Fresh Baked Flatbreads

Today I felt like eating warm, home baked bread. I also wanted the bread to be soft and fluffy, but flat similar to a pita so I can save the rest of the uneaten bread for lunch.

I made this:

Bread is easy to make. I started with 1 cup of warm water, 1 teaspoon of yeast, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1 cup of flour (I used a blend of whole wheat and white). Stir all together in a bowl. Let sit for half an hour. I let my handy dandy Kitchenaid mixer to do the hard work for me. I use this spare time to fan myself and drink Tom Collins.

So, I put the mixing bowl onto the Kitchenaid and added 1 teaspoon of salt, another cup of flour, and started the mixer. When the flour is incorporated I turn off the spinning dough hook (very important if you want to unbroken fingers) and check to see how wet the dough is so far. I wanted a moist dough so the bread would have a rustic holey kind of texture. The dough was sticky and wet — too sticky and wet so I added 1/4 cup of flour and turned the dough hook on again. Now and then I’ll check the dough to see if it’s the way I want, and add an extra 1/4 of flour. Basically it’s still sticky but elastic. If I was making pizza dough I would add more flour until the dough was smooth and elastic. 

I prepared a bowl to hold the dough while it rises. I rubbed a teaspoon of olive oil inside the bowl and flopped in the dough, then covered it with some plastic wrap. I left it for about a couple of hours.

Two hours later I punched down the puffy dough with my flour covered hands and took the dough to my clean kitchen counter. The counter has 1/4 cup of flour on it and I knead the dough with my hands for about 10 minutes, adding extra flour to make kneading easier. I then cut the dough into quarters, flattened the chunks until the circle measured about 5 to 6 inches across. With plenty of flour on both sides of the circles I let them rest for another 30 minutes. 

Pre heat the oven to 500 fahrenheit and spend the next 30 minutes scrapping up all of the leftover flour, washing the mixing bowl, putting away the mixer, wondering why the devil I just don’t buy bread like normal people, and why I didn’t start the clean up two and a half hours earlier. I calm down and put the circles on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. 

Cooking takes about 10 to 15 minutes. The loaves puff up and turn golden brown. I flip them over so they turn colour some more after the tops look golden. Take the beauties out of the oven and let them cool. But I usually tear into the first victim armed with butter. It was so delicious it brought tears to my eyes!

And they make excellent rolls for a hearty lunch. 

I split the dough into 4 large 5 inch or so in diameter and that makes rather puffy loaves. You can make one large flat loaf, or split the dough into 6s or 8s and stretch the dough into thinner circles. I wouldn’t try using this recipe for a traditional bread loaf because the density makes the bread rather chewy. Think jaw cramping. But damn tasty!


My Christmas Tree

Go on, laugh.

Feel better?

Story regarding tree starts now:

So my apartment is a small two room plus kitchen, bathroom, and a few closets. Not miniature by any stretch, but it’s a challenge to fit a full sized Christmas tree (whether it’s real or plastic) for the season, as well as to store decorations and the tree (if it’s the fake kind) for the other 11 1/2 months.

I went with my imagination and made this tree out of squares of felt I sewed together in a Christmas tree-like shape. The ornaments I bought at the dollar store with the exception of the pewter wolf and pewter cat. I purchased those at the recent One of A Kind Craft Show and Sale a couple of weeks ago. I’m hoping to add a small and interesting ornament each year, but I have to be careful not to buy anything really delicate like glass balls or fragile wire creations.

I got a kick out of making the Christmas tree. It’s a little out of the ordinary and easy to change each year. Next year I’m going to pick up some LED lights to brighten up the room. I still need a tree topper but haven’t had much luck finding or making something that I really like. I found a few craft books that had instructions on how to make angels out of clothespins and tulle, or stars out of styrofoam and glitter paint. But none of them hit that happy craft spot. I’ll just save that spot on the top of the tree until I see something I love.

As far as gift giving goes I limit it to those nearest and dearest. My best friend is getting some treats and so is my mom. The Sweet Baby Cat and I decided to buy a 32Gb Ipod Touch for each of us when the Apple Store had their Black Friday sale in November. Ahhh! No puffy sweaters! Life is good.

Oh, the Ipod Touch is excellent. I love being able to listen to music, watch videos, have my favourite photos, and my contacts, calendar (oh disorganization, I’ll best you yet), and get to play games, roam the internet, have free apps galore (my current fav is VeganYumYum’s recipe collection – free! Go look!) and not have to pay for the accompanying cell phone costs when compared to the Iphone.

I’m tolerating the snowfall and cold weather with as much good cheer as a summer worshipper possibly can. I don’t like riding in snow and ice so my bike has slowly turned into a glorified coat rack. Geez, I feel guilty typing that out. I’m going to clean up my bike as soon as I sign off. But once Christmas passes I’ll be back to my winter whining. In the meantime I have to stave off the winter fat (and burn off the stubborn fat) by swimming, assaulting the walk/run track and the gym at the nearby communty centre. I’m already salivating at the thought of conquering the hill on Poplar Plains Road this spring!