Tag Archives: quick

Georgian porcini, mushroom, and black pepper flatbread

Bread is a staple in our household.  I don’t actually eat a lot of it — if it were just me, I would maybe make it through half a loaf before it went stale — but it’s James’s favorite snack.  And if you’re trying to eat less salt, going to the corner store to buy a baguette isn’t really a very good option.  Most bread (even the good stuff) is pretty high in sodium, to the point where places that make saltless bread are considered anomalous somehow.  And seriously, who chooses Pugliese when they could have a good french baguette?  So I’ve been playing around with various flatbread recipes, just to see if there’s a quick, easy, and tasty substitute for bread that doesn’t need a lot of salt, stores well, and can be used to make sandwiches.  This Georgian flatbread recipe is the best I’ve tried so far.

The original recipe is from Jeffrey Alford’s Flatbreads and Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas, which I’ve only been cooking from for a short time but have had consistent success with.  His recipe is for a cheese bread — you make a rather plain dough and fill it with a feta cheese mix, kind of like a cheese pasty but with softer dough.  My version starts with his dough recipe, but I incorporate porcini powder, sauteed minced shallots, and black pepper into the dough as I knead to give it more flavor.  What you end up with is a soft bread (almost biscuit-like) with a rich, earthy, savory taste that can be eaten plain or, better still, toasted with a bit of butter.

This recipe is quite versatile — I imagine you could use the same procedure I describe below for any flavoring you desire.  And it is very quick — you do all the prep work while the oven is preheating, and then just shove them in.  6 minutes later, you have bread.

Georgian Flatbread with Porcini, Shallot, and Black Pepper

Makes 8 ~6″ rounds.

  • olive oil
  • 2 T. porcini powder (or any minced, strongly flavored mushroom)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • ~ 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 3-4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 c. greek yogurt (low fat is fine)
  • 1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 450°F / 230°C.

Saute minced shallots, porcini powder, and black pepper in olive oil until soft.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Start with 3 c. flour. Stir in the baking powder, then add the greek yogurt and milk.  Stir (probably with your hands, if you’re me) until the dough comes together.  If it’s too wet, add a bit more flour. Sprinkle a hard surface with flour, turn out the dough, and knead for 4 minutes or so, adding more flour as necessary.  It should feel soft and smooth and be fairly easy to work with — if it’s too hard, add a bit more milk or water.  Once you’re happy with the dough, flatten it out a bit and make a well in the center.  Put the shallot mix in the well, then fold the dough over the mix and keep kneading. This is supposed to be a little messy; it will eventually result in an evenly flavored dough.

Shape the dough into 8 round, flat breads (like tortillas, though the dough isn’t quite that stretchy).  Place on parchment-lined baking trays, and place in the oven.  Bake for 6-10 minutes (depending on how brown / crunchy you want them and how accurate your oven temperature is).  Serve warm or let cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container until you want to use them.

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Filed under baking, low fat, low sodium, mushrooms, quick bread, shallots, vegetarian

Overnight waffles

Because I have dishes to scrub, bags to pack, and all sorts of people to see before we leave, I’m going to let the pictures speak for now.

Bittman’s overnight waffles (from How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food) are friggin’ excellent, for lack of a more eloquent expression. They’re light, fluffy, and incredibly simple to prepare, especially if you aren’t really interested in greeting the day with cheer without a giant cup of coffee and adequate time to adjust to the idea of being awake.  And as it turns out, they can be transformed into something sort of healthy.  Out of sheer forgetfulness, I have discovered that they’re just fine without a whole stick of butter. I also much prefer to substitute at least half of the all purpose flour with whole grains — I think the decrease in gluten structure that comes with this particular switch works well for waffles.  Spelt is an especially good choice — it adds a sweet, slightly more interesting flavor to the dish, and complements the sourdough-like taste really nicely.

The best part about these? They freeze really well. Make some extras for the week, and just put them in the toaster directly from the freezer to reheat.

Liz’s lazy / low fat take on Bittman’s Overnight Waffles

  • 2 c. flour — preferably 1 c. all purpose, 1 c. spelt (whole wheat is fine, too)
  • 3/4 t. active dry or 1/2 t. instant yeast
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 T. sugar or honey (leave this out if you want savory waffles)
  • 1/2 t. salt (I left this out. I could tell it wasn’t there, and I missed it)
  • 1 t. olive oil (yes, olive oil is delicious in sweet stuff, too)
  • 1 t. vanilla extract (or make vanilla sugar by putting a vanilla pod in your sugar bag)
  • 2 eggs

The night before, or 8 hours before you want waffles:

Mix all ingredients EXCEPT for the eggs into a smooth batter.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for 8 hours.

Right before serving:

Mix in the eggs. Oil the waffle iron and make waffles as usual.

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Filed under breakfast