This is especially true in when it comes to making bread. I enjoy making bread (flat or risen), but I tend to get into a rut. Oatmeal loaf and English muffin toasting bread are great...but there is a whole world of breads waiting to be tried. My next favorite thing could be hiding on my cookbook shelf, but I'd never know it.
The past couple of Baking with Julia recipes are perfect examples of trying something outside the norm.
First up, matzohs.
These flatbread like crackers were insanely easy to throw together and served as a reminder that things involving flour don't have to be complicated. Flour, water, salt, sesame seeds and a little bit of elbow grease was all it took to get these oven ready.
The hardest part was throwing the thin dough disks into a 500F oven without burning myself (I didn't...)
I made a half batch - since there was no way I was going to eat 12 plate sized crackers. I enjoyed snacking on these.
On the other hand, ka'kat (something like a cross between a soft pretzel and a bagel) took a little bit more effort but those efforts were worth the reward.
When I saw that this was a yeasted bread and required a couple of rises, I wasn't sure how I was going to fit this one in. But... an unusually warm evening and an even more unusual night at home was all that was needed to pull these off.
I left the mixer in the pantry and kneaded this one by hand. King Arthur's high gluten flour worked like dream - creating a silky dough that did exactly what it was supposed to.
Did I mention that there was a slightly exotic twist to this recipe? Ground mahlab (made from the seeds of a certain species of cherry) added an exotic touch to these treats. (You know, that thing that makes you wonder what it is, but you can't quite pin it down.). An egg was was added for color and sesame seeds added a bit of texture.
Fresh out of the oven, these were addictively good. Heck, they were only two inches big - so no one felt guilty about seconds. Like the matzoh, I opted to make a half batch. Down sizing my baking has been an ongoing challenge at chez Cher - I am getting better at it, but still...
This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie. Lauren Groveman demonstrates her matzoh making skill here and one bloggers version of ka'kat can be found here.