definitely the right decision.  I’m already looking forward to the beef pita pockets we’re making tomorrow night with the rest of the batch!

Pita Pizza

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About the Baker
I'm a paralegal living and working in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Besides baking, blogging, and eating bread, I love knitting and enjoying the Minnesota outdoors. My husband, Mike, is the Brooks Bakes Bread website developer, bread photographer, and chief taste tester.
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