Home Bread-Bakers v006.n067.22

Re: Wanted rcp for Lebanese bread

jjberger@computek.net (Jenny)
Sun, 4 Feb 1996 23:17:10 -0600
>>From: "Donald & Sally Taylor" <EC34@SDSUMUS.SDSTATE.EDU>
>>Date: Sun, 04 Feb 1996 12:20:05 -0800
>>Subject: Wanted rcp for Lebanese bread
>>Dear Bread Bakers,
>>I've baked bread and rolls since I was ten.  Over time I have
>>read countless books and recipes, but there is one I still
>>am not sure how to reproduce.  Perhaps one of the readers knows
>>the answer to my inquiry.
>>I have a feeling the recipe is simple.?  Anyway, thirty years ago,
>>when I was a young bride,we lived and worked in Lebanon.  It
>>was there we were first introducded to two varieties of bread
>>that we came to love.  One we called Arabic bread which folks
>>in the US know as "pita".  The other was a very thin bread called
>>"mountain bread".  You could put anything in a mountain bread
>>sandwich: like Laban or Lebni (I can't remember which, but the
>>one that is thicker than yogurt), meats, veggies, jam etc.
>>Then roll it up and eat it something like a taco, but not quite.
>>As I recall the mountain bread's texture is different, it is
>>thinner and approximately 20 inches in diameter.
>>When we would buy a spit roasted chicken, they did not put it
>>in a heavy foil lined bag, they would wrap it in a piece of
>>mountain bread.  You then used small pieces of mountain to break
>>off the chicked.  It was great!
>>Once when we were up in the mountains, I saw (from a distance)
>>it being baked over an open fire.  It was baking on top a metal
>>I hoping there is someone who reads this that will be able to
>>give me some ideas on how to make Lebanese mountain bread.
>>Kartini in SD
I found this recipe while I was searching for a recipe for fatayer.  It's
from a book called "Lebanese Mountain Cookery" by Mary Laird Hamady.  I
highly recommend this tome since it covers everything my grandmother
(Lebanese by marriage) used to make & then some, as well as includes cuisine
folklore, tips & tricks.  Enjoy!!

>1 T. (1 pkg) dry yeast
>1 t. sugar
>1 cup lukewarm water
>15 cups unbleached white flour
>4 1/2 T. salt
>5 cups lukewarm water (for more nutritious breads, add 1 1/2 cups nonfat
dry milk to water and beat well)
>3 T. olive oil
>Proof the yeast by dissolving the yeast & sugar in 1 cup lukewarm water for
5 to 10 minutes.
>Mix 14 cups flour and salt together in a large bowl, reserving 1 cup flour
for kneading.  Add 5 cups lukewarm water, oil, and the yeast mixture all at
once to flour.  Stir with wooden spoon or with hands until dough sticks
together.  Turn out onto a floured board or cloth and knead very well.
Gradually add the reserved flour to keep dough from sticking.  Kneading may
take 10 to 15 minutes.  Dough is ready when it feels elastic; bubbles will
break on the surface when you form it into a ball.
>Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dry cloth.  let dough rise in a
warm place, undisturbed, until it doubles in size (about 2 hours).  Punch
dough down.  Oil hands and divide dough into 25 to 30 balls the size of
small oranges.  Again, cover them with a dry cloth and place in a warm spot
to rise for 30 minutes.
>Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  if you have an electric oven, set it to broil
at 450 degrees, placing a baking sheet on the lowest rack.  then turn a
Chinese wok upside down so it rests on the baking sheet.  For a gas oven,
place an upside-down wok on the floor of the oven.
>Combine 3/4 cup cornmeal with the same amount of flour.  Flatten each ball
of dough and dip both sides in the cornmeal mixture.  Place them like
pancakes in a stack, separating them with wax paper.  Make five piles of 6
each (more than 6 may cause the piles to topple over).  Cover all the stacks
with a cloth so they don't dry out.
>Roll out each pancake until it is as thin and round as possible.  Then pick
up dough and begin to stretch it by flipping it back & forth between your
hands.  A pizza technique of throwing it up in the air, catching it, and
flattening the edges of the circle with your thumb and forefinger works
fine.  Good luck!
>Make a fist with one hand and place dough on top of fist.  Then turn dough
in circles with other hand, pulling on edges so they get as thin as
possible.  The shape will be an irregular 14 to 16 inch circle unless you
are a wizard at circles.
>Drape dough on top of hot wok.  Bake 30 to 60 seconds, until lightly
browned and bubbly.  Peel off and place on baking sheet.  Run under broiler
for 5 to 10 seconds until dark brown.
>Remove to board, spray with water (see Note) and cover with damp cloth.
Stack new breads on top of old ones.  Cover finished stack with damp tea
towels.  When bread is pliable (after 2-3 hours), fold each in quarters and
package in plastic.
>NOTE:  Traditionally the bread is not dampened at all.  Thin spots are
crisp and brittle.  Finished breads are simply stacked on top of each other.
We recommend dampening the bread because we discovered we preferred it
pliable, it kept better, and it was also easier to store.

Jenny L. Berger

"Where the hell are the singin' cats?" - Paul Newman