A middle eastern meal needs a stack of fresh, warm pita bread to be complete. Used to dip into hummus or baba ganoush, or to stuff with falafel or kibbe, pita is an essential and delicious accompaniment to the cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean. Making spelt pita bread turns out to be quick and easy. You need to have some whole spelt flour on hand for this recipe.
If you’ve never made flatbread before, this is a great recipe to start with. The only tricky thing is laying the pitas nice and flat on the baking stone when you first put each one in. And you need a nice broad spatula to flip them and to pull them out of the oven when they’re done.
Spelt Pita Bread Recipe
Prep Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes: 8 eight inch spelt pita breads
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup whole spelt flour
- 2 1/2 cups white spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Make sponge: Put 1 cup lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add the whole spelt flour and 1/4 cup white spelt flour and whisk together. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place, uncovered, until mixture is frothy and bubbling, about 15 minutes.
- Add salt, olive oil and nearly all remaining all-purpose flour (reserve 1/2 cup). With a wooden spoon or a pair of chopsticks, stir until mixture forms a shaggy mass. Dust with a little reserved flour, then knead in bowl for 1 minute, incorporating any stray bits of dry dough.
- Turn dough onto work surface. Knead lightly for 2 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rest 10 minutes, then knead again for 2 minutes. Try not to add too much reserved flour; the dough should be soft and a bit moist. (At this point, dough may refrigerated in a large zippered plastic bag for several hours or overnight. Bring dough back to room temperature, knead into a ball and proceed with recipe.)
- Clean the mixing bowl and put dough back in it. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with a towel. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place. Leave until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 475 degrees. On bottom shelf of oven, place a heavy-duty baking sheet, large cast-iron pan or ceramic baking tile. Punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces of equal size. Form each piece into a little ball. Place dough balls on work surface, cover with a damp towel and leave for 10 minutes.
- Remove 1 ball (keeping others covered) and press into a flat disc with rolling pin. Roll to a 6-inch circle, then to an 8-inch diameter, about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour if necessary. (The dough will shrink a bit while baking.)
- Carefully lift the dough circle and place quickly on hot baking sheet. After 2 minutes the dough should be nicely puffed. Turn over with tongs or spatula and bake 1 minute more. The spelt pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles. Transfer warm spelt pita bread to a napkin-lined basket and cover so bread stays soft. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.
Adapted from The New York Times
Matzo is an important ingredient in all kinds of Jewish cooking from around the world. It’s a very simple unleavened bread that can be made only from wheat, oats, rye, barley—or spelt. Spelt matzo is now available from several companies, but it’s easy to make your own and it’s delicious.
Matzo is unleavened because when the Jews left Egypt under the leadership of Moses, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise.
Matzo is the only bread Jews can eat during Passover, the holiday that celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. It is also said to symbolize humility, because as a simple unleavened bread, it represents poor people’s food. Also, it’s not “puffed up,” another reason it recalls the modesty and humility of the poor and simple.
Our mothers and grandmothers cooked with regular commercial matzos and matzo meal. Commercially produced spelt matzo does exist, but it’s easy to make your own from scratch and it’s delicious.
Once you have your matzo, go ahead and make matzo meal with some of it, eat a piece or two for old times’ sake, and then make some matzo brei, the Ashkenazic answer to french toast.
Homemade Spelt Matzo
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes: 12 matzos
- About 2 3/4 cups/350 g white spelt flour, divided
- 1/2 tsp/3 g kosher salt
- 1/3 cup/80 ml olive oil
- About 1/2 tsp/3 g fine sea salt
- Set a pizza stone on an oven rack and heat oven to 500F/260C for about 45 minutes (if you don’t have a pizza stone, set a large baking sheet on a rack and heat until oven is hot).
- Put 2 1/4 cups/ 350 g spelt flour, kosher salt, and oil in a food processor. With motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup/120 ml water. Dough will come together into a ball and should feel soft and supple; if it is sticky at all, add more flour, 1 tbsp/8 g at a time.
- Divide dough into 12 portions. Using a floured rolling pin, roll 1 portion at a time on a well-floured work surface into a round about 8 in/20 cm wide and just thin enough to see through. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and press it in with your hands. Prick dough all over with a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up too much).
- Flour a wooden peel or back of a baking sheet generously and transfer dough to it. Gently slide dough onto hot pizza stone. Bake until matzo is light golden and crisp on each side and a bit darker at the edges, turning once with a wide spatula, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer matzo to a cooling rack and make remaining matzos the same way.
- 5. Rebake any matzo that isn’t crisp in the center, which may be the case if they baked on a baking sheet; put matzos on a rimmed baking sheet, reduce oven heat to 250F/120C, and bake 15 to 25 minutes more.
Adapted from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-matzos
A dense, sweet Japanese take on Western white loaf bread. Shokupan became very popular around the turn of the 20th century in Japan. Panko was originally made from stale shokupan.
Spelt Japanese Milk Bread
Recipe By: Daniel Lieberman
Published: June 29, 2016
Prep Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: One loaf
FOR THE STARTER:
FOR THE DOUGH:
- ⅓ cup/45 grams white spelt flour
- ½ cup/120 milliliters whole milk
- 2 ½ cups/325 grams white spelt flour
- ¼ cup/60 grams sugar
- 2 teaspoons/7 grams active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 teaspoon/4 grams salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup/120 milliliters warm whole milk, plus extra for brushing on the unbaked loaf
- 4 tablespoons/60 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus extra for buttering bowls and pan
- Make the starter: In a small heavy pot, whisk spelt flour, milk and 1/2 cup water (120 milliliters) together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until thickened but still pourable, about 10 minutes (it will thicken more as it cools). When it’s ready, the spoon will leave tracks on the bottom of the pot. Scrape into a measuring cup and lightly cover the surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool to room temperature. (You will have about 1 cup starter; see note below.)
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the spelt flour, sugar, yeast and salt and mix for a few seconds, just until evenly combined.
- Add egg, milk and 1/2 cup starter. Turn the mixer on low speed and knead 5 minutes.
- Add soft butter and knead another 10 to 12 minutes (it will take a few minutes for butter to be incorporated), until the dough is smooth and springy and just a bit tacky.
- Lightly butter the inside of a bowl. Use your hands to lift dough out of mixer bowl, shape into a ball and place in prepared bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes.
- Punch the dough down and use your hands to scoop it out onto a surface. Using a bench scraper or a large knife, cut dough in half. Lightly form each half into a ball, cover again and let rise 15 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime, generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
- Using a rolling pin, gently roll out one dough ball into a thick oval. (By this time, the dough should be moist and no longer sticky. You probably will not need to flour the surface, but you may want to flour the pin.) First roll away from your body, then pull in, until the oval is about 12 inches long and 6 inches across.
- Cover and let rest 30 to 40 minutes more, until the risen dough is peeking over the edge of the pan and the dough logs are meeting in the center. Brush the tops with milk and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven until golden brown and puffed, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour, to let the crust soften and keep the crumb lofty. (If cut too soon, the air bubbles trapped in the bread will deflate.)
This recipe for Japanese Milk Bread was adapted from The New York Times