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: Filled Breads

December 12, 2011

by stacy
Published on: December 12, 2011
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“This is one form of the Provencal version of pizza.  It calls for tomatoes, pureed onions, anchovies, and ripe olives and is baked using a brioche dough or a plain white bread dough.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

“I don’t really like the anchovies…or the olives…or the onions.”

Last Friday, I tackled a recipe that I have been dreading for a long time: Pissaladiere.  I’m not particularly fond of anchovies, olives, or masses of onions, so the combination thereof failed to enthrall me.

Here are the ingredients:

Pissaladiere Ingredients

Since I didn’t like the Brioche Bread recipe, I used Basic White Bread dough for my crust.  Basic White Bread is the first recipe that I tried in Beard on Bread, and I felt nostalgic as I mixed up the dough.  I have come a long way since I started this project almost nine months ago.

While my dough rose, I made tomato paste (I used canned tomatoes with two tablespoons of tomato paste instead of fresh tomates):

Pissaladiere Tomato Paste

and made an onion puree:

Pissaladiere Onion Puree

Then I rolled my dough out into a circle, place it on my pizza pan, and topped it with Parmesan cheese, the tomato paste, the onion puree, anchovies, and olives.

Pissaladiere Before Baking

It was at this point that I started to have some serious misgivings about the final product. Other than the bread dough and the Parmesan cheese, there didn’t seem to be any redeeming features to this bread.  However, it was too late to turn back: this was loaf number 70 of the Brooks Bakes Bread project, and I needed to see this recipe through.

After 25 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees, dinner was ready.


The good news?  I managed to complete this recipe and cross it off my list.  The bad news?  I thought Pissaladiere was absolutely disgusting.  I tried to like it.  I ate my way through two pieces as Mike somehow made his way valiantly through three pieces.

“You know what?  I don’t really like this at all,” I said, as I stared down at the mess of anchovies and olives.  “I mean, I really, really don’t like this.  I think I’m going to throw the whole thing in the garbage.”

“It’s not too bad.  But I don’t really like the anchovies…or the olives…or the onions,” said Mike.

So the Pissaladiere ended up in the garbage, and Mike went out and bought some Chardonnay, and we had wine and pretzels for dinner.  It was a vast improvement over the original plan.



Pizza Loaf
July 21, 2011

by stacy
Published on: July 21, 2011
Categories: Filled Breads, Pizza Loaf
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“[Pizza Loaf] has great flavor and texture and is made with a filling reminiscent of pizza.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Yesterday, I had an unexpected Wednesday off work due to a computer system upgrade.  I spent the morning meeting some friends for coffee and knitting, had lunch with Mike, and then spent the afternoon watching Masterpiece Mystery and making Pizza Loaf.  It was a wonderful day.

Here are the ingredients:

Pizza Loaf Ingredients

Beard says to use a “prepared pizza sauce that has some flavor and distinction.”  I used pizza sauce from Davanni’s, a local restaurant chain, which I’ve found to have the perfect blend of spices.

The dough for Pizza Loaf is prepared like a typical bread dough: I mixed the ingredients together, kneaded the dough, and let it rise for an hour.  Then, I rolled the dough out into a rectangle (actually, more of an elongated oval) and spread it with pizza sauce and sprinkled on the mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil.

Pizza Loaf Spread with Toppings

Next, I rolled up the dough and joined the ends to form a ring.  Pizza Loaf is supposed to be baked in a souffle mold.  I don’t own a souffle mold, and even if I wanted one I don’t have the storage space.  Instead, I improvised and used the ceramic liner from my slow cooker.

Pizza Loaf Before Second Rising

After letting the loaf rise for another hour–Beard says that “a thorough rising is very important here”–the Pizza Loaf was ready for the oven.  I was very pleased with myself that I remembered to move the oven rack down to accommodate the liner’s height before preheating the oven.

Pizza Loaf After Second Rising

After baking at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and 350 degrees for an additional 35 minutes, the Pizza Loaf was done.  Thanks to a thorough greasing of the liner, the loaf came out without any trouble.

Pizza Loaf

I cut into the loaf while it was still warm.  Pizza Loaf isn’t anything fancy: it tastes like homemade white bread spread with pizza sauce and a little melted cheese.  But sometimes, a reliably tasty loaf of white bread with pizza toppings rolled into it is the perfect end to a day.

Pizza Loaf

As a postscript, in the recipe notes Beard claims that Pizza Loaf does not keep well.  I did not find that to be the case.  I refrigerated the leftovers and we had them for lunch today.  Mike ate his cold, and thought that it was good; I reheated mine in the microwave and it tasted the same as it did when it first came out of the oven.  Occasionally, Beard gets it wrong.

Lahma bi Ajeen
May 14, 2011

by stacy
Published on: May 14, 2011
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“A flat loaf topped with a mixture of lamb, pine nuts, tomato, and garlic, this Arab counterpart of pizza is exceedingly delicious, intriguing looking, and a delightful change from other dishes of this type.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

When you write a cookbook with 104 different bread recipes, it is inevitable that some of them are “bread” in a looser sense of the term than others.  Such is the case with Lahma bi Ajeen, which is eight little flatbread pizzas.  It may be the only “bread” recipe in existance that includes ground lamb as an ingredient.

Here are all of the ingredients.  The bread ingredients are on the top, and the filling ingredients (including ground lamb, pine nuts, onion, garlic, Tabasco sauce, and allspice) are on the bottom.

Lahma bi Ajeen Ingredients

I took a few more liberties with the ingredients than I usually do.  Since it was sold by the pound, I only used one pound of ground lamb instead of one and half pounds, and adjusted the rest of the filling ingredients accordingly (I knew that math degree would come in handy someday!).  The fresh parsley I had on hand had seen much better days, so I substitued dried parsley.  Instead of grinding peppercorns, I used regular pepper.  Finally, I cut the amount of salt in the dough in half, from 1 teaspoon down to half a teaspoon.

I had to use less flour (3 1/2 cups versus 3 3/4) and more water (1 1/4 cup instead of 1 cup) to get my dough to the right consistancy.  I’m used to my dough doubling in size after about 45 minutes, but this dough took three hours.  My guess is this was due to the fact that the dough has much less sugar than previous recipes.

The filling was easy to prepare–I just chopped up and sauted the onion, and mixed it with the rest of the ingredients.  I cooked a little bit of the filling on the stove top to make sure I had the seasonings right.  Then, I divided the dough into eight pieces, rolled each one out, and topped it with the filling mixture.

Lahma bi Ajeen Before Baking

Lahma bi Ajeen Before Baking

I baked the pizzas in the oven at 475 degrees for 7 minutes.

Lahma bi Ajeen

Mike was a much bigger fan of this recipe than me–he enjoyed the flavor combination of pine nuts and lamb.  I thought that the flat bread base was delicious, but the mixture of lamb, tomato, and allspice wasn’t very appealing to my palette.  However, it was certainly an interesting dish to try.

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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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